Tag Archives: suicide

The Reality of Chronic Illness

I’ve had a huge response to my last post.  I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has commented and for all your thoughts, hugs and prayers – they mean more than you can ever know.

As regular readers of my blog will know, I just tell it like it is.  Most of the time I manage to get through the days with at least some level of joy and gratitude.  But some times, I do not.  There are times when I’m just so flippin tired of the constant fight that I wonder what on earth the point to life is.  It’s one thing being sick for a month or two, or even a year or two, but I’ve lived with daily pain for 36 years now and some days I’ve just had enough.  I haven’t slept the night through for 21 years.  There is not a day which goes by where I don’t feel nauseous or dizzy.  I never have a clear head.  I am exhausted beyond any healthy person’s comprehension every nano second of every day.

I can’t eat what I want.  I can’t do what I want. I am without care of any kind.  I’m lonely.  I’m skint.  And it’s been like this for over two decades.

It’s absolutely normal to feel depressed at times.  I’ve never understood the insistence to be positive and perky every second of your life.  No offence to my American friends, but this pressure to never feel down and to always see the silver lining seems to be particularly strong in the States.  We Brits are much more realistic about life and are pretty good at moaning 😉 .  Holding everything in and pretending that all is fine when it clearly is not can lead to serious depression.

Someone commented that there are people worse off than me.  People with cancer or ALS.  I’m not sure that’s true.  I’ve had 3 Aunts and 1 Uncle die of cancer in recent years, so I know what they went through, but they were sick for 3 years then died.  Other people are sick for a few years then recover.  They don’t suffer with cancer for 40 years.  One of my neighbours lost half his leg, 8 fingers, half his nose and half his ear due to frost bite following a climbing accident.  But he’s not sick,  still works full time, has 4 kids, runs every day and still mountain climbs.  He has not had to spend a large portion of every one of the past 7,665 days in bed like me.  Another of my neighbours is in the end stages of Parkinsons Disease, a terrible illness which is robbing him of every bodily function.  But he’s 89 years old and until 5 years ago he was still digging the garden and driving his car having never suffered a days illness in his life.  He has children and grandchildren and a loving wife of 60 odd years.  He has memories of travels and adventures and a life well lived.  I wish I were that fortunate.

I’m sorry I scared some people talking about suicide.  But at times I do feel suicidal and I think, given my circumstances, that’s natural.  Fairly early on in my blogging I wrote a post about it which you can read here.  I also wrote a post about people’s differing attitudes to their circumstances which you can read here.  I might feel differently about my situation if I lived with a loving partner, or was being cared for by my parents, or had no money worries.  But I’m not in that position and my life is one relentless, exhausting struggle just to eat, bathe and get through the day.  You can’t know how you would cope living someone else’s life until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.

I’m not going to apologise for writing yet another downbeat post.  This is my current reality.  Tomorrow, or next week, or next month, may be different but today sucks.  And to any of my readers whose today also sucks I send big hugs.  We’ll get through it together.

Thoughts on Suicide

I apologise in advance if this subject is upsetting or goes against some of my reader’s religious beliefs, but it’s a much under-discussed topic and one which is close to my heart having lost a childhood friend to suicide in 2012 (he was one of the lead officers in the mass killing which took place in Cumbria in 2010 and we think this triggered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  Some of my other friends have also lost chronically ill friends to suicide as their lives, and pain, had become intolerable.  Please don’t read this post if you think it might distress you because I am going to be honest about the situation.

I think about suicide a lot.  It’s my get-out clause.  There are days when my life seems so overwhelming, so difficult, so punishing that I don’t think I can bear it a second longer.  When I haven’t slept for days, when I’m sick to my stomach, when every part of my body hurts and when I know it’s never going to get any better.  When I’m so lonely and in need of physical contact and comfort I want to literally scream out loud.  When I’m absolutely overwhelmed with seeing to my home, paperwork, laundry, food, shopping and caring for my parents, despite being so ill and exhausted I can barely put one foot past the other, that just breathing is simply too much.

I’m not depressed.  I’m not lying here thinking irrational black thoughts or catastrophizing the situation.  I’m just at the end of my physical and emotional resources and need some peace.

For someone who is almost totally drug allergic there is no escape from the physical suffering which constitutes my daily life.  There is no popping a pain-killer, or dosing up on morphine, for a brief window of respite from the physical pain.  There are no sleeping pills to knock you out for 10 hours so you can get some rest.  There are no drugs to make you poop when you haven’t been to the loo for a week, or to stop you from feeling sick to your stomach and retching your guts up.  It’s gruelling beyond belief.  And no matter how ill I am I still have to do the laundry, buy and prepare food, bathe, pay the bills and deal with all the other problems life throws at you like my laptop conking out or the drains overflowing in all the recent rain.

There are three things that stop me from taking my own life.  At times these seem like a blessing, and at others like a heavy burden which keeps me bound to this life with no means of escape.  The first are my parents – they simply cannot manage without me and I couldn’t put them through the trauma of my death.  The second is my little rescue dog – his first owner died and he is incredibly emotionally fragile and clingy and I’ve no idea what losing me and ending up back in rescue would do to his psyche.  If I ever did kill myself I’m fairly sure I’d take my dog with me.  The third is hope: hope that tomorrow will be a better day, that I might not be quite so tired, or in quite as much pain, or feel quite so sick, or that Prince Charming will come a-knocking at my door.

I think about suicide quite rationally.  I think about methods, which are tricky when you can’t just down a bottle of vodka and take a handful of barbiturates – let’s face it, my method is going to have to be a bit more brutal than falling asleep high on drink and drugs.  I have a Will.  I have a file with details of all my finances, internet passwords, and details of my funeral all laid out so that my Executors and Solicitor will know my wishes and be able to see to my ‘estate’.  When I say I’ve thought about suicide, I mean I’ve really thought about it.

I rage against God that if he were a kind, compassionate Being he’d just let me die in my sleep one night.  So far he’s not been listening: I’ve found he doesn’t listen to me much, probably because I don’t actually believe He exists.  Some days I hate Him for not listening, and other days I think I’m lucky He doesn’t exist and isn’t listening because then what would happen to my parents and my dog? (yes, I know this is contradictory, but then I think the word Contradictory sums me up quite well and should be engraved on my headstone 😉 ).

Having already lived for 20 years with chronic illness I know, for sure, that I can’t live another 30 with this level of physical, mental and emotional pain and suffering.  And I know, for sure, that when my parents and little dog are dead there will be nothing keeping me here.  To have the choice of ending my life is comforting to me and something I hold on to, ironically, like a lifeline.