WARNING This post discusses a period where I experienced suicidal urges, thoughts and feelings. It explores suicidal ‘logic’ and mentions thinking about methods.
I’m now okay now, these feelings come and go over the years, I keep myself safe and it passes.
If you are experiencing similar feelings PLEASE SEEK HELP. Here is a page I have found very useful in the past
DRAFT extract from book chapter
The day of the beach walk, when we walked to the Incense Tower the wrong way… I wanted to stand and look. Anthony walked off, thinking I wanted to be alone. Being left behind is a trigger for me. A misunderstanding; over sensitivity, a bad atmosphere, the atmosphere between us deteriorated and my mood plummeted.
Thinking, ‘It would have been better if I hadn’t woken up.’ Thinking about the past, imagining going back and preventing things with my son turning out as they did. Thinking, ‘Better to be an asleep person, who could take pride in having had a successful family.’ Decisions, my responsibility. But what did I actually do that was so bad?
And on and on, thoughts spiralling down and down. ‘I left my children for you.’ Anthony said to me once. Oh God, and I’d painted myself as so good, getting their room ready, buying things, cooking. It wasn’t only my kid I messed up. Lots do it, women break up families, but they’d already been separated for years. But he did move to me not vice versa.
The ultimate destination of these thoughts for me is suicide. So many reasons to die: As a punishment. As a I don’t know how to live with myself. As a solution to every other worry or concern. To take responsibility. All I do is harm. I do no good. My son is doing well without me. Wow, the matrix/me really did a number on me. Such dangerous thoughts: If he’s done this well when I stepped back, and done even better when I went away for a year, then how much better would he do if I wasn’t here at all?
I remembered in Kerala, Sea Win, lying on the floor. Me: ‘Why do I feel so bad?’ The answer seemed to come from the light above me: ‘It’s your programming.’
It’s the mother of all battles undoing this. Do I want to? Or do I want to die? All this talk between us re The Future and getting older; who am I kidding? One day I’m going to kill myself and this is why. I’ve not yet got the method planned. Maybe I haven’t reached the end of my tether yet. Maybe I don’t want to enough. Maybe when I do, I will.
Walking along the beach, going into late afternoon, grey light, me thinking of methods of committing suicide, thinking about drowning myself, getting up early or coming back late.
On the sand there were big chunks of mosaic. I remembered there was mosaic on the stairs at the hotel too. (mosaic is kind of a thing for me). A grey bicycle was chained up on top of a ridge of sand so that its background was the cloudy sunset sky. Then, a shiny apple lying on the sand with only a few bites out. Then, some beautiful driftwood. Then a sparrow pecking at a discarded corn on the cob on the sand. Another sparrow, another corn on the cob. A light koru, the Maori symbol of new life. ‘It’s no good showing me all that,’ (good stuff I’d usually like, things of beauty I’d normally connect with) I said grimly, in my head. But then I realised, ‘All that stuff is always there.’
An old Vietnamese lady walked past selling buns, bags of tiny sponge cakes. She smiled and was friendly. I smiled at her, was friendly, and bought some. I felt bad about being so sad, as if she could catch it.
On the beach, mountains one side on a spit, partly concealed by high rise blocks of hotels ranged in front of the mountains, the juxtaposition was shocking.
In Kerala at the beach cafe, at the place where we’d been in a film, I’d read a tatty newspaper pull out/magazine. In it there’d been an article by a food/travel writer. In the wake of two recent celebrity suicides he’d written about how he’d travelled to all these amazing countries, stayed in great hotels and eaten all this wonderful food, that was his job, but at that the same time, ‘For two years I wanted to die,’ he said. I thought it would have been better if he’d written about that too. Like the social media thing of people tending to only put up the good stuff. ‘No one posts photos of themselves sobbing on Facebook.’ I often say. I know there are sites of self harm etc, but are they another extreme, all bad, would it be healthier if we all put everything, or at least a balance, out there?
The trigger to all this was another news interview raking over the past of twelve years ago when my son was a teenager and out of control, and a few cross words between me and Anthony.
