Updated: Mar 24, 2020
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com
** This post could contain triggers for some readers **
Crisis is a weird thing, I think the word crisis shows it’s urgency however, I think it also leads people to think that crisis will always present itself in chaos or panic. This is simply not true. I don’t know what other word I would use to be honest but it adds some food to thought about the language we use in mental health.
I don’t have to tell you that there are so many different types of mental illnesses and with these different types there are different types of crisis. I am here to tell you about two of mine , where I got help, where you can get help and where you could potentially help others in crisis.
Lets start with the time my voice wanted to know answers I didn’t have. It’s true what they say, even google didn’t have all the answers.
I became obsessed with jumping for a few days, days turned into weeks, and all I did was sleep and research. I googled how fall you would have to fall in order to successfully kill yourself, and what damage other distances would achieve. My voice had an urge to find out more and more and in the end I was tormented by her pressing me for answers and telling me how I could get them. In the end it just so happened that I found myself on the top floor of our local cities hospital looking over the inside balcony at all the busy people walking by. “Is the hospital the best place to try and kill yourself?” “What is the splash zone, if any, for passersby as I landed?” There was only one way I could answer that, jump. I don’t remember how I got here, and still believe I was not suicidal. But this was a crisis.
Luck had it that I was still attending my Early Intervention Psychosis appointments, and had been given a number to keep on my person. The number for the crisis team. In an internal struggle with myself, and the lady in my head, I called. Probably even saved my life. I don’t really have any emotions looking back on this incident. If I do, the main one would probably embarrassment. I was seen the same day, changes where made to care plans and I was released back into the wild to the care of my family and friends.
That sounds [insert negative adjective here] I hear you cry! I was not upset, crying, chaotic. What I was, was calm in the face of this danger. If someone did not stop me, I would do whatever it took to answer the questions my internal friend needed.
A few years pass, and some different crisis points pass, but I want to show this particular crisis only because it is far from the calmness of the jumping crisis. I was suicidal and I was upset.
I had lost a lot, facing a lot of change and I had never felt more alone. I had just left a toxic relationship, I had lost my home, my job and I was depressed. Sleeping on my best friends sofa seemed the safest place to be. But once her house was silent and everyone was asleep, I cried begging to be as silently asleep as everyone else. I’d made a decision, I couldn’t do this anymore. There was no hope for me and I would never get better. The thought that brought me to calling the Samaritans was not that I wanted to kill myself, but was how I was I going to do this without those little boys sleeping upstairs who called me Aunty finding my body first. The last thing I wanted to do was scar them for life. I spoke to Samaritans for a good hour, probably more, and she just listened. Just, unjudgingly, listened. She didn’t magic the problem away or give some great speech about why I should live, she kept me distracted.
Moments like both these happen, and we need to fill our toolbox with tools to keep ourselves alive. Whether it be a list of happier or mindful things to do when you are feeling unwell or phone numbers and emergency plans for when things do hit crisis. We need them all.
MH Crisis Angels
MH Crisis Angels are an amazing little organisation built on volunteers. It is important to note they are NOT professionals but ARE listening ears who make a massive impact. A large number, if not all, of the volunteers at MH Angels have had a mental health diagnosis. This means you are talking to people that do understand in a much less formal way. Their stories are inspirational and definitely worth storing in your toolbox.
How Can I Help?
Surprisingly easy. MH Crisis Angels and Samaritans work on donations and volunteers both things that can be done from the comfort of your own home. It is an amazing feeling to help others in a crisis, but remember, you need to protect your mental health first. Don’t burn yourself out is basically what I’m saying here.