Escape fantasy

The fantasy of escape takes up a lot of space in my imagination. This borderline obsession has resided in me for at least three years. I’ve made non-committal efforts to dislodge it, and had short-lived success here and there. Those little pushes aren’t significant though, because in truth, I know it will always be a part of me.

It might be different for other people, but my gut feeling is that because I’ve been down that road, it’ll never be completely off-limits. Research backs that up. If you’ve attempted suicide, or experienced parasuicidal behaviour, you’re statistically a lot more likely to actually end up killing yourself. Even if it’s decades later.

It’s a sad fact, but I can’t tell you how many overdoses I’ve taken. I’ve lost count. Not all of these were serious suicide attempts. On some of those occasions, I wanted to communicate how terrible I felt. Or I had an uncontrollable urge to damage myself. The fantasy of death always came into it though, as I knew it was possible I could die. I enjoyed that thought. On those occasions, I was more careful. I struck a balance that meant there was a chance I could die, or a chance I’d be saved.

Maybe what I really wanted was the feeling of being rescued. It’s hard to say, because I don’t remember any of the rescuing. My memories are of despair, excitement, guilt, retching as I swallowed pill after pill, a sense of peace, and then blacking out. After that it was always the same. Coming to and realising I was in hospital. Feeling more guilty. Feeling ashamed. Feeling extremely sick. Feeling disappointed I’d survived.

There have been a few times I really wanted to die. Those are the incidents that play on my mind the most. I re-watch what I can remember of them like movies. Especially the most recent attempt, when I took a huge overdose of codeine and lorazepam with a lot of alcohol. I settled down in a churchyard, tucked out of sight, and waited to die.

Waiting to die sounds like it should be a miserable, frightening experience. But I think that’s the part at the centre of my obsession. I can’t describe the feeling of pure calm and relief I felt when I thought my life was over. And yes, it could’ve been to do with the cocktail of opiates, benzos and booze I had on board, but the thought of death was so beautiful.

Anticipating the end of my existence made me feel like I could breathe again. I felt truly free. And it was incredible.

It isn’t that I believe in an afterlife. I wasn’t expecting to float away to some other place and start over or live on forever looking down on my loved ones. It was essentially about the simple feeling that my suffering was about to end. I didn’t have to struggle anymore. I could achieve freedom from emotional pain, and there is no price too high to pay for that.

This has all been brought back into focus for me in the past week because of a dream. I dreamed I’d decided to commit suicide. I was running through the town I used to live in; running toward my planned method, running toward the knowledge that when I arrived it would all be over. My heart was bursting as I ran. I was so excited, relieved, even hopeful. I was finally allowing myself the thing I’d wanted most in these past few gruelling years.

When I woke up, I couldn’t help but feel deeply disappointed. I wanted to have that feeling of relief and excitement for real. I wished I could grab and hold that felt sense of knowing I didn’t have to fight anymore. That’s what I remember, crystal clear, from the times I thought I was going to die. And I think that is the feeling that makes me keep returning to the fantasy.

 

 

 

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. When I felt suicidal I did not want to die as such, I wanted to not be alive so the pain would stop and I could rest. Thankfully those intrusive thoughts have left me now. With the right therapy and a new outlook on life, it is possible to stop them from recurring. You might want to read Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig. Take care. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      Thanks. I’m doing therapy but these thoughts seem to always resurface from time to time. I read the Matt Haig book, I liked parts of it, but I also found it a bit simplistic. Recovering from complex trauma is quite different from clinical depression. But I did take some good stuff from it. I’m glad you’re free of those awful thoughts now. X

      Like

      1. It’s true that CPTSD is very different from clinical depression. I have heard that EMDR has shown some success in treating victims of trauma. Take care xx

        Like

  2. DV says:

    I hope you decide not to die.

    But I can relate to feeling as if the idea is like a path worn in the grass on a hillside – the more I walk it, the deeper that path is worn and the easier my mind slips down it once I stumble onto the path. I have similarly wondered if once you have been down that path and know you are capable of it, that it ever truly stops being an option. It would be great to think that there is permanent healing, but I know I haven’t got there yet.

    I’ve found it immensely frustrating that no-one seems to have an answer to “how do I just not think of suicide?”. I tend to believe that no-one can *make* themselves not think of it, in the short term it seems as if all you can really do is delay acting on the thoughts, hoping that they will fade a little given enough time and support – for me having a therapist who was prepared to sit with those feelings of despair and be hopeful on my behalf when I didn’t have hope for myself was what got me through. In the longer term I think it’s about making a good enough life that the desire to hold onto that life is stronger than the desire to let go, building experiences that make life and not death seem exhiliarating and powerful.

    I don’t think I’m saying anything that you don’t already know – I just want you to know that you are not alone in this. Thinking of you. ❤

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Laura says:

      Thanks DV. It’s good to be reminded. I agree that it’s about building a life we want to hang onto. But there seem to always be times when the pain and traumatic memories are bigger. Maybe in time the balance will shift. I still don’t feel totally ok about sharing those thoughts and feelings with J. So maybe I need to work on that too. I always feel like I don’t want to go there with her because ultimately she wants to prove me wrong – and I don’t want to feel like I’m being stupid or irrational. Not sure how to bypass that issue, as she’s never going to sit there and say, ‘yes Laura, you’re quite right, you are a worthless, pathetic excuse for a human being. Suicide is really the best option for you.’

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sending you love. My world, for one, would be all the sadder if you weren’t here. Thinking of you x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ashleyleia says:

    Yeah, that idea of not having to fight any more can seem very appealing. But not having to fight so much can also happen in the context of living. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. La Quemada says:

    Dear Laura, I suspect this will sound like so much bullshit to you. It sounded like bullshit to me, until it started not to. You can get that peace of not having to fight anymore and still be alive. For me it comes through deep, crazy, impossible acceptance. I accept this, and this, and this too, and this too, and even this. I am human and my messed up history and my mother who isn’t interested in me and my father who used me sexually and my loneliness and my despair and my hope and my children and my loving husband and my confusion– all of it, I accept all of it. I can tolerate all of it, even when it hurts. I don’t have to fight it; I let it be what it is.

    Not to suggest I’ve got it down. But in the moments when I am centered and strong and feel I’ve got it down for the moment, it’s all about acceptance.

    I don’t know if this approach will speak to you or even make sense, but I offer it because I see so much in you of value. I can’t help wanting you to stay here, to find some peace and stay on this earth so people can love you and you can feel their love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      It doesn’t sound at all like bullshit and I appreciate you taking the time to share it with me. Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words.

      Liked by 1 person

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