The Place I Chose To Die

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The other day we were driving back from my Immunology appointment at our local hospital , the same hospital where I was incarcerated for nine long weeks in The Dungeon. Anyway, we passed this little motel, the kind of establishment that is a mix between being super twee and super dodgy, and suddenly this chill spread through my body. I remembered the motel. But I couldn’t think of why.

I started to rack my brain for information. I was sure I had never stayed there. I mean, why would I want to stay in a slightly dodgy motel situated on a major road, in a slightly dodgy area of town, in my own city? I didn’t know anyone who had stayed there. I couldn’t recall ever visiting it for whatever reason. Then suddenly I broke through the ECT induced memory loss and the reason hit me like a tonne of bricks.

Of course. I thought. That was the place I chose to die.

You see, when I was admitted to the Dungeon I was suicidal. These feelings got worse and worse as time progressed. None of my meds were being absorbed due to the pesky autoimmune disease. Things were going rapidly downhill. I heard voices which told me to kill myself. I began to see people who followed me around and continually tried to convince me that my loved ones would be better off without me. That I was a burden. That if I REALLY wanted to help people I should get rid of the problem. Me.

Of course, when I expressed this to the medical staff they told me that the voices were wrong. But those voices…”The People” just used to ask me “Who ya gonna believe, Rachael? The doctor who has known you for five minutes? Or us, who have been with you for most of your life, know your intricacies and your family? We WANT to help you. Let us help you” These “people” were twisted but somehow they always made sense. And so they kind of grabbed hold of me.

So I began to make a plan. I managed to hack into the hospital university’s wi-fi through my own university. I searched the net and chose a place, this particular motel, to die. I decided how to do it. I had cash, a credit card, and a bus card. I was a voluntary patient on an open ward. I knew I could walk out at any moment and just never return.

Somehow, and I don’t recall how, around this time the doctors twigged that I was losing grip. I was placed on one-to-one supervision, and much to my frustration at the time, my plan was foiled. Thank god.

I find it very awkward to write about this. I feel an intense shame that I even THOUGHT about killing myself – much less making an elaborate plan. I feel like someone reading this is going to shout out “See! Unfit mother! Disgrace to society!” This is such a difficult topic to talk about.

Suicide is such a stigmatised issue. I mean, God, it’s a HORRIBLE issue. There’s no doubt about it. But it’s real. And it should be talked about.

The leading cause of death in Australians aged 15 to 44 is suicide. And, you know, that’s just looking at “successful” suicides (and wow, I hate that term). For every death around 30 people attempt to end their lives. This is MASSIVE issue. (see Lifeline for more horrifying statistics https://www.lifeline.org.au/About-Lifeline/Media-Centre/Suicide-Statistics-in-Australia/Suicide-Statistics)

But we don’t like to talk about it, because those who kill themselves, or try to kill themselves are selfish. They are weak willed. People who attempt suicide are looking for attention. They are all sorts of negative things that  definitely do not encourage those struggling with suicidality to seek help.

Let me just make something clear. When I was meticulously plotting my own death in hospital I was not looking for attention. Quite frankly, that was the last thing I wanted. Also logic doesn’t come into it when you are suicidal. Although it is true that “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem”, in the depths of despair you don’t think that way. All of your thoughts become warped. I truly believed it was my best option, and would be kindest to those I loved. Obviously, I was also, and this is really important, very very sick.

People who are well generally do not want to kill themselves. There is this thing called human survival instinct. Against the odds, humans want to survive. That’s why people fight and fight through terrible adversity and illness. We WANT to live.

People who decide that the best option for them is suicide are generally very unwell and urgently need help. I truly believe that if the issue wasn’t so stigmatised, people may feel more able to ask for help when they need it, and perhaps unnecessary deaths could be prevented.

While I was in hospital I was afraid to tell the staff the extent of my suicidality. I was scared to tell them because the last time I felt suicidal I presented to the emergency department and was seen by a bored psychiatrist who said to me “You have a roof over your head. You have a husband. You have a baby. Why would you want to kill yourself?”

Yeah that made me feel great.

This type of experience, which is unfortunately, so very common for people with suicidal thoughts, just encourages stigma, and perpetuates the cycle. Different doctor, different place, but I was still scared of talking about how I felt.

I was really lucky though. I got the help I needed. I had a hospital keep me safe. Many other people aren’t this lucky. There are so many deaths out there that could be prevented.

But still, despite my feelings on stigma, I feel the shame. This is not something I will ever discuss, even with those closest to me. It feels like a dirty aspect of my life that I wish I could change, and this post feels like a confession.

I hope that one day I will be able to accept myself, and my experiences. I hope that I will learn to stop the self stigma. I hope that one day society will be able to talk about the issue that is killing so many people.

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19 thoughts on “The Place I Chose To Die

  1. “People who decide that the best option for them is suicide are generally very unwell and urgently need help.”

    I totally agree. When I attempted suicide it wasn’t a cry for help. I was desperate and couldn’t face anymore pain.

    Depression warps your thinking to the point where you truly believe suicide is the only way.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great post! Good for you for being able to talk about this subject. You’re right, the stigma and ignorance towards suicide most likely prevents many people from seeking help. On top of that you don’t want to feel like more of a burden than you already do.

