If you have read my last post you will know that the 15th May this year was the started of one of the deepest periods of my life so far. If you have not read it yet then it may help as it will give some background. As a quick recap I had already been to see my GP regarding my growing anxiety and depression and he had put me on Paroxetine and signed me off work. A couple of weeks doing nothing and I slowly started working again, as I work from home this was easy. don’t get me wrong it wasnt so much that I am some kind of workaholic more a fear of losing out on the pay packet.
My first week back and I knew that even on reduced duties I was far from well, the anxiety was still the same and I had to fight each day just to start the computer. Even when I did my concentration was terrible, and the shakes in my hands made it difficult to type. As I mentioned I worked from home so it was very easy to distract myself which mainly involved sitting on the sofa wrapped in a duvet like a mummy either watching tv or sleeping. By the friday I knew i was spiralling and as relationship with my partner was strained I felt I couldn’t say anything, I just put my faith in the medication and promised myself that on the Monday I would go back and see the doctor.
Friday evening two things happened that played a big part in things to come, neither monumental,in fact you may think them normal. Firstly my partner in one of our conversations/ bickering sessions mentioned that she felt the medication wasnt working for me, I told her of my plan to see the doctor on monday and asked if she would come with me so she could tell him how she saw me, the mood swings, depression etc that Idid not see myself. She agreed and I felt better I had the foundation of a plan. Later that evening I picked up our rabbit (it lives in the house and uses a litter box) and she scratched my arm. Normally she would be put down quick, a rabbit scratch like most animal scratches hurt, I just stood there. My partner looked at me and said put her down she is scratching your arm, I did as she said but all I could think about was how good the pain felt.
I did not sleep Friday night, dropping off around 5 am I spent most of the morning in bed. My partner came into the bedroom and I could tell my her actions she was mad at me for still being in bed, I didn’t care. I got up but didn’t get dressed or even brush my teeth, just went down stairs and sat on the sofa. I pottered around a bit trying to look busy until my partner chilled a bit and settled, the tv went on and we sat like zombies. Earlier when I was pottering around I had picked up a small screwdriver, the kind jewellers use, the flat tip was about 2mm and I went to the bathroom and dragged it swiftly across my lower back. The pain was sharp and instant and felt so wonderful, I could feel!. Several more times that evening whenever I went to the toilet and a few times using that as an excuse I repeated this action, each time the pain made me feel better. I experimented with fast and slow, using the flat and the edge, my only problem was I could not see my handy work.
With no sleep again on Saturday night and some real dark thoughts growing in my mind, feelings of self loathing, uselessness and anger all started to fuel the decision that I was already dead so why not go all the way. By Sunday morning I had rationalised that as the only feeling I felt was pain and that I enjoyed it, Killing myself would be easy. I had stopped scratching my back and had moved onto my forearms, first on the underside, light enough not to draw blood but slow enough to feel the pain. This did not last long, the frustration in me was leading me to press harder and draw blood, and then I knew I had the capability to end it all. By lunchtime I had to put on a long sleeved shirt to hide the marks followed by a jumper to disguise the blood, A brief moment of clarity saw me move from the underside of my arm to the top, I had set a time 2pm Monday to walk across the field opposite my house with a Stanley knife to end it. The move to the top of my arm was because I was now drawing blood with each scratch and didn’t want to make a mistake earlier than planned.
My only stipulation with myself that sunday was to keep my promise to my partner that we would go see the doctor together Monday morning, I rationalised that if I got help to stop me killing myself great, if not it just proved I was worthless and therefore would not be missed. I had told myself that although my daughter, partner, family and friends would miss me, if I died in a car accident they would go through the same and move on. Sunday night passed with more planning and acceptance, when sleep took me I don’t know but I doubt I got much benefit with the state of my mind.
Monday dawned with a phone call to my partner asking her to work that day, she asked if I would be okay going to the doctors, I smiled and said yes but inside my plan took a beating, I knew my only salvation that day would be to talk to the doctor. As my partner had work I got up and got my daughter ready for school, I drove her to the bus stop and even took a couple of selfies of us, my partner said later I acted normal that morning, sad to say that was because I was working to a plan. The selfies were to be the last thing I saw as I slit my wrists, taking them was part of the plan.
The doctor was just a short walk from the bus stop so I left the car and rather than ringing for an appointment which I knew could be hard I walked over and as the door was open I just stood by reception till the receptionist returned. She smiled and gave me the first appointment, I had but 10 minutes to wait until I entered the doctor’s office. I impressed myself although the doctor probably didn’t hear half of what I said, he didn’t need to ask I told him that at 2pm I was going to kill myself, I said today I will end up in one hospital or another. He was sympathetic and understanding, he asked me to wait in the waiting room whilst he put a call in to the local crisis management team. within 15 minutes I was back in his office being handed a letter and asked if I was okay to make my way to the other local surgery where the crisis team were based, I actually said yes.
I actually got back in my car and after fortifying myself with a couple of deep scratches I proceeded to drive the few miles through narrow lanes, I gripped the steering wheel so tight that im surprised it didn’t break, I drove at no more than 25 mph and all the way there in my mind I repeated the mantra “don’t kill anyone else” over and over again. I made it to the surgery and again fortified myself with more scratches that were now more cuts, I was a mess, shaking and almost out of my mind. I was shown to a waiting room and after a short time shown into a room by a man who identified himself as the community psychiatric nurse. In that room sat in the corner I felt safe, I answered his questions but I was safe, I remember my Dad coming but I couldn’t face him, I faced the wall the whole time staring at a picture of my daughter. And this is how I came to enter the ‘system’, tomorrow I will write about my experience after this day but tis is how I was saved that day, saved by the NHS, saved by a system that may be broken and underfunded but no blood left my veins on that Monday and for that I have the system to thank.