When you attempt suicide, there’s not supposed to be an afterwards. It’s supposed to be an ending, not the beginning of a whole new horrendous chapter. No one tells you what it’s going to be like to live through the aftermath.
This is what it was like for me.
First, there was the moment my husband and psychotherapist realised I had taken an overdose and the disappointment that I had been found out. I had hoped that it would have worked before we reached her office for my appointment. Then there was the pleading with them not to ring the ambulance which of course the did.
The ambulance arrived. By that stage, I was starting to pass in and out of consciousness but I was aware of them arriving. My breathing was becoming difficult so they intubated me, put me on the stretcher and into the ambulance and then I remember the noise of the ambulance siren as it drove fastly to the hospital. Then there was the immediate trauma of the ER. Blue lights and sirens, rushing me to the hospital. The police, who’d taken me to the ER, standing guard outside my cubicle in case I made a run for it (not that I could even sit up without passing out).
Needles for blood tests, needles for the IV antidote to reverse the effects of the pills, needles to pump fluids into my body.
People, some kind, some hostile, all of them asking question after question after question that I didn’t want to or didn’t know how to answer.
Vomiting over and over again with such violence that I wet myself.
Collapsing on the floor of the bathroom and not knowing if I could even make it to the emergency cord to call for help.
Hearing voices talking over me, talking about potential liver damage, possible surgical interventions and realizing how badly I’d screwed everything up.
Being moved from the ER to the ward on a trolley, watching the ceiling tiles rush past above me, not knowing where on earth I was.
Wondering how the hell it had all gone so horribly wrong.
Although I was lying down, I couldn’t rest, couldn’t sleep. My mind tortured me with flashbacks of what I’d been through. My children came and sat on my bed. I wanted both to hug them forever and scream at them to go away at the same time.
My husband had to take time off work to look after me, look after our kids and look after my medication so I couldn’t do what all my instincts were telling me to do. I berated myself that I couldn’t even manage to kill myself properly. What a total waste of space.
Eventually, I re-entered the world. The first time I went outside, it was as if I’d emerged from underground. My senses felt like they’d been turned up to max. Lights and sounds were almost painfully acute.
Standing in the school playground, I had to fight every instinct to run away. I couldn’t face anyone knowing where I’d been, what I’d been through. Yet, I couldn’t paste the smile on any more and pretend everything was rosy when it was anything but.
Slowly, things change. Today, thanks to a psychiatrist, who was willing to take a risk with my medication, and a psychotherapist, who’s helping me unpick the aftermath of my attempted suicide, Yet, I still bear the mental scars of my suicide attempts. (Sadly, it is more than just the one I’ve described here.)
Those attempts have changed me in a way I can never undo. I’m a different person than I was before. I crossed a line we’re not supposed to go near. I prepared, when I took those tablets, for one outcome. The one I got was entirely different.
I’ve lived through an experience I wouldn’t wish on anybody else.
It’s been three days now since I attempted suicide and I don’t regret it. Isn’t that a terrible thing to, really terrible. I am sitting up in bed with my nineteen-year-old son on his computer editing a Uni assignment and the dog on the bed. My husband is in the kitchen making rhubarb jam. It’s all so disgusting normal. My alters are already planning another attempt. It’s so cruel for my family. They don’t deserve. I don’t deserve. Dissociative Identity Disorder is a cruel disorder. It robs all those around you of so much. I will go out to lunch with my other three children and they will have a lovely time. Meanwhile, in my head the alters will be cunningly playing their game.