Because I don’t ‘look’ suicidal – (World Suicide Awareness Day 2018)

Because I don’t ‘look’ suicidal – (World Suicide Awareness Day 2018)

It’s world suicide prevention day as I’m writing this. My fingers have hesitantly hovered over the keys now for about 20 minutes. I am lost for words.

There is such a horrid stigma around people who are suicidal.
They are not always teenage girls, or young men.
They are not always sad or depressed.
They do not always self-harm.
And, most importantly, they don’t all ‘look’ suicidal.
I’ve had lovely weekends with relatives over the past year, and on this one occasion that stands out from last month. I was in a really rough patch. I was underweight and my physicals were poor. I was self-harming badly, hidden by sleeves. I was upset at home and often distressed as well.
Once this trip was over my Aunt asked about my plans for next year. I said I wasn’t doing great, and I’m deferring uni for year as I’m not safe to be alone. The instant reply was:
‘You looked fine at the weekend’.
Why is it the case for so many people that we are offered judgement before support?
I beg that people stop relying on how someone ‘looks’ to ask them if they are okay or if they need help. Don’t go by if someone is wearing make-up or not to judge if they are depressed. And don’t believe that depression is the only disease that kills through suicide. Bipolar mania kills. So do personality disorders. Likewise with eating disorders. Don’t trust laughter to tell whether someone’s suicidal or not. Look for the happiness in their eyes, not just in their voice.
No one is selfish by being suicidal. Or ungrateful of the life they have. No one should feel guilty for feeling hopelessly sad. Or hearing voices. Or having a brain that tells them not to eat. Suicide thrives on this pain caused by mental illness.
But pain hides.
It is invisible. It can’t be detected on a blood test. And it is overwhelming.
Sometimes it’s about looking beyond the exterior to see how someone is. Sometimes it’s hidden under sleeves. Behind bedroom doors. Or simply in the mind of someone.
Don’t assume someone’s okay because they haven’t told you otherwise. Ask them. Know that suicide has no ‘look’. It doesn’t have a demographic, or a gender, or a body type or even a hairstyle. Mental illness hides in plain sight.
My auntie judged me by my cover, without ever reading the first chapter. She has no idea about my hospital admissions for suicide attempts in the past. Or the self harm or the overdoses. But she also never stopped to ask.
Pain hides in the darkness we let it lie in. Be a beam of light for someone. Rip back those curtains and turn every lamp on.
Darkness blinds us from the things around us. This can either be our greatest treasure, we never have to see the dangers and pain lurking in front of us. Or it can be our greatest fear, knowing there are things within it that are killing us. Either way, the problem with living in darkness is that it also stops us from seeing all the love we have nearby as well. It only takes for someone or something to turn on the light, or draw the curtains, or stay with us until sunrise, for our lives to come properly into focus again.

Stay alive.

by Emma Cunningham

wordpress – thelilaclysander.wordpress.com

Instagram- @rain.on.rosy.cheeks

What mania feels like: a Beehive

What mania feels like: a Beehive

Imagine having a hive of bees stuck inside your head. A frantic buzzing and stinging of your insides. Another hive in each of your limbs. And gigantic swarm inside of your stomach. There are so many of them I can barely think, my thoughts are all stung and shaking, and the rocketing little wings vibrate me. It sends the shakes through me like ripples; I can barely sit still. Words and words and words spiral out of my mouth from my chest; words with no shape; no sense.

I am soaring at 3,000 lightyears, 3,000,000 feet above everyone else. While I ascend each second the rest of the world moves like snails on the land beneath these clouds that I stand on. A fluttering frustration with the people below, unable to keep up with me, nowhere near as high as me. But another fluttering too, one from the bird inside my chest, the one I used to call my heart. It beats its wings, like that of a hummingbird, with each swish there is life life life. That feeling of falling in love 500 times a minute. With whom? I could not say. I do not know who I’m electrified for.
The sticky honey from those bees clouding my vision, so sweet but so debilitating. The sweet glucose firing the worlds I have thought up in my mind within the past breath. Fuel my ambition and watch me laugh at you when you tell me inventing a new planet is impossible.
Waves of euphoria crash against my chest like tsunamis, flooding my lungs and my blood with this energy. The kinetic energy within them so strong I can barely cope, the beating within my ribs jolting my neck and twisting my spine. Do not mistake mania for sweet bliss, no, it is crushing euphoria. And with each wave is the message, ‘there is no such thing as sadness anymore’.

-Emma Catherine

wordpress- thelilaclysander.wordpress.com

Instagram- rain.on.rosy.cheeks

The Big Red Button

The Big Red Button

~Content Warning- suicide~

I often feel like a coin. A body split into two halves. Even two minds. One of them very sick, and the other simply Emma. The sick part overwhelms the Me part when I’m in distress. In the peak of despair that part of me spreads like a thick, grey mist over me. It covers my eyes, turns off my ears and I crumble. That side of me is toxic (but built through emotional damage). It jumps to suicide and self destruction like a moth to a flame. In this case, I am the moth. And I am drawn, dangerously to the fire I rush towards to save me. Although it feels ‘right’ and the only way, I always, undoubtedly, get burned.

