This is one of the most difficult things I have ever had to write; I am suicidal, and have been on and off for much of my life. As you can imagine, this situation is not helping these recurring urges.
Today I found myself in a situation where I could have been sectioned; for those of you who don’t know, or who fear this situation, if (like me) you are a depressive, suicidal person in the UK and you go to your GP they have the capacity to make an emergency referral to a psychiatrist in a local hospital. At this point that psychiatric specialist has to make the choice as to whether you will be safe outwith the care of the state.
I managed to convince my GP to make an urgent, but not emergency referral, (this being a referral within 7 days) and so have potentially side-stepped being formally sectioned.
Why go to so much trouble, I can hear some of you thinking; being sectioned is a huge fear for me. My mother was resident in a psychiatric institution for over a decade, mental illness runs in my family; this is my biggest fear, and today I came closer to it than I ever have before. This was a moment of what can only be described as arse-opening terror, but it taught me something; self-care can be your best friend when you’re suicidal. If you are making an effort to care for yourself your Doctor will have more faith in your mental state and in your safety.
There are one hundred and one things anyone could tell you about how to care for yourself when you’re this depressed and fucked up, but, all honesty, its not worth shit if it comes from a source with medical or personal experience. Here’s the lowdown and gritty of it;
- You need to exercise basic hygiene; if you can’t have a skin routine, shower regularly, and keep your hair in check that’s fine, but you need to exercise basic hygiene. Antibacterial hand wash can be used for your face, hands, the back of your neck, and even your armpits if you can only muster a pseudo shower. Sanitising gel can be used on your underarms to manage smell (bonus, it makes you fee fresh, too). If you can’t brush, floss, and use mouth wash then try to do at least one of these things. Even rub tooth paste on your teeth with your finger, or use stain removing gum if you can’t muster the energy for anything else. Rub lotion into your elbows, the backs of your knees, and onto your hands and chest to make you feel a little fresher and smell a little nicer if you can!
- Wear clothes that don’t smell; clean clothes can be a stretch when you’re depressed and you live on your own, but try the smell test. If you can smell it when you’re wearing it you need to find something else. If you can’t find anything else put washing up liquid on the pits, rub it with hot water, rinse, and throw your shirt on the radiator for half an hour. Change your underwear, for gods sake. It helps, I promise, and it prevents yeast infections etc. Don’t let your body suffer just because your mind is.
- Shake out your sheets; changing your sheets is maybe a big ask when you feel really shitty, but drag your covers/duvet off, shake it, and wipe down the sheets to get rid of any crumbs etc. A damp face cloth across them will pick up some of the debris, and if you can muster the energy to open the window and let it air dry for five minutes before you crawl back in it actually makes you feel fresher.
- Leave the window open; going outside is something some people crave when they feel shite, that’s a given. I like to walk anywhere and everywhere, but when it gets really bad I retreat to my bedroom. Unless its pelting with rain or minus 4 try to keep your window open as much as possible. The fresh air won’t cure you, but the ambient outdoor sounds, and the circulation removing odour does help lift your mood.
- Stretch; I don’t expect you to, nor will I suggest that you do, go to gym when you feel this bad. I do, but it helps me, and if you’re the kind of person it helps you’ll have a routine. But by all means try it! If you’re not an exercising type, or you don’t want to leave the house, try some of these stretches (you can do some of them lying down!) to keep your body ticking over,
TW; Self-harm Self Care
This is the part I know will annoy some of you, but here it is; when people get to this stage, this rock-bottom stage of not wanting to die, but not knowing how to live (or alternatively, the stage of actively wanting to die) there’s very little you can do to stop them from self-harming if they’re determined.
If you’re one of those people, I would urge you to not self-harm. Please show yourself love, but if I cannot convince you to abstain I will impress upon you the importance of showing yourself respect even at this point.
If you cut use a new razor, or clean the implement you intend to use. Clean the wound when you’re done, and dress it properly to avoid infection and intense scarring. Trust me; if you get an infected cut and you’re still hiding what you do you will not go to the doctor, and you will end up with a surgery looking, raised, permanent scar. I know this; I have done this. I have scars on my body that look like surgery scars because I picked infections out with my nails, and with pins, and burned out infection with heated knife edges. Do not do that to yourself, you deserve basic medical attention so give yourself that care.
If you burn yourself please do not put butter or fat on it to ease the pain; you will cook your skin. Use cold water or ice in a paper towel/cloth, and silver cream if you have it, or even bepanthen nappy rash cream.
If you hit/beat yourself please give any bruises or lacerations due attention and care; do not hit something that will damage your hands. If you compact sections of your knuckles you will be at higher risk of arthritis. I know that doesn’t sound like much if you intend to die, but you can make it through this and I know you don’t want to suffer all your life. Never hit yourself with something that could be classed to be a weapon, never throw yourself down stairs or hills. Do not risk internal injury.
If you binge and purge (I know this is classed as bulimia, but I firmly believe it is also a form of self harm/punishment) please clean yourself after you purge. Wash your face and hands/hair if the vomit gets on you, rinse your mouth, and replace the fluids you lose.
TW end ***
We can do this, guys. Please take care.