    I’m glad you didn’t go through with it and I’m glad you talked about the voices and hallucinations that followed you during that time. It gives a very real glimpse into just how intense the urge to kill yourself can get.

    You are certainly not alone in this matter and I’m really glad you brought it to light. I know at one point before I started taking medication I would think constantly about jumping off the overpass I walked over on my way to work. I wouldn’t hear voices necessarily but there would be thoughts like “It would be so easy. You won’t have to suffer anymore. I would stare down at the ground below me wondering what the chances were of hitting a car on the way down.

    It’s messed up but when you’re feeling that desperate it doesn’t seem messed up it almost seems logical.

    Thanks again for posting and being brave enough to share your experience.There is a good chance you have helped more people than you know 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you! I have been wanting to talk about this subject for a long time, but always wussed out for one reason or another. I can totally relate to the way your mind tries to convince you that suicide is the best option, and you’re right – it feels like the best, most logical thing to do. Thank you for reading this and for your insightful comment. Wishing you all the best!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for writing this excellent post. I, too, thought those same exact messages, and believed them. Suicidal ideation is indeed a symptom of an illness, not a manifestation of selfishness. When in the grip of a suicidal thought process, we believe that the world would be better without us. Obviously, the world is not a better place without us. Our world — my world, your readers’ world and most of all, your husband and son’s world — is definitely a better place with you in it. Thank you. God bless your hospital team for recognizing the extent of your illness (unlike the previous idiot in the ER) and saving your life.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Suicide is a not a selfish act, it is one of desperation. When I went through the months and months of suicidal ideation it was because I felt useless and hopeless and that it was the only way out. Fortunately for me it turned out that getting on the right medication stopped all thoughts of suicide. The wrong meds I was on simply exacerbated those suicidal thoughts to the point that I set a date to take my life. And that scared the hell out of me and I went to my GP who prescribed a medication that worked. Those that say suicide is a selfish act lack the understanding of what that disordered thiking does to us. It has nothing to do with what we have in life, it’s our disordered thinking that is to blame.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This was a super-powerful read. Also, every comment was insightful and meaningful – that alone shows how moving & profound your writing is! You are a brave and remarkable writer. I’d love to see this post reach as many people as possible. Although right now Stigmama is doing a holiday theme, what about sending this post over there at some point? It will *definitely* help the Stigmama readers. Just a thought…and there’s no pressure. If I think of anywhere else fitting, I’ll be sure to let you know.

    And, most important of all, I am SO SO SO SO glad you are here and that the hospital did its job. The greater the darkness one faces, the brighter one becomes afterwards, and you are truly a beaming ray of sunshine.

    A total inspiration of the highest degree.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I too have had hallucinations and similar symptoms. Mostly I thought everyone wanted me dead and that I was to die in the hospital..I have extreme paranoia in my episodes along with my hallucinations. I would like to write more about it more so thank you for the inspiration. I have also been put on 72 hour holds for “being a threat to myself or to others” three times now so I really get what you are saying. I am so glad you are living to talk about this. It really needs to be discussed more. It is not a selfish or weak act to attempt suicide. It hurts the ones left behind but that person clearly had no other option they were aware of if they are successful. They were in pain, they were suffering, they did not believe they had any other choice. I too hope that this topic can be discussed more with less stigma and with more compassion. thank you for the inspiration!

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    • Thank you so much for sharing your story, and I am so sorry to hear what a difficult time you have had. The psychisis and hallucinations make things so hard, for sure!

      I would definitely encourage you to write about your experiences in this area. It is scary but also a relief. I am glad you are still here to tell the tale too..I look forward to reading about your journey.

      Like

      • Thank you! sorry for the late response. I haven’t been on in a little while..I will take your advice! I have a 29 page document that I have written about my experiences and I will put some short ones into this blog for sure.

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  7. this is beautifully written. and so very true.

    I remember the last time…yes there has been more than one…I tried to commit suicide I felt it was the most unselfish thing I could possibly do. I would be releasing my husband of the burden of…me.

    People who can’t see suicide as anything buy selfish, do not understand. I heard a psychologist say this about one of her patients on her blog once and thought….I’m glad I’m not your patient. Really? you just don’t get it. I lost all respect for this person at that time.

    Recently, I have had to be on a high dose of steroids, and I’m going through a very difficult time with my health (I know you read my last post). I have looked at my husband more than once and begged, “please don’t hate me” He knows what I mean. If they can’t do anything, I don’t know if I can live like this. I think this one day….and then the next I think…How could you ever think that? How could you ever think of hurting him like that? How could you just snub your nose at a chance that life will get better?
    (yeah, this is part of that post I planned on writing. It will come out at some point. especially as the steroids are increased again I’m sure.)

    Thank you for sharing this. We need to break the stigma. We need to let people know that it’s ok to ask for help. there is no Shame!

    You have nothing to be ashamed of!

    Like

    • Hi Wendy, thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I can relate to so much of what you are saying.

      I know you are having such a difficult time at the moment and im sorry to hear you are on such a high dose of steroids (I know from experience. ..steroids suck big time!). It is so so difficult to deal with chronic health disease and you have more than your fair share of health problems. But please remember, as you said, there is no shame in asking for help. This world would not be the same without you.

      Wishing you all the best.

      Like

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