I was in a phase…” I’ve been here before, I got this!” That’s what I kept saying to myself along with, this will pass! Days went by followed by weeks. What on earth was going on! I couldn’t snap out of it. I hadn’t changed my routine, I was still going to the gym, still eating well…but, I didn’t want to see anyone else. I didn’t want to talk to people. I knew I had to do something to deal with this. I felt I was spiraling out of control, this had to stop.
It was December 2021. What would have been my mum’s birthday on October 31st had passed and my brothers 8 year death anniversary also went by on October 7th.. Mum’s 6-year anniversary was approaching on January 19th. Every year, since she passed, I’ve dealt with it pretty well, managed my emotions, cried when I wanted to and overall, got through it pretty strong, each year. This time around, it just felt different. The emotions wouldn’t budge. I’d do what I always did and allow them to appear and I’d go through them, sometimes even writing them out. I was doing everything that had got me through the previous years. I felt stuck however. As the weeks went by, I was feeling more down and more vulnerable to my thoughts. The thoughts were becoming darker and more intense. I was scared!
Thoughts came back to earlier in the year when a good friend, Mick Smith AKA that bloke Mike took his own life. I, along with my circle of friends felt hopeless, we wish we could have done something. I started to now get thoughts of, if I was going to die, how would I do it! I knew this was absurd, it was fucking ridiculous, but the thoughts kept creeping back and each time they’d come, my sensible and rational part of the brain would counteract with:
“don’t be a dick” – “what about your family” – “you’re strong and been through much more” – “you’ve got this” – “this will pass” – “just hang in there” – “we’re only a month away” – “your mum wouldn’t want this” – “your time is not yet done” – “you have so much more to give”
For the first time ever, I was genuinely terrified of my thoughts. I would carry on my daily living, go work, go gym, do my daily admin and chores whilst continuously battling with the thoughts and crying daily, urging them to go and at times, asking and praying for my mum to help me. Surely this would pass I kept telling myself. Surely, I wouldn’t do anything stupid. I mean, thoughts are normal, we all have them and I’m pretty certain those that have gone through trauma and challenging times have had dark thoughts without the intent to follow through.
I remember a time during December I was driving up the M1 (a highway / motorway in UK), travelling to the midlands to see my dad, grandmother and sisters’ family, my cheeks were soaked with tears. I didn’t want to go and see anyone; I didn’t want anyone to see me like this. Thoughts were pushing themselves back in, this time, with aggression and force. For a split second, I had a thought…what if I turn my steering wheel to the left and onto the verge, maybe that will be it and an end to this misery. This is the moment I knew I had no other option but to share my feelings with a group of friends and my sister
Later that day, I typed a message out to a trusted group of friends telling them exactly how I was feeling. Not for sympathy, not for advice, but to just get it out there. I can’t explain how liberating this felt. It was a like a weight lifted off my shoulders. This though wasn’t the end but the thoughts become less frequent. One evening, my friend Rory and I were messaging and again, I was sharing some thoughts with him. To me, I felt, if I share them with others, it’s not just in my head, it’s also with others and I can speak it out loud, which made a difference to me. I was telling him about these thoughts but the fact I don’t want to do anything stupid and wouldn’t want my friends and family to go through the aftermath. I ended the convo telling him I’m going sleep. I put my phone on silent and went to sleep
23:25, I was woken by my apartment buzzer buzzing away, constantly. I thought who the fuck is this. I left it for a minute or 2 and it wouldn’t stop. I checked my phone and had many many messages from Rory and another friend Hughesy. They were both worried – I was only sleeping. Rory was outside my place checking if I was ok. After my message saying “yes” after he said promise to get some help, he sent me a fist pump and a heart. As I didn’t reply, he panicked and drove over an hour to check on me.
Anyway, I let him in and asked him what the fuck he’s doing here so late. It was simple, he was worried and needed to check I was ok! I held back the teers, we hugged and sat on the couch! I felt incredibly down and ashamed of myself, I couldn’t even look him square into his eyes. He however made it simple. He said, “we don’t have to talk but I will sit here with you”. We then watched 14 peaks on Netflix and we sat there! I couldn’t say much. I had a numb kind of feeling but also knew once I talk, I will break down! I just didn’t want to. After some time passed, I said a few things and with teers trickling down my cheeks, we continued to talk. He stayed for 2 hours or so and I then urged him to go home and sleep. He did, although reluctantly. I went to sleep feeling numb but woke up the next morning full of gratitude and love for my circle of friends. Something happened within me, with Rory coming over. I felt the cycle and phase was coming to an end but I knew I had to keep working on it but more importantly, keep talking. A day or 2 later, on Christmas eve, Rory, Hughesy and I decided to go into Windsor for a catch up. I didn’t want to but they forced me however deep down, I knew I had to, to get back out there and get into a public environment and laugh again with my closest. Rory made all the effort to check in on me, I had to make the effort with the lads! I’m glad I did. The evening was good, full of banter, laughs and conversation with my 2 homies, who, I’ve only known since March 2020 through Instagram. What a friendship and brotherhood we have and forever grateful for them along with my sister and best friend Viks who I shared these thoughts with. A burden was lifting – I wasn’t alone.
Things started to change as the days went by. My resilience was appearing again. Maybe it never left, I don’t know but the fact I got through those thoughts, it’s likely that resilience was being tested well and truly. I’ve got through many many challenges from a very young age. I’d class myself as highly resilient, tough and self-reliant. One factor however that has been my foundation is speaking to others and sharing my thoughts and troubles. Without my close circle of friends, genuinely, I would not be around writing this blog and sharing my past with you. Although I lost my mum in 2016, my life is full of love and support and this is the reason I’m still here.
If you’re going through stuff, i would urge you to speak to others; family, friends, professionals etc. The time will come when you make that decision and until then, have faith that it’ll pass and you will get through it. If things get worse, you need to force yourself to speak and seek hep before it get’s uncontrollable. There is so much help out there and you’d be surprised at how many people are willing to help, share an listening ear or just be there for a hug! Keep it simple, don’t be so hard on ourself unless that’s how you operate. I’m a mixture of both and sometimes need to be a little harder on myself and force that recovery! Whatever it is, you’ve got this and it’ll pass.
As always, thank you for reading and a big shout out my closest
Rishi – still living it up in Thailand