My Story of Survival - by Violette Kay - Trigger Warning
The second thing I felt when I woke up after my August 2017 suicide attempt was violent nausea. The first was disappointment. Disappointment at the fact I was still alive, cursing my body and its stupid resilience for doing such a good job at protecting me from my own self. I had already been severely depressed for a month; losing both of my jobs within a week and a half of each other wasn't the reason for wanting to end my life, but I suppose it was the trigger, the last straw.
I felt sicker physically than ever before, and I still had no will to stay alive, but I knew I couldn't attempt again anytime soon, not by overdose, not with that nausea, for surely I would throw up the pills and survive. I also knew I couldn't not attempt again, not with all that pain, that recurring depression, the weight of the world on my shoulders. So for the first time I marched on over to the local psychiatric hospital.
I mean that literally. I walked the hour that separated it from my then apartment, and once I got there I sat in a nearby park for two hours mustering up the courage to go inside.
I once saw a play in which a character talks about the aftermath of his suicide attempt: "I threw up the pills. I woke up and I was fine, so I figured I might as well go to the audition I had scheduled that day. I got the job. And now five years later, here we are." I think about that a lot. The weeks after my attempt are a blur of appointments, getting a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, starting meds and actually sleeping the first time in my life, and trips to the employment centre. But basically I woke up and I was fine, so I figured I might as well go get a letter I needed from the employment centre to apply for a job I'd been recommended for. I got the job. And now two years later, here we are.
The meds were working, I had a stable job that I liked for the first time ever, and I remember walking to and from work every day crying of joy because I was just so relieved to be feeling better. I've had other hypomanic and depressive episodes since, some just as bad, but my circumstances are so drastically different now: I've kept the same job this whole time (my previous record was 2 1/2 months), I have a treatment team, and having a diagnosis has allowed me to learn about this illness that has dictated my entire adult life. Finding out that the string of jobs lost, classes failed and general self-destruction were not my fault was a game changer.
Things are still hard, and they will continue to be hard for a long time probably, I am still bound by bipolar and its cycles. But I have been so unbelievably happy - and not just while manic. I can look around in a room full of people and know I've felt more joy than all of them combined, and it saddens me that they will never know what that kind of joy feels like.
I am happy to be alive. I really, really am.