I lay in bed, tears coursing down my cheeks as I looked at the beams above my head and remembered I had a belt in my cupboard.
I could end it all now, I thought in despair.
I planned to leave a note for my housekeeper asking her to take care of my chickens. They were my only consideration—I wasn’t close enough to anyone else for them to realise I wasn’t around any longer.
I’d been here before, but never this close. This time I had no intention of reaching out to anyone.
I wanted to go through with it.
It wasn’t the first time I’d considered suicide; in fact, I’d considered it two years earlier when I was trapped in a cult and under house watch 24-7, with no prospects of marriage and no attractive career opportunities—consigned to a life of mothballing.
I was doing battle with the silent demons that raged within from suffering sexual abuse and 23 years of bullying.
And now I was back there again, thanks to a particularly painful and degrading breakup.
Thankfully, I succumbed to tiredness before I could carry out my plan. This was one time I felt grateful for my rheumatoid arthritis and its curtain-like fatigue that comes on in an instant and wipes you out.
But the intent had been there, and I awoke scared sh*tless at how close I had come to not waking up that morning.
For me, suicide offered two things:
A way out of excruciating pain
A way out when there seemed no other way out
Admittedly, I’d been through some of the toughest years of my life after losing my mother and having had not one, but two breakups in the last 12 months, all on the back of making a daring escape from the only life I’d ever known in a strict, religious cult.
But I knew it wasn’t actually suicide that I wanted—it was simply to end the pain that I felt so acutely.
Thankfully, I wasn’t afraid of being open about how I felt, and I reached out to one of my closest friends, who through her background in the Special Air Service (SAS) was well-experienced to handle post-traumatic stress disorder and a wide range of challenging emotions.
What she did for me is something I’ll never forget.
She didn’t ask much, she didn’t even say much—she just kept checking in, day by day. And by that, I don’t mean she asked how I was feeling. Instead, she told me what she was up to and her availability that day. She knew I’d respond, and as long as she got a response, she knew I was moving forward.
I’m in a much stronger place now—though I remain aware that in an instant all of that security could be taken from me—thanks to scaring myself by how close I came last time. But I know that suicide is no longer an option for me.
I also know that nowadays no one can make us feel devalued without us first allowing them to. We are not powerless, and there is always somewhere to go for help and advice.
World Suicide Prevention Day is September 10th.