The Night My Life Didn't End


Trigger warning: this post discusses self harm and suicide and although care has been taken to be as sensitive as possible, you may find the content triggering if you struggle with suicidal thoughts or self harm. 

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The night my life didn't end started as any other. I had spent the night with friends, laughing and joking. I was 16 - I look back now and laugh at the fact I thought that was practically an adult - and I thought I knew everything.

I had been struggling with self harm, and a whole host of mental health issues that were at the time nameless to me. I didn't know what they were, I just knew that it felt like monsters came for me in the dark, I knew that it felt like drowning, like rage. I knew that it made me want to die.

I had never made a serious attempt on my life before, but rather lingered on the edge of it. Each and every time I had come to that edge, each of these instances had something in common - a sense of deep, agonising despair.

But this night, this night was different. I left my friends to go home, and walked to the bus alone. The street was eerily silent, and the air felt dense. A strange feeling settled down on me, slowly creeping over me, through me.

Nothing around me felt real; I felt like a ghost. The whole journey home, I couldn't shake this feeling, if anything it grew stronger. This crippling sense of not belonging.
Absurd as it may sound, I grew confident that in fact I had already died. Mentally, I was transitioning, but my body was holding me back and this is where this disconcerting feeling originated from - I was stuck in limbo. To be free, all I had to do was physically die - this wasn't scary, you understand, because I had already died. This wasn't suicide, this was completing the mundane, physical part of something already in motion. I felt no fear, no sadness - I felt nothing except the absolute certainty that this was right. There were no tears, no hesitance, just calm assuredness.

The fear didn't come until I got home; from the bus stop I could see my bedroom and the light was on. As a closet self harmer, I was always terrified that my parents would go into my room and discover anything that might give me away, and anyone in my room without me was a source of great anxiety to me. Seeing that light on began to break through my dark reverie, and I practically ran home, knowing something was amiss.

I was usually very thorough about hiding any "evidence" of my self harming, but earlier in the day, I had been interrupted by someone coming upstairs, and instead of my usual hiding spot, I had panickedly thrown it behind my bed, between it and the wall. I was always so careful, but this once, I wasn't. In an unlikely twist, that same night my parents had decided to lay new flooring down in my room, intending on it being finished for me coming home as a nice surprise. In doing so, they had moved the bed and found...enough. Enough to ask questions, enough to know what the answers would be. The sick, heavy dread that ran through me as I knew in that moment the pretense was over. It felt like the world was crashing around me, and it felt very real now.

Of course I denied it, said I was hiding it for a friend, and of course the pieces fell into place quickly for them, and they demanded to see my arms. In that instant everything was over, I knew it was game over.

Except here's the thing; it wasn't.

I was alive. What an unlikely set of circumstances that fell together to allow each of these unusual and unlikely things to occur together, to allow my parents to find out at the exact time I reached a point that even nearly 10 years on I consider as a point of no return. My life had 2 paths that night - that night was a turning point.

I'd love to say that life improved dramatically after that night, that there was an instant fix, but there wasn't. But that's okay.

The thing I had feared most - them finding out - wasn't the end of anything, it was the beginning. It was the beginning of my recovery, it was the beginning of my life.

I frequently think about everything I would have missed if that night had taken another path; if just one thing had been different. If they hadn't decided to lay the flooring, if I hadn't been interrupted that day, if I hadn't gone home in the first place.

You see, when we think of suicide prevention, we think of great gestures, meaningful gestures full of purpose but sometimes, our random acts of kindness have consequences far beyond what we can imagine. Never underestimate the power your kindness, no matter how small or irrelevant you think it is, has on the lives of others.

I think of the things I would have missed if that night had gone differently. My life, myself, everything is so different now than what it was then or what I could ever have imagined it would be. I didn't know, and I might never have found out. Meeting Chester Bennington, seeing my favourite bands live, going to university, meeting my fiance, buying our house, traveling together, planning our wedding - things that would never have existed if it wasn't for a new floor.

Life isn't perfect. I still battle with my mental illness, and admittedly, sometimes it still feels like I'll lose. But on those days, I think of that night. I'm here despite the odds being against me that night, and that's not for nothing.

My message to you if you are struggling too right now, is that there is life out there for you. There is life that you can't even imagine right now, and not being able to believe it or see it doesn't make it less real. You have a future, like I had a future, like we have a future.
Life won't always be easy, and there are no quick fixes; recovery isn't linear and it doesn't need to be. Baby steps are still moving forward, and every small step gets you closer to that future. Don't be afraid to reach out, to move towards recovery - don't be afraid to believe in your future.

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If you are struggling right now and feel like you need to talk to someone, The Samaritans can be reached at 116 123.


Interested in more content related to mental health? Click here to view more posts on this blog about mental health.




Comments

  1. This touched me so much. It reminded me of when my parents also found out about my self harm and everything that led to it, how it affected my life. I'm so happy that this worked out to bring you where you are now. I'm glad that you're thankful for that time despite the horrible feeling of it. I can't believe how much I can relate to you and now that you're here and what you're doing for mental health awareness makes me so happy and inspires me, makes me emotional and want to cry all at the same time. All the love in the world �� Lavrax x

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    1. You are an actual fave, thank you so much for the kind words! I 💖 you!!

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  2. "There is life that you can't even imagine right now, and not being able to believe it or see it doesn't make it less real."
    This particular line touched my heart. I don't suffer from mental illnesses but sometimes I doubt the point or purpose of my existence just because I can't see a vivid future for myself much like young adults my age do. This is a great reminder I need for myself from time to time. Thank you so much for sharing your story ��

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    1. I'm glad you liked it and it helped you in some way, That means so much to me! 💕💖

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  3. This is wonderfully written and bravely honest. I'm fortunate that Mum and I are best friends; I've always told her everything and I can't even count the amount of times that's saved my life. Thank you for writing this; it's an important message and can't have been easy to put out there. Take care of yourself.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I'm so glad you have such a great relationship and support network 💕💖

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  4. A really well written post. Well done for sharing.

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    1. Thank you so much, I really appreciate you saying that 💕

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  5. Just wanna say thank you for a lovely post. Let's see if this works from my laptop, rrather than Iphone and Ipad.
    Thank you for sharing something so honest, fragile, and pure. There's a lot of people like us, desperate to know that they are not alone - and posts like yours help them along the way.
    Have a great day:)

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    1. Thank you so much, your kind words mean the world to me 💕

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  6. Such a beautiful message here. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It's so important that we talk openly about mental health and suicide. Thank you so much. You are a beautiful soul with an important story.

    Rach x

    https://rachaelhope.co.uk/

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    1. Thank you so, so much for your kind message, it means so much 💕💖

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  7. This is so beautifully written. It's an amazing piece. It really touched me. I can relate to it. It hits you and gives you a lump in your throat. I'm so happy your parents decided to re decorate. 💚 Mummythomas.blog xx

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  8. So touching, you would be surprised to know just how many people go through the same illness. This is my story in you sweetheart. Beautiful article ❤💙

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  9. I know that feeling and admire your bravery of sharing that story. Stay encouraged! Keep sharing!

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