I have had a fixation with death and dying from as far back as I can remember. My mother was disturbed when as a four year old, I told her I wanted to be a forensic pathologist when I grew up (seriously). Although I didn’t fulfill that dream, I did academically pursue what I thought would be a related discipline, the most interesting aspects of it being those that discussed death – including, indeed, a quite in-depth exploration of suicide in a sociology class.
I cannot say whether or not I actually wanted to die myself when I was four, but I wouldn’t rule it out.
It was certainly the case in my later childhood. I first tried to kill myself when I was about nine or 10. I have a very vivid memory of it; I tried to strangle myself behind the closed door of my bedroom. Clearly this was a ludicrous attempt, but an attempt it was nevertheless, and I remember the despair and frustration I felt when it became evident that my actions would fail to bring about their intended result. I was distraught at the prospect of my life continuing.
Since then, I’ve tried walking in front of vehicles, taken two overdoses (which saw me hospitalised), tried to slit my wrists*, ankles and elbows, hanging myself and suffocation. I think that’s it. (* Including, of course, the incident from Friday).
I know what you’re thinking. Anyone who’s serious about committing suicide wouldn’t have such a number of silly attempts under their belt; they plan their death, and that’s that. Fair enough. I can only defend myself by saying that in most of the cases, the most serious ones at least, the desire to not exist felt serious. The most serious attempt was a massive overdose when I was about 16, which did nearly kill me. A couple of these attempts were gestures or based on circumstantial factors, I admit – but mostly they weren’t.
When I wasn’t actually actively trying to top myself, I was probably thinking about it. I can honestly say that I’ve almost certainly fantasised and/or ‘planned’ my suicide for every day of my adult and adolescent life, and a lot of my late childhood too. This even includes periods of mania and contentment.
In short, this is how I perceive normality – to all intents and purposes, I have never known anything else. I’ve been sitting here for a while trying to imagine what it’s like to not feel suididal, and it’s just beyond the bounds of my imagination.
Well, there’s more proof – as if it were needed – that I’m a headbin 😉
Tomorrow is my first appointment with NewVCB, about which I will blog as soon as I can. I don’t know whether to be amused or incredulous by the fact that my first appointment with this woman will be in the wake of a suicide attempt. And then I have to face C on Thursday, and that will not be fun in the least. Alas.