7 years (nearly)

Discussion in 'Grief and Bereavement' started by Swamp Horn, Jan 20, 2007.

  1. Swamp Horn

    Swamp Horn Member

    Hi all,

    I'm a new member that joined only or 5 minutes ago and this is my first post here.... best make it count :tongue: I'm a 28 year old Scot (frae Scotland) and its coming up to the 7th anniversary of my girlfriend's suicide.

    What Happened:

    Calamity. Disaster. Where to start? It was back at the turn of the century, we'd got together after meeting at a university club night. She'd been initially a friend of my flatmate and we sparked it off with an intensity i'd never known. Before long we were a couple with a strong burning fire in our hearts. We were happy.

    New year (the big one) came and went.. great night .. and one i'll remember for all my life, it was then i told her that i loved her, for the first time, and she cried with joyous joy. It seems to me important to mention that because when i recount the day itself and the events leading up to her death, the implication seems otherwise.

    The 2nd Feb was another day on campus. I'd finished being at lectures for the day and was planning to return to my flat in town (the uni was on the outskirts) and i spent the early afternoon at her place on campus at the uni halls of residence. We watched tv, talked, joked, all the usual things we got up to really. I got up to leave for my flat, with the certain knowledge that we'd be meeting later that night for drinks in the city and then she'd most likely come back to mine. It seems so childish to remember that i'd been anticipating buying a game for the playstation on my way home that day; my flatmate and i had been having a fierce driving tournament on Gran Turismo and the release of GT2 had promised us both an opportunity to reset the score and start afresh.. we'd both been looking forward to it. So i bought that game and when i got home, my flatmate and i began our new battles in earnest. Another crucial point to all this is that when i left my girlfriend's flat (her name was Carol, by the way), i'd left my mobile phone in her kitchen. This would later turn out to be a very, very significant part of the guilt that still haunts me.

    Carol phoned me that evening at my flat. By then i'd realised that i'd left my phone and i'm so sure i'd said that. Looking back, its difficult to remember any part of that period with clarity. She'd forgotten that some friends from her home town were coming through to go clubbing and she was asking if i'd mind if she went out with them instead. It wasn't a problem, my flatmate and i were well entertained with our new game and as far as i was concerned, i would see her tomorrow, no problems. That was the last i ever spoke to her :sad: I didn't even say "i love you" at the end of the call because i said it to her a lot and didn't want it to lose its meaning.

    So the next day i went to uni and to my lecture and then went over to her flat. Her flatmate was glad to see me because Carol had had a HUGE row with her friends from home that ended early that morning with everyone screaming at each other. I found my phone and saw i'd missed many, many calls from her and read the one text (also from Carol) saying, "I love you so much". I knocked on her bedroom door, which was locked, and assumed she was out and that she'd call again when she felt ready. I'd tried to call her so many times that day with no result. I concluded she'd gone home to her folk's place and to speak to her friends. I was so sure she'd call. On my way out to the car park, i saw her car there and that ended the thought that she'd gone home. I began to really feel something was wrong. Actually, i'd known something was wrong for a while. We texted each other a LOT (it cost a fortune) and i'd heard nothing from her since retrieving my phone, which was very odd.

    So i went to the pub with my friends that night. They'd all asked where Carol was and i couldn't answer. I hated that. I wanted to know where she was and how she was and i just wanted her to be near.

    I got home and somehow went to sleep feeling lost.

    At sometime around 3am on the 4th Feb her flatmate called. When it transpired that she wasn't at home (her folks had called that night) the university wardens broke down her bedroom door. She'd suffocated herself.

    To be honest, everything is a blur after that. I know i got a cab straight to the uni and met her folks and friends there (not her friends from home though). Like i say, everything is a haze and my next clear memory is at her folk's home just before the funeral. I'd been really confused by how they spoke about her as if we were about to see her again, then they led ne through to her room and it was an open casket. I broke down, no other word for it. I held her hand and wept like never before in my life. Broken and sick, i felt.

    Words fail me.

    So now, 7 years on, i ask how i feel? In many ways i feel i'll never fully recover from her... and in many ways, i don't want to. The thing is, i don't feel a better person for the experience. If asked whether i feel it damaged my life i'd answer with a resounding yes. Life took on a newer meaning, i became obsessed with never leaving my phone anywhere and i took to drugs to take me away from it all. I left my job as an intelligence clerk with the royal auxilary air force (similar to the air national guard) and, because of the drugs, got a degree that .. well, frankly, i could've done a lot better. Though i don't blame Carol for any of this, these were choices that i made.

