THE BLOG

How It Feels To Stop Being Suicidal

03/09/2017 15:44
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My name is Scott Manley Hadley and I have recently had a breakdown. For a few weeks, I was suicidal. I made multiple plans for how I was going to end my life, and I made steps towards carrying out several of these plans. In the end, though, I never put myself in serious danger because I was too scared.

This fear became something else I hated myself for: I wanted nothing more in the world than to be dead, I had a sure-fire plan for my own suicide that I was pretty sure I couldn't botch, but I didn't have the confidence in myself to do it.

I became angry at the people who cared about me and I knew my suicide would hurt, I became resentful of the friends who - for the worst ten days or so - formed a collective amateur suicide watch around me and stopped me from doing anything irrevocable. When they stopped watching me 24/7 and I had some privacy again, I resented my friends more because I knew then - and still know now - that had I killed myself as soon as they stopped watching, each of them would have blamed themselves, each of them would have been burdened with a lifetime of guilt and shame for not trying just that little bit harder to keep me alive. Even though I knew I wanted to die, I knew too that I couldn't do something that might cause other people huge amounts of long-term psychological pain.

This, I realise now, crying as I type, was a very good sign. Even in my lowest moments, I still cared about the future, albeit other people's. Even though I felt like I wanted to die and believed I knew how to make that happen, I didn't do it, because I was scared of hurting other people. I was worried about making other people feel sad and useless and pointless, which was how I felt and what had led me into deep depression. The people who watched me so I couldn't kill myself did it because they believe my life is worth living, they believe my future may turn out to be something I enjoy.

Then, a few weeks after these lowest moments, while cycling home just after dark, I misread a traffic light through negligence and - despite noticing my error just about early enough to stop in safety - carried on going because I couldn't see any cars coming. I couldn't see any cars coming because there was zero visibility, and out of the darkness a lorry appeared, moving at high speed. As it thundered towards me, my legs kicked in and I just about managed to pedal myself out of the way in time, the slipstream of the vehicle blowing my coattails about. It was close, really close. This may sound minor, the kind of incident that happens to distracted cyclists all the time, but it was significant to me, because until that moment I hadn't realised I no longer wanted to be dead.

I made a bad judgement with the lights that I could have allowed to kill me. Instead, I fought against it and won, exerting myself on a bicycle like I hadn't since I was a child. I was not hit by the truck, I did not die. And I'm glad. And I'm not just glad because my death would make other people sad. I'm glad because not being dead means that I will get to have the rest of my life and the adventures that come with being alive. I'll get to do things and go places that have not yet entered my mind. I don't want to die any more. And, given how seriously I wanted that mere weeks ago, it's an incredible feeling to have.

Because I'm not suicidal any more. I'm not a happy, highly functioning individual like I used to be (I'm still depressed), but I believe now that I can be better. I want to be happy and hope that it will happen. And given how I felt less than two months ago, this in itself is amazing progress. Tbh, I'm kinda looking forward to the future (and also being more careful on my bike).

Scott Manley Hadley blogs at TriumphoftheNow.com

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