Talking Openly About Suicide

I hadn’t meant to leave it this long, but life got in the way, in a very real fashion.

Two weeks ago my life was turned upside down; a decision was made about me which affects my entire future. It was made by someone who doesn’t know me and without meeting with me or even letting me know that this decision was being made –.

I don’t feel quite ready to write about the details just yet, because I am still trying to process it. Also, it is excruciatingly painful to think about, hurtful far beyond anything I have ever experienced before. If this decision were to stand.. well, it is truly major, life-changing, stuff, and has hit me straight in the heart.

The past two years I’ve been on a very specific path, and now someone has taken an enormous, big, black boulder and placed it on what was already a twisting, winding and steeply uphill path, completely blocking my way forward. And, sadly, this is not a stumbling block that I can simply scale or find an alternative way around – I am completely and utterly dependent on the person who placed it there to remove it.

Therapy has been challenging since my last post. The honeymoon is definitely over. For both A. and for me. But in a strange way, that is probably for the better. Although this has required me to be braver than I have ever been in my therapy before, has pushed me to open up more than I ever have, in spite of the very real fears I have regarding what that will do to A., it hasn’t been without benefits; two weeks ago, after three and a half years of seeing A., I cried for the first time in session. It wasn’t a massive cathartic kind of outpouring of raw emotion, but it was real and naked.

In today’s session I made myself be brave again, forced myself to talk about something that is incredibly hard to talk about, something which isn’t easy to broach in an open and honest way.
The last two weeks, ever since that boulder cut off my way forward, I have been carrying a piece of paper in my journal, which I have been wanting to give to A. but haven’t quite had the courage to do it, because of what the implications of handing her that piece of paper are.

For whatever reason, when I first began seeing A. she never asked to have my personal details – you know – address, next of kin, contact info for my GP – the usual stuff. She has had my email and mobile number, because I’ve emailed and texted her a few times, but no more than that.

Since this boulder was dropped in my way things have been, well, pretty dire. It wouldn’t be unfair to say that my life has been hanging in the balance. And although I am trying to challenge this decision that has been made, it has also forced me to consider the possibility that it may not be changed, no matter how many valid reasons there are for that to be done. And, everyone who is close to me, who knows what this is all about, also realise that if that were to happen – if that decision were to stand – well, it would amount to having the one thing that has always meant more to me than anything else being taken away from me. It would mean taking all hope from me.

And without hope, I can’t live. I don’t think anyone can.

I have talked to A. about this in session; that if hope is taken from me, I can’t go on, and I think that she, too, can see that this is a very very serious situation. I have told her that if what is about to happen were to happen, I would come to session and I would say goodbye – and it really would be goodbye. I have talked about ending my life before, and it’s never been done lightly, but I think this time, it is almost tangibly different, and I think it is obvious both to myself and to A. that there is a very real risk that this time, it could really happen. And, I think that the thought of that scares her, that it really scares her. I think it scares her nearly as much as it scares me.

So, today, when I finally gave her that piece of paper, a piece of paper which doesn’t look like much to the world; some contact details written on the back of a random re-used calligraphy practise sheet, it was a key moment in our work together. I explained to her how I had wanted to give her this piece of paper in the last two weeks, but that it has just felt too hard, because, of what went along with it; the reality that if I were to go missing – as many friends and loved ones as I have, and as often as I talk to them – my sessions with A. are really the only things which are regular enough to trigger a definite knowledge that something was amiss. The way I put it to A. was that, were I to not show up for a session – having not missed a single session in three and a half years – and, were I to not get back to her, should she ring to find out where I was, there would probably be good cause for concern; just reason to suspect that I have taken drastic action to end my life, that this time I probably won’t be coming back.

A. went quieter than she ever has when I was saying this. I mean, she doesn’t talk a huge amount generally, but this silence felt completely different, felt like she was holding her breath, unsure of what to do with this. Frozen. Not uncaring or distant, but in a paralysed kind of way. All the colour completely drained from her face. And it really frightened me, because I’ve never experienced A. reacting in that way to anything I’ve said in all these years.

I can understand it; as I’ve said many times before, therapist or not, she is only a person like everyone else, and having worked with me for as long as she has – as closely as she has – of course it would be extremely frightening to hear me, in so many words, put her in a position where she would be responsible for raising the alarm that I may have killed myself, to make the decision to send police round to my place.

I know that having a client kill themself is every therapist’s worse nightmare, and yet, the nature of their chosen profession means that they necessarily have to find a way to stay with a suicidal client, in the hope that they will never have to deal with an actual suicide.

I truly regret having to put A. in this position; it was not an easy thing to do – I care about her, deeply – of course I do – and I worry immensely about what it may do to her, were she to have to actually do what I am asking of her.

But I had to have that conversation with her. There was no way around it.

