Today I had a bad day. Tomorrow, I'll have a bad day. I call them bad days, and sometimes they turn into bad times. These are the days the depression pops its rotten little head up; like a cold sore on the day of a date. A lot of the time, I can't say for sure what makes a day bad. And d'you know what? There usually isn't anything. I just, as my therapist put it to me, woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Not today, though, today was a day anyone could have had. I lost my keys, my computer decided that it was its time to go, my ticket got stuck in the turnstiles at the station, I missed my train, my backup computer was having a duvet day, and to put a nice head on this pint of misery, the girl I'd been seeing went back to her ex. A poxy f**king day.
I know that the next few days will be tough for me. It's gonna be hard to get out of bed. Like a lot of people who suffer from a mental illness, my bed is my haven. It's my den; my warm and safe little burrow away from the scary world out there. But I'll get up tomorrow. Because I got help before. Before is when I couldn't deal with my illness. In fact, I didn't even know that I had one.
I used to deal with these things in an altogether more "different" way. "Fine", I'd say, when someone would ask how things were. Or: "Grand"; or "not too bad. I wasn't fine or grand. I WAS bad. My head was a crazy swirl of problems and thoughts; my heart was broken. Some problems were big, some were small. Some were black and white, others were grey. Some had their own, obvious solutions, in full Technicolor. But I couldn't see them through the clouds. There was one solution I could see to all the problems, flashing neon red through the grey cloud in my head: SUICIDE.
Please read this sentence carefully: SUICIDE IS NOT A SOLUTION. When I first contemplated suicide, it was the hopelessly irrational and melodramatic way you see in the movies when a teenage girl goes: "I'll kill myself and then you'll all be sorry!"; that kinda way. Hindsight is a beautiful thing, and I know now that I was depressed the whole way through secondary school. In my Leaving Cert year and first year of college, shit, as they say, was about to get real.
I got started into a course I hated, I was piling pressure on myself to make college and county football teams, there were financial issues at home and then, my girlfriend of two years broke up with me. So now, when you picture your stereotypical depressed person, that was me for the guts of 3-4 months. Staying in bed all day, not talking to anyone, not washing; the works. I could see only one way out. I wasn't going to leave a note, I wasn't going to tell anyone. I most definitely wasn't going to do it at home. I didn't want to upset anyone. I wanted to end everyone's hurt, to stop being a burden on my family. I wanted my own suffering to stop. I was going to jump out in front of the express train from Connolly at 16:20 on a Thursday evening. Sitting here now writing this, I obviously didn't do it. I stepped back from the edge. Soon after, by a stroke of divine intervention, a friend took me out for a spin and asked me out straight: "Have you ever been thinking about suicide?" I opened up. He brought me home to my parents and I told them too. I was so lucky. I am so lucky. Pieta House, the incredible people in Pieta House, had an opening the next day. My therapist's name was Joe, and I saw Joe every Tuesday at 7 pm for most of the summer of 2014. As well as encouraging me to talk about my problems and feelings, Joe also helped to teach me skills for dealing with the bad days and the suicidal thoughts.
It's not a cure. It's what it says on the tin: a therapy, a treatment. It makes things easier to deal with. It's not one size fits all either. Some people need medication. Some need meds and therapy. That's OK too. It's OK not to be OK. The first step is telling someone. Everyone, no matter what, needs help with their problems. Because a problem is a problem no matter how big or small. I can't and won't lie. I still get suicidal thoughts when I'm having a bad time. I can deal with them now. I know they're not rational. I know I'm worth having around. Today was a bad day. Tomorrow might be too. But today is World Suicide Prevention Day. And that reminds me that today, and every day that I get to wake up, is a good day.
If you've been affected by any of the content in this article, please please please talk to someone or get in contact with one of the following:
Pieta House: (01) 6282111 / Samaritans Ireland: 116 123/ Aware: 1890 303 302