You know what is silly? I got so overwhelmed, upset and suicidal recently that I finally actually called Lifeline. That’s not the silly part, that was the smart part, the silly part is the reason I was calling was because I was feeling really embarrassed (read: deeply ashamed) about this bullshit psychosomatic pain issue I have which has been flaring over the last few weeks and yet until right before I finally picked up the phone I thought I would rather die from that embarrassment than make that simple phone call.
Now I didn’t call helplines, I’ve only done it once before (read about it here) and that was when I wasn’t suicidal or upset and it was a brief call purely to try and understand how they operated (this was due to some persistent paranoia about possibly being hauled off to a hospital by the police), and to let you guys know what to expect and also to give myself the confidence to call if/when I really needed to. But right now I am going to get on my soapbox and tell you to swallow your pride or your fears and when things get bad, just call the fucking helpline!
The other day my stupid hands stopped working to the point of being unable to type on my computer! This meant I couldn’t use my writing as my usual therapy to work my way out of anxious situations and I started catastrophising that ‘what if’ I couldn’t write ever again? Then in my tiny mind, there was absolutely no point to life. Then those feelings were overthrown by feelings of intense shame and embarrassment about the fact that this whole hand problem is all caused by a psychosomatic issue, I felt ashamed about my inability to control my own mind and prevent it from trying to destroy me and that turned into thinking about every negative thing that has ever happened and totally losing sight of any of the (plentiful) good bits. I decided that I couldn’t keep doing this anymore, thinking, living; I was too bloody exhausted.
An hour prior I had been reasonably okay and yet here I was about ready to end it all based on a spiral of negative thoughts, I grabbed out my hidden tablet stash and then I paused for a second, it was 2pm, a really impractical time to kill myself, the kids needed picking up and I couldn’t do it at home because someone would find me – FUCK! Then they would definitely think I am attention seeking and that really wasn’t my fucking goal here believe it or not, I just needed the pain and frustration to stop.
So, I picked up the phone, took a deep shaky breath and called Lifeline. I guess my confidence boosting technique had helped me more than I realised after all.
An older guy answered the call, I don’t know his name, they don’t automatically use names at Lifeline, but for the purposes of this I am calling him Barry because he sounded like a lovely old guy I worked with once called Barry. Anyways, I introduced myself in the dignified manner of immediately bursting into tears, on the bright side I guess he gets that a lot because he could accurately decipher “sob-talk”. He was super nice, validating and understanding and he let me vent even though my problem was stupid – well I thought it was, he said he didn’t think so.
I’m like: “I’m feeling like an attention seeking idiot *sob* and now I’m calling you which is pretty much just proving that that’s true *sob* but I can’t kill myself right now because I don’t have time, I have to pick the kids up form school…*sob*” After quickly convincing him that suicide was definitely off the menu for the moment Barry was like: “You have called us once before, ever, and we get people who call us every single day 5-10 times a day, you are hardly one of our ‘frequent flyers’ it’s okay for you to call and you know what? It’s okay for them to call too! If you need to talk, you can always feel okay about calling us.” That made me feel better, we chatted a while and then he gave the spiel about my perception being my reality and whatever the cause of the pain was I was still feeling it and that made it real, he assured me I was already doing all the right things by seeking help and being open minded.
The call made me feel heard and a lot more grounded and when I got off the line I was actually smiling, if you need to feel better call Lifeline Australia (13 11 14) or your countries version of the suicide hotline. Seriously, I was holding the bottle of pills in my hand (I neglected to tell Barry that part) and had been ready to literally die from what was essentially embarrassment, suicide has been my ‘go to’ response for such a long time now that it was difficult to see that all I really needed in that moment was someone compassionate to vent at. Damn my impulsive streak.
I guess what I am saying here is at least open yourself up to the possibility of calling before making any permanent decisions, if you are hell bent on suicide then you have to admit you have nothing to lose by making the call and if you are scared of being talked out of it then you and I both know deep down that means part of you wants to live and while living can be hard and painful and scary, there is help for the bad bits and it is worth holding on because life can also be fucking beautiful and amazing and you deserve to experience the good bits too!
Do you get really, devastatingly embarrassed?
Have you ever called a helpline? If so what was your experience like?
Lifeline Australia ph 13 11 14