My Suicide History - By Dawn - TRIGGER WARNING!
It’s been nearly 4 years since my last suicide attempt. Before that, there were several, all overdoses, over the space of around 3 years. My first suicide attempt was in 2013. I took a large overdose of Codeine & Tramadol. My friends were in the next room and realised I’d been in the bathroom for too long. They managed to unlock the door from the outside whilst I was still desperately trying to swallow pills. I’d already swallowed a lot before they managed to confiscate the rest. They got me to the hospital and they stayed with me the whole time. I can’t remember exactly what happened from then on. I can’t remember if I was admitted or anything on that occasion.
I remember my friends taking me from the hospital and back to their house to recover. What I didn’t know was that while I’d been unconscious, they’d got into my phone and called my Mum and Dad. I had no clue until they turned up at my friend's house. I was asleep when they arrived. I was so angry with my friend’s for calling them, I really didn’t want them to know what I’d done. Mum and Dad insisted on me going back home with them, over 100 miles away. The journey wasn’t pleasant, I was feeling really sick from the overdose and spent the whole journey throwing up in a plastic bin that my friends gave me when I left their house.
Taking the overdose was a shock for me, I’d never done anything like that before, but it was even more of a shock for my family. I still remember how upset my Mum and Dad were, that I’d got so low and they had no idea. My Mum cried, even my Dad cried and he never shows his emotions, ever! I cried too. The hardest thing to remember about that overdose is how it affected my parents and sister. They were devastated and I felt so guilty, but at the same time I still wanted to be dead, which made me feel even more guilty.
Unfortunately, the guilt wasn’t enough to stop me trying again, several more times. The depths of despair I was in clouded everything else, made me numb to the effect my actions were having on those who loved me. I think it was my second overdose that the police were involved with. I can’t remember how they came to be in my living room, I might’ve called someone, I don’t know, but I remember still trying to swallow tablets when they came in. They had to restrain me and put me in handcuffs to stop me taking any more. They wanted to take me to the psychiatric hospital to be assessed but I was drunk and they don’t assess people who are drunk, so they had no choice but to take me to the police station and put me in a cell. I was on suicide watch so they didn’t close the door, there was a policeman sat outside the whole time. I had to be breathalised to see if I was sober enough to go to the psychiatric hospital, and eventually they took me there. I saw a psychiatrist who decided I wasn’t an immediate danger to myself, which still baffles me to this day!
My third overdose was much worse and I came very close to being successful. I was found in the street apparently. I don’t know what street and I don’t know who this stranger was that found me. I woke up in the hospital. I’d been resuscitated and was now on a ward. It was about 24 hours later that I started to come around enough to ask what had happened. I had a mental health nurse sat watching over me. They didn’t know many details. I was in the hospital for a few days, I had a psychiatric assessment whilst I was in there. Eventually I was discharged.
The last overdose I took, 4 years ago, landed me in hospital, hooked up to a heart monitor for nearly a week. This was the worst one. I’d taken a lot more tablets, and not just codeine and tramadol but sertraline and quetiapine too. I had uncontrollable muscle spasms whilst I was in the hospital, my muscles became so tense I was in agony. I was also very itchy and wanted to rip my skin off. The nurses said these things were all caused by the overdose.
My treatment in general wasn’t great on any occasion I took an overdose. Most nurses and doctors seemed to think I didn’t deserve their time or compassion because I was there for self-inflicted reasons. Maybe they thought I was attention seeking? I don’t know. I wasn’t taken seriously though. One time, my girlfriend (now my wife) took me to hospital after an overdose. They made us wait for a long time in the waiting area, not taking it seriously. I was eventually seen by a nurse who took my blood pressure and suddenly went into panic mode. My bloody pressure was practically non-existent! I only remember bits from that time, my wife filled me in on the rest. I ended up in resus that time. I hope they feel bad for not taking me seriously!
It’s now been 4 years since my last suicide attempt. I have thought about suicide many times in that 4-year period. I’ve come dangerously close to it, stashing away my medication in various places around the house. I now only get 1 weeks' worth of medication at a time, which has helped to prevent overdoses. But the main reason for me not trying again has been my Wife. We got married 2 years ago in July and we also relocated, which really helped me. Moving away from past traumas and people I didn’t want to bump into, moving to a brand-new area, nearer to family and friends, that has really helped.
I had a big wobble 18 months ago where I was very suicidal, but instead of acting on those feelings I asked for help. I was eventually admitted to a Psychiatric Hospital for my own safety. I spent nearly 6 weeks there. It was hard in there, but I’m very glad I was admitted. I got more help and I also made friends in there. We’ve all supported each other since being discharged and we keep each other strong. I no longer struggle with dark feelings and urges like I used to, because I don’t suffer in silence, I talk about it. I’m no longer ashamed. It’s now my mission to help others to open up about their own mental health. We need to end the stigma and we need to be kind and compassionate to each other. In my experience, when you open up about your mental health, others respond well, often even opening up about their own mental health.
There is hope after a suicide attempt. Currently I am mostly glad to be alive, not quite 100% glad but I’m getting closer to that every day!