The day I nearly died was the day that shaped the rest of my future. It was an interesting day, I had woken up in the state that I was done with living. It was nearing my 18th birthday, the day that marked complete freedom – freedom that came at a price. Unfortunately, the price for looked after children is pretty large, it marks the day that you lose almost all of the support you once had. There is such uncertainty there and loss. For me, the biggest fear of it all was losing my foster family.
The masses of emotional turmoil I was going through derailed my future plans. To begin with, turning 18 didn’t seem the worst as I had exciting plans for university. It was all set out, where I wanted to go was in the top 5 in the UK for my subject area and had a direct 45 minute train journey that dropped me just a 10 minute walk from my foster family’s home! What could be better? Unfortunately, the emotional leftovers of an abusive relationship, my childhood traumas and the unforgettable idea that there was a possibility my foster carers could drop me the second I left the door all became too much. My college work was beginning to suffer and I was running full speed ahead through that gateway to drug and alcohol abuse.
Before I knew it, I was just a few months before exams. March, to be exact. Everyone could see how much I was struggling but I was too busy navigating my crash course to failure that I didn’t recognise those I was pushing away were the ones who cared the most. I found myself in a position where college were encouraging me to drop out and redo my second year. Everything was going wrong and there was nothing I could do about it.
And here we arrive to the 31st of March 2017. So I had woken up, absolutely done with life. If I remember correctly, there had been several hospital visits due to my mental health in the run up to this. It was a very dark time. I had a plan in place for a while now, I just had to stop being a p*ssy and do it. So I did, I went to the different pharmacies collecting tablets – I had done the maths, I knew exactly how much was needed for my body weight.
There were extra steps involved but I will not disclose these or any specific information that could be harmful as unfortunately I was too smart with my suicide plans. I have seen myself the successful-ness when half of it falls through. I will not advertise how to kill yourself in case of the wrong person reading this. It seemed as though fate was on my side when the second half did fall through, that half was much more irreversible. The first half was my backup plan.
The issue is when you’re a science student, you know how to filter certain over the counter drugs to get you high. I knew just what temperature this one would precipitate out of the tablet so that I could take the pure solution without the complication of the toxic drug mixed in giving me an overdose. This was the second drug I had ever tried and soon developed a dependency to it (little would I know I would form an addiction later on in life). When it came to my suicide however, it seemed perfect that I could get high without filtering these tablets whilst killing myself at the same time. So off I toddled to college, pleased with my little plan – I did not want to arouse any suspicion so continued my day as usual.
It was really disappointing seeing what was supposed to be my closest friends reaction. Everyone else knew I’d be high all the time but never how or the implications. This one friend knew I had no way of extracting the drug at home without making my carers kitchen resemble a drug lab. He knew I had overdosed. I took some of those tablets in front of him. He asked me how many I took and I told him – I was as high as a kite and quite literally getting my death wish. I did not care if he knew. Part of me thinks I was already aware of how little he cared and that he would take no action. He didn’t even try to take the tablets off of me.
So there I was, high as balls in college, pretending everything was normal as I kept popping extra pills. It’s like I got to a point where I could feel my body reacting to the toxins. I was such an expert at this point at not throwing up that I had managed to keep every single dose inside my body. It eventually got to the time where people had to go to lesson and every single person left me there. It broke me, my body was just wasting away and they all left me. Of course none of them actually knew that apart from that one. He went to lesson also. It felt like that last little hint that I was doing the right thing.
I remember sitting on the sofas in our usual hanging out spot doing nothing, just staring off into the distance and thinking. Thinking that I was so excited things were finally ending, thinking that I was pissed half of my plan fell through – it would have made the attempt much more quicker, painless and peaceful. An overdose is a long and painful death.
Obviously, I am here today, I didn’t die on those sofas. I’m still not sure what it was that led me to go hospital. My ‘friend’ who had knowingly left me there to die had left lesson to go toilet, which was opposite to where our little sofa spot was. He was actually surprised to see me still sat there, like he expected it was all a ruse and that I wasn’t really making an attempt on my life. All he said to me was one sentence and strolled back on to class. It wasn’t heartfelt, certainly not anything memorable. All I know was that he expressed that he would be sad if I died.
