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Meeting Death and Life Beyond

Meeting Death and Life Beyond

The devastation of suicide is unfathomable even to those who it befalls. It’s a common theme when a family in the community have been travelling through life as if no one is the wiser and then the next morning there’s the lifeless ambulance van as the sheet-covered body is wheeled into the back.

No one expected it. Sure, the victim may have been having a few struggles in life, but who doesn’t? Then everyone starts to realize that the victim had been receding into their world, cutting connections off the front, rear and centre as the family’s fear starts to rise in line with the appearance of strange wounds on the victim, all too perfect, all too self-inflicted. Behind closed doors, there are arguments. The endless river of tears, the devastating self-harming. Then one morning, there is the discovery and the insanity that follows. All too late, everyone looks back and recognizes the danger signs and mourns their inability to change time.

Unfortunately this is a common theme in society, and yes, there is awareness rising about the impacts of depression and the dangers of suicide but what is being neglected is the survival of suicide. of those who go to that dark place but come out in a state of confusion as to why their time didn’t come.

This is accompanied by the family and friends whose lives are changed forever, knowing how horrendously close they came to losing a part of themselves in the person they love. Headlines only tell you when someone has died but never do they reveal the lives of those who venture into the darkness and have to walk back into reality the next day.

story about meeting death
story about meeting death

Unfortunately in society we can steer to only what the eye can see- we can see the murder, we can see the life-threatening injuries, but many struggle to comprehend the devastating mental battles that occur everywhere, including the person sitting next to you on the train as you read this article.

Internationally, suicide is increasing steeply and attributes to over 800 000 deaths a year. What isn’t well known though is that suicide attempts account for 20 times that number. equating to one suicide attempt nearly one every 20 seconds (World Health Organisation). Unfortunately there is insufficient awareness around how many people’s lives have ventured onto Death’s door and have been spat back out, left to deal with the consequences. My family, those around me and I unfortunately have had to experience these consequences first-hand.

It started with this increasing sense of recklessness as I grew less and less concerned about my will to live. 
My self-harming began on a slippery slope into an out-of-control addiction to the relief and numbing of my pain. I felt my depression rapidly fall out of a state of somewhat “stability”, with heightened thoughts of self-harm and eventual suicide. As my actions became careless, with an absence of care for my safety and well-being, my thoughts and planning took a dark turn as I started to take actions towards my eventual, permanent escape. This was to impact not just myself but everyone around me.

Unfortunately, unless family and friends have experienced first-hand the horrors of suicide, it is hard to recognize the subtle signs of an approaching attempt.

Which is something I will regret to the day I die because my parents hold unwarranted and undeserving self-blame for the events that followed and alluded their awareness- they were never responsible, nor will they ever be. It came one day that I finally had what I believed was enough to form my attempt to leave this world. I waited until the lights were out, and the last bedroom door closed and strived towards my escape. Once fully committed though I was discovered and rushed to the hospital and had to wait out one of the most painful nights of my life as the drugs left my system under hospital staff and my parents' monitoring. Once the night was over, the consequences were to follow.

My family was absolutely devastated and I can never take back the horrific damage I inflicted upon those I loved, but I was not to realise this until long after. as my depression and committal to escaping was stronger than ever. Three overdoses later, each more extreme than the last, I was committed to a psychiatric hospital due to the lack of control my parents had over my actions. From here on out it has taken years for my family and I to repair ourselves as I have been in and out of hospital treatment for years, willingly and unwillingly.

Not only has the trust my family had for me and the shock inflicted on them had to grow back but I have had to go through years of self-contemplation and treatment to try and repair the mental damage I had inflicted on myself. It has taken myself years to repair my natural instincts in that my fear and self-preservation had been eradicated and I have had to endure a slow process of learning to care for my life and create value of myself, something which I could defend and hold dear. This process was extremely complicated and has been some of the hardest work I have ever experienced and will ever come across.

To start with I have had to learn to deal with and eventually accept that I had no love for myself for what I had done and put my family through in the dark and nightmare years of my depression and eating disorder. For years I have had to deal with the hate I have harbored within myself for what I had done and who I am as a person. Despite this, I have learnt that no matter what may have happened in that dark void. I cannot hold myself responsible forever because that does more damage than any good that could be achieved and that I must strive to repair things by promising myself and those around me that I will keep myself safe for those who love me and what I owe myself.

This process of recovering the respect I have for myself has seen the most significant and most lasting changes in myself as a person. Sure, medication can slightly dull the blade of depression, but nothing has a more lasting effect than a self-reflection of my entire being. I have had to dive so deep into my being that it physically hurts, as the days of crying and pent-up anger have revealed. I had to grasp the core concepts (more commonly referred to as core beliefs) and massage away the sadness, the devastation, the guilt, the shame and the hatred to achieve new ways of looking at myself.

When I started this task I decided I would settle for no less than achieving self-love as nothing less would suffice for my full recovery. I cannot attest to 100% recovery in myself as a person but I can say that I respect myself as a human being, and I will defend myself to the day I die because I deserve nothing less. This, for me, is enormous. For someone that would take their own life because I had bad thoughts of myself, this change is life-saving. For me, it is a permanent fix.

Yes I will always have to maintain it, but it no longer requires days, weeks, months and years of self-contemplation and inner battles. I will do what it takes to make sure I choose best for myself and some may say that is narcissistic or egotistical but I say that I just respect myself and will always do anything for those I love.

Due to the changes I have made I am a strong believer in core belief work (which involves the use of schemas) which pulls apart and reorganises the core foundations of us as an individual. I believe this kind of work is vital in helping those who are recovering not only from suicide-attempts but any mental illness as it allows for us as individuals to realise that despite our mistakes in life, it does not take away from us being good people, nor that we should feel responsible for things that are far out of our control.

I hope that this insight into how I have had to cope with who I am as a person and how I have had to grow despite my past and the entailing voids, that there can be an understanding of what can happen to those who go to those places and are lifted out by miracles, hundreds of times a day.

 I hope that those who have suffered in similar events can seek out the help they need and reach out to those around them because I say to every single one of you now: you deserve to live, no matter what darkness is upon you, you deserve life and no one can take that from you.

For those suffering as they read this article, I plead you to reach out to Lifeline Australia who also takes calls worldwide on 13 11 14. In addition you can contact America’s National Suicide hotline on 1800 273 8255, Lifeline New Zealand on (09) 522 2999, Samaritans of Singapore on 1800 221 4444, Samaritans UK on +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 and to further contact a psychologist, psychiatrist or other mental health professionals because no matter what you may be thinking, there are supports for you and there are many that say you are worth saving.


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