There had been no peaceful sleeping for days and I was
struggling. I felt out of control, and cried. Today would be like
yesterday and the day before that and the day before that.
My cheeks were hurting, and when they hurt my mind
knows that I am anxious. For the tenth night I had tossed and
turned. I had a 10am appointment with Dr Cartwright and I just
wanted her to take my pain away. The night before, I laid out the clothes I was wearing today so I would not have to fight about what top goes with what pants. Pathetic maybe, but I was prepared and wanted the morning to be as smooth as possible.
Yesterday was a terrible day. The feeling of living in a
chamber room, in a dark castle that could not breathe in light, or
sound or laughter, consumed me. I felt at times that it was a
constant struggle to walk through the bedroom door or the front
door as they were the gates that I believed kept me there.
I thought of an evil gatekeeper who laughed at me, and my spirit
was not willing to bare all that belonged to me. There were blue
skies of course and sunshine, but it never suited my soul that was being bombed constantly by heavy thoughts, deep seeded sighs, and the 10 hour a day thought “Am I in hell?”
I wanted to wake and save any endearing memories because they were the only clear thoughts that I could reflect on to keep me alive. I thought about my need to work in hospitality, which was destroyed by the chronic back-sciatic nerve pain, and my self- esteem was choked by my financial burdens that fuelled my lost spirit. I was trying so hard to grasp onto any control that I had left, but it eluded me in the end. I had run out of hope, faith, courage, trust and love. I simply just did not want to live.
The day, the last minute, the last thought, was and still is embedded in my mind. I picked up the picture on my bedside table. It was of a woman who was trapped in a glass shell. Her palms rested on the glass and she looked scared. She had the grim reaper on one side and tigers on the other side below. It pretty much represented me and how I felt. Trapped. Silent, isolated, vacant and just living, just breathing oxygen, as nothing else mattered.
Driving to see Dr Cartwright was just an effort. Everything was these days. These days ten years ago I was fit, living a dream. Now, just a shell. A broken shell wanting to sign off, check out, knock off, depart, exit, roll over, push up daisies, fade away, take my last breath, have peace in the gardens of the universe.
Gemma: How do you feel today?
Me: Trapped and desperate.
Gemma: What is trapping you?
Me: Hell and the horrible gatekeeper.
Gemma: How is he trapping you?
Me: He won’t let me out and is laughing at me.
Gemma: What makes you think he is laughing at you?
Me: It is a game to him and he is winning.
Gemma: What is the challenge?
Me: I don’t know?
Gemma: Put him in the empty chair and speak to him.
Me: Gemma, I don’t have the energy. I feel heavy in my arms and legs. I need to walk around.
I got up from the chair and walked around her office. I was
breathing heavily and I felt a physical response. My body was
feeling the weight of my dreams and goals shattering before me.
Gemma spoke to me softly and asked me to imagine whilst
walking what my life would look like without the dreams and
goals. I thought about it. My life would be blank, nothing and the
only image that kept coming to me was the gatekeeper. It
was the only vision I had, and that I could respond to. I needed
to let her help me.
Me: I don’t think I would be me. I suppose I would create new goals and new dreams.
Gemma: Go with that, keep talking, and say it again.
Me: New goals, new dreams, new goals, new dreams.
Gemma: What is stopping you now with your new dreams and new goals?
Me: Nothing really. I was fighting for the dreams and goals because they were all I knew. They were me and consumed all of me. I suppose I could look at this like a new clean slate.
Gemma: What is the gatekeeper doing now that you can start on a fresh slate?
Me: He does not have control over me.
Gemma: Can you sit down now and talk to him? Put him in the empty chair.
Me: No, I feel stronger standing up.
Gemma: Ok, talk to the devil in the empty chair.
Me: You cannot make me feel exhausted, afraid or lost. You will leave and never come back. I will not crumble. I will squash you, burn you and you will not succeed. I know who I am and where I want to go and I will not carry you anymore.
I felt this rage come up deep within and I started yelling at him
and it was scary, weird and it was working. I kept walking around looking at the chair just knowing that I was so angry and afraid but it felt good letting it out. I felt strange doing it as well. I then stopped abruptly, looked at Gemma and saw her smile. I felt warm, not alone and I needed a hug. I was exhausted.
Gemma: B, sit down and breathe. Here is some water. Take in everything around you, keep breathing deeply and exhale to settle you. I will be back in a moment.
Me: I feel very weak Gemma and I look terrible. I can see me on the outside and it is sad and confronting.
