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Advice for the first anniversary of my suicide attempt

Thread starter #1
Hiya,

So I'm fast approaching the one year anniversary in May of my failed OD.

I want to start off by clarifying that I feel unbelievably grateful and fortunate that my attempt failed and that I've been given this second chance at life.

But.
I've been starting to feel more and more nervous as this anniversary approaches.
Though it feels more like a collection of anniversaries than a one-off.

Basically from mid-March to mid- May last year it was day after day of very severe depression, SI, and full-blown anorexia (regular 36 hour fasts).

Then there was my graduation day, which should have been one of the best days of my life (I'd fought through an abusive relationship, a neurological disorder, PTSD, GAD, MDD, SH, SI, bulimia and anorexia to be able to walk across that stage), but I can barely look back at my grad photos as my psychological pain shows through my face so clearly.

I'd held myself together long enough to make it across that stage, and then that night I had an absolute breakdown.

2 days later I was hospitalised due to SI. They discharged me that night, on the agreement that they'd speak to me on the phone daily.
They had brought up inpatient hospitalisation, but I had managed to get out of it because, well, I wanted to die, and not be shut in an institution where people were actively preventing that from happening.

I remember sobbing in my driveway, not wanting to let go of hugging my friend who had taken me home from the hospital because I didn't think I'd live to ever see her again. But I couldn't tell her that.

Then over that weekend I became weirdly very calm, knowing that this was it. That I could leave all this pain behind. That I'd made it to my graduation like I'd promised myself. I put plans in place.
And 3 days after being hospitalised for SI, I attempted.


Even just writing this out brings up a hell of a lot of emotions. And a lot of pain.

Although I don't currently have my MDD diagnosis, the lead up to this anniversary is becoming increasingly challenging with each day. It's scary as f*ck. The memories of those feelings are very vivid.

And like with my first rape anniversary last year, this is my first anniversary of my attempt, so I really don't know what to expect.


Has anyone here gone through this themselves? And do you have any advice for what helped you get through an attempt anniversary?

Or if you haven't, but have some general advice for this?

I'm realising that I haven't spoken to anyone about this (I'm currently away recovering from surgery so haven't been having physical T appointments), and I've been feeling pretty alone I have to admit. I tried to push the feelings and the memories to the back of my mind, but maybe it's time I tried to address them, or at least acknowledge them.
 
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#2
Anniversaries don't have an existence outside of our heads. They don't have any power that we don't give them. That said, you might try giving the day a positive meaning. It's not going to be a day like it was last year. You're in a much different place in very many ways. Find a way that seems appropriate to you to mark the occasion. You've got good people in your life, spend time with them.
 
Thread starter #3
You're in a much different place in very many ways.
You're right. When I look at the photos we took at dinner on the night before my surgery, I can't get over how different my smiles look; one worn just to hide pain, and one worn in spite of pain.
Find a way that seems appropriate to you to mark the occasion.
Hmm. I will need to think on this.

Maybe I can treat myself to a little cake or something. I suppose it's like a variation on a birthday, in a way. Being given another chance at life.

But then I know it will also be important to acknowledge "difficult" feelings on that day, without getting overwhelmed. And that's something I really struggle with.
 
Thread starter #5
How about making a bunch of cards, each card saying how life has changed for the good since last year? Or maybe on one side write what last year was like, and on the flip side, write what is different now. Flipping the card over can remind you that the past is the past, and you live on "the other side" now.
I like these ideas too.


I think it will be important for me to try to limit any isolation tendencies over this period. I have a feeling they may crop up as a coping mechanism, but I think isolating will only make me feel worse ultimately.

This morning when I woke up I had some pretty intrusive memories of being hospitalised for SI 3 days before my attempt.
I'd forgotten that it was my T who had had me hospitalised; I hadn't been able to guarantee my safety in a session for the first time ever.

Not only could I not guarantee it, but I'd told her the ways I was thinking of attempting when I got home from our session. I was very very ill.

She absolutely did the right thing by having me sent to hospital that day, but I know how hard it was for her taking my control away like that. How hard the conversations we had in that session were for her.

I made her cry.


Maybe I should send her an email around that date thanking her again for having been my T for those 4 years, and to tell her how much I still appreciate the things that she has done for me.
 
