By Cyll Duncan

I opened up FB recently to read that a guy I knew had committed suicide. I had spoken to him at BootCo and more so by FB whenever I saw a status he posted that worried me. I tried to help.

We had shared a common past, struggled with demons, got well, had set backs and both thought there was no hope. I was lucky however, I made it. This is the story of the last time I attempted suicide.

My life was in tatters, my mental state was chaotic. I had lost lots of weight, was not sleeping, my behavior was irrational, I was broke and I had unraveled. I was in a relationship with a guy (we will call him John) which was toxic for both of us and we were not dealing with in different ways. One day it all ended and John said he had had enough. I fell completely apart.

I was laying on bed crying when I decided to end it. I felt hollow and empty and just couldn’t imagine living like this. I scrounged all the money I could find and bought as many boxes of cheap Panadol as I could. I walked home from the shops swallowing handfuls at a time. I took a heap of anti-nausea medication so I would not throw up. I switched my phone off, laid down and started crying again. I told no one and left no note.

After awhile I got scared, really scared, more so than I ever have in my life. Gripped by fear doesn’t even come close to describing it. I realized I wanted to live and I was terrified it was too late. I was hyperventilating, panicking, I tried to make myself puke but nothing worked. I called 000 and I begged and pleaded with them to hurry, then I blacked out.

I only have snatches of memory such as sirens, being in a stretcher and breathing through an oxygen mask. I remember being told I had paracetamol poisoning and the uncomfortable feeling of lots of drips and tubes. Mostly I remember being really itchy and being told that was normal. One night a nurse brought me my phone charger and the book I asked John to bring me, he didn’t want to see me at all.

My motivation was to get back together with John, when I got out of hospital he was home. We argued straightaway and he packed his things. He was gone. I lost it again, this time however instead of killing myself I ran, in tears, to the office of a therapist I had seen a year or more ago (let’s call him Wayne). His secretary didn’t tell me to leave, instead he managed to get me an appointment at 8pm, after hours. I was lucky.

That night I sat shaking in Wayne’s office, he gently prompted me to talk and everything fell out all at once. I told him about all the horrible things I had done and all the horrible things that had been done to me. He listened and he helped me. He organised a place for me to stay so I wasn’t alone and weekly sessions with him and other support networks. I can never thank him enough.

Friends also helped, the few I had left. In particular my best friend Sym continued to stay by my side and be there for me. I also had begun to spend more time with Andy, who I had known on and off for awhile. My parents organized a lease on a one bedroom apartment in New Farm for me, even though I had put them through hell.

It was fucking hard. I walked a lot, especially when the thoughts in my head hurt too much. I went through boxes of tissues and woke up most nights covered in sweat from my dreams. I’d called and texted John constantly, he rarely replied. I lived pay to pay, all money went to rent and debt collection agencies. I tried to keep busy, keep occupied and slowly, very slowly, things got better. I grew up and I grew strong.

Andy and I began to spend a lot of time together, we let our relationship develop and by May 2011 he had moved in with me. We will be married in San Francisco in Feb 2015 and look forward to the rest of our lives together. I almost missed out on this.

I got involved more with BootCo, joining the committee, becoming Mr QLD Leather 2013 and recently taking on the role of secretary. I get to give back and see the club grow from strength to strength.

Although my liver still has not forgiven me, my health has returned and I am fitter than I have ever been. I train as part of a powerlifting team, competing in competitions and cheering on my team mates.

I am so thankful I didn’t die. I got to see and feel so many great things. I wish others who have left us could have seen what I have.  I wish they had gotten the help I had. I wish they had been able to see beyond their pain. I wish they were still here. I miss them all.

If you need help, it is out there, GLWA can be contacted on 1800 184 527 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.