It Gets Better
(It Really Does)
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. I wanted to riff off a bunch of stats about suicide, but they are so easy to ignore; they are faceless, personless.
So here's a story, part of my story.
(please stay for the end, otherwise you'll just get the sad bit)
This photo is from almost a year ago, when I was suicidal and in hospital. I look like shit, which makes sense, and I'd just recorded the first song I'd written whilst there, a heart-crushing angst-ridden 4 minutes of lyrics like:
"I'm learning lots about pills which ones to take
Which ones will make the voices go away
But it's not the voice of God it's not the voice of Jesus
It's my own voice and I can't help believe it
It says you will never be, anything to anything
And it won't stop"
Yep, sad all round. Too sad to share the original video I think.
I've not talked heaps about why I was in there, but it was a combination of things that lead to the unshakable belief that I had irreparably ruined my life, and that I was a gold medal failure. Soaked in the tar of regret, I couldn't see past a couple of days, let alone to where I am now, writing this, a year on.
At that point I'd been dealing with suicidal thoughts since I was a teenager. It was generally a more latent curse, but would explode every couple of years into something especially dangerous. Each time a bit bleaker; repetition cementing a seemingly incurable pattern. It's why over time, I became desperate and resigned. I submitted to it, lay down with it, bedded it. Stable and ever-present, suicide was a long-term lover.
I was lost, like so many others, in this yawning gap in the mental health system. After initial interventions - anti-depressants, subsidised counsellors - didn't work, I drifted for years without adequate care, until I found myself terrified and hospitalised.
It has taken a lot of work (and money) and hours and openness and egolessness but for me now, suicide is mostly an abstract concept, rather than a jarring reality. After getting the right care, I entertain the idea extremely rarely, and really only as a "oh wow previously I would have thought this".
To stress the profundity of this change, previously, I had decided that I didn't want kids, thinking it unethical to do so when I felt fairly convinced they'd lose me to suicide. Suicide was far from abstract, it was real life, and it was life-changing decisions based on the inevitability of my own death.
Today, I am in love with my mind. Not in a hedonistic, first few months, honeymoon way, but in a "we've seen some shit", nursed-each-other-through-parental-death kind of way. We will bicker, we will occasionally fight, but for the most part we choose to be on the same team through those tiny, insignificant moments, choosing life, every day.
This love, I thought this love was impossible, and I know many still do.
It's why, I want to say loudly but with a heart that knows how absurd it can sound:
It gets better.
For years, for almost half of my young life, I didn't believe that it would. But I've been there, I know the road to wellness is often an unforgiving and tenuous lover, an unreliable friend, a fucking awful mother and a piss-poor acquaintance, but suicide does not have to be your life partner.
Please look after each other, please look after yourselves.
And whatever it is, in time, it will be okay.
If this is helpful, feel free to share.
And if ever you need help, please call Lifeline, I've called these guys a lot, they're good people.
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