Four weeks on
This time four weeks ago, I had methodically popped out two and a half packets of paracetamol into a plastic cup. While my husband watched TV downstairs, I went upstairs, slashed my arms up with a razor blade, swallowed the tablets by the handful and got into bed to wait.
Two hours later, I was on my way to hospital.
Three hours later, I was on a drip, where I would remain for the next 21 hours.
Twelve hours later, I was in a gastroenterology ward full of incontinent, infirm elderly women. I was listening to worship songs and sobbing into my pillow.
Twenty hours later, I sang a bedtime rendition of Twinkle Twinkle over the phone to my baby girl. We both wept.
Thirty hours later, my children visited me in hospital. I had to pull the curtains around my bed while the nurse took my obs so that they couldn’t see the angry cuts on my arms. I walked with them to the cafe but after half an hour I was so tired and freaked out that I just wanted them to go.
Three days later, I was discharged, bruised, broken, wounded, frightened, utterly utterly lost.
Four weeks on, I’m still here.
This is where I am now.
I am still frightened, still lost, still lonely, still waking up every morning wondering how I’m going to get through the day.
I am still short-tempered, over-sensitive, weepy, snappy, paranoid.
I am trying desperately to compensate for accidentally ruining a friendship, while simultaneously feeling angry that the other person isn’t doing her bit.
I have withdrawn from Facebook because I feel such a square peg, and yet feel so lonely for not having that outlet.
I have, yes, I have cut myself again. I have had to stop myself stockpiling tablets.
I am still completely exhausted, in bed by 9pm most evenings, but then waking every hour through the night.
I have done work – new work, good work, work that people have appreciated.
I have made my children laugh, and laughed with them.
I have bought a new laptop, a new phone and a dress – as if I thought I’d be needing them a month ago!
I have felt the blessing of having real, loving, kind and caring Christian friends who expect nothing of me, who just want me to be okay, and want to play a part in me getting there. One friend in particular who has honestly saved my life by making me feel valued – by her, by other people, and by the Lord – at times when I was ready to give it all up. Other friends, people who I have only recently met and/or confided in, have shown me the love of God completely unconditionally and where I really wasn’t expecting to find it.
I have read Scripture, prayed, and been prayed for.
I have been sent Bible verses that have touched me in my darkest hours – ‘He will not let your foot slip. He who watches you will never slumber.’
I have seen my non-Christian husband turning to the church in desperation and getting so much genuine support and love that he sees, if not the glory of the Lord yet, the great things that people do through Christ, and the amazing community that his love creates.
I have truly felt that God wants me here, living out my purpose in my life and his works – and have actually, bizarrely, felt that only through going to the brink can I do that.
I know I have a long way to go. Thoughts of self-harm and suicide are never far from my mind. I spend a lot of my time hating myself, accusing myself, feeling inadequate and unworthy and guilty guilty guilty. The next few weeks feature things that I would much, much rather run away from – psychiatry and psychology appointments, medication reviews, and of course the daily challenge of getting up and facing the world.
I can’t promise anything. But I know the Lord – and my wonderful brothers and sisters in Him – are on my side.