Gemma: You fought hard today, you made a break, you knocked down the wall, you did well B.
Gemma slipped out and I burst into tears and cried what seemed like a bucket full of tears. Did she plan to leave the room? Did she know what was going to happen once releasing all of my pain? Gemma entered the room and then asked me a question which jolted me.
Gemma: Are you going to try to die tonight or in the next 24 hours to end your pain?
Me: No. I think I have beaten the gatekeeper and I feel clearer. My friends now know and I can ask for help. I trust you and this process. I never really wanted to die but it was the only solution to stop my pain. My Doctor said to call him if I'm feeling lost and he would see me straight away.
Gemma: Good girl, I am very happy that you are aware of that and you have your Doctor’s support. It is most important that you focus on what you are feeling now, not how you felt yesterday or last week. Today was a great session for you and though you may feel down, tomorrow is a new start to a new you.
Leaving Gemma’s office was easier than I thought. My mind was trying to wake from the heaviness but I was ok. I was ok! I have to consciously be aware now to think ahead but it was hard and I started recalling the many days where I felt like I was slipping away. I had no energy to fight it and even though there was a light of hope on some days, other days it would just fade and be blurry. My mind would feel so busy with the constant thoughts of hell and my body either felt numb or was fighting to stay out of pain. My eyes would see all around me and then refuse to see anything at all. I would try to think of ways to die without actually hurting myself and I just wished that someone would jab me or poke a needle into me, which would let me sleep for life. I had had enough of my back pain and sciatic pain and just wanted to rip it out. I was barely surviving.
The day where everything changed was the week I had planned to end it all and I was determined to get it right. I had a rope and ladder. That was the easy part. The hardest part was to understand how it would feel with the rope around my throat.
With all housemates at work I decided to wrap my bed sheet around my throat and pull it tight. I burst into tears.
However the next week was a different, I had psyched myself into thinking that all the pain would be gone soon and so for the rest of the week I was happy that I had made up my mind.
No more pain, no more stress, numbness or worries.
The day was horrible and overcast and I loved that it soothed my soul. I did not think about what I was doing until I walked out the back door and it just hit me. I saw everything, heard everything, and it made me tremble. I saw me hanging from the old tree. I saw Keppy finding me hours later when she got home from work, running towards me, with gurgling cries calling out my name, gripping her face, circling me to try and get me down and not believing what was happening, running into the house to search for me and ring for help, then I see her with her outstretched arms trying again to hold me, but she falls to the ground and buries her face in her hands. Then I see my mum wanting answers, my dad trying to figure out why nobody cared. Why did no one pick up on it? Why did they brush off her cries? Where did she go wrong? Why did she not tell anyone?
I saw their pain, their fear, their anger, their cries, and their silence. And I saw my freedom and I was at peace, but what I did not count on was the force that this out of body experience was stopping me from doing it.
Through the tears I rang the only man I knew who could help me, my Doctor, Owen Roberts. This day could have been so horrible but it turned out to be the most amazing day of my life. Owen had known me since I was 11 years old. That day he gave me something more than medicine could ever do! He listened and held me in his arms while I cried. From that day I have healed slowly without the quick fix of an anti-depressant. I had to slowly unravel myself from the web and start embracing my problems. With the help of a financial counsellor, and Gemma, and knowing that Owen was there at any time, I really could see the light and realise how silly I was to not to ask for help. I had suffered by my own negligence.
When I got home the place was abuzz. Being a Thursday night they were getting pumped for the Tavern. I ate, showered and fell into bed, I was so drained. Then I got back up again, went to a drawer and pulled out a letter. The letter I wrote to say goodbye…..
“As my mind finds the levels of pain, my tears fall for the last time. No more rain. I don’t care about tomorrow and as I feel the fibres tickle around my neck, I feel the strands holding together. The anxiety suffocates me.
The ladder my only security.
Enter my beauty, begin with light, leave my soul and bring darkness tonight,
Leave me to rest, my life well lived, take my spirit on and please don’t grieve”
Please understand my mind as I am lost and hurting, and my body wants to rest.
It is too hard to fight.
I cannot do it anymore.
I love you all. Celebrate my life, not my darkness, ok?
Love B. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
The letter is horrible. Who could write such a letter? How could I leave this to my loved ones. My one decision tonight was to rip the letter up and bury the rope. This would help me move on and start getting my power back. So tomorrow that is what I am going to do. With that I smiled to myself in the mirror, told me I loved me, something that I have not done in a long time, went to bed and did not shed a tear. I was HOME!