What they don’t tell you about the aftermath of an overdose

There is so much that I wish I could have been told about these eleven months that would follow that day it all went a bit tits up. There is so much I wish I could have been warned about so I could have been prepared. There is so much I wish I could have had a chance to get to grips with, before this time of healing and processing hit me hard in the face.

My days are haunted with a fear that it’ll happen again. Not because I want it to, but because it happened once, so why would it not happen again? This can sound confusing, and something I don’t really share, because it sounds as though perhaps I want it to happen again…I most certainly DO NOT. So I fear sharing this fear with friends, in case it gives the impression that I am leaning that way again. I most certainly am not. I don’t share this fear because I am scared of raising fear in friends. This fear is here, not out of desire, but out of self-protection. But also because of the PTSD. It has stayed around because part of my mind is still stuck back in the event. Part of me is still on guard in case it happens again. 

This is hypervigilance. It is PTSD. It is not suicidality. Suicidality is a longing…a desire. It’s completely different. This is a fear. Something that shows me that I do not want to do that ever again. If I did, I don’t believe I would be this scared…or this ‘on guard’ CONSTANTLYAs much as I hate this fear, I feel bizarrely reassured because it shows me quite how much I really do not want it to happen again…ever.

But when you have experienced trauma, a natural part of what follows is a fear that it’ll happen again. Mix this with PTSD and it is intensified into a seemingly uncontrollable fear. I have now learnt that with counteracting and reassuring self-talk, this is something that can slowly be softened. But sometimes it can’t. It feels physiological. And in many ways, it is. The experience stays in your bones and in your mind, waiting there to keep you on guard, in case it happens again. My mind still thinks the overdose is happening – the ‘off’ switch has not yet been properly flicked.

I wish someone could have warned me about this fear. There is no desire there at all, there is just pain and fear. I wish someone could tell that inner child in me – the terrified and convinced one – that it is safe to have this fear. It turns out, I am the one that can do that. That needs to do that. And as I have done that – reassured and compassionately explained that I am safe now – this fear is beginning to settle. My distance with the past and my awareness of the present, is ever-increasing. And with this, brings healing.


The other thing is the self-disgust. The way that I want the world to swallow me up. Not because I don’t want to be here, but because I don’t feel I should be. I tried to take my life away…so what right do I have to be here and live mine?

The way these waves of self-disgust mean I predict the thoughts of others. The way I do not believe that the people around me truly can love me whilst knowing that I took an overdose. I do not understand how this is possible. I do not understand how people do not see me with a different light. I do not understand how people do not see me as someone who should be treated differently…less deserving, less loveable, less like me. I do not understand how the fact that I did this, doesn’t taint everything.

I get swings of confidence. Waves of it. I embrace the fact that I survived. I embrace the fact that I lived through all the pain previous. I don’t judge myself that I got to a place that I couldn’t take it anymore. I see it as just something that happened…just a part of life. I see it in the way I would see someone else’s: full of kindness and compassion, not judgement or hate.

But suddenly something will bring this wave to a quick halt. Always my inner critic’s dialogue. This is what brings these waves of self-confidence, acceptance and love to a tumbling crash. They suddenly remind me of the words, who am I to feel like this? Who am I to think I can be loved after what I did? Who am I to think I won’t be treated differently? 

And then I want the ground to swallow me up all over again. Not because I want it to, but because I don’t see how it shouldn’t.

Those are just two of the many things no one tells you follows an overdose. There are these painful things, sure. But there is also a shed load of positive things that no one tells you follows one too. And with this, is always a knowing that despite how loud your inner critic shouts, your deservability and your lovability is there by the shed load too.

Never do it. I hope you never put yourself in this position. But if you have, know that despite the chaos that this situation brings, there is a tonne of healing that it brings too.




One thought on “What they don’t tell you about the aftermath of an overdose

  1. Life seems to be a lot about believing the good things, and kicking the inner critic out. I love how your story of healing brings this out. May your confidence pour in and fill you to the brim with sweet belief in Love. And may you be strong when at low ebb, which comes like the tide, and have the endurance to wait patiently for the tide to become full again.

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