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Depression, Suicide, Love And Redemption

Depression, Suicide, Love And Redemption

World Suicide Prevention Day - My Story

WARNING: This post may contain triggers for those who have dealt with suicide or depression.

Today I read an article that got me to thinking about my history of depression. The comedienne, Sarah Silverman has admitted that she would be afraid to have her own children for fear of passing on her depression to them.  Having suffered from it myself, I can say with authority it is not much fun to admit to people that you have self-harmed, attempted suicide and been committed. It is even less fun to have lived through it in the first place.

Six months before I got pregnant, I was in the hospital being treated for an attempted suicide. Having been depressed for years, I had been taking Citalopram for about eight months, and for a little while it was working. But two months previously, my marriage had broken down, and my husband and I had decided to call it quits. I’d moved out for a month, but came back when we realised that I wasn’t yet able to make it on my own.

My job was wreaking havoc on my life, and I was far away from my family and friends, with no one really to talk to about all the things that were on my mind. I wasn’t taking my meds properly, and since I was on such a high dosage, this created certain issues… not least among them a mild form of psychosis.

One night, November 8th, 2009, in fact, I “realised” that I was just not cut out for this living thing. Ross and I had spent the evening watching The X Factor, and the Black Eyed Peas had guest-starred and sung their new hit, “Meet Me Halfway.” I don’t know why I remember that, but ever since, whenever I hear that song, I jokingly refer to it as my “Suicide Song.”

When the evening ended, Ross went to his room to get on his computer, and I went to my room (we were in separate rooms by then). Instead of going to sleep, I wrote a note. In it, I said goodbye to everyone I loved and begged forgiveness. I remember that Ross came in at one point and asked what I was doing, and I smiled and said that I was just writing a list or something. He left, and I set about the task of removing 3 months worth of anti-depressants from their blister packs and into a small bottle.

Later, Ross admitted that he’d heard the noise of the medicine being popped, but he hadn’t thought much about it.

I was very calm, I remember. I think I must have stared at all the little pills for a good five minutes, not really thinking about anything in particular, but just wondering if I’d feel any urge to stop. I didn’t.

I had a glass of water next to me, and I very calmly swallowed the pills in two big gulps.

I sat there a moment, again waiting for regret to take over. But it didn’t. I felt eerily rational.

I realised that I was a bit sad that I couldn’t say goodbye to my family, but I knew that there was one person I could say goodbye to. I went into Ross’s room and gave him a kiss on the cheek. I told him I loved him. And I began to leave.

He was always very perceptive, and he immediately put two and two together and said, “You’ve taken something, haven’t you?” I smiled and told him not to worry and tried to leave. He was panicked. He shouted at me, asking what I’d taken, grabbing his phone.

He dialled the emergency services. He screamed down the phone, “MY WIFE HAS TAKEN SOMETHING. SHE’S TRYING TO KILL HERSELF. GET OVER HERE. NOW!”

His fear was scaring me, and I ran back to my room and jumped into the bed, hiding under the covers. He followed me in, screaming and crying and looking wildly around. He was screaming answers to questions from the operator, and it was only then I realised that I’d made a mistake. No, not with the pill-swallowing. I was still convinced that was the right move. I knew the mistake was allowing him to sense what was happening. What if he stopped me? What if they saved me? Statistics raced through my mind, and I remembered all the things I’d read online on suicide websites about how people are left with failed organs from not taking enough pills to finish them off. I kicked myself for not washing them down with whiskey, as apparently alcohol makes it more effective. Damn!

Soon, there was a pounding on the door downstairs. The operator told Ross that they paramedics were there, but he’d have to let them in. He screamed at her on the phone, “TELL THEM TO BREAK THE FUCKING DOOR DOWN!”

I laughed. I regained my composure. “Go and let them in, Ross. It’s fine.”

He looked at me incredulously before bolting out of the room and flying down the stairs. The next thing I knew there were two uniformed men standing over me asking me what I’d taken. I didn’t want to talk to them. I hid under the covers.