I did make it very clear that I am not going to kill myself today or tomorrow or even at all, unless I know that all possible avenues of having this decision, which has brought me to this very sharp edge, have been exhausted. That I would not do it without knowing that all hope has been truly extinguished.

I’m not sure that made A. feel any better, but, maybe, at least for a little while, she can rest more easily.

Maybe I can, too?

xx

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8 responses

  1. I’m not sure what to say, but didn’t want to just read and leave. I’m sorry things have been made so difficult for you and I’m really hoping that the person responsible removes the boulder. I also hope you can continue talking to A. about this.

    All good thoughts to you.

  2. Thank you so very much for taking the time to both read and comment. It makes such a difference to me, feeling heard.
    I keep praying that this person will change her decision, but it is hard to stay positive. If a person can make such an important decision about another person’s life, without even bothering to meet with them, then it seems unlikely that they will hold their hands up and say that they got it wrong. But I will try to challenge this decision. It’s the only thing I can do.

    As for talking to A. Yes, I will try to keep talking to her. I have to admit that it scares me to do this, since she seems very frightened by the severity of this situation and my worry is, as alway, that I will end up breaking her, just like I have broken others in the past. The therapeutic relationship is a very complex thing, indeed. But at the same time, I don’t want to be on my own with these very real thoughts of ending my life.

    Anyway, I am trying to get an appointment to meet with the person who has made this decision later this week. And maybe, just maybe, God will be smiling and things will go my way.

    Once again, thank you for writing.
    All the very best,

    xx

  3. Hello

    I am so sorry things are so difficult for you at the moment. Perhaps it might help to take a friend along to the meeting ? Or alternatively you could look into advocacy services in your area and contact one? If the outcome is not the one that you hope for then please try and hold on to the fact that hope will return in a different way at some point. And that sometimes reminding yourself just to hold onto some kind of hope inside that you create for yourself, regardless of what is going on externally, can help.

  4. Hello Kath,

    Thank you for the comment. As always I appreciate hearing from the people who take the time to read my blog.

    Bringing someone is absolutely a good idea, and I did bring a friend with me to the first meeting, and will also bring her to the second meeting. If things don’t go well I have made contact with an organisation which does advocacy. I really hope this decision will be reviewed openly and fairly, because – unfortunately – the issue is highly time critical, and it’s not something that I can wait around for for a very long time to have changed.

    Once again I really appreciate your comment. It means a lot to know that there are people out there who don’t even know me, but still care. And for that I am grateful.

    xx

  5. I too couldnt read and just leave ive been following your blog for a while and this post makes me really sad. I feel sad as i can relate to feeling hopeless like theres no way out and i also of course feel sad for you and the pain you are obviously in. I too know how important it is to feel heard and to have your pain listened too and maybe it will bring you comfort that other people feel the same way about life but youre not alone. People who dont know you like me care about you no matter what boulders bricks or walls people put up in front of you there is always,always a way around and a way out somehow nothing is permanant nothing is forever no boulder is so big that there really is no way out. I know i dont know your situation but it hurts even me to think that there is someone out there who has done something which has caused you so much pain to no longer feel you can live and thats not right or fair. Dont let someone else take away your chance of a life a life you obv want as you work very hard in therapy and it now sounds like youre getting somewhere and starting to open up. Dont go ok there are people that care and people that can help you. Never give up. Why hurt yourself because of what someone else does or says. There is always hope and even if you cant or dont feel it yourself right now trust that someone else is holding onto that hope for you. There is always a way out.

    Take care of you. Please. xx

  6. Hello Tan,

    Thank you for your very kind comment. It does help to know that people care. I know I really ought to update my blog soon, but at the moment I haven’t quite figured out what I would like to say and how much I can share without saying too much. This is a very complex situation and sadly not one which I could resolve on my own, no matter how much I may have wanted to. I’m not saying that in a defeatist sort of way, it’s just a fact of the situation at the time.

    Anyway, Tan, I really appreciate what you wrote, and – like I said before – I will really try to get it together to write some sort of update soon. It’s just that I’m still processing.

    You be kind to yourself.

    All the very best,

    xx

  7. You are a brave lady and it is sounding like you really do need time to process all that is happening around you. If you ever need to talk through your feelings in complete confidence you can call or write to the Samaritans. Of course you may be aware of them already, in which case I just wanted to say thanks for writing and please do continue to follow all avenues open to you.

    My thoughts are with you, and I believe there are many people out there that do care.

    Lou x

  8. Hello Louise,

    Thank you so much for your comment. I think your tip about the Samaritans is very good. I often turn to them when things are particularly bad, especially at times when my therapist is away, and have found them very helpful and supportive.

    A lot has happened since I published this post, and I hope to be able to update it sometime soon.

    Once again, thanks for taking the time to visit my blog and for showing that you care.

    xx

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