The Shame of a Suicide Attempt

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The past days have felt blitzed with anger and hate. For the world and for myself. In my eyes, there seems to be two types of anger. We all have those ‘natural’ anger states that kick up as a result of our thoughts/thought processes about something, be it in the present or in the past. But then there is the other anger that follows something like PTSD. It is the anger that rushes through your body, knocking each cell into a raging frenzy. It is this anger that is triggered. ‘Flooding’ happens. Flooding of rage, fury, hatred for yourself and others. You literally can only see red. All you can do is ride it out, bring yourself back to the Earth, let the thoughts just be thoughts (no matter how intrusive they are) and grip onto the glimpses of calm, rationality and light that flutter in, in the midst of this Angry/Hating Flood.

I was trying to work out where all this anger and blinding hatred was coming from. The triggered kind, but also the other in parts too. For me this is rare for it manifest as all-encompassing as it is now. And then it clicked…

As I’m dwindling off these disgusting drugs and into the delicious reality of my own complete emotions: pure and un-tainted by chemicals, so many feelings have surfaced about my overdose back in April. It has now been almost a little over 9 months, and I see how the journey of healing is so closely linked to the journey of time. With the months that pass, so do feelings about what happened. And new ones come in their place. And then the circle begins again, and sometimes those old feelings are revisited, only to be found wearing slightly different jackets.

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When I first got home from Cali (where It happened) I remembered feeling a TIDAL WAVE of guilt, shame and embarrassment for what I had done: I had attempted suicide…what the HELL? What the hell was I thinking? How could I be so stupid and SO selfish? How could I think that was a good idea? How could I put everyone through that? What. An. Idiot…What a Selfish Idiot.

For a long time afterwards, and still sometimes since, I felt so much guilt about being happy or having any spell of comfort, joy, or ease… Because of what I did I had a deep feeling of only deserving the worst for doing something like that. This is something I have had to work on since: this inner dialogue of deservability. The foundation of this Inner Critic’s theory of mine, is actually a LOVE FOR LIFE. Because I love it so much and feel it has to be embraced, LIVED, honoured and valued, the fact that I actively tried to take mine away makes me feel (in the eyes of my Critic) as though I should be shamed forever more. My inner critic’s theory goes a little something like this: no one should live a happy, lucky or blossoming life if they have tried to end theirs. They simply do not deserve it.

For the record, this is a load of bullshit. It’s just the way the critic speaks right now. Anyone and everyone – suicide attempt survivors or other – deserve a beautiful life. ALWAYS. We all have our inner critic and inner dialogue of self-hate-ridden theories…and this, sadly, is one of mine.

But, I’m working on it.

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These feelings of guilt for what I put my friends through, embarrassment for what they may think, shame for what I did have continued to come in gentle (and at times, not-so) waves for the last nine months. And right now, I am in a roaring tussle with this tide of emotions.

There are other waves that come through, and have always. The more beautiful and loving kind, of self-compassion, forgiveness, understanding, sorrow, pain, grief and my utmost gratitude for my friends and all that they did around that time. But right now I am wearing the Self Hatred wetsuit, and those gentle waves feel far on the horizon, with the ripple of shame closest to shore.

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I hate myself for what I did. So I want the world to hate me too. For the first time in my life I notice myself purposely wanting to PISS those around me OFF so they don’t want to be with me. So they hate me as much as I hate myself. So those that loved me and were there for me unconditionally over the initial overdose aftermath, and all these months following, realise they made a mistake. So they realise they don’t actually love me like they say they do, and then they’ll stop being so damn loving and supportive and wonderful. So that me hiding myself away from the world, will mean people will forget me and will see me for my true Selfish Ugly colours. So that by me swimming in this wave of self hatred for myself, I will turn into an Ugly Duckling, with no shine, no spirit and no lovability left.

That would all be so much easier, wouldn’t it….? NO. No it wouldn’t. Yet no matter how much I remember that I actually know this is a load of trash, my mind becomes distorted with past trauma and a post trauma state. Emotionally and physically it just feels as though it would be so much easier if the world hated you and everyone in it did too.

Because, when you hate yourself so much, why should anyone love you? The truth is though Friends, that is a big load of bullshit too. No matter how much you hate yourself or you feel determined to push friends away because of what you did, they are still there.