I could hear them all talking about me. They found the empty blister packets and asked Ross how many I’d had. Ross didn’t know, but said he’d thought that some of the packets were already empty.

One of the men spoke to me. “Mrs Williams – I’m afraid you’ll have to come with us. We need to get you to the hospital. We’d like you to come willingly, but if you won’t, we WILL forcibly remove you. Do you understand?”

I stayed quiet and refused to budge. I could hear sniffles. I wanted them all to leave. Just leave me alone. Forever alone.

The man repeated himself, saying that if I didn’t come right then, he would put me over his shoulder.

Amazingly, it’d only been about 10 – 15 minutes since I’d taken the pills, and I knew they hadn’t had time to work yet. I didn’t feel anything.

The man moved toward me, and I sprung up. “Fine. I’ll come.” I didn’t want him to touch me. No one should touch me.

Down the stairs and out the door we went. To the waiting ambulance. Ross made to get in after us, and the paramedic told him he’d have to follow behind in the car.

I was sat on a stretcher, refusing to talk. They tried to make conversation, but I was having none of it. I felt the twists and turns in the road as we made our way to the hospital. I started to feel strange.

The man looked at me and got closer. “Are your eyes always this dilated?”

“Yes,” I woozily responded. “People always think I’m on drugs.”

The ambulance came to a stop, and the paramedic said we’d arrived. He stepped down to the curb and turned to help me.

That’s the last thing I remember.

When I awoke, I was in a small room. I could hear noises far off, but I was disoriented. Ross’s voice was in my ear, “Kate – you’ve had a seizure. Just stay calm. Don’t move.”

I swam in and out of consciousness. Sometimes there were more people in the room. Others it was just Ross and me.

I remember another seizure. I remember my body going rigid and shaking uncontrollably. I remember tiny tremors that went on and on for hours.

At one point, I was desperate to wee, and I begged to go to the bathroom. I was brought a bed pan, which they had to put underneath me. I wasn’t in control of my own body. I felt that I’d fill the bowl, but I couldn’t make anything come. When it did, it was a trickle.

Years later (or hours, or minutes) a doctor came in and said something about dosages and weights. I couldn’t follow, but Ross was obviously relieved, and I realised that I wasn’t going to die. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t happy. I just didn’t care.

I was soon transferred to another room, and I don’t recall much until I woke up the next day. Ross was there, having brought me a cute cat pillow he’d named “Porple.” He looked stressed. He said he’d called my parents and told them. I was devastated. It was bad enough that I’d failed, but now everyone would know. He also said he’d found my suicide note.

Not much was said. I tried to eat and drink, but I just threw it all up on the floor. A Polish male nurse had to give me a sponge bath and help me onto a portable toilet, as I was too weak to stand or move much.

Ross came and went, but I was exhausted and slept for the next couple of days. I was sent to new wards twice. Finally, I was told I would be released once I’d spoken to a counsellor.

How this woman ever became someone they trusted with suicidal patients, I’ll never know. She asked me why I’d done it. I didn’t have an answer. She asked me if I was serious. I said yes. She asked if I’d left a note. I said yes. She asked me why I chose pills. I told her that they were all I had on hand…

“Well if you were REALLY serious,” she said, “you should have jumped in front of a bus or a train. That’s pretty much guaranteed to kill you. It’s much more effective than a bunch of pills.”

I stared at her. Was she serious? She was giving me TIPS? I was quiet before I answered. “I’m not interested in making someone else responsible for my death. If I threw myself in front of a train or bus, then the driver would have to live with the guilt of having killed me. He would be scarred for life at having to actually SEE me die. Why would I ever put someone through that? Why would anyone?”

The woman was sadistic. “Do you think you’ll try again?” she asked me eagerly.

“I don’t know.”