Now I do not know if this was my guilty saviour complex that kicked in. We had jokingly made a suicide pact previously as we were apparently so close. We soon came to realise that we may have accidentally made it more official than we had originally planned. We were both dealing with a lot at the time and were very suicidal. We were each others crutch in the sense that we knew the other would ditch college and get wasted or do drugs together if one felt shit. Not really a strong friendship when I think back on it but it was all we had at the time.
The other reason I am led to believe that I saved myself was pure survival. It wasn’t until a little while after this person came to speak to me that I made the decision to go hospital. There I was sat on this sofa feeling the drugs working their way through my body and suddenly I just changed. It’s hard to explain. I just felt okay, like I hadn’t just downed a load of pills hours before. Even the high was wearing off by this point so there was nothing to mask the ill I was feeling. People were starting to notice that I wasn’t looking so good…
But it just happened. I do not know why or how but I got up off that sofa and I walked to the hospital. It took me half an hour to get there, I walked into reception and told the woman what I had done. I must have looked really ill as I have never seen the NHS move so fast. There were so many people waiting but they moved me into a room so quick there wasn’t even a bed in there. The second I sat down I started vomiting uncontrollably. I was faint, I wasn’t with it. I was suddenly feeling all of the effects of what I had done to my body.
Within minutes I was placed on a drip containing the antidote to the drug I had taken – before my blood test results had even come back. Once those results were back, I was told that if I had come in any later that there would have been no hope. When I say overdoses are a slow and horrible death, I mean it. After a certain amount of time, you get past a point of no return. You have to spend the remainder of your time in hospital slowly dying. Sometimes this can last weeks. I was minutes away from that irreversible point.
This is why I believe it was my survival instincts that kicked in. I still cannot give a solid explanation to this day as to why I got up off of that sofa – and at exactly the right time. Sure, I felt bad about making my friend sad if I died but my desperateness towards ending my life overpowered that. Either way, it seemed like it was fate looking back at it now. It was a drag being in hospital alone with this drip plugged into me for what felt like an eternity. It gave me a lot of time to think.
This was my first suicide attempt since going into care. All of the other times, I was leaving a family that did not care for me. The decision was always easier but I was too naive. I never managed to work out a successful method to end my life and would often end up in hospital to get checked over after a whole day of no deathly symptoms – or a member of my family would find the empty tablet packets. This time round, I had realised there was a lot more at stake. I actually had a family now and a future ahead of me. I had seen days of happiness so I knew that could be achieved again. Such a decision bore much more weight than it ever could have before. After all, before care all I knew was sadness and maltreatment.
I have never attempted suicide since to this day. Sure, there have been times I have considered it but I have never quite made it to the pharmacy. I am now rarely suicidal, the only proper episode I have had since was when I was living with my abusive partner. I am now so grateful to be alive. I love the work that I do in advocating for those who have been exactly where I was. If I ever dip to those dark moments again, I tell myself: if I cannot live for myself then I should at least live for the countless lives I am changing.
In my work I have found purpose. I know why I was meant to carry on living. I have something to offer this world, as does everyone.
There is hope. I have come from nothing. I have lost everything so many times I have lost count. I am still alive and I am thankful to be alive. I am still fighting but I now fight with hope – someone that once seemed destined to die now grateful to be in existence. If I can achieve this, so can you. The dark may feel as though it lasts forever but keep on fighting and I promise you, you will get there. When you have been through such lows, being okay is the most amazing feeling in the world. It is worth it.
I know that lockdown is really taking it’s toll at the moment but do not let it win. Before you know it, life will continue. We will recover. You will recover. Please don’t make a decision you’ll regret.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal ideation or intention do not hesitate to get in contact with Samaritans 116 123. If your life or someone else’s is in danger regardless of whether any physical harm has yet been caused go to your local A&E, call 111 or in emergency contact the police or ambulance service on 999. You can go to the hospital to simply keep yourself from ending your life.