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Splash in the Shallows of Self-Hatred if you need to (I do believe that sometimes we need to feel whatever it is we are battling against, so we then realise how much we hate it), but please allow yourself permission to refrain from diving into the Tidal Wave of Self-Hatred. This can so easily turn into the Sword of Self-Destruct, and nobody deserves this. Or the self hatred bit either. For me it hasn’t become self destruct the past few days, and for me this is a MEGA, HIGH-FIVE WORTHY, achievement. Hell yeah. This is healing, baby. However, self-destruct does appear in subtle ways, not just the literal physical ways.

This shame that follows a suicide attempt, can become self-destruct in Splashes of Self-Sabotage kind of way. All the hiding yourself away, hating the world so that it hates you back, hating those around you so that they hate you back and abandon you like you so desperately want, is ALL self-sabotage. But just notice it. Don’t give yourself an added brick of weight to your already bulging rucksack of guilt. Just notice that it is what you are doing. Just notice that this becomes your ‘pattern’ at times of Self Hatred. The power of Noticing, not Changing, works wonders. And it will pass. I promise.

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Suicide attempt survivor, witness to a loved ones attempt, or any other sweet soul reading this, know that all the emotions, feelings, conversation topics, that follow something like this are Bitching. They are intense. They are seemingly chaotic. They are painful. They are scary. They go against the sheltered grain of society. But they are beautiful. They are life. And they need be heard, welcomed and honoured. For they are healing.

As I get my surfboard out and try to ride this bitching Wave of Self Hating Shame, I hope you can do this too, if you need to. I hope you can find whatever it is that becomes your board, and ride it. For me, right now, my board is Writing, Mindful Meditation and Moments in Nature.

What is yours?

All my love to you.

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14 thoughts on “The Shame of a Suicide Attempt

  1. I am very affected by your writing and notice that through the pain you express yourself both beautifully and powerfully. Drown that inner critic next time you go surfing; be proud of yourself for surviving and feeling compassion toward those who love and worry about you; we cannot always control our thoughts–I wish we could–but you are writing them out–leave them on the page. You are seriously a good writer–I am glad it is part of your repertoire–it is part of mine too,

    • Oh love, your words heal so much. Thank you. Thank you. I’m glad you have writing, and I am so glad I have it too. I laughed so much at your idea of drowning the critic when I next go surfing! I am spending a lot of time drawing out the critic so maybe I need to take him surfing and throw him in some massive waves. That’ll shut him up : ) Thank you for your words. Big love. xox

      • Thank you. That made me laugh about your critic. Go run her/him over, sister! But I have realised recently that actually the critics are there to warn us and help us, in their own screwed up way…even if it is really hard to see how, there is something there. For me, part of what mine does is to try and stop me from shining, because it is scared of the crash and burn. Or scared of being embarrassed or whatever. There is always some fucked up theory of the Critic’s that their fears or warnings are based upon. Imagine him/her in their underpants when they next pipe up. Or tackle them with a karate chop when they voice their distorted opinion. 🙂 Drawing really helps me and adds comedy to the mix too. xx

      • I suppose there are reasons for the critic–but we really must put them in their place sometimes — they go overboard (get it–board-surf–sorry I am reaching here)–you sound really intelligent–will you be my Dear Abby now that she has died?

  2. I am glad you are still alive.

    Are you going through the same anger about your mother’s suicide attempts?

    I’ve got a couple of kids who used to be 2, 3 years old once upon a time. And the rage that they go through at that age is really really intense. I am wondering if the looking after your mother, saving her life and such, at a very young age, meant that the young child that you were did not have the freedom to express rage about the situation? Do you ever try expressing emotion in paint? I’m thinking perhaps something different to the cartoons which have a more controlled format. It can be quite transformative to express the feelings somehow in a ‘safe’ way. I scrunched up newspaper fairly recently, and ripped and tore it and such. Could do anything really, maybe building up and squashing flat something made of sand while at the beach? I’m thinking along the lines of accessing the emotions of the very young child, which can be quite wild.

    Big rainbow of hope to you, sounds like you’re on the right track, and it is tough going. I love that you are alive, and that you survived. It’s a tough world and many of us wish for death rather than life at some point. It is a human thing that happens when pain becomes too great, or situations appear hopeless. Been through it myself. I learned about the kindness of strangers at that point, and somehow pulled through with help, one day at a time. My big brother didn’t make it back from his attempt. It is very sad. I don’t hate him or feel angry at him for what happened.

