Updated: Jul 19, 2018
I'm back again. I thought I'd share reactions I have had to my suicidal ideation.
First off, back in my troubled past, I worked in a call centre. Not the nicest of jobs at the best of times but an extra pressure when you have mental health issues. I had been very open with my team manager about my issues, having had a couple of lengthy absences due to depressive episodes. I thought that my manager understood my problems and after a long discussion I came to an agreement that I would let her know when I was feeling fragile and that I'd be left to my own devices. However, one day I was feeling less than great and just withdrew in to my own defensive shell. This was noticed by my manager and she kept badgering me to tell her what was wrong. I didn't want to tell her I was having suicidal thoughts as I was only just getting to grips with having these feelings, let alone being ready to share those thoughts with her. Any how, the long and short of it, after being pressured for nearly a whole 9 hour shift, I eventually snapped and shouted at her 'I want to kill myself!'
The reaction I got was to be expected I suppose. She panicked, went white and basically ran away from me. It didn't really help my mental state and I spiraled off in to another major episode and was off work again for a couple of months.
A Date With Stanley
This was at probably the lowest time in my life. I'd moved away from my family to start my own business with my new partner. The business failed and my marriage was going down the toilet. This lead to my only active suicide attempt. I went out to my workshop, locked myself in and sat on the floor, Stanley knife in my hand trying to work up the courage to slit my throat. I knew that this was the best thing I could do at the time. To take away my pain, release my family from the burden I had become and free my wife from having to look after her mentally ill husband.
I was in my workshop for about 4 hours, raising the blade to my neck but never managing to make that cut. Crying about my situation, getting angry with myself for not being able to go through with it. I eventually realised that I couldn't go through with it and went back in to the house. My wife asked me where I had been and I collapsed on the floor in tears, telling her that I had been thinking about killing myself and how hopeless I felt. She just looked at me and said 'Everyone feels like that every now and then' and left me sobbing in the kitchen.
A Different Reaction
Fast forward to about 18 months ago. I'd split with the wife and had a new partner. We hadn't been together for very long before the bombshell of 'I'm pregnant' was dropped. This scared the hell out of me. I'd never wanted to be a dad. I had trouble enough looking after myself let alone a small person! I had what is probably best described as a wobble. My depression took an upsurge and I was thinking about killing myself again. Trying to justify it, thinking that my partner and unborn baby would be better off without a nut job as a partner and father.
My partner noticed the change in me and sat down over a cup of coffee and one of her amazing cakes. She was direct with her questions. She told me my character had changed and she was worried about me (she's fully aware of my ongoing mental health problems). She asked me if I was having suicidal ideation again. I told her I was and she simply said 'What can I do to help you?' No judgement, no trying to tell me that suicide was selfish, no trying to compare my issues with hers, just the offer of help.
It was the first time I had sat down and talked through my ideation with someone who wasn't a mental health practitioner. It was good to open up to my partner, to actually tell her in depth what suicidal ideation does to me and what it means. How it affects my day to day life and what can trigger severe bouts of the 'dreaded deads'
I'm not sure quite where this was headed as a blog. Just a comparison, I guess, between the different ways my issues have been met. By a 20 year old manager, more concerned with team performance, my wife who I would have expected more support from and my long suffering partner who accepts that I have issues but is more than happy to help me work through them.