I have struggled with mental health issues for as long as I can remember, however, suicide was never something that was a part of my bundle if issues. Until it was.
In 2013 I had major brain surgery that saved my life and gave me a new outlook. So, I changed jobs from an obviously toxic one, to a hidden toxic one.
I recovered well, I had good relationships with my students, I was building new curriculum that met the government guidelines with updated textbooks that weren’t 50 years old. I was enjoying myself. Until the head of my department became upset with a textbook that I changed (with his permission) he started a bullying campaign.
The point where I realised I was in trouble was when I spent the duration of an entire 2 week school holiday drinking until I passed out, then waking up and drinking more. I sought help from the local government mental health services as I was in a bad financial position at the time.
They gave me a lot of “homework” to do, which I couldn’t, I couldn’t even find the motivation to do things I enjoyed. A psychiatrist reviewed my medication and put me on two new medications on top of existing ones.
Over time, I started to develop symptoms I had before the surgery. I was slurring my words as if I were drunk, my memory was incredibly poor, my motor function was terrible. However, at the same time I also began developing thoughts of suicide. I had always empathized with people in that situation before, but the logic of the thoughts is what threw me the most.
I found my superpower in my mother. She raised me and my sister and brother by herself. She never received child support. She had a good job and I know she regrets that she didn’t spend more time with us when we were younger. I would call her, in tears at work, at home, at 3am.She would always answer, she would talk me through it. She was my absolute rock, without her, I would not be here today.
Eventually Mum gave me the money to go and see my usual doctor (she was amazing but not cheap) and she sent me for an MRI because she was worried the surgery had failed after all. After this she sent me to an ophthalmologist to make sure the pressure in my brain was normal. Both tests came back clear so she suggested that it could be the medication.
So I stopped it all, except for two pain medications. Within three days the ticks, slurring etc. Had all cleared up. The suicidal thoughts took a bit longer, but, I allowed myself to begin a process of healing.
While medication can be a tool to help improve mental health, it didn’t work out for me. It took a team of support to help me to finally see the light again and for me to be well, physically and mentally. There is absolutely no shame in seeking help for mental health conditions or suicidal thoughts, whether that be from a friend, family member, doctor, crisis support or a psychiatrist. The options available to you are endless, you just have to allow yourself that chance to look for it. Don’t give up.
If you have been affected by the issues raised in this blog post, you can begin an anonymous chat with one of our trained crisis responders here.
To learn more about the Embrace Your Superpower 2018 campaign and how you can get involved click here.
Embrace Your Superpower for National Suicide Prevention Month. Join IMAlive, PostSecret, Actress Torrey DeVitto, Actress Carrie Genzel, Author Jennifer Niven, Author T.H. Hernandez & more in our movement to fight the stigma of suicide and mental health. Support Our Campaign!