    So whats my point? I guess that why i'm here! Some days i just can't stop thinking about her. About how pointless it all was. How tragic. I can't blame myself for not having my phone with me 24/7. I can't blame myself for not being able to help her when she needed me. I can't blame myself for wanting to play a stupid game with my flatmate. Yet i do. I so do.

    A couple of times, i've suffered from very bad moments of self directed violence. Self Harming, i suppose. Again, words fail me. Thats subsided now as i realised a couple of years ago that there's no point in having a physical scar to wear with my mental scar like it was some sort of jewellery.

    7 years. Time flies doesn't it?

    I'm not out of the woods yet. I appear to be standing in scrubland.

    Jamie
     
  2. TLA

    TLA Antiquitie's Friend

    Jamie,
    :welcome: to SF. I have no words of comfort to share cuz of my own struggles and losses. BUT, Thank you for sharing a piece of your soul. I needed to read your story. Feeling blame, hurt and guilt is part of humaness.
    Carol's actions may have been impulse for the moment. Your sharing and talking about your stuff will help not only you, but others.
    Take care my friend!
     
  3. Swamp Horn

    Swamp Horn Member

    Thanks amigo. Its good to have arrived here :biggrin:
     
  4. thecleric

    thecleric Guest

    That doesn't seem to be the case. You're remarkably eloquent, especially compared to most survivors of suicide. And the insight behind that eloquence must have been both painful and helpful in the years since. I presume you were bright enough to talk to a pshrink? This place has plenty of mental patients, but it's not terribly theraputic on its own.

    Remarkable how quickly some people impress themselves on our hears. Especially pretty girls.

    From the perspective you've offered us, Carol seems remarkably rash. Was she that way in other contexts?

    Also, I get the impression that you were significantly older than she (she's living in the dorm, you're in an apartment and the RAAF). True? Or just more mature? Or am I just reading too much into your story?

    Completely understandable. I'm more on Carol's end of things than yours, but I often go out of my way to make myself feel worse.

    Well, duh. People only get stronger from this kind of thing in movies and Nietzsche.

    Heh--that, I can relate to. Depression all by itself can preclude you from doing intellectual work. I presume it's even worse when you add drugs to the mix.

    Certainly not according to the classical definition of tragedy. From what you've told us, Carol's actions sound exceedingly rash. And as you've noted, it's hard to extract meaning from something like that.

    What? It doesn't impress the girls?

    I've always found that to be a strange expression. I find forests to be quite peaceful. Much better than your treeless, windswept Scottish highlands.
     
  5. Swamp Horn

    Swamp Horn Member

    Heyhey there :biggrin: Many thanks for your detailed response!

    In answer to your questions:

    Actually, i saw the university counsellor for about a month or two, then felt that not much ground was being covered and stopped going. In retrospect, that was probably a bad decision! Its never too late for such things though, i'll admit :tongue:

    Thats not really how i remember her at all. It was most unlike her to be aggressive or confrontational. I think she had a confidence problem though, but that was not something i'd properly identified at the time.

    The age difference was only 3 years (she 18, i 21). I'd been in the RAuxAF since i was 17 and had done quite a lot with them in that time, though i wouldn't have said i was much more mature per se. I remember Carol had told me there was a time when she had run away from home and lived rough. I can't remember how long for but it was a significant period of time. That would maybe corroborate the rashness aspect to things actually...

    Thats a true shame. The things we do to ourselves.

    Very much so. It was a pretty serious factor in my leaving the armed forces. I was never caught but i came to the conclusion that i was presenting myself as a danger to others by keeping myself in a constant state of sedation and took the opportunity to leave after my 5 year service mark. Naturally this was all below the surface, my official reason was to pursue my studies in physics. My RAuxAF career and my academic studies overlapped by 2 years and they had elements of confliction.

    I'm still very confused by it all really. There had been no outward sign of depression and it all came so much as a shock, we'd been getting on so very well.

    I once found great solace just lying in the heather feeling the wind on my face. True enough it was just after a 10 mile route march with full kit :wink:

    Thank you :biggrin:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2007
  6. thecleric

    thecleric Guest

    Pshrinks vary enormously. You really need to shop around for one. Pity y'all's NHS seems to get in the way of that. Talking works even better in combination with meds.

    You seem smart. Act smart.


    Rash need not go hand-in-hand with aggressive. One could be quite timid, but when presented with an unexpected, bad situation, decide rashly to commit suicide.

    I presume you found out what had transpired with her old friends before she killed herself. Anything to be gleaned from that?

    18-21 is usually quite a maturity difference. The military generally increases one's responsibility. Living homeless generally decreases it. Sounds like quite a difference. Wasn't it obvious while you were dating?

    I do seem to be a bit of an oddball in that way, even around here. Objectively, my life isn't awful, but it's quite an underachievement compared to what it could be.