It is because of my coin-like-brain that I see suicide like a Big Red Button. It is the thing I am drawn to push when I am afraid or hurt. It is the devil on my shoulder. The glowing exit sign in my mind.

A fundamental part of my brain stopped functioning correctly in distress. In a time of distress my body no longer thinks of protecting itself and softening the blow, or reaching out for comfort or peace. Instead, the pain is too much to bear and it leads the sick part of me to slam my hand down onto that Big Red Button so I don’t have to bear it anymore. To the sick part of the coin, this makes perfect sense. But to the Me part of the coin this is absolutely ludicrous. The rational Emma knows that jumping to self-destruction in times of fear and extreme emotion is not okay. It’s like a tsunami in some ways. The giant wave barreling towards me strikes a fear so great into my core that, instead of running as fast as I can away from the wave, I jump headfirst into it.

Patients with Borderline Personality Disorder are often described as having a defense mechanism called ‘Splitting’. It means that everything is sorted into Bad or Good. And everything good must be embraced and adored, and everything bad must be rejected and hated. And in this way my brain feels like an iron filing to a magnet. At everything Bad, it jumps to the Big Red Button.

As a person dealing with BPD, my actual mind feels Split in two, just like a coin. But the sick, impulsive part of me is huge- it overwhelms the rational Emma. But I still have a Me inside of me. The Me is formed on how I used to deal with hurdles before my illness gripped me, and it is formed on how my friends, family, professionals deal with trouble. And I am embracing this me.

Thank GOD, there is no Big Red Button because I am worth saving,

Yours sincerely,
The Emma side of the coin.

gentle sadness

gentle sadness

gentle sadness is not something I am used to
to weep instead of to wail
seems like a gift, doesn’t it
a flood to a tsunami
with no waves crashing against my chest
that make my ribs break open
as I curl up in agony on the blue carpet
instead a bleed from a slow heart
and a weak head
a weep
a wail with no life left
gentle
like a flood to a tsunami

The gift and pain of sobriety

The gift and pain of sobriety

Sobriety is both painfully lonely, and a beautiful gift. Most days I don’t know what I miss more; the being able to drink at parties or events where there’s alcohol and feeling the life bursting out of me for a few hours; the ridiculousness of my humour and endless laughing when I would feel myself letting my defence layers down, or the bliss of being someone else for a while. But I’ll tell you what I don’t miss. I don’t miss the week of shakes and nausea I had after a solid week of binge drinking each night. I don’t miss being so reckless with certain people that I’d wake up with a stomach flip of embarrassment. I don’t miss the wave of sadness when I start to sober up and the alcohol begins to depress my mood, and the awful feeling of unravelling internally. And I don’t miss the bittersweet feeling of knowing how good drinking felt and that it was the only thing I looked forward to, and how the glasses of wine were filling the bits of me that were broken and hurt, not really soothing them, but adding fuel to the fire inside. Sobriety is lonely too. Knowing the drunk phonecalls and the chats I used to have are not the same. It’s embarrassing. Knowing that everyone knows why you don’t drink anymore, and having to tell people ‘oh no I don’t drink… personal choice’ rather than ‘yeah I abuse alcohol and substances and I’m a binge drinker’. Knowing I can never go back. A drink in my hand is a red flag to all my friends and a dirty secret on my own if I ever give in. But as I said. It is also a gift. One that few people ever get the chance to have. Having substance abuse issues is an experience that ties people together with understand. And shows the strength of not listening to that fucking parasite in your mind every time it sees a bottle. I’ve fucked up with drinking numerous times since I stopped drinking earlier this year, and a few of them have been within the past month. It’s okay. Each drink I have out of pain is a chance to show that I can rise again.

Why you need to stay alive

Why you need to stay alive

You need to stay alive. (tw this is going to be a deep, but positive one about being suicidal). You are loved even if you don’t feel like it. There are people you haven’t even met yet that will love you and be loved by you. It is not a lie when we say ending your life is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. And by that I mean, no matter how bad you feel now, or how hard your life feels- it will change. Life is dynamic. It is not fixed and there is so much joy ahead of you. A nurse told me the other day about a person she’d known in her personal life who had done something to take their own life. It was not instant, it was a slow process. In that time they watched their family breakdown and they realised how much of a mistake they had made. They saw everything they had to live for in such clarity all of a sudden. Filled with regret over a situation that was unchangeable now. When I’m feeling like I want to be astral projected into the sun in my worst moments, I have to remind myself of all the times I have talked to my friends who were suicidal, to people I don’t even know on the internet who have been in so much pain. I picture the words I’ve said to them, and I hear them all being spoken to me. Suicide is not a backup plan for when things get hard, and for me it has been just that, like a glowing exit sign in my head. The situation you find yourself in can, no, WILL change. Life is so precious in the best moments, and so vivid in its worst. But as I said, it’s dynamic. With every night there is day. Don’t forget that ☀️.