*** STANDARD TRIGGER WARNING: POSSIBLY TRIGGERING MATERIAL IS UPCOMING; I HEREBY ADVISE YOU AGAINST READING IT IF YOU FEEL THAT IT MAY SET YOU OFF…BUT I KNOW YOU’RE GOING TO READ IT ANYWAY, SO THAT’S A BIT POINTLESS, BUT I PROBABLY LIKE YOU BECAUSE I LIKE EVERYONE THAT I KNOW READS THIS DRIVEL, SO PLEASE DON’T HURT YOURSELF. NOT BECAUSE OF INADEQUATE LITTLE ME ANYWAY. IF YOU DO SO I WILL HAVE TO COME ROUND TO YOUR HOUSE AND SHOUT AT YOU AND/OR KILL KITTENS AND/OR CLUB BABY SEALS AND/OR SLEEP WITH RICK MAYALL. NOW YOU WOULDN’T WANT THAT WOULD YOU, SO EITHER DON’T READ THIS SHIT OR A LEAST MAKE SURE YOU ARE NOT COMPLETELY MENTAL AT THE TIME OF DOING SO. OK? OK. THNXBAI. ***
I’m sure that most of you are familiar with what I did on Friday night(well, technically, Saturday morning) given my bizarre running commentary on same on Twitter. Of course, not everyone who reads this blog uses Twitter, but nevertheless, you can derive the basics from the title of this post.
It wasn’t a “cry for help” or some sort of silly borderline strop. It was an absolutely pathetic attempt, I will admit that, but it was a nonetheless serious attempt. I genuinely wanted to die. I did. No bullshit, straight up – death, not attention, was what I sought.
Nothing especially bad had happened on Friday – I was just miserable for most of the day. I met A for dinner and a few drinks, which was pleasant actually, and when we got home, we listened to some music and were generally rather contented. But I kept thinking how much easier things would be if I wasn’t in existence. Not just for me – although I admit that was a major motivating factor – but for everyone. I add nothing to anyone’s life. A million people could tell me otherwise, but I’d never believe them. I am a worthless, useless slut of sheer, unadulterated and fetid disgustingness. Or at least that’s what I thought then.
So when A went to bed, circa 1.15am, I laid into myself with the scalpel. Few parts of my body are unaffected – self-harm is strongly in evidence on ankles, arms, abdomen (there words there, just slashes elsewhere), elbows – the works really. As I was doing it, I thought that I might as well go one step further and slit my wrists, the hopeful and intended result being my bleeding to death.
Now, people could say, “but a serious suicide attempt requires planning, and this was an impulsive act.” I do accept that, and can see why it looks like nothing more than a pathetic gesture. All I can say to convince people otherwise is that it felt absolutely and completely genuine at the time. I wanted to die. I really did. I always remember (or rather don’t) the nothing that I experienced under general anaesthesia when I had an operation a while back. I longed so fervently for that nothing again – and for it to be a permanent state.
So, I took a few minutes to write a note to my mother and A, with acknowledgements of a few friends, then went in search of an analgesic spray that I keep for sprains and the like. An attempted suicide is not like self-harm; it’s not performed in the pursuit of pain. No, pain was not a commodity that I lacked, so I sought to minimise more of it.
I’ve read this on the suicide newsgroups, but I was nevertheless surprised (or at least I am retrospectively) by how calm and contented I felt having made the decision to kill myself. It was reassuring and comforting to know that I would not have to continue with this sorry excuse for a life, that there would soon be nothing. Nothing was all I wanted.
I cut my left wrist first. I tried to cut deep, but my skin was ungraciously unco-operative, refusing to slit to any meaningful degree. This irritated me considerably, but I let it pass and decided to return to it. So off I moved to my right wrist, which curiously proved considerably easier. I’m generally right handed, so wielding a scalpel with my left hand would not be the most obviously effective way to garner a major life-threatening wound. But initially, I thought I’d spotted success.
I was captivated by the blood. It was the most blood I have ever seen from a deliberate act of self-harm. Dark, and think, and oozing, and beautiful. It completely mesmerised me, and I could almost feel my life ebbing away with it. That was an eminent comfort to me, and I felt moved and calmed, yet slightly euphoric. God, what a beautiful and welcoming thing death seemed to be!
