guest writer

How Feeling Unwanted Led to Suicidal Ideation

This article is from a wonderful Guest Writer, Unwanted Life, who has bravely shared their story of suicidal ideation and self-harm throughout the years and how they have come to terms with it.

Please be aware there is talk of suicide, suicide attempts and self-harm.

I’ve struggled with my mental health for as long as I can remember. I literally can’t remember a time in my life where it hasn’t been an issue, it’s been that bad for that long.

It all started because I was born black to a white mum and to a black father who was never in the picture. Growing up in a white family in a town that is overwhelmingly white and going to a school that only had one other person who wasn’t white, was tough. In short, my mental health problems can be summed up in one word: Racism.

Growing Up

hand print in some plastercine and signifies suicide ideation

Without the racism, I endured inside and outside of school, I wouldn’t have ended up being so damaged. Even if my mum had at least been emotionally supportive of the abuse I endured, I might have ended up different. But that wasn’t to be.

By the time I was eight years old I’d already become suicidal. I suffered daily thoughts of harming myself and killing myself. This suicidal ideation has been with me ever since, and I’m almost 40. What started during my primary school years has remained with me to this day, the only difference is the kinds of thoughts I have and how they affect me emotionally.

I’m so used to my suicidal ideation, that I often don’t even notice the thoughts anymore. Thoughts about killing myself are so common that they don’t always register with me. They’re just another intrusive thought I just leave alone to run their course while I carry on doing what I’m doing. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when my mental health is terrible that these thoughts can still push me to the edge, but that’s the exception to the rule.

That wasn’t always the case, obviously. While at primary school I used to be sent home from school for lunch because of the trouble my presence made due to all the bullying and fights I’d get drawn into. The problem was my mum would rarely be there when I got home. Every time I was home alone, I’d have a breakdown, get out the meat clever, and cry while trying to pick up the courage to chop off my left hand. Thankfully I never did it, but every day for years during my last few years at primary school I went through this.

Suicide Ideation

Throughout my childhood, adolescent years, and early twenties, these thoughts of suicide could tip me over the edge in seconds. In 2003, the last time I tried to take my life, I had gone out with friends to the pub, I was smiling and happy walking home on my own until I got to my door. When I crossed the door, I was hit with despair and the urge to kill myself. Within minutes I was looking for a way to hang myself and tried the light fitting.

However, the light fitting couldn’t support my weight, so instead, I harmed myself to deal with the feelings and went to sleep. When I woke up, I was taken to the hospital by my housemates as my patch-up job wasn’t working. I eventually got 10 stitches to close the wound. It remains my biggest scar.

My childhood right up until my early twenties had been nothing short of a roller-coaster of despair and a longing for death. Even though I experienced the constant thought of my death, saw images of my death, and dreamed of my death, somehow, I’m still here.

Stick People

red flag stuck in some carpet

My English book for high school was even covered in drawings of stick people all engaging in different ways of killing themselves. That’s all I’d do in that class, doodle stick people dying. I exhibit a lot of red flags over my mental state, but no one ever noticed, or maybe they just didn’t care, including my mum.

Surprisingly, even though I’ve suffered from suicidal ideation almost as long as I’ve been alive, I’ve only attempted to end my life three times. Although I’ve had a couple of close calls over the last few years when everything became too much for me.

One such time was during my postgraduate degree. Everything was going wrong all at once and no one was willing to help with any of it. I was stuck in a complaint about my mental health trust that had gone on for over a year, so there was no help I could get from them. Eventually, I broke and became fixated on a particular method of killing myself (I won’t say what in case it gives people ideas) while emotions ran amok. It took several hours before this episode and the unrelenting thoughts about this one method of killing myself went away.

This was unusual for me, normally I go from fine to trying to kill myself within minutes, no planning, just acting. But this time I’d even thought about what I’d write in my suicide note to my mum. I’ve never written or even considered writing a suicide note before, so I’m guessing I did this to help distract myself from my fixation on the method of suicide I’d chosen. Because all I could think about was this one method. It was an all-consuming thought.

Now

On a day-to-day basis, I will frequently have existential thoughts about my life and how things would be better if I’m dead. I think having these frequent thoughts has moved me from the emotional distress they’d cause me to be a nihilist.

Death stopped bothering me a long time ago, which, weirdly seems to function as a buffer strategy for me. Life and death don’t matter because nothing does. As a result of that change, I stopped being suicidal, which is weird to know.

Still, even I need some kind of meaning in life. The only thing that gives me that sense of meaning is my desire to help people avoid becoming like me. Which is how I ended up blogging about mental health and invisible disabilities. But that’s a story for another time.

My blog started as a mental health blog but grew to include invisible disabilities, with the first article going live on 14th January 2019

The choice of name, Unwanted Life, was born from my darkness. Long before I created Unwanted Life, I wrote to help me process my trauma. And, for a while, I considered turning these writings into a book.

The name I gave that book was ‘Life of an Unwanted Youth’ because I’d always felt unwanted. I adapted the title for my blog to turn that darkness into a beacon of light to help people feel less unwanted.

Unwanted Life Website and the Unwanted Life Shop or sponsor Unwanted Life

If you are suffering from suicidal thoughts or thoughts about self-harm please contact your doctor or go to your local emergency centre. You can also contact your local suicide prevention team by heading over to Wikipedia and finding your countries hotline.

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