Suicide and Me

Thursday, 12 March 2015

"That's interesting, I thought people with bipolar were the sort to attempt suicide." 
Brushing a beer-foamed moustache from his upper lip, an acquaintance of a friend professed to me in a pub three weeks ago. 
Sat on the bar side, I picture him hanging an imaginary patronising white coat over his shoulder. 
He does not go to bed rearranging his doctorate certificates above his bed, he's probably never cried in front of his mum, he does not know me, he does however hope I'll respond "oh yes." When he inevitably and eventually asks me if I can draw comparisons towards myself and Stephen Fry.
"Sorry?" I slump, biting the red wine remnants off of my lip and the rest of the skin on it nervously.
"You just don't seem the type."
I pat the pads of my finger around my glass. Eyes pointed at my feet, frowned.
"You're too confident and happy for that shit, you know?"
I wonder how I can satisfy his cliche perception, clawing at what it is that he thinks I am purely from a label.
What would Stephen Fry do?

When I was younger, I spent a lot of time off school ill. 
At the time, I knew something hurt or something didnt feel right, but I wasn't sure what. 
My stomach knotted and my head pulsed, a virus that kids contract by any other name or symptomised issue and Id plead desperately to have the day off. 
More often than not after tear tempered fits, my parents would let me have it.
I was- ill . I did feel strange and uneasy, as though I could vomit on queue the same way boys of my age were chanting "Pull my finger! see what happens!" And farting on demand. At any given point if I let myself I knew I could pass out cold or  throw up the three plates of mash potato Id asked for dinner.
Sometimes, I'd eat baked beans on penne pasta out of the pan at 2am and then throw it up hours later. 
I felt hollow, I wanted to cement this strange hole closed and I did so with food. I imagine now this is the relationship I have with wine. 

In those days off Id mostly watch loose women and stare blankly at Facebooks old, tired interface. It was an easy release, much less demanding than maths or history, and under the blanket on my sofa i felt safe. Each day would pass and every morning much later than I should've woken Id utter a 'still not well' from beneath the duvet, eyes peaking uncomfortably over and Id be left. 
It was usually the third day in that I'd stare forcefully at the window pane of my sitting room and feel alive. Convulsing with ideas and repulsed that I'd missed educating myself in the same way others were. I suddenly felt as though I could take over the world, be whoever I wanted, do more than my peers and was halting that by not attending.
Id go back to school and follow a similar routine, for years.
Even earlier than this memory, I remember watching Project Runway, believing I could win it at 11 years old and buying a sewing machine and forcing myself to make outfits for parties in under 5 hours with the remenants of a curtain. 
Later, id find myself in a shower after a phonecall, mind racing and, at the time, jovially forcing the thought 'you're like Jesus.' Stepping out of the shower and realising for those few seconds I genuinely believed it. I was high off of whatever my blood was nourishing me with, narcissistic and a bloated ego from a natural chemical drip plugged into my brain.
Then, a boy would break up with me, I'd throw my head over the bath to wash my hair to go to his best friends party, my friend listening to me sobbing through the echo of her hairdryer.
My nose blocked with snot that smelt of his cologne. I down a litre of vodka that night and make it out alive but experience depression in its extreme for the first time at fifteen. 

I struggle, I pace, I cry in lessons uncontrollably, I score scissor marks down my finger tips so I can't write my GCSEs and write letters to examiners instead of actually writing the paper I know I am competent enough to write. I feel ashamed. (I have withheld tears writing this until now)  I feel failed. I am embarrassed by what I have become but I assume I'm just hormonal. Mostly, because That is what three different doctors have told me. 
Six weeks later, at a party at my own house, I panic. I walk upstairs to see my friends and I don't recognise anyone. 
I know, everyone. 
They are all just faces and voices, potentially mocking me, and it is overwhelming.
Feeling anxious, I sit in the downstairs bathroom and have my first panic attack. Recovering, I am devastated. Devastated that it has happened and devastated that the short breathed paranoia has stopped. 
Reaching for the bottle hidden beneath the toilet basin, I drink half a cupful of bleach and pass out beside it. 
I vomit, I cry, I call a boy I have quickly convinced myself I am 'now in love with' who is just also a boy and sit out in the snow and cry some more until I pack my bags and move to my friends house for three days. 

