Darkest Hour

"What would you do if I told you I want to die?"

Let me explain... Originally my second blog post was going to be “My Story”. But just like my day to day life I’ve decided to steer off course and not follow a linear path. It was going to let you all in on my personal struggle with anxiety. My battle with depression. My experience with self-harm.

That being said… I asked myself these questions.

"How do I tell my story with mental illness in one article? How can I limit my life into so few words?"

The answer is I can’t. With all that said in the coming weeks and posts, I will focus on those in their own separate pieces. For today, I will be focusing on the action of taking one’s own life.

Suicide.


What in my eyes is the biggest taboo topic known to mankind. No one knows what to say or how to handle it. For good reason that is, some don’t understand how someone could end up at that point while others just can’t entertain the thought that someone, they care about can fall into such a dark path. Let me tell you, no one moment, one hurdle, one night or one action can define who I am as a person. What I can say is this one night, in particular, I will remember forever.


I wish I could tell you this night was a one-off but in my darkest times, I tried to take my own life more times than I wish to admit. I could speak about each one individually but instead, I’ve decided to focus on the one I will remember forever. I call it my Darkest Hour.

Ideation vs. Intent

Carnegie Mellon psychology professor Dr. Marcel Just, says “That's what psychiatric illnesses do. They change the way you think.

I think it is very important to distinguish the difference between suicidal ideations and suicidal intent. I’ve thought about killing myself for nearly a decade now, that is 87600 hours of thinking about how or when I will end my own life. But thinking about doing it and acting upon these thoughts are entirely different. It is a sensation for me that comes and goes, from wanting to end things one night to fighting with all my might to make it to the next day. Why the sudden change? Our brain actually changes, I’m not a professional but from articles I’ve read from experts and my understanding of the situation is, our brain transmits differently when we are suicidal. It essentially goes into auto-pilot mode we are no longer in control. Our brain is not producing what we need it is truly as if we are in the cockpit with no control...

Summer 2018, mid-July on a Saturday night.


I was alone which isn’t all that abnormal for me, I enjoy my space. Something felt different on this night though.

I remember my best friend texting me “go make yourself puke”, but how did it get there.


When I got my tonsils out a year before I never would have thought that it would inadvertently play a role that night. Feeling more alone than usual, feeling worthless, hopeless and empty. I sat in my bed, pen in hand as I usually do when feeling sad but instead of writing about my feelings or some fantasy story, I found myself writing suicide notes, something I had never done before. Friends and family from the past the present, I was saying my goodbyes. I remember getting to my brother’s note and the outpour of emotions that I felt, that’s a feeling I will carry with me forever. I cried and I cried, back and forth my mind raced between wanting to live and wanting to die. My mind was telling me, my time had come but my heart was stuck with those notes. Often as I do when feeling suicidal you weigh out the pros and the cons. From no more, brother, no more mum to something as simple as no more orange juice. You try and find any reason not to act out.


This night though my autopilot engaged, “I can’t do this anymore” I told myself waking up every day and going to bed every night feeling like shit has got to stop. On this night the pros of death outweighed the cons. So, I reached out over to my night table where a bottle full of Oxycontin laid. Leave it to me to have not needed these pills when I got my tonsils out since physical pain has never felt like much compared to the internal fight that goes on inside me. Picture a kid stuffing his face with candy, that was me with this bottle.


I remember so vividly the relief I felt after I had done that.


For a brief moment following taking those pills I felt in control of my own life for the first time in forever.

I was going to get the last laugh on my demons.

Suddenly in a blink of an eye that all changed, everything and everyone I had cared for came flowing back into my mind as a river does an ocean. My adrenaline must have stopped. As I had been all night, I started texting my best friend please help what do I do?

“Puke go make yourself puke” I remember.

So, I did. What I don’t remember is how many pills I took that night, more than said I did I’m sure. What I did know besides feeling like absolute shit and my stomach twisted in a million little knots in the following days was that I got lucky. Lucky to be here to share this.


Ashamed, scared and embarrassed something I will forever be grateful for, I made my best friend swear not to tell anyone what had happened. I didn’t want to be judged and thought of differently, didn’t want people looking over my shoulder at my every move.


For over a year I kept it a secret from the ones closest to me.

My mom cuddled me that night as I cried in her arms with her having no knowledge of the events that took place. I didn't want her to know her baby boy tried to end it. I was going to wait for the right time to tell her. I eventually realized, there is no right time.


Aftermath

Even following these events, Suicide plays a huge role in my daily life, it is important to try your best and fight as hard as you can. That night and the conversations that came with remind you that people do care even if they aren’t there physically. As someone who feels alone all the damn time, I am not. We must fight ways to remind ourselves that this is the truth and anything else is just our brains auto-pilot taking over. I know it is way easier said than done especially considering I still work on that every day.


“The minute you think you should give up think of the reason why you held on for so long”

A quote that my best friend and I share. Has a lot of meaning to me.


"The number of times I've tried to take my own life isn't some baggage I carry along with me but a constant reminder that I am continuously given a chance to turn things around. I can happily say it has been over a year since I've last tried to kill myself and every day I am just trying to be the best most truthful version of myself that I can be." Me

Nowadays when my suicidal thoughts come along, which trust me they still do. I try and live in the moment, accept that they are there. Remind myself why it is I fight whether that be my dog, family/friends or anything. I try and ride the wave out. It can only have as much power we allow it to have. Sleeping is also a great way for me to allow these emotions to pass. Normally these thoughts are strongest at night so hopping into bed and forcing my eyes shut although nearly impossible at times is a nice tool to have.




If you or someone you know is dealing with suicidal thoughts, reach out to them or reach out to someone. Help is all around us. Despite what my brain tells me the world isn’t as dark as it may seem. You are loved. There are hotlines on my contact page, if not a hotline find a friend, family or anyone. Someone is willing to listen.



I've created a Patreon for anyone who wants to help and support this journey I'm on. This isn’t about money nor will it ever be. I plan to blog as long as I have thoughts running through my head and stories to tell, but I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t help me in my situation. All support is appreciated but not mandatory. It's very awkward 'asking' for money especially when I don’t want it to come across like that is my intention.

If you've read all of that and still choose to support me, I will forever appreciate it

https://www.patreon.com/ThinkingMansThoughts?fan_landing=true

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Thinking Mans Thoughts

by Brandon Dankner

Mail: thinkingmansthoughts@gmail.com

© 2020 Thinking Mans Thoughts by Brandon Dankner