Once awake, awake. ‘Enlightenment’ is accepting all of it, somehow, and somehow making peace with it.
As Anthony and I have discussed previously, being conscious doesn’t mean you’re nice. Some heads of big businesses that destroy the environment and people’s health for money to fuel their pleasure lifestyle may well be conscious. They may have decided it’s all an illusion so just do what you want it doesn’t matter. But like I’ve said before, even if it is only a game, I will still recycle, I still won’t hurt animals. And being conscious definitely doesn’t mean its fun. Sometimes you’ll wish you were still asleep.
But I made all the mistakes before. Before I woke up, whilst I was still asleep. So was that all my script? My back story like in Blade Runner to make me less likely to wake up? In Blade Runner they gave the robots memories, even a family, ‘To make them easier to control.’ Or if we don’t believe in some malignant power, that it just made it more of a challenge for me to wake up. Like George Harrison Isn’t it a pity. Or some people say the sadness triggers you waking up; the cracks let the light in, etc. And Now provides the chance to go off script and deprogramme myself, should I choose.
Back in the room, thinking about how just a short time of silence and awkward atmosphere will plummet my mood. One to two hours of it and I’m at suicide methods and my mind is dangerously out of control. ‘No,’ I said to myself, ‘I may not be in control of my thoughts but I can control my actions.’ I hugged myself and thought of the suicide prevention workbook (that I wrote!) ‘Curl up into a ball, you can’t hurt yourself then.’
In bed something in the room screamed method: the curtain pole. Compared to Dong Hoi, where I had admired the curtain pole’s glittery beauty, here, the pole was a suicide option. I was scared of it. Would I just do it, like I slapped myself the other day, involuntarily? That night, so depressed… ‘Just get through the night,’ I said to myself.
Later, talking myself out of it… You think committing suicide will wipe out (or atone for) all the bad you did; but of course it doesn’t, and actually makes it worse. It’s another bad thing. A really terrible thing. It ADDS to the sum of the harm you’ve done. If you were to ask them if that’s what they wanted, of course they wouldn’t say they wanted that. But of course even to ask would be an awful thing to do… The ‘logic’ of a suicidal mood state can be terrifyingly dangerous. In the past I’ve even thought people would WANT me to do it and agree with me that it made sense and that it was a good idea if I were to ask them. One particular time, after a particularly awful Mother’s Day, when my son had stolen something and run up a one hundred pound phone bill, I decided to go to bed, sleep on it, and if I still felt definitely that it was, I’d run it by my friend M, ask her if she thought it made sense, and if she did, I’d do it. Of course I woke up and thought there’s no way she would, and crisis averted.
That night in Nha Trang, I woke later, realised it was no threat- the method I’d been scared of, the curtain pole. And the next morning, I saw that the curtain pole had a screw loose, it wouldn’t have held, it was not dangerous, and me, feeling better, noticed glitter on my leg which reminded me to include the nice Dong Hoi curtain pole in the story.
Nha Trang abounded with patterns and metaphors, the trapped huge variety of beautiful/fascinating animals dead/alive; the non communication, we spoke to other people only twice. The longing to connect… I wished we could all speak the same language or that I knew another language but to really connect you’d need to be absolutely fluent and how long would that take and which language to choose… And how few people I can absolutely connect with even in our first language… Even Anthony and I lost each other for a while…
*One day halfway down our street, on the other side to our hotel, I passed a young Vietnamese woman wearing a red t shirt. Printed on the t shirt, over her heart area, were the words, ‘It’s broken here.’
Thank you very much for reading
I found that my mood dipped as I was writing this chapter. I found this song helped:
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts and feelings PLEASE SEEK HELP. Here is a page I have found very useful in the past
About the author
Sold house, left career, gave away almost everything else. With husband went travelling for a year, mostly in India. Here are my India highlights. Now back in the UK, living on a narrowboat, and writing a book about the trip, a spiritual/travel memoir, extracts from which appear regularly on this blog.