Apart from all the ‘feelings’ a suicide attempt leaves loved ones with, what are the actual effects on the person who attempted it?
Anyone who has attempted suicude & survived, has their own individual story. Even if two people have tried to take their lives in the same way, the lasting effects can be very different. It’s not just the fact they tried to kill themselves, if that wasn’t enough already, it’s the physical effect it can leave.
My mum attempted suicide three times. It is by sheer luck she is still here because she definitely meant business. The first time was when she was in France. She had been showing psychotic symptoms for a while but at that time we didn’t know that’s what they were. She had driven off one day & disappeared. We were later to find her in a physcatric ward in Toulouse.
I was waiting for the doctor to get the discharge paperwork & it was then that I noticed bandages covering both of my mums wrists. The feeling at that moment was something I will never forget or want to experience again. The physical effects from that was obviously scarring which was helped by a gel to heal & fade the scars. Mum wore a watch over one scar & kept the other concealed the best she could, but the shame she felt daily looking at those scars was awful. Thankfully scars can heal but memories stay. Luckily the police found her before it was too late.
The second attempt was when she was at home. She took every medication she had including her antipsychotic medications, paracetamol & whatever else she could find. She then laid on her bed & decided to have one last cigarette, it was this that saved her. After the medication started to kick in she started to drift off with the cigerette in her hand. The duvet caught alight. If it hadn’t been for the neighbour upstairs smelling the smoke, well, I don’t even want to think about it.
The neighbour kicked in the door, found my mum on the floor, by which time the fire brigade had arrived. They dragged her out over a step, onto concrete. It turns out the fire had made her alert enough to crawl off the bed where she then lay unconscious. She was taken to hospital & placed in ICU. She has been left with chronic back pain due to being dragged out over the door way, step & onto the road. When saving someone’s likes there isn’t time to worry about what damage may be done, the aim is just to get them out of danger as fast as possible. Her kidneys have been left weak & her memory & ability to concentrate or process information has been affected greatly. My mum was always sharp & on the ball but now she needs to take in everything you say & really think about it before she can answer. She is physically unstable, wobbly, has trouble with balance & a lot slower than before.
The third time was an also an overdose. It was the first time in months & months that I had decided to have a break. Just one night, camping with a friend & her daughter. That night my mum overdosed. Again she took all of her prescribed medication plus anything else she could get her hands on. To this day I don’t know who found her, if it was my sister or my dad but it’s too painful to ask the details for them & for me. I had a call to say she was in a coma & they didn’t know if she was going to make it. I was a couple of hours away from home & just remember my poor friend having to tell me & then deal with me after I had downed half a bottle of vodka & coke in about ten minutes flat to numb the pain.
The lasting effects are horrific. Without the mental effects a suicude attempt leaves, the physical effects hamper my mum everyday & she has to live with the pain & the knowledge that she did it to herself. People say suicide is for cowards. This is wrong in my eyes. To be so desperate that you want to end your life, leave your children, your family, everything you ever knew & love means that they were literally in such a deep dark place that there felt like no other option. No one can possible imagine the despair someone feels when they decide the only way out is to die.
I will never ever say my mum was a coward for attempting suicide. She is the bravest person I know. She was & still is fighting with everything she has just to get through each day. Her mental illness is now made even worse my her physical aliments & she lives everyday in pain.