But wait. The blood was oozing, not spurting. That meant that I had failed to sever a major artery, and rationality came flooding back: if one is going to off themselves by cutting, they really should cut vertically on their arms, not horizontally as I had done. Vein cuts generally won’t lead to a successful suicide, and indeed artery ones don’t always either. Plus such wounds can lead to nerve damage in one’s hands if they fail to bring about death. This was the shittest suicide attempt in the world!
I was filled with self-disgust, but even more than that, irri-fucking-tation. Not anger or fury, but irritation. I was irritated that my peaceful comfort in an imminent death had been shattered. For fuck’s sake, I can’t even kill myself with any fucking gusto!
I sought advice on Twitter (that well-known bastion of medical knowledge), still watching the blood ooze heavily from my wrist. The consensus was that it wouldn’t off me, but that I should go to Accident and Emergency nevertheless and get the thing stitched.
I considered this. The thing wasn’t going to kill me, self-evidently, but it may have led to nerve damage. If I was, however unfortunately, going to remain alive, then I might as well do so with a functioning right hand. I rang a taxi to take me to the hospital, which is less than five minutes’ drive away.
Whilst waiting for it, I cleaned both wounds up a bit (although superficial, the left one was bleeding satisfactorily) and bandaged the right one as best I could. The bleeding was still very heavy though, and before the taxi even arrived, it needed changed.
I called up the stairs to A to tell him that I had been advised to go to Casualty. He got up and told me that he was coming with me, a suggestion against which I protested, though admittedly rather mildly.
I don’t remember the taxi trip at all, and have only the vaguest recollection of checking in at the A and E reception. I remember telling the woman that my suicide attempt was one of the most pathetic in history, and being surprised by how much data she was able to access on me from her computer (1984 is with us, readers). I also recall that the waiting time was estimated at seven hours, but for some reason I allowed myself to believe that it would never come to that. How absolutely and completely wrong this assumption proved to be.
To be fair to them, I was very quickly seen by a triage nurse, who opined that the slit on my right wrist probably needed stitches. She put steri-strips on it to close it as much as possible until such times as I was seen by a doctor. She was a young girl – I’d guess younger than I am – and was remarkably sympathetic. I was bawling my eyes out like a bloody baby by this stage, but this girl did not try and rush me, nor patronise nor judge me. She simply listened and tried her best to be supportive. Alas, though, eventually I had to go back to the waiting room.
And so it began. The mind-numbing, seemingly endless, hideously interminable wait. It is, I imagine, exactly what the final wait on death row is like – though at least if you’re a suicidal, schizo bitch you can expect a satisfactory outcome at the end of that particular interim period. I had no idea what to expect at the end of this one.
Wait. Wait. Wait.
Heat. Heat. Heat.
Atrophying mind. Atrophying mind. Atrophying mind.
If swear to God that if one wasn’t suicidal to begin with, it was enough to make them so. I can’t describe why it was so bad, but it was. It really was. Thank God for Twitter (on which I will remark later) on my mobile, though of course the bloody thing’s battery packed in on me eventually, leaving me once more to the doom and nothingness that was Casualty. Well, I know earlier I was extolling the virtues of nothingness, but that particular brand of nothingness has the decency to lack consciousness. The A and E version does not demonstrate such wonder.
After the seven hour mark had passed, I went back to the desk and asked was I going to get seen. By this point it was after 9am. The woman consulted with a doctor and, interestingly, he almost immediately proceeded to take me through the double doors of doom. I’ve said it before, but I’ve wondered are there gas chambers through there. I felt like I was walking the plank.
I was led to a room that, aside from the lack of bars, did a wonderfully accurate impersonation of a prison cell. It, like the waiting room, was painted (if you could call it that) in one of those bland non-colours that are designed to half-sedate people into compliance. Just like they have in customs halls at airports. I was utterly exhausted, mentally and physically, yet my agitation just increased more on arrival in this room. I found myself barely able to even speak to the doctor, though he seemed like an amicable enough man.
