I will never forget the date and exact time that my life imploded, 23 June 2018 at 2:55pm. My partner of 16 years came upstairs and looked perturbed, I followed him downstairs and asked if he was OK. “I can’t do this anymore” were the words that came out of his mouth “It’s over.”
Those words haunted me for a very long time, and still do to some extent. I would cry myself to sleep and wake up in tears with the words ringing in my ears. Whilst I didn’t initially move out of the home we had recently bought together, we lived separate lives and seeing him every day inevitably brought about much grief and anxiety.
I started to up my drinking and without warning, I spiralled very quickly and the inevitable happened, I took an overdose.
I woke up in an emergency room, hooked up to machines and cried when I realised what I had done, but more so that I had survived. Full of remorse and regret I went home and was visited by my local mental health team, who advised me that I needed help, but a psychiatrist appointment was two years away, and that I should consider going private. I wondered at the time how many people survive that two years.
The months that followed were tough, and as anniversaries came and went, my anxiety levels became worse and I made three more attempts. Thankfully I survived and am here to tell my story.
I was introduced to Harmless through a friend of a friend, who was seriously concerned about me. I went to my first meeting and met Katie. I don’t remember much about it, as I cried throughout and poured my heart out into the room. She sat patiently, never once interrupting and listened intently. I left Harmless that day, got in the car to drive to London for work, and cried again, but it was an outpouring of relief more than sorrow. I remember calling a friend and telling them that I’d made the first step to recovery.
Whilst the journey hasn’t been easy, the glimmer of a flickering light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel kept me going. I would visit Katie weekly, sometimes I would laugh and others I would cry, but she was there, listening and helping.
Since the New Year, I believe I have turned a corner. I have a new job; my confidence is higher, and I am enjoying life once again. Don’t get me wrong, there are bad days too, but I know what I must do now to escape that temporary dark place. I refer to the safety plan that Katie and I put together, I use distraction techniques she taught me, and I make plans to stay safe.
If it wasn’t for Harmless and the wonderful Katie, I wouldn’t be typing this today, and in simple terms I wouldn’t be here. I owe my life to this amazing organisation, and I will never ever forget that they saved my life.
Stay safe out there, and remember, it’s always OK, to say I’m not OK.
You’re stronger than you think you are.