Bartlett: Woman/wife/mother: PTSD + suicidal thoughts
The good news is that by today I am having to ‘lower’ my state of mind to write this post.
Three days ago I was in crying desperately into my iPhone to my therapist from the torture of incessant and intrusive suicidal thoughts.
As a result of ongoing abuse, I have suffered from suicidal thoughts since I was a young child.
I only have one scar on my right wrist to show outwardly for my battles with this problem. It’s about 1 cm in width. I was 14 and had drunk half a bottle of Japanese whisky one boring Sunday afternoon at boarding school. I ended up sitting 30ft high up legs dangling over a battlement wall with a razor blade just slowly rubbing away layer after layer of skin until a friend discovered me. I didn’t want to kill myself, it was more that I was battling the impulse and taking the longest time ever in the history of suicide attempts to hurt myself in the hope that someone would find me and carry me to my bed so I could sleep it all off and move on. The same friend wrote in my leavers book 2 years later, please don’t drink! That, thankfully, was the only time I ever actually acted upon an intrusive thought.
Since starting the deep processing work for child- and adulthood abuse traumas with EMDR therapy, suicidal thoughts have escalated from me having to move kitchen knives out of my view when an intrusive thought suddenly appears, to all sorts of opportunistic suicidal methodologies causing me to grab my head in despair and seek safety in numbers of make an emergency call to my therapist or my husband.
My pull back, grounding strategies are simple: either (a) my children and seeing them distraught and crying over my dead body and growing up traumatised and their lives ruined forever (b) the A-Z of anything I can see or imagine in the moment… biscuits, colours, fruit and vegetables. I use either (a) or (b) depending on the intensity of the visions. The next step is to reassess my present and future events and cut out or reduce if possible any activities or social engagements that might be triggers. Try to be out of the house, don’t be alone if possible, until it passes. Then I diarise things where I show myself some self-love… cinema, cafe, massage.
Just to recap – I am a woman, wife and mother and living with this devastating condition known as Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD). I truly believe that my super-logical autistic brain has had something to do with my surviving, because what would be the LOGIC in me committing suicide? After 30+ years of living life on the edge, I finally have a loving, supportive husband and beautiful, wonderful children, a stable life, weekly psycho-therapeutic and physical exercise support, and lovely home.
I’VE MADE IT! RIGHT?!?!?!
Alongside this bliss, my husband and I now accept that my heart and brain are badly damaged. We have to acknowledge that my healing journey might take our hard earned money and time for the rest of my life. The bombardment of sick memories of abuse, those horror movies in my head, the fear and pain muscle memories, need to be neutralised with the help of engaged exceptional mental health specialists. Continuing on are the sleepless nights, the day- and night-mares, the intrusive thoughts, the persistent threat anxiety.
How do you finish a post like this? Certainly not ‘see you on the other side’ that’s for sure. HAHA. Bloody hell. I love my life.
Best thing I could do for me is love myself..It’s alright, I been to the bottom
And I’ve seen the end
Wanna forever be together ’til the end
And I found the problem, it starts with me
I figured out now what I want, got what I need
(Ladies, help me sing it out now) Damn right, yeah, I love myself
I’m never gon’ fall ’cause I love myself
Damn right, yeah, I love myself
And I can have it all ’cause I love myself – Ciara ‘I Love Myself’
Bartlett: Woman/wife/mother: PTSD + suicidal thoughts (c) 2019 Laura Devlin