The Climb Up

*Talk of Suicide thoughts, intentions and actions*

On the 24th of October last year I wrote this post Rock Bottom as on the 20th of October 2017 I got in the car with a bottle of rum in my bag and drove very much in a suicidal headspace. Today is now exactly one year on from that day and so this blog is going to be about that climb up from rock bottom.

While the build up to the 20th last year had been going on for a lot longer it was really the 18th, 19th and the morning of the 20th that I was in my worse place and led me to making that decision. ‘ Making that decision’ makes it come across like I was in sound mind and choose to do that which is exactly the opposite. Yeah I was making decisions but I was ill so the decisions I were making weren’t the right ones, I wasn’t able to access the parts of my brain that I needed to to see how wrong what I was thinking was. Or I was but it wasn’t strong enough and actually all I wanted was the pain and darkness to end.

Reading my journal entries from those three days , as I wrote in my journal on the 20th before getting into the car, is a very dark read and actual there probably wasn’t another outcome at that point than what happened. Maybe in a way it needed to happen that rock bottom needed to be slammed into in order to come back up from it. That is a thought train that I could go round and round with but ultimately it doesn’t matter as what happened happened.

I got into that car in my darkest place with my brain wired to the max and had a large full bottle of rum with me. I had also tried to find the Stanly knife but couldn’t get my brain to focus enough to be able to find that in our tool box. Was I wanted to completely end it or just get away from everything for a bit I don’t know again I think that is a bit of a mute point. I did take Maia with me as a part of a safety mechanism I think or to try and persuade myself that I was just going to take her out for a walk, that the thoughts in my head would stop and I could just go about my day as per normal. The thinking of a brain when it very much isn’t in the state for rational thought.

I don’t want to go into that day too much more as it is the past and has happened, I can’t change that. It is about what has happened since then. The main points are is that I didn’t get to the point where my thoughts wanted me to go, I made the phone call when in the car to ask for help. I didn’t want to end it or I did but I was fighting with all my might for that not to be the case. By the support of my wife and my mother-in-law I made it safely to the end of the car journey plus the added extra of the police as well. Being in the back of a police van will be an experience that I will never forget, it was probably only 15mins at the max but it will still be a lasting memory. Kat was pretty much on the phone to me constantly for a lot of the journey and I will always remember talking about purple spotted trees with her. Yes I made the  call to get help but even with that I was still driving so I very much needed that support and it made all the difference.

Though it was the last thing that I wanted to ever and one of the hardest things that I have ever done I made the decision to walk into A&E and not to walk back out with Kat and Morag. Spent about 24 hours on a psychiatric ward which is somewhere that I very much do not wish to go back to.

So that was my journey down to rock bottom and when I discharged myself there began the climb back up from it.

Making the decision not to go through with a suicide plan is obviously great in the fact that you have decided to live and are still here however it is really when the hard work starts as now you have to start doing something about why you ended up where you did. Okay life is black and I want out but haven’t taken that road so now I need to do something to make life not black which is where the climb begins.

This past year has very much been a climb with some hell of a steep sections in it and by no means have I finished the climb. The hard work very much did begin after reaching rock bottom and coming back up. Life also threw a lot more at me to deal and cope with as well almost more so than the year leading up to rock bottom point.

A month after I walked out of the hospital I start seeing the clinical psychologist that I had been on the waiting list for and that had been great. I found the person that I needed to be able to talk to about everything and anything; stuff that I knew I needed to talk about and so much more as well. It has however also been very hard work you open boxes and tear open wounds but I also know that is what needed to be done. I am still under the care of the psychologist but now getting to the point where the time between appointments is getting longer and longer.

You never know what life is going to throw at you and this year has very much shown that. I have come out as trans, which while not totally unexpected the way that that box just completely blew apart in my head and a very difficult few weeks to try and make sense of that was not easy at all! It was soo the right decision to make but as with anything comes with its own challenges.

A massive life event was my dad’s diagnosis and death. Very hard to deal with at any point and just seemed to be harder with everything else that had happened and was happening. Very much an ongoing journey with everything in regards to that.

So yeah it goes without saying it has been a hard year but it has been a year. My story didn’t end on the 20th of October 2017.

It feels surreal that I ever did feel like that but at the same time very real as the memories are so strong from that day. Today is a whole mix of feelings but that is to be expected and completely normal. It is also a whole world away from last year and that has been due to the work I have put in to climb back up as well as the amazing support and help from my wife, family, friends and professional help.

I realised a few weeks ago that to maintain my mental health I need to work at it every day. It isn’t something that I can do every so often it is too important for that approach. Every day needs me to do something that I know is going to help. Yes up and down with good and bad days, that bit hasn’t changed and it won’t but the idea isn’t to end up back at the same point. The idea is to live life.

Today I want to enjoy that I have made it to here and how far I have come. So this morning I went out for a bike ride with Maia.

And this afternoon I am going to a friends for lunch with Kat to enjoy being with her and people I care about and who care about me. To enjoy the day, yes to have the memories and the feelings and the hard times but to know I have made it to here and that is memories of the past.

There is still loads of challenges to come and tomorrow’s blog will show that but that is tomorrow and today is today.

One step at a time to keep climbing.

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