This post is about a suicide attempt and may be upsetting for some readers. Please call someone for support if you need to. Lifeline Australia 13 11 14. Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.
Before the calm, there was the storm.
Weeks of frenetic emotion, palpable sexual energy, chaos and disorder, carefree laughter. Endless days of energy so immense I don’t know how my physical body contained it.
The mania fucked my brain this time. This time, the mania spread through me like a new set of veins, creating passages for the electric feelings to wind round and round my body, through my lips and skin and breasts. Through my brain again and again, invading my cortex, sinking into the soft, malleable pulp to poison it. It poisoned me slowly, gradually. Sadistically, it wound deeper and deeper still, to find those ancient memories of fear and loneliness and loveless-ness. It nestled in and laid its roots there waiting patiently to strike.
The love of my life walked out the door because I had caused him incredible pain. I had fulfilled his worst nightmare. It was unforgiveable. And in one swift motion, those roots came to life and switched off my will to live. Like a button. On. Off.
My will to live, was switched off, just like that. In a single moment. Years of tension, fighting, sadness, loneliness and chaos. Decades of struggle, all led to a single second in which I very suddenly, wholly and completely, wanted to cease to exist. There had been countless times before when I felt like I wanted to erase my existence from space and time. But this was different.
It wasn’t just a feeling anymore or an idea. It was an unconscious decision to act. There was no inner conflict or questioning. No drawn out planning or goodbyes. And in that single moment in time, an immense sense of peace and calm settled over me. I imagined it would be like an all-encompassing, soft, safe embrace. I could submit and let go. I wouldn’t have to struggle any longer. I could nestle into the waiting arms of the other side of life, and find my peace.
It was a matter of minutes between the switch in my brain turning off to the moment I swallowed handfuls of pills. Not even an hour passed by before I followed that calmness in my heart and mind toward the warm, comfort of darkness and peace. The beckoning safety of a place void of all pain and suffering. I felt an odd sense of familiarity, like I was going home. After years of questioning what lay beyond life, I felt as if I had known all along and I was simply returning to where I had come from. And so, I set about taking my first steps back to the beginning.
I carefully laid out a blanket on my lounge and a towel on my floor. In a detached kind of manner, I thought pragmatically about how I might vomit or urinate and how I didn’t want there to be a big mess to clean up. I prepared a drink and calmly sat it on the coffee table on a coaster. I walked back into the kitchen in a floaty, mesmerised kind of way and looked at the collection of bright, positive affirmations that I had collected and stuck to the fridge. I found a small, purple bookmark that my partner had bought for me one day out at a Buddist temple and I smiled. I had tears running down my face, but I wasn’t crying, nor sad. I picked out a magnet that said “Choose Happy” and pinned the bookmark to the whiteboard on our fridge. It was my subtle, and completely inadequate way of showing him how much I loved him and cherished our time together.
I collected my medications and placed them by my drink. I sat on the lounge, and calmly, as if I was looking up a recipe, searched online for information about dosages for each of my medications. I had a small pharmacy’s worth of medications which I had accrued over time as doctors prescribed me one medication, and then another, and another. I had quetiapine and slow release quetiapine, numerous other antipsychotics and muscle relaxants. I had decided within the past fifteen minutes or so, that I would take diazepam (Valium) and quetiapine (Seroquel). I calculated how much I would take, hoping that I would find the right dose to drift off into an endless sleep without suffering. Having sorted that out, the tears came down in heavy streams, although I felt no fear. The feeling I experienced was unlike any I had ever experienced before. I imagine that it is a unique emotion that people experience when they decide to take their own life. An emotion with no name.
I picked up my phone and sent the most casual messages to my sisters and friends. I even sent one to my mother, the woman who birthed me and endowed me with so much of my pain. I wrote nothing to alert or alarm them. “Just saying hi, hope you’re doing okay, talk soon xx.” I didn’t wait for any replies. I just wanted each of them to know that I thought of them in my last moments and that I left the world serenely. I wanted them to know that they were important to me. The last message I had sent to my partner was an hour or so earlier. I had told him I loved him and would never forgive myself for the pain I caused him. I told him that he was my world. I meant that and there was nothing else to say, so I didn’t send him another message.
I was almost ready. I turned on the television and searched for some calming music. I found a three hour playlist of “Beautiful Music: Relaxing and Peaceful Pan Flute and Harp.” I pressed play and closed my eyes a moment, letting the gentle sounds wash over me. Sounds of nature occasionally accompanied the music. It was perfect. That’s the music I wanted to float away on. Scenes of the most beautiful landscapes in the world faded in and out on the screen. The tears kept flowing and I smiled in an ironic, sorrowful kind of way. There was so much in the world I had not seen in this lifetime. I imagined myself leaving the confines of my body and travelling, floating above this beautiful earth, seeing and experiencing all of these stunning sceneries.
Slowly, yet surely, I reached for the Valium first. I upended the bottle into my palm and counted them through the tears. They were low dose tablets, so I would need quite a few. I counted five, ten, fifteen. I put five on my tongue and swallowed some water. Another five. Another one. Then another two. Autumn leaves, white sandy beaches, turquoise lagoons in the background. The lull of the harp. The salt of my tears mixed with the bitterness of the tablets on my tongue. Another one. I’m not sure how many I took, but I laid down for a while to rest.
I must have dosed off because I woke a little time later, maybe an hour or so had passed. I was extremely drowsy. I stood and faltered, fell back into the lounge. I stood again, legs trembling, my head spinning. I walked to the bathroom in a state of numbness and went to the toilet.
I returned to the lounge room and reached for my Seroquel. I had not finished what I had set out to do. First, I took the final few Valium tablets in one mouthful. I was more reckless now, not caring about how many I had taken, no more counting. I popped the Seroquel one and two at a time. For some reason, it was less confronting that way. I was just taking one, and one, and one, and another. I had just enough energy to finish the two tabs of Seroquel I had and I lay back down, warm and safe, cocooned in the softness of the lounge cushions and blankets that were still warm from my nap before. The tears seemed endless and they kept trickling down my face through all of it. I let them, as I watched those beautiful scenes and I listened to that singing harp and that whistling flute. I let the tears soak my pillow as I nestled in and began my journey home. Until I drifted off into a black oblivion.
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