Today, September 10th, is World Suicide Prevention Day. Of all causes out there in the world, this is one of the very closest to my heart, as someone who has both battled with severe depression, and lost a family member to suicide.
It is also particularly prominent to me as it is 5 years ago this week, on the 13th, since my life was turned upside down, and my depression entirely took over my life. To say these 5 years have been a roller coaster would be a complete understatement.
I have been lower than I ever knew to be humanly possible. I have lived inside the darkness, where for months on end I simply could not see a possible future past that day, that week, and certainly not that year. I have had times where I have been unable to get out of bed, let alone leave the house. Over this time I have punished myself by starving myself for days on end, purging every single thing I ate, and slicing hundreds, possibly thousands, of cuts into my body. I have weighed less than a child, seen my bones, and still hated myself for being ‘fat.’ I have carved into my wrist drunkenly with a kitchen knife, and taken two overdoses which hospitalised me, each time feeling even more broken for failing.
While I have been on the slow and treacherous road to recovery over the last couple of years, never once did I actually think I’d be where I have arrived in the last few months. For the first time in my entire life, I can look in a mirror and not despise what I see. In fact, there are times I actually think I look nice. Yes, there are lumps and bumps there that I don’t like, but for the first time, I’m still gonna eat that damn pizza, or that whole tub of ice cream, if I damn well feel like it. Or whatever the hell I want. And maybe I’ll go for a run tomorrow to compensate, but maybe I won’t. But I’m not gonna torture myself either way.
For the first time, I do not feel guilty for simply being me. I no longer have an overwhelming sense that I am a horrible, pathetic person, who is worthless, and nothing but a burden to those around me.
In fact, I know myself to be a loving, loyal and caring person. I will go above and beyond for my friends and family. I am someone who is, or at least can be, fun to be around. Hell, at times I think I’m damn right hilarious! I also finally know that I deserve to be loved and cared for too. I have skills and talents. I am able to set myself goals for my future, like writing my book, like getting married and having a family, because I can finally see myself actually having a future, one where I am happy and loved and deserve to be so.
I am also no longer ashamed to talk about where I was, because I am proud of how far I have come. I see the scars on my body and they are a reminder that I was stronger than what tried to destroy me. They are my battle scars and they remind me that I won the battle.
I am not what happened to me. I am not what you made me and I am not what you did. I am what I choose to be. And I choose to be happy, and fearless, and beautiful, and loved; just the way I am.
And right now? Sure, I’m not where I thought I’d be when I mapped out my life as a kid, or at school. Hell, I’m freshly single at 24, with barely a clue what the hell I wanna do in life. But I feel strong, and fearless, and empowered and amazing. There are so many things I want to do and see and read and taste in this crazy, beautiful world we live in, and I am excited to get out there and do it all. For the first time I can hand on heart say: I love my life. I have an incredible family and network of friends, as well as this unbelievable online community, all of whom mean the world to me, and I can count on for support. I am lucky enough to live on this absolutely amazing little island, surrounded by beaches and beauty. I don’t know where I’m going yet, or exactly what I’m doing, and that is so totally okay. Because it’s going to be an amazing journey getting there, and I plan to have one hell of a ride!
To any one who is still going through that darkness:
When you are not able to see a way out, I promise you it is still there. Believe me, I know, I know – it’s almost impossible to believe someone who says it – I used to think the same. ‘That’s great for you, but it’s just not gonna happen for me,’ was what I thought when I read stories of recovery and coming out the other side. But I promise you, it is 100% within your grasp. It is going to be difficult, and long and there are times you will slip but that is totally okay. You’ll get there. And even when you are there, you may still have bad days, but again: that is totally okay. You’re human. We are fragile, and we are allowed to feel down, and weak and sad at times. Even without reason. More than anything, I urge you to talk to someone. A friend, a family member, a therapist or a helpline. Sometimes it’s easier talking to a total stranger.
Here’s the number for the Samaritans: 08457 909090, or alternatively please feel free to email me here, and I promise I will always be there to talk or listen.
Just don’t go through this on your own. You are not alone, not ever, no matter how much it feels that way.
And no matter how much you can’t see it, the following things never cease to be true:
- You are beautiful.
- You matter.
- You are unique.
- No one else can play your part.
- You are loved.
- You would be missed.
- Life goes on.
I’ll see you tomorrow xxx