Morbid daydream that saved woman’s life
I can picture it.
Overhead, trees would sway softly through the wind. A soft breeze would whisper through the nooks and crannies of the forest, sun streaking through leaves, casting patchy warmth onto everything it touched. Birds and other critters would swing their sweet songs - a soft orchestra of tiny life.
And I? I would be free.
It was a year ago that I almost took my own life. To put it simply, I'd had enough.
I was disillusioned, had no hope, and felt there was no way out from the intense pain I was feeling - pain that would so often leave me helplessly heaving into a silent pillow, in hopes no one would hear.
Living - when all you want to do with every fibre of your being is die - is the absolute hardest thing you can do. Because it's not just living with the pain, or the self-hatred; it's living with the guilt that you wanted to leave, but something stopped you.
Of someone telling my mother her only child was so brutally gone, and her screams that would follow. Of someone telling my godchildren that I wasn't strong enough to fight any more. Of someone telling my friends, who were barely hanging on, and having them too fall like dominoes behind me.
I felt like I was in quicksand, my emotions swallowing me, my own skin smothering me. I was, quite simply, a mess.
Everything was a chore. Things that once brought me joy no longer did, and I felt myself rely more and more on other people - only to be sabotaged by my own thoughts of self-doubt. I saw no colour in the world.
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My mind swayed back and forth into insanity, with tendrils of doubt, paranoia and helplessness screaming into each other. I was choking on the life that had been forced upon me. And I wanted it to end.
And it was only made worse by people telling me others have it way worse than you, or outright dismissing me.
Everyone gets depressed sometimes. No. Not like this.
I want to make something very clear: guilt-tripping someone is not the way to help someone who is suicidal. The guilt, you see, adds a whole other layer to the pain. You're tormented by your own existence - but you're even more tormented by the fact that you can't do anything without consequences. That guilt feels like a thousand knives flaying you alive - over and over again.
A lot can change in a year.
After my near attempt, I knew something had to change. An old thought once again popped into my head: If you don't do something different, nothing will ever change.
On the spot, I decided to uproot my entire life and drive 10 hours away to begin a new life in Melbourne. Everything I owned was crammed into my tiny little Toyota Corolla. It wasn't easy. I was lonelier than ever away from family and friends, tormented by my own warring mind. But I kept fighting.
I kept fighting, and I fell in love with "different". I fell in love with the little things. And slowly, colour began to once again seep in.
Trying new things is certainly not a fix-all for mental health. Though I may not seem like it, I still struggle on a daily basis with the lies my mind tells me. But insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Medication wasn't working for me. Self-medication certainly wasn't working for me. Life felt lacklustre - so I sought that sparkle out.
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Each day, I made a list. It didn't matter what was on the list. It could be something as small as cooking a nutritious meal, going grocery shopping, applying for a job, writing an article or social media post, or even brushing my hair. But those tiny lists gave me a sense of accomplishment, and even though I was a mess, I was achieving something.
I kept fighting. I kept pushing. I refused to let anyone who'd ever pushed me down keep me down. I didn't just want to succeed - I wanted to win. And somewhere in that, I found the fire to keep on living. I found that fire in the new.
After a lot of angst, I found a job I'm absolutely in love with. I made new friends. I met people I feel I can be myself around - scars and all. I visited new places, dyed my hair, and started doing all the things I'd always wanted to do, but was too afraid.
I urge you, try new. Whether it's a new flavour of drink, a new meal, a new place or a new appreciation for something small, it truly does make a difference. Take a moment to sit back and appreciate the little things that make the world beautiful - the warmth of the sun licking at closed eyelids, the scent of fresh flowers, the feel of the ocean breeze, the chirp of birds, and the soft fur of animals.
You don't have to wake up tomorrow and fall in love with life again. But that journey - however hard it may be - begins with a few simple steps. I know that trying and changing is one of the hardest and scariest things to do, but it is worthwhile.
Start small. It's okay to hold on another day, because you want to pat more dogs, or because you want to see the latest season of Game of Thrones, or read a new book, or play a new game.
It's okay to hold on because you're excited for the next big meme, or because you need to watch all the animal videos on the internet. It's okay to have days in bed, where you feel like a burden.
It's okay to not be okay. But what's not okay is giving up on that little light you have deep within. The light you were born with. The light that, when you let it shine, allows those around you to shine as well.
No matter how worthless you feel, I promise: you matter. In a year, so much can change.
And it all begins with one tiny step.
September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day.
In an emergency please call triple-0
If you or someone you know needs help, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the 24-hour Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.
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Zoe Simmons is a freelance writer. Continue the conversation @ItbeginswithZ