Suicidal tendencies with loads of metaphors

Because it’s been the case with me for so long – well, all my adult life, 35 years or so – I find it impossible to imagine what it’s like not to have suicidal thoughts drift into my consciousness with regular abandon. Do people really not, ever, never ever, have genuine suicidal thoughts? Unbelievable!

If you lose your hearing in adulthood, or even late childhood, or lose another sense, you have a memory of that sense. You know what some things looked, sounded, smelt, tasted, felt like. It must help with dealing with the loss of a sense