Amicable…but competent? I’m not sure. He asked a few questions then went to call the liaison team from the bin, without examining my wrist. I called him back and asked him did it not require stitches. He looked at it, in a horribly cursory sort of way (without even removing the steri-strips), then declared that that with which it was already dressed was “quite adequate”.
Again, I’m not sure. The cut was pretty deep and the resulting blood loss, whilst not life-threatening, had been relatively considerable. It wasn’t as deep as the (accidental) cut to my finger a few months ago, but it wasn’t that far off it. Lovely GP told me that I should have had that injury stitched, so I was surprised at this doctor’s belief that this one didn’t such treatment. I was especially surprised that he didn’t remove the steri-strips to check.
Surprised, yes, but at the time I was so indescribably fed up and so unbearably consumed by exhaustion that I didn’t care. I just wanted to go home (so any attempt to admit me to the bin would not have gone down well, not that I’m sure I’d have had the energy to fight the bastards). I said so to the doctor, who said that he wanted the psychiatric liaison woman to see me. I asked how soon that was anticipated.
“Oh, she’ll be over shortly,” he said nonchalantly but apparently genuinely. Based on that premise, I agreed to stay and meet the woman in question. I went to get A and brought him back to the cell, where at least he was able to sit in a slightly more comfortable chair. I used much of the time between the departure of the doctor and the arrival of the mental woman to apologise to A. I was horrified that I had put him through such trauma. From my own perspective, I didn’t – and frankly don’t – give a toss about my suicide attempt, but I absolutely abhor myself for putting him through it. I kept telling him that his life was better before he met me, which as far as I can tell it indubitably was. He denied it, claiming that he had been lonely prior to the crossing of our paths. But surely loneliness is preferable to having to tolerate a borderline freak with a scalpel fetish on a daily basis?
There was plenty of time for such apologies. Plenty indeed. The doctor left my cell about 9.15am, and the woman from psychiatry finally arrived just before 1pm, after three enquiries from A to staff about her whereabouts. If anything this waiting was even worse than the seven hour one of earlier; perhaps it was because we were so completely brain-dead exhausted by then, or perhaps it was simply because the ‘examining’ physician had strongly suggested that the wait for this woman would be pretty short. It must be that, in A and E, anything under three years is short. Absolute fucking shit.
Anyway, eventually she did arrive, just as I had finally persuaded A to leave. I figured there was no point in both of us losing even more of our wills to live (not that I had any in the first place, but you know what I mean), and in any case the poor cats needed fed. So as I went to a “more private” room with the woman, off A went.
She was a nice woman, but perhaps unsurprisingly was about as useful as a rolled-up election manifesto being shoved up my arse. We discussed what has stressed me of late (Christmas, C’s dickery, just general mentalism), self-harm in general, the history of my mentalism, my physical health, my weight (“it’s not uncommon in people who’ve been sexually abused to deliberately but unconsciously become overweight, so as they make themselves – in their eyes – less attractive to potential abusers”, apparently) and current eating habits (don’t eat – binge – throw up), and other related wank that I don’t really remember. She did keep asking if I still wanted to die, and I kept being very careful with my response. On the one hand, I didn’t want to lie to this woman who was being understanding and down-to-Earth with me, but on the other I didn’t want to say ‘yes’, and find myself sectioned. I doubt that I would have been, given the low level of resources that this Trust seems to have devoted to mental health difficulties (this isn’t my usual Trust, for the record, as this all took place at A’s house and my normal Trust is based on my address at my mother’s house), but it was always a horrible possibility. So I just said that I didn’t know.
I told her about C’s intention to cut my psychotherapy short and about VCB constantly fucking me about. I also told her that I now have a new VCB, a woman who I am to meet for the first time on Wednesday. The liaison woman reckoned she knows NewVCB, and says if it is indeed the same woman that she is “lovely – really bubbly and friendly.” That’s better than her predecessor I agree, but ‘bubbly’? How does a mental who’s just tried to catch the bus deal with someone chirping about and loving life? Fuck.
