"Thoroughly draining" - Fiona's experience of suicidal thoughts
Trigger warning – suicide and suicidal ideation.
For Suicide Prevention Month, Fiona talks us through the times in her life where she was overcome with suicidal thoughts, how she got through those periods and her message for anyone else experiencing thoughts of taking their own life.
I can vividly remember the day I tried to take my own life. It was a snowy, grey day in 2013 and I remember trudging home from work, feeling determined after having thought about doing it for weeks. Everyone was going to be out at a pantomime ironically. I wrote a suicide note, but luckily, my attempt was halted as my brother came back to collect something. I’m so glad he did, or I may not be here today.
I still get flashbacks from that time in my life. They often happen before I go to sleep which isn’t pleasant at all. I was in such a dark place and this lasted for years. I was diagnosed with OCD, anxiety and depression. I had several stays in psychiatric hospitals and went to A&E regularly with suicidal thoughts. My parents had to sit with me at home, to keep an eye on me as I never felt safe. At the time I was dissociating a lot due to the OCD, which meant I couldn’t focus on anything, even the simplest things, and the intrusive thoughts were there 24/7. It is thoroughly draining, having to cope with that and feeling so alone, despite living with my parents.
I had several stays in psychiatric hospitals and went to A&E regularly with suicidal thoughts. My parents had to sit with me at home, to keep an eye on me as I never felt safe.
In 2016, I started volunteering at a mental health centre and this proved instrumental in my recovery. I loved being there as I felt like I belonged and it was a welcome distraction. After a few years, I was very lucky to gain employment at the centre and became a Support Worker. A real highlight for me was when I started a singing group. I got such joy from seeing the service users having fun, meeting new people and growing in confidence. I worked there until 2020.
Sadly, the same year, I had a huge breakdown and I once again felt suicidal. I despised myself so much and felt there was no hope at all and that I deserved to die. Thankfully somehow, I still had the details of a therapist I had been to see in the past and contacted her again. Since then, I have had regular sessions with her and she is very supportive.
It has been a very long and bumpy journey for me, but I am getting there slowly. I am more stable these days. I’m on really effective medication and I am thankful everyday that I have such a strong support network around me. In my case, keeping busy and distracted is key, whether that’s with work or hobbies, as this gives the intrusive thoughts less of a hold. I started writing poetry and songs and that has helped me to get my feelings out. I am also the vocalist in a band and sing and write for other artists.
I never thought I would be here today and if you’re reading this and in a bleak place, you probably won’t believe me, but please hang in there as you can get through horrendous things and come out the other side.
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