What happens when you start hitting rock bottom?
There is only one place left to go and that’s up.
I remember the night so clearly. It was only 4 years ago. I had thought about it that day, every day of that week and every day of that month.
I no longer wanted to go on.
I wanted to end the pain.
The pain of mental illness is difficult to describe, but I had no fight left.
I had put the children to bed, all 5 of them and I planned to take my own life that evening. I even climbed into bed next to my husband, who was oblivious to my plan.
I waited until he was in a deep sleep, he was snoring loudly as I crept out of bed.
I made myself a cup of tea and went out into the cold night air and lit up a cigarette. I was 4 months pregnant, but stopping smoking was the least of my worries.
I was hitting rock bottom and I wanted to stop the world and get off
I opened the cupboard and reached in for the boxes of medication, strong painkillers and sleeping pills, were the ones I had stashed away.
I sat at the kitchen table and began to make a pile of pills. It would be easier and quicker to just grab a handful, rather than pop them out individually from their foil case.
So what had caused a mother of 5 (almost 6), want to take her own life?
I was severely ill.
I had hit rock bottom and could see no light at the end of the tunnel
I had struggled for years, suffering in silence for most of the time.
I had suffered domestic violence for almost 11 years and I never did recovery from that.
I had not even told anyone I was pregnant, although my husband now knew. I didn’t want this baby, it didn’t deserve a mother like me, I was poison.
I was doing my children a favour by killing myself, they were better off without me.
I had spent months building a distance from my children. I had taken a step back, handed over most of the responsibilities to my husband.
I believed that if I made them believe they didn’t need me, then when I did kill myself, it wouldn’t hurt them so much.
I had lost all sense of reality.
I poured myself a large glass of water and swallowed down the first 2 pills.
I took another 2 and as I was about to swallow the 5th and 6th tablet, I gagged.
I couldn’t even swallow pills.
My stomach heaved and I rushed to the sink where I was violently sick.
I had been self-starving myself as a punishment for days, the combination of pregnancy, an empty stomach and strong medication just didn’t go together.
I sank to the floor in despair
This is what rock bottom felt like.
What the fuck was I doing?
I imagined the look on my children’s faces when they awoke in the morning to find me slumped, dead on the floor.
Would they think that I didn’t love them enough to stay?
I knew I couldn’t do that to my children.
I had resented them for so long, they were the reason I hadn’t taken my own life earlier.
They were the reason I had always tried to fight this depression.
Yet I hadn’t really fought it at all.
Yes I had seen a doctor and told him I was feeling a bit sad. I had not been honest. I had taken a weeks worth of antidepressants only to stop taking them.
This time I knew, it was time to accept mental illness was a huge problem in my life and it was time to speak out.
I had nothing left to lose, I was at rock bottom and there was nowhere else to fall. I could not go any deeper down.
I did go to the doctor, I was honest.
The remainder of the pregnancy was difficult, but I went onto to have a healthy little boy.
I lost more than my mind, I lost my career and a handful of friends too.
But 4 years later here I am. I am diagnosed with bipolar and have psychotic episodes from time to time, but I am standing with my head held high.
If I ever feel the suicidal thoughts reappear, or I relapse in my recovery, then I know to look into my children’s eyes.
Through them I find the strength to fight on.
I reached rock bottom and learned that the only way left to go was up.