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What a great site - wish I'd known about it years ago

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I’ve often felt drawn towards suicide over the years, and found it difficult to find a space to vent my feelings. I hope it’s ok to say the unsayable here.

Compared to some of the posts on this site, I’m sure my problems seem trivial in comparison – then again, if my problems felt all that trivial, I wouldn’t have felt the need to write in the first place. I hope you’ll bear with a long letter that may sometimes seem a bit self-indulgent.

There are four areas of my life which don’t really seem to work – career, housing, social life and love life.

I think that I could deal with any one or two of these areas if the others were ok, but the combination of all four feels a bit like the end of the Titanic once too many of the watertight compartments have been flooded – there’s not enough buoyancy left to keep the ship afloat and I don’t always have the resources to keep pumping it out.

I work in the performing arts. I’m passionate about the work I do, but there often isn’t enough of it.

I put everything I ever had into my career - for a long time I kept running into brick walls, then, for a time, it paid off.

For about eighteen months I worked on world-class projects. I turned my £15000 credit-card debt into the same amount in savings in seven months. I came across some world-class egos (perhaps mine among them) that sometimes made the jobs challenging, but it was a rich and fertile time.

Then there was a falling-out with a colleague and the work stopped coming in. Now I work in the margins of the industry, picking up odd bits and pieces where I can. I still love the work I get, but my credit cards are filling up again, now to the tune of about £18000. I’m back to writing speculative letters and cold-calling colleagues, which very occasionally gets results, but which is emotionally strenuous.

I see younger colleagues getting work that I have only ever dreamed of, while I look at older colleagues who have been cast aside by the industry and wonder if that is to be my fate.

I applied for a Master’s course this autumn to take my career in a slightly new direction, but I got turned down without an interview. I’ve applied for jobs outside the industry, but they haven’t come to anything either. It feels as though the brick walls have returned.

The industry in which I work is centred around London, so moving somewhere else and starting again isn’t really an option.

For about nine years, I shared a house with an eccentric priest in an obscure branch of the Anglican church. It wasn’t luxurious, but the rent was low and it was nice to share conversation and a bottle of wine in the evenings.

Then my landlord took in another lodger who developed paranoid schizophrenia. The doctors wanted to section him, but my landlord undertook to look after him at home. When I said hello to him one morning and got a tirade of abuse in return and asked my landlord’s advice, my landlord said that it would be best to stay out of his way. I didn’t speak to the other lodger again after that, ate out every meal, didn’t use the kitchen or living room, stayed away as much as possible and left a few months later.

Now I share an apartment in another part of London. My housemates are pleasant, and we’ve had the occasional day trip and party, but there’s generally not much sense of community - there’s no lounge, and although everyone speaks English, the common language is Spanish, as most of them come from South America. I spent some money having my room painted, but the place feels dilapidated – lots of peeling paint in the kitchen, hall and bathroom, rotting woodwork and holes in the floor and ceiling in the kitchen. There are mice in the kitchen in winter. I don’t have enough storage in my room, so it’s hard to keep it tidy. Overall, it’s not somewhere I feel entirely comfortable, and I wouldn’t want to invite anyone round as it is at the moment.

I have a few close friends in my home town, which is three to four hours drive from where I live now, and usually seem to be able to make friends on work projects.

In contrast, I find it difficult to make friends in London, especially when I’m not working regularly. I’ve been to lunch, dinner and networking groups, as well as churches, walking, swimming and sailing clubs, but in general, efforts to meet people seem expensive in terms of money, energy and self-esteem.

I don’t usually find lovers. My college days and a couple of professional projects have been blighted by unrequited love. I’ve always told the boy or girl concerned about my feelings (I’m bisexual) – once that deepened a close friendship for a time, but I’ve generally found my crushes destructive.

In the past few months I’ve been speed dating a couple of times, which even led to a couple of dates. I had a boyfriend for a few months during my last year of college, and a girlfriend for a few weeks after graduation, many years ago. Apart from that, my love life has generally been limited to the occasional one-night-stand.

I felt isolated throughout my childhood, so never really developed much emotional intelligence. I remember being assured at various times that things would get better and work themselves out – to date, that hasn’t happened.

My suicidal feelings have been with me since my early teens. and have returned periodically at tough times ever since. They tend to come with unemployment.

I’ve made various attempts, some of them serious, others more of a cry for help. When I was at school, I dissolved some tablets into a pint of water in a crowded common room – the glass was knocked out of my hand before it got anywhere near my lips. I have fantasized for a long time about buying a rope.

A couple of years ago, facing an empty diary, I bought a garden hose and some duct tape, which I was going to hook up to the car exhaust. I went to the bar in my home town to take leave of my friends (without telling them what I was planning). I was surprised by how emotional I felt. I found it hard to speak, couldn’t stay long, found somewhere to park and cried my eyes out, then went home to say goodbye to my mother.

Rather naïvely, I’d thought we’d be able to have dinner together before I drove off into the sunset. In the event, she called the police, and we spent most of the night at the station. I think I narrowly avoided being sectioned. She hasn’t been able to discuss the event since.

