Two weeks ago, I sat in a therapy room with A and told her how desperately I wanted to kill myself. My honesty came after a number of weeks of being at rock bottom – speaking to crisis hotlines, considering going to A&E, calculating pill quantities… it was an incredibly low time, and I was very honest.
Two weeks on, and today our conversation was rather different. That low has passed, and after my lows comes an odd period of being rather ‘high’. Today, as we were reviewing how things were in a more general sense (because my treatment with her is ending), I suddenly felt overwhelmingly proud of myself.
In the last year, I have done some truly incredible things. I have graduated with a good degree classification. I got myself a job in a career that I love. I succeeded at that job, despite it being unbelievably challenging at points. I split with my partner and my secure life – I left our home with some cardboard boxes full of trinkets but nothing more. 9 months on from the day we made the decision, I’m living on my own, happily, in a room that is so me and that I love. I have a good relationship with my housemates and I regularly scan papers because having my own place doesn’t feel too far away. I am financially stable (just about). I have found a best friend, and a number of incredible people who I keep in regular contact with. I truly feel at home with these friends. I have kept a relationship with my ex that is positive and mature – something I could never have done previously. I now have a positive and somewhat comforting relationship with my parents, when previously we had been at rock bottom. I have hobbies, activities I like to do and places I like to walk. I have worked my butt off in therapy and made huge strides forwards. Most importantly, I feel proud of myself. Self-compassion is not my strength, but I can look at the last year and see how much I have cracked open my shell and stepped into the blinding light. I am in awe of the strength I have found, that I never knew I had.
I have a long way to go. Being self-compassionate is my next big hurdle, but I’m reading the book and bracing myself for the challenge. Things are nowhere near perfect, but as I said to my therapist today, I’ve set up the counters and the dice and the playing board – I’m set and I’m ready to go. The only flaw is that I’m not quite in the game yet – my head is still too frequently trapped in negativity and self-destruction. But once I tackle that, it’s game on.