Are you going to kill yourself?

I recently met with the most helpful, encouraging mental health worker that I have experienced so far. He approached mental health in the way a doctor would approach any other health complaint, he requested the symptoms and largely left sympathy out of it; he was not delicate with his words and he asked the questions he needed answers to. I’d answered all but two before, but those two have been resonating through my head for the past week and one of them is the title of this piece. 

It’s a question I had never prepared for because it is a sentence that is not used. I’ve been asked if I was suicidal, I’ve been asked if I ever made plans, but it had never even occurred to me that someone might ask directly if I were going to kill myself. I said “no” mostly out of shock and to make the question go away, but also out of hope that I would believe it. Declining felt like a huge commitment though; in the mindset of that day I did not feel as though I was out to end it all, but my mindset is never, ever exactly the same on any two days and it is a topic I do find myself considering frequently.

I did have a plan once.

I set a date and wrote a letter said goodbye to people (I rarely used to say goodbye to anyone at all, it always felt so final) and the feeling of relief in the week leading up to that date was incredible. I felt lighter and lighter each day at the thought of leaving my mind forever. I was smiling more than I had for a long, long time. But then the date came around and my mum decided we were going out that evening and so it didn’t happen. And for that night I rather enjoyed being alive. So I stuck around.

Thinking about that part of my life is what keeps me here now, even on my darkest, gloomiest days, because there are so many times I have been thankful that we went out that day, so many times I have realised that life gets better. However pointless or painful this life can seem, the promise of a day of sunshine every now and then makes all the rain tolerable.

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