Since then, I have felt this way countless times. I have acted on it six times. Sometimes in a full attempt and others to seek attention. Mostly, seventh pill in on an attempted overdose I see sanity for the first time in months and stop. In those episodes, I can't see my family. I can't see my friends and I can't see those who love me. They are invisible to me and I am invisible to myself.

I write this whilst I'm in a job I couldn't have dreamed of. I write this with family who love me beyond my worth, with friends who rely on me. 
I write this as an individual who deep down knows they have a lot to give to the world and would never let the perception of a mental illness get in the way proffesionally or personally. 
But, I am still a human being.
My body refuses to tell anyone that I know cares about me that this is going on in my head, but now I call a doctor. She's not pressured with emotional connection to save me, she won't go home and cry that I'm sad but she knows that I am a human being who needs help and that's what she does. This doesn't make my family or friends redundant, but it's not their job to superglue fragile pieces back together.
I just need their reassurance. 

Last week I attended the funeral of a family member who took her own life. 
I have spent these seven days reflecting on her beauty, her importance and her love- regardless of how long I felt them. She imparted emotions that so many of us are yet to feel or are yet to appreciate we have. 

Through devastation and loss, through grief and through pain and compassion, I look to her for telling me unspoken that my life is worth living. That people care. That I have as much time as I grant myself. 
That I will be conscious of my thoughts if not for myself but for the beautiful baby she has left with us in this world that might also need this message one day. 

What you have done is not selfish, what you have done is not indulgent, what you have done makes me strive to be a stronger person that wish I could've been whilst you were here.
Rest in peace. 


  1. Thank you for being brave enough to post this, Charly. This is a very important post and I'm sure it will help loads of people. As for you, my love. You are an incredibly strong person who has overcome so much and for that, I admire you. xx

  2. Your posts always make me feel like I can't breathe with both... I don't know, claustrophobic relating-to-it and also edge of your seat engrossed on reading them
    If that made sense. What a brave post. I can't get over the way you write, it's brilliant. Thanks for taking the time to write this post - hope it helps you a well as us reading.

  3. This is the first blog post I have ever cried at. In a world where depression is often shrugged off as hormones or a phase it's comforting to know someone feels the same. Thank you so much for writing this xx

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  5. This is a fantastic post Charly! I had a panic attack today after not having one for years and this has just made my day! People should be more considerate of those with a mental illness! <3 <3

  6. Charly,
    I hate to read something so beautiful and turn my comment into something about myself, but I want to show what you mean to me. When I was fifteen, my friend committed suicide, she was also fifteen. When, four months later, I was still upset about it, my parents were surprised.. like it was somehow less devastating because she killed herself. I've never forgiven my parents for this, and it has made me fearful to talk to them about my depressed thoughts, about the brief few months where I cut myself. And it feels fucked up, and I don't know what to do with it. But reading this, I feel like it has meaning. Like I'm not just this depressed lump walking around. In a way, you give me life.
    Thank you for sharing this. It means, in short, more than I can write. But you probably could. I'm heartbroken for your family, and I wish you all the strength in the days to come. I will be thinking of her, and you, and her child, and holding you all deeply in my heart.


    1. Sara, please email me. I cried my eyes out reading your comment and would love to respond more personally. x

    2. Charly, I sent you an email. Thank you for being so kind and responding.

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  8. Sending you love. This is a brave post to write, and took guts.

    Also 2 years ago, actually around when I met you? - although those events are in no way linked - I had horrific depression, when I went to my Doctor told me "I would just get over it". Thankfully I found another doctor and support. I don't really want to go into further on a public forum, but I found this relatable, and I'm sorry about your friend. That's awful. There are no words.