“Well, if you were serious, you would…”

I asked if I could leave now. She smiled and said yes. And then she signed me off and I was discharged from the hospital.

The next few weeks were hell. I quit my job. I couldn’t go back there after that. And Ross and I were well and truly over. I didn’t know what was coming. I endured Christmas at Ross’ parents house, as usual, but there was little merriment. I had a new job lined up for the new year, and I’d decided I’d save up enough money to go back to America.

But within two weeks, I had met Mark. And everything changed.

Suddenly, there was happiness in my life. Years of self-harm and depression were pushed behind me. And though there were a few instances of upset (the first time I knew that I really loved Mark was when he caught me huddled on the floor, crying my eyes out with a pair of scissors in my hand… instead of yelling, as I was used to, he simply held me and sang Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” to me), I was pretty damned happy.

We had met mid-January, and at the beginning of April, I moved in with him. In May I got pregnant.

As soon as I found out, all the terror came pouring out of me. In fact, the night before I found out, I cut myself. My arms were covered in bloody scabs as I peed on the stick, and after my initial shock and ecstasy, my reaction was of pure fear.

How could I be a mother? I can’t take care of myself. What if I hurt myself? What if I hurt the baby? What if he gets my depression? What if I can’t love him? What if I kill myself and he has to grow up without a mother? What if what if what if what if…

Mark tried to help, but my hormones were all over the place, and whatever fear and paranoia I had was magnified by a million.

I don’t know what changed… but somewhere during that 40 week period, I made a vow to myself to be better. I wanted this child, and whatever happened, I would love him, take care of him and keep him safe and happy.

I now have a beautiful and amazing nearly 16 month old son, and I STILL struggle with depression. But I love him and would do ANYTHING for him. I know many parents say they would die for their child (and I would, too… in a heartbeat!), but for me the more important promise is to LIVE for him.

I am by no means cured. Depression will be a battle I fight until the day I die. After my hospitalisation, I was finally diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, which explains my inappropriate anger, my impulsiveness, and my self-harm. There is no cure, there is no real treatment other than talking about it, which I am loathe to do. I fight it. Sometimes I win, and I can relax a tiny bit. Sometimes I lose, and I have to wear long sleeve shirts for a few weeks. But through all of the horrible, crippling depression, I hold on tight to the fact that I love more than I knew I could, and I am loved more than I think I deserve.

**************

Have you ever suffered from depression? Do you have a story to tell? Please leave a comment and let others know they are not alone. You can be anonymous if you wish, but by speaking out about it, we can end the stigma associated with this horrible illness.

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Luciano Paolini

Thursday 11th of November 2021

I have BPD as well, and in particular, "quiet" BPD. I am high-functioning during work, my studies and in my life in general. However, this mostly applies only when I am around others. When I am on my own, I experience a lot of violence towards myself. I experience all of the BPD sympthoms "inwards", and even attempted suicide two times in my life (my first attempt being by taking pills). In addition, I am struggling with a porn adiction, which is the substance abuse in my case (whether porn can be considered an addiction or not is an entirely different matter of discussion, but it is a fact that in my particular case it has the same causes and consequences as any other substance/addiction). Also, I sometimes think that there is no issue with me, even though I am aware I am going through a very depressing time and an emotional turmoil. Part of the reason why I am sharing this is for that people to know we are not alone. Hopefully, we will all find the right strategies for us and find our best version :) .

Katie Reed

Monday 15th of November 2021

Thank you for sharing. I do believe it is important for us all to share our stories if we can without further harming our mental health. Porn can definitely be classified as an addiction if you are abusing it and using it as an escape from facing your own traumas. I hope you can get it under control and/or reach out for help in the appropriate places so that you can overcome it. No judgment from me, my friend, but I hope you can find peace without going to extremes. You're in my thoughts. <3

What Is “Quiet” Borderline Personality Disorder?

