Feeling suicidal isn't an instant sensation; it doesn't suddenly slap you across the face with ferocity. Feeling suicidal is gradual, stealthy and sly. For me, there was still a snapping moment when I decided, in an instant, enough was enough and it was time to die. It had been many months of untold mental anguish, self-loathing and tear drenched pillows leading to that point though. I had become tired of the noise in my head and wanted simple, sweet, serene silence. Death felt like a welcome friend beckoning me with his skeletal finger.
The times I have been in direct contact with mental health services they usually ask me to give them an understanding of suicidal thoughts I may be experiencing. They usually ask you to give them a number from one to ten (with ten being complete desire to die) on how suicidal you are feeling. Back in July I was speaking with a wonderful nurse who worked for Health in Mind, a free service based in Essex. As a service they are fantastic as a first point of contact; they provide talking therapy and can be great comfort if you are experiencing mental health difficulties. Unfortunately, for me, they weren't able to help because when asked, on the scale of one to ten, how suicidal I was feeling I said, "Around a six." Looking back at this moment it is quite scary to be honest enough to say to another person that I basically want to die 60 percent of the time and want to live only 40 percent of the time. To put it another way, over the course of a week I wanted to die four out of seven days. Because of the severity of my mental state, Health in Mind needed to refer me to specialists who dealt with people suffering with acute mental health problems.
It's good that they did because three months after that phone call I tried to kill myself and had gradually climbed from a six to a ten. When you're at a 'ten' it is a terrifying experience. I had lost all sense of rational perspective; I had lost all sense of self worth; I found absolutely no pleasure in life, whatsoever. I existed because I was breathing; I wasn't present in any discernable way, I was a ghost, drifting and haunted by my demons. Before the night I almost died I wasn't always a 'ten' but fluctuated between a seven and nine most of the time. I had lost all appreciation of the little things in life but I still clung on to the belief it was proper to be alive and not dead. It's a strange state of mind to be in and I remember being in a shop and was staring at a shelf. A good friend stopped and we had a bit of a chat but he was deeply concerned for me. Tom wasn't standing in that shop but a shell of a man and it was glaringly obvious I was in a desperate way.
Eventually your suicidal scale reaches boiling point and you can no longer keep it at bay. All consuming thoughts of death take over and the only rational thing to do is to die. In that moment, when my mind snapped like a twig, I had become calm and methodical. I had stopped crying and rubbing my temples because it felt like my brain was on fire; I became like a robot. I knew what I had to do and so I did it. Luckily, for me, the scale dropped to a 9.99 and I was able to phone an ambulance to come and save me.
Beautifully, I am not sitting at a six or above. Encouragingly, I want to live more than I want to die. The sobering thought amongst this though is I am always slightly suicidal. Over time, as long as I continue to get better, I hope this will pass but suicidal thoughts are never far from my mind. It's not the tortuous, terrible thoughts of last October but I am ever aware of those sneering voices that creep in on occasions. Because of the professional and emotional support I have received I am able to deal with those intrusions in a positive and productive way. I am not consumed and cajoled to a position of danger, so on the scale I would honestly say I am at about a three. It's not a one or a two but, hell, it's not an eight or nine, so that makes me happy.