  9. Dear Charly,

    I don't know you personally but I would like to say thank you for posting such a raw and honest piece - putting yourself in a vulnerable place. I endure similar dark thoughts about myself and drown in shame and self-loathing from time to time. But I would like to say that you owe yourself the love that you give so freely to others. You need to love yourself unconditionally - as a woman it is necessary. I'm trying to love myself whole heartedly, but sometimes I feel like I have to earn it, work for it and suffer a little, but that's not true. In the end loving yourself doesn't make you vain or selfish -- it makes you indestructible. So do not seek the approval of anyone other than yourself.

  10. Charly you are such a beautiful soul with an absolute talent for pulling thoughts out of heads and putting them into beautiful powerful words.
    Personally, I've been in my own personal hellish version of some of your stories in this post, and it takes a brave person to speak about it and all it entails (which is so much more than many will ever understand) I can remember my mother thinking I was melodramatic and too sensitive when I tried explaining to her that I was sad and confused as a young teen. I remember hearing the term "suck it up" and "toughen up" and "you can't just be happy one day and sad the next, your just going through a phase" and I was from then on horrifically secretive about my feelings with everyone, which leads a person into a dark lonely hole.
    Anyways, I don't want to turn this comment about me, but rather to commiserate. When I was your age, no one was open about these things. We didn't share stories unless you were in group therapy, but talking about it is awareness and I'd do anything to not have another person go through having someone doubt their feelings, or stereotype them as all kinds of crazy. We live a world where words like "suicide" shouldn't be considered a dirty word we don't talk about. Not talking and educating ourselves is a massive part of the problem.

  11. I have never heard the description of feeling like you could vomit at will before but this is something I have felt a lot and felt so weird about it because I knew I couldn't really do so, but I felt so strongly like I could. I'm glad that wasn't just me.

  12. This is so beautifully written <3
    Jabeen x

  13. I had a doctor who just thought I needed to talk through a few things, then gave me a number of a counselling service which had closed. Also had a friend who had apparently suffered depression as well who told me to just get on a deal with it (how does that work!?) Thanks everyone!

  14. - no english native-
    Having stuggled with mental illnesses since childhood and having been at the utter darkest and deepest hole myself, I want to say to everyone including Charlie: that you are among the strongest people in the world if you work on getting better despite being diagnosed with bipolar (or other illnesses)! And I swear, it will get better. It might take years and you might struggle or even fall back a bit but - damn- the fight to live (and being alive) will be worth it!!
    So, clapping my hands and making a curtesy for all of you!

  15. Thank you so much for writing such a heartfelt and honest post. One of my closest friends has been facing depression for the past years and I've always wanted to understand her, if only a little bit. Before reading this, I've never fully imagined what she was going through but now this post has filled me with so much love and support for her and you. You are a wonderful human being. Thank you x

  16. this is such a beautiful post. I love her entire blog but her ability to express emotional and physical pain is something I will forever envy.You're such an inspiration Charly.

  17. I've tried to rewrite this several times but nothing looks right. All I really want to say is thank you for touching on issues that many others avoid or maybe lack the courage to. Every time you write a post on mental health it makes me feel so much more...normal. I'm not sure what's wrong with me, but I've also had issues in the past when I had depression where people would say things like "Oh, but you always seem so happy. You don't LOOK depressed." or "You have no reason to be depressed," as if they somehow know everything going through my mind or life. I hate that it has to be justified. I hate that people can't just... understand. I'm glad that you are writing these posts to help them to though. Thank you for being so brave and open about your experiences, it's more appreciated than you will ever know. I wrote a post on it a while ago but feel ashamed to even re-read it because, for some reason I've always felt so embarrassed about it. I am slowly accepting it more though.

    all my love, Hira <3.

  18. So brave to share this. Beautiful post. Sofie xx

  19. You're an incredibly talented writer and i admire you're strength so much. This is just the inspiration I needed so desperately. Thank you for being such an amazing human being. xx

  20. Writing about something so close to home has got me in tears. Never stop writing Charly!

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  22. You blog is really helpful! So much interesting and admiring posts. Keep up working and have a lot of inspiration!

  23. Charly, I'm in a A-Level student studying drama and we have to create a short play. After reading your blog posts we have deiced to make it on awareness of mental illness. We were inspired my your story's and with your permission could we use some of the lines from your blog ?


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