The long and the short of it is that she is going to ring LGP, NewVCB and, crucially for me, C, tomorrow morning to report on Friday’s occurrences. I say ‘crucially’ regarding C as I profoundly do not want him to know about this. A and A’s best mate W (who A was keeping in touch with during this whole episode via text message) both place the blame for my suicide attempt solely at C’s door. Naturally I have been trying to defend C. I have my own psychological agency; he is not responsible for my actions. A agrees, but still strongly believes that what he feels is C’s ineptitude has at least “precipitated” this. I don’t know what I think. I just don’t know how I am going to face the man after this. I don’t see why I should be so mortified – after all, A, W, all my Twitter friends and now all my blog readers have been party to the most minor of details in relation to this, and C will know a mere few (unless I confide further in him, which as of this writing does not seem likely). I suppose that I am worried that he too will think that I did what I did solely because of him, and I don’t want him thinking (knowing?) that he has that level of power over me.
Anyway, the woman told me that when I got home I was to give the scalpel and its associated blades to A. I protested most vehemently against this.
“If I want to kill myself, I’ll find a way,” I said. “Removing the scalpel will not prevent that, but it will prevent the only real outlet I have for calming my mentalism when it’s at its worst; non-suicidal self-harm.”
She said, “have you ever been referred to a self-harm team?”
I responded in the negative, and she said that she would, therefore, try and refer me to one. It is difficult because I officially live with my mother, and therefore in a different Trust area – my Trust, surprise surprise, doesn’t have a self-harm team (one thing I ranted about in the advocacy letter, at C’s suggestion). Nevertheless, she said, she will try. So I suppose that was one positive to come out of the whole awful experience. As I said to her, I actually don’t want to stop self-harming as things presently stand; it is the only way to cope sometimes. What I do want, though, is to want to want to stop it. I don’t put much faith in these self-harm team people really, but it is at least an avenue to explore.
She once again asked if I had any thoughts of going home and trying again to kill myself, and once again I made some sort of ambiguous noise. However, she took this as a ‘yes’, and to that end took me back to the doctors’ station to seek my discharge, which was instantly given without any further examination or questioning. I left, and walked home alone. I had been there 12 hours, and not a thing of any use – save for the possible self-harm team referral – had occurred.
When I got home I found evidence of what happened all over the living room floor. Mercifully, there were no blood stains on the carpet, but there were maybe eight tissues that were absolutely saturated. Blades lay scattered everywhere, though the scalpel itself was curiously absent and has remained elusive (A swears he didn’t find it). I tidied the place up, grateful that A had been seemingly oblivious to it all. He had had enough trauma.
I found him in bed listening to the radio. I crawled in beside him and begged for his forgiveness, and I am very lucky to be able to report that it was granted, on the proviso that I don’t do this again. I promised I wouldn’t, though A wonders if that is a promise that can be kept given how strong the compulsion to die can be at times.
All I can say is that I will try my best. I really will try my best. To look at it from a cynical perspective, I really don’t want to have to go through 12 hours of unmitigated hospital shite like that again. The inadequacy and comical inefficiency of the NHS never ceases to amaze me. I mean, OK – had there been some big emergency in, I could have understood the waiting there like complete numpties for 28 years – but there wasn’t. There were a handful of other minor injuries, so it was just complete and utter shit.
How do I feel now, about 30 hours after getting home? I feel remarkably not-too-shit, though there seems to be a permanent, cynical sneer across my face (though that was quite possibly there long before Friday night). I still think the world is a shithole and that my life is a mess, but I am simultaneously touched by the generosity of some people, both out there in the ether and here, in ‘real life’. See here and here for just some examples of individuals that prove that Twitter is very, very far from the facile, meaningless shite that many in the media present it as. I fully believe that were it not for Twitter, I may well have successfully killed myself in the last nine months – not on Friday probably, admittedly, but at some juncture. It is the best support group that I can imagine.
W and of course, in a beyond-words sort of way, A, also prove that maybe, in the midst of all the darkness, there are some people who make this existence less shit. I am grateful that people care. I hate my life, very profoundly do I hate it, but in terms of having people to give a shit, I am glad to declare myself a fortunate individual.