#6
That must be difficult to recall and write, I'm sorry bell...you are never alone. A little cake would be nice or some of the other ways to flip. My therapist suggested I plan things on my anniversary like seeing a movie or going to a park. Sitting alone thinking about it wasn't a good coping strategy for me.

Glad you fought through and are with us today bell, you make a difference.
 
#7
Come here and talk with us and we will hold your hand to get you thru it. And we can keep reminding you how happy we are you are still with us.

This is Bellbird 2.0. The life you deserve to have. It matters less how you got here and more what you are doing with your life now. And from where I sit you are doing a hell of a good job! :hug:
 
#8
I think it will be important for me to try to limit any isolation tendencies over this period.
I think you're right.

It also wouldn't hurt to bring this up with your T. (Maybe you are planning to that already?) There's a good chance she remembers the date too and she might well be wondering how you're thinking about it. It might be good, for both of you, to talk about it.
 
Thread starter #9
It also wouldn't hurt to bring this up with your T. (Maybe you are planning to that already?)
Yes I am planning to do this, but thanks for bringing it up, Scout :)
There's a good chance she remembers the date too and she might well be wondering how you're thinking about it. It might be good, for both of you, to talk about it.
So I've changed T since last May (my new T is trauma- and EMDR-trained, last wasn't), but I think she should have a rough idea of my attempt date from my changeover notes.

I'll definitely talk to her about it, but I've just been holding off because it's dissociation-territory sort of stuff, and I'm want to risk that territory in a phonecall.
I could email her about it, but I think because I'm intending to return in 2 weeks anyway, we will have about 3 physical sessions before this anniversary.
Glad you fought through and are with us today bell, you make a difference.
That really means a lot to me, thank you MrM. Glad you're with us, too.
Come here and talk with us and we will hold your hand to get you thru it. And we can keep reminding you how happy we are you are still with us.
:hug: :hug: :hug:
Thank you.
It matters less how you got here and more what you are doing with your life now.
I like this. It really resonates with me.


Today I've been battling with a lot of the guilt that surrounds this anniversary, and that is weaved so strongly through many of the associated memories.

That night, in May last year, was I think the first night ever that I had put Tweeter in the lounge instead of having his cage in my bedroom, like normal, over night.
I mean, I was going to bed that night with the intention of never waking up. I couldn't bear the thought of him being in my room with me while I was laying metres away, dead.

There was also guilt after I'd taken the pills. It was the early hours of the morning by that stage, and I had left my room either to go to the bathroom or get some food, and unexpectedly crossed paths with one of my flatmates on my way back.
The pills were newly in my stomach, and I just 'sleepily' smiled at her. She smiled back.
When I got back to bed, I wondered how she would feel after they found me, thinking that she should have done something in that moment. But I put those thoughts out of my head, and thought about the "relief" I would feel after I was gone (I say relief, in quotes, because I know that it's not actually relief that you feel. It's nothingness. The true relief comes from recovery, which is only possible when we are alive. I know this now. But I didn't know it back then.)

And then there was guilt for still using up oxygen, when I woke up that next afternoon (albeit very out of it), and realised that it had failed. And then the guilt for the emotions that I put those close to me (who knew) through, and living for a long while after, with the sinking feeling that everything would have been better, for me and other people in my life, had I succeeded in my attempt.
I know that's not true for myself, now.
But I still struggle with knowing that for the other people in my life.
 
#10
I can very much imagine how much guilt you've carried. My therapist reminds me that guilt is useful when it reminds us to not repeat what we did, and it seems to me that you've done your absolute best to move forward in life and not repeat your attempt. You deserve to leave your guilt behind, as hard and slow as that process may be.

:hug; :hug:
 
Thread starter #12
I viewed it as the start of a new chapter in a book that wasn't finished yet.
Glad it worked out that way for you, @intothelight .
I'm not sure why mine took the "anniversary" over "new chapter" route.

Suppose it's another instance where people respond to the same(ish) circumstances differently.

It makes me think of something @scout86 said earlier:
Anniversaries don't have an existence outside of our heads. They don't have any power that we don't give them.
Really good point.
But I think in my circumstances, the power was given subconsciously and by the time I realised, it had already become a "thing".


A lot to think about, though; thanks both.
 
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