I have been with my case worker for three years. He is like a best friend to me, even though I know he can’t be. When I saw him last he told me to call him if I got manic or psychotic again. He really seemed to care about me. He gave me an appointment card for our next appointment, as usual. I called him before our next appointment as I wasn’t feeling good. At the end of the phone call he told me he’d speak to me soon. A few days later the manager and psychiatrist told me they were changing my case worker. That was the day the floor beneath my feet, which was only just starting to mend after a series of losses and longstanding mental health issues, caved in. Something broke that day…. Something within me, and almost something outside of me too as I very nearly smashed the clinic’s window.

Tonight I watched Anh’s Brush With Fame. I can’t remember the name of the woman Anh interviewed. She was speaking about how her father and family would help the Jewish victims during the holocaust. She said they kept guns to kill themselves with in case they were ever discovered. This is because they knew they would be tortured if discovered, and shooting themselves was the kinder of two evils. Sadly I could understand this all too well. I have and continue to experience such prolonged and unbearable traumatic stress/pain that I would rather die than go through this. I think this woman did a good job at showing that suicide is not irrational or the product of a deranged mind. It reminded me of a quote by David Foster which is one of the most empathetic and compassionate things I’ve read about suicide:

“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”

People say that trauma makes you stronger, or “you fall off your bike you get back on”. People say that trauma happens for a reason, to teach us something or help us grow. But I think these are some pretty messed up things to say to/about people experiencing trauma. I realise just how messed up these things are as I watch all the shows about the Ukraine war today and the impact it’s had on these people (it has been exactly one year since Ukraine was invaded). Some people experience and are haunted by such horrific things that they cannot stand to be alive. Trauma is nothing like falling off your bike. And trauma does not make us stronger… love does.