Friday 8th of October 2021

[…] little more compassion and self-love. Reed openly writes about her experiences with mental illness on her blog, and considers herself an advocate for people with the […]

What Is “Quiet” Borderline Personality Disorder? – Global Health Mag

Sunday 29th of August 2021

[…] little more compassion and self-love. Reed openly writes about her experiences with mental illness on her blog, and considers herself an advocate for people with the […]

Bernard

Saturday 27th of March 2021

I happened here looking while looking up misdiagnosis. I’ve been diagnosed with MDD and know it true. However I’ve always known something deeper is wrong with me. I have multiple suicide attempts spanning 30 plus yrs. One attempt, after downing all my prescriptions, I reached out to a friend 100 miles away. He remarkably found where I was, called EMS, and was taken to the ER for a stomach pump. I vaguely remembered the pounding and our dog barking. My parents woke and let them in. I was too far out to respond to any questions. I almost made it. I woke in the ER with a police officer holding my hand. She really helped me more than anything afterward. Thank you wherever you are. That attempt landed me committed for two weeks. Because alcohol was involved I had to be buzzed out to join the AODA group. The Psych asked me why I tried suicide and all I could come up with is low self-esteem. He told me people don’t kill themselves because of low self-esteem. Huge red flag (asshole). Maybe I should have said I don’t have an I. I have no idea who I am or am supposed to be. All other attempts included pills with no letter and no calls for help. Just failure after failure. I guess that is fitting. Now, at near 50 yrs old and with a beautiful 5 yr old daughter, that darkness has come hammering to the fore. I’ve been successful at tamping it down for around 15 yrs. It’s was so exhausting to interact at work and telling myself that the words I was saying were total BS. As I spoke I was terrified I would be exposed as a fraud or charlatan, be exposed and fires on the spot. Before that jobs came and went. That’s actually easier. It took me 30 yrs to get my undergrad. My interests changed repeatedly so I ended up with way more credits than required. And of course ended up with a pysch BA. I have accidentally almost become one of them. Thankfully I don’t have the energy or intelligence to become a full fledged member with a Phd. Anyway, always known I have BPD (probably quiet, but maybe a different personality disorder) and am afraid to address it with my therapist and PDoc. But I am terrified my daughter intuitively knows I am a toxic. Kids are too damn observant. That will ultimately save me, hopefully. Thanks for the listen.

Katie Reed

Monday 29th of March 2021

My heart goes out to you, Bernard. All those feelings are so valid for people like us, but the frustration is that they aren't REAL. We feel like we don't know who we are or why we should keep going... that no one likes us, no one cares, and like we don't matter. We read into what others say or do, fixating on what it means about us. But it's all just a lie. It doesn't stop us from thinking the worst, though.

I hope your beautiful daughter will help you see yourself differently. I have four kids, and I still struggle every day. But I can see how much they love me and accept me, however bad it gets. Please know that I am thinking of you and sending love. <3

Clay christensen

Sunday 17th of January 2021

Thanks for writing this. I'm on the other end, my wife has struggled for years, now we feel histones and clueless to find the right help.

She feels strongly she has quite BPD.. I beehive she is correct.. possibly with some bipolar type2..

But either way, how do we find the appropriate help. Everyone we try just seems to add to the hopelessness..

Thanks again

Katie Reed

Tuesday 19th of January 2021

I'm so sorry you're having trouble finding help. It is so so difficult to get a diagnosis, and it's really hard to find a therapy/medication that works for you. It causes a HUGE strain on relationships, and it can be such a burden for both spouses. I understand and feel for you. I have actually been working on a new blog devoted specifically to BPD so that I can try and help others to find resources and learn more about it. It's a work in progress, but you can see some of my reading recommendations and other helpful things there if you think it may help. I'm going to be launching a podcast, as well. I created the first episode literally the week before the pandemic hit, so sadly it kind of fell to the wayside, but I'm planning to relaunch soon. My email address is there, as well if you or your wife would like to reach out. I'm happy to chat if it will help. https://www.katiereed.com/

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