Trigger warning: mentions of a suicide attempt.
Standing on the edge, looking down, leaning into the wind on the edge of Clifton Suspension Bridge. I didn’t see the world continuing with me in it. I left a note in my bedroom that said “sorry for the mess I left”, metaphorically speaking but, also, my room was a state. A man in a bright yellow jacket walks up behind me and asks, “Are you okay?” The moment the tears start to fall from my eyes. “No,” I say. “No, I’m not okay.”
That was December 2017. The worst night of my life, the moment it almost came to an end. After sleeping all day and waking up at midnight, I decided to end my life.
Three years and two months later. February 2021. I’ve just got out of bed early, showered and brushed my teeth for five days in a row. A milestone. I’m tackling life and recovery each and every day, feeling myself become stronger every single day. I’m surviving in a pandemic. It is now that I finally realise that things get better.
And I’m living proof that things get better.
I was always sick of hearing it when I was at my worst, I refused to believe it. “Things can’t possibly get better,” I would say. “There’s no way out of this deep, dark hole that I’ve buried myself in.”
Of course, it took a hell of a long time. I was shocked when I worked out that it had been three years since I was stood on that bridge at two in the morning. Not only that, but I have been suffering with my mental health since I was at least 14 years old. I lost my teenage years to mental illness, and I feared I would lose my twenties too.
Slowly, I’m gaining my twenties back. The pandemic has halted progress, as it has for a lot of people. I was finally leaving a period of isolation due to depression and other difficulties, and then suddenly I was forced back into isolation because of COVID-19. However, I was told by my care coordinator the other day that if it weren’t for the pandemic, I probably would have been discharged by now, or at least be on the way to doing so. Which came as a massive shock to me, I never imagined a day when I wouldn’t be surrounded by mental health professionals.
Back in 2017/2018, when I first started seeing the recovery team, I was only allowed to have my medication in weekly dosages due to me being suicidal. And the pharmacists would have to hold on to the prescriptions. Now, I receive my medication monthly like most people, and I hand in my own prescription slips.
It’s the little things that I’m noticing that are better, which are actually not so little at all, they’re huge recovery steps in their own right.
There are still days when I feel like I can’t get out of bed. Today I felt sluggish and as if I couldn’t do anything. But now I have the necessary skills to deal with these bad days. They don’t turn into bad weeks or months.
The point I’m trying to make is: it does get better. I had no idea how much better it could get but here I am, living proof that it does get better after all. And I know that one day, when things all return to normal, I will have the necessary skills and the strength to battle it. To face it. To continue to beat my inner demons.