To date, I haven’t been able to resolve any of the issues to led me feel suicidal then.

I’ve had counselling and psychological help at various stages of my life, some of it helpful, some of it less so.

Some months ago, in the wake of a crush during a work project followed by ten weeks with no work at all, my suicidal feelings became very strong. To displace them, I got in the car and drove around all night. I went to the coast and had a long walk on the beach. The following day I found a psychologist, who turned out to be a Jungian analyst. I saw her for a couple of months – she was helpful up to a point, and at least it was good to have someone to talk to.

At the same time I took up jogging in the morning, and made a decision to adopt healthy eating and positive thinking habits.

I felt however that I’d sooner spend time and money with someone who could help me to resolve the external problems as well as the psychological ones. I found a life coach, who had a long waiting list, a PhD in psychology and a career working for a corporate think-tank.

She charged me £90 for a ninety minute session, during which it became clear that she found my difficulties as intractable as I did.

Since then I’ve felt a bit disillusioned with mental health professionals. I don’t really have the money, or the emotional stamina to keep trying out different people until I find one that works.

Later that day, I found a yacht chandler’s shop and spent £83 on a rope.

I rang a friend to tell him what I’d done. He agreed to spend the evening with me. Once again, we drove around for most of the night, and I spent the next day at his place.

A few weeks later, I had a rare opportunity to pitch for a job. I put heart and soul into preparing, but it didn’t come off.

When I found out, I packed up the rope, drove to a church that I have keys to on the other side of town and put a ladder in place to reach a beam about twenty feet up. I found that I couldn’t get more than a few feet off the ground – partly through a fear of heights, but mainly, I think, from a sudden realisation of the enormity of what I was thinking of doing.

I coiled the rope up again, found a pub, had a beer, watched the football and drove home.

I think that there are several things that sometimes make suicide seem attractive, some of them distasteful:

a sense of self-esteem and self-empowerment; sometimes there’s only so much I’m prepared to put up with – if I’ve made my best efforts to resolve problems and there’s no sign of improvement, then I might choose not to accept the situation as it stands:

a desire for revenge – it’s my ex-landlord’s church:

a need to be understood – a desire for survivors to experience some of the hurt, loss and rejection that’s brought me to this place:

(I wonder if that’s one of the factors that makes the story of the Crucifixion so powerful – man’s need to force God to understand what it’s like to be human?).

Thank you for putting up with this bile. Most of this was written during the past few days, when I felt worse than I do now.

I’ve just finished a very busy couple of months. Last week I had only one day’s work, and a project with which I used to be involved, and with which I was hoping to be involved again resumed without me. As you’ve probably gathered, my mood dipped somewhat.

I have a week’s work booked in, starting on Tuesday, so as I write I’m feeling a bit more optimistic.

I think, however, that this is a fairly honest account of my feelings at their lowest, and I’ve found the process of writing them down helpful. I’d love to hear from anyone who can help me to make some sense of this jumble of raw emotions and disjointed thoughts.

Thank you once again for reading this.
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Hi there, wow, what a read of determination and perseverence. I don't really have any life skills, I've sort of muddled through most of my life, my big love is my friends here at SF. You seem like a really nice person, I'm sure you will make lots of friends here, as have I and in doing so I hope we can ease your pain and make the journey through life a little bit more comfortable.

Have you ever thought of going on the sick full time? I'm not sure if being suicidal or being a sufferer from long term depression qualifies you for being able to register as disabled but it's worth finding out, they would at least pay your rent and a little bit for food and bills and you might have a bit left over to pay your bills.

You could then work voluntarily in the performing arts so long as you did not exceed 15 hours or maybe you could class it as a hobby, I dont know. I do know however that being in an ever deepening spiral of debt is bad enough to make a person suicidal, let alone the fear of losing the place where you live. Mentally ill people, more than anything, need stability, otherwise they tend to go from one crisis to another.

Anyways, if you need a friend, just give me a pm :)
Robin and Vikki, thanks very much!

It's a new experience for me to feel understood by people like yourselves who've been there - I hadn't realised how much of a release it was going to be.

Somehow, after writing things down yesterday, I haven't felt the need to carry my feelings around with me all the time today. It's like being able to say

"OK, I feel this way sometimes; those feelings have value because they come from my experience, but they're safe in cyberspace, so I don't need to hold onto them too tightly. Right now I'm going to give my attention to things that are more important, or at least more fun."

I don't know how long I'm going to be able to stay that positive, but I'm going to make the most of it while it lasts!

Robin, I take your point about going on the sick, but I don't think that'd be right for me at the moment.

I'm self-employed, so I'd effectively have to wind up my own business, and that would feel like an admission of failure. I get a lot of pleasure from the work that does come in, and I think I probably make more money as things are than I'd get from the State.

Still, it's an option I hadn't considered, and one that I'll give more thought to if work ever dries up completely. Thanks for that - now I have another option even if things don't go the way I'd like them to!

Thanks for being there, and hope that things are going ok for you at the moment.

Best wishes,

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