    Love to you,
    Jessie

    • Wow. Thank you for that love. My mum’s attempts were not until I was in my later years – from the age of 16. The earlier things, the saving her life in my early years, were when she had collapsed from a diabetic coma. But you raise an interesting question and I know that I do have a tonne of rage at her for her attempts. They were in such a different way too. In terms of the emotions that I never was able to express when I was a child – you are spot on. This past week I have felt swimming in emotions from those episodes when I was a small child, and it has felt overwhelming to say the least. Again, that’s really interesting because I didn’t think about this anger I am experiencing being tied into that – and it has felt so wild and triggered. And I never had thought that a 3 year olds is like that! I have realised that the terror, desperation and similar feelings that have been hitting hard this week, have been all suppressed stuff from that early age. In particular the first time of finding her. I have known that I have been feeling so much rage beyond words at her for having it that way – for her giving me that responsibility from such a young age. I am into dancing with loud music in my room, but am CRAVING an outlet for it as I get so tired I can’t run properly, apart from some sprints. Painting feels a bit close to home because my mother was an artist, so I just choose to do quite controlled stuff with that too. But I am craving throwing a shit tonne of paint at a canvas! Maybe that’s what I need to do soon… Lots of love to you. Thankyou for being so wise and aware alongside me too. x x

      • ” But I am craving throwing a shit tonne of paint at a canvas! Maybe that’s what I need to do soon…”

        Cool. I know someone who wanted to throw paint around an entire room. (grin). Maybe there’s more to graffiti art than meets the eye… Leftover housepaints can be a good source of free or cheap ‘throwing’ paint.

        I feel bad for the times when I’ve been unwell, while looking after my kids on my own. I hadn’t thought of the effect it must have had on them. Reading of your experiences is opening my eyes to work I must do to put things right in my kids’ world. I hope I can do something. For starters, getting stronger and more capable. Next, fending for myself in the world. I am humbled and honoured to hear your story. It has an effect on me. Thank you for sharing your own wisdom and insights, and expressing your feelings and thoughts.

        Love mixed with chagrin.
        Jessie.

      • Y’know, despite the fact that I don’t actually know heaps about you in your daily life, I can just tell by simply reading your writings that you are far more self aware than ever my mother was. I’m not a parent yet and so I can’t bring comment to that part of the mix, but I can talk as the child of a parent who was constantly on one mega life break down or in a sick state or battling her own illness in a heartbreakingly messy way. But, she obviously was doing her best. It just so happened that her best sucked a lot of the times. But other times it didn’t. There was so much reason behind why she was like she was, as there always is! And this is a very extreme example with my mum. I don’t really know why I’m saying all this, except for that you are doing the right thing to work with yourself and get yourself better. Your health is just SO important and the most important ingredient in Life’s mix. But, the kids needs are important too and I have every faith that you know that – I can just tell. You’ve said it yourself. Plus, we all always do our best with what we have, in ourselves and the world around us, and that is what you have done. And there are still many more years ahead. Sure what has been cannot be changed, but there is sure a hell of a lot that can be brought with the future.
        Y’know, the main thing with my mum was her abuse with Love I think. I am slowly learning that you can have all the unusual or extra responsibility as a kid, but if there is a healthy/healthier relationship with love, and your needs as a child are met, then this is SO different to if they are not. Anyway, enough words, I just want you to know that your love radiates off the page when you write. xx

  3. You sound very hard on yourself. You deserve love. Once you’re done with shame and anger, something else will appear. Been on the deep anger trip too, so I sort of know how you feel. Until that something else comes along, ride your wave and give yourself permission to feel the emotions because one day they will just change to something else. What emerges is a beautiful butterfly and your wings will take you far. 🙂 hugs

    • Ah, this reply brought tears to my eyes. Thank you love. I currently have a big butterfly picture I am drawing that spends its days sat on my bedroom floor, and when it’s finished it’ll sit itself over my bed to inspire me and remind me of the transformation these times bring.
      Thanks for the reminder to allow myself to feel what I’m feeling, sometimes it is easy to forget that it will pass. Having folk reassure you and remind you means a lot, and is often all you need.
      Tonnes of love X

  4. Pingback: You Have the Power to Heal Your Shame | Success Coaching with Edgar

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