    This is very responsible reasoning, especially for a drug user.

    Aha! A physics major? Were you dropped on your head as a child? No wonder you were depressed.

    What did her parents and old friends have to say at her funeral? Had you met them before then? Have you spoken since?


    I wouldn't have found such solace. Mainly because I would have died of a heart attack about halfway through.
     
  7. MrDepressed

    MrDepressed Guest

    Glad that you found your way here and were willing to share your story with us. Hope you continue your stay with us.
     
  8. gentlelady

    gentlelady Staff Alumni

    :welcome: to our forum. I am glad you felt comfortable in sharing with us.
    Anniversaries are tough, no matter how long the time has been. I am sorry I don't have more time to reply right now, perhaps I can later. Take care and we will see you around. :hug:
     
  9. Swamp Horn

    Swamp Horn Member

    Yayy, thanks for the warm welcome everyone :biggrin: I'm very impressed with this forum!


    I really must try harder to properly fix myself. I know very well that i can excel (as we all can). But there is something about all of this that is holding me back. Its difficult to describe, a numbness, a lack of motivation to go and bring to fruition the ideas i have. If asked to identify what it is that restricting me, i'd say it is my smoking, which in turn, feeds the depression; making it more a result rather than a cause.

    Nothing at all. Her parents were as shocked as i was and her friends from home, although present at the funeral, had very little to say to me. I'd tried to speak to them but with the one word answers i got from them, i didn't find them very forthcoming. As i remember i was welling up awfully while talking to them and couldn't really continue. At the time, and perhaps still, i felt that they were in some way responsible for this. I don't mean that in an accusatory way, as such. But they were present in her last moments and did play a major role in the events that, i can only presume, instigated her suicidal impulse. There's a part of me that still wants to find them and ask them what happened? I fear there would be little to learn though, or perhaps too much. I haven't spoken to her parents for about 3-4 years now, though they'll no doubt have noticed that i visited her grave last November (for her birthday). I left flowers and a card.



    No, not to me. But then i am sometimes blind to these things. We spent a huge amount of our time together, in the time that we had. I don't recall ever thinking she was acting immature. Oh how i miss her though. Perhaps its possible that, in my mind, i've glossed over any such memory.



    Only a couple of weeks ago, two good friends from college and i were sitting in the car at breaktime, talking about all the mistakes we've made in our respective lives and what would be great to change, if we could. I told them about leaving the phone in Carol's kitchen that day. I feel so selfish for not remembering whats their stories were now, but they were of a similar magnitude. A few minutes later, after we'd sat in a reflective silence, one said, "Fuck it, no regrets guys. We're good people. There's nothing we could ever change like that. We've all got to move on because the world won't wait for us."

    Their stories my not have stuck in my mind but his words rang a true chord. Like a rallying call for progression. Very inspiring. A good friend. Perhaps the statement, "Have no regrets" may help you also? I don't know much about you yet, but you seem a very friendly, helpful and engaging soul.

    Thank you, it was merely logic.

    Arf, i've always loved physics. Especially particle physics. Though my degree is environmental physics, it all boils down to particles (and how they act and react) anyway. I've always seen particle physics as a more detailed version of chemistry but without the smell!

    Don't worry, i thought i was dying at the time too :laugh:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 25, 2007
  10. thecleric

    thecleric Guest

    Don't worry. We'll get tiresome soon enough. But in the meantime, it's nice to have someone new and observant.


    And pshrinks are supposed to be able to help with that (though they obviously didn't fix me, or I wouldn't be hanging around here.)

    Sigh. And we're all above average, too, I suppose?

    That, except for the narcotics, I can relate to. Obviously, you start small, with goals that are as specific as possible.


    I'd imagine guilt, plus resentment over your butting into their friendship with Carol, put a damper on the conversation.

    Of course you mean it in an accusatory way! But perhaps what you mean to say is that you're ready to forgive them.

    Next time, plant some bulbs. They'll last, and there'll be an air of mystery about how they got there. No need to take credit for every nice thing you do.

    A few observations:

    1. From the bare facts you've laid out, it seems obvious to me that she was immature, headstrong, and impulsive.

    2. You didn't have a lot of time together. And we tend to ignore the bad parts of a person when we've first started dating.

    A noble sentiment, but my whole life is made up of regrets.

    Heh. You're wrong. There are plenty of people here who'll be happy to testify that I'm an SOB.


    No. That logic followed from concern for others' safety. And that concern is unusual, commendable, and mature.


    I've always thought of particle physics as a more detailed version of chemistry, but without the hope for a job! :)

    Remember:

    1. If it's slimey, it's biology.
    2. If it stinks, it's chemistry.
    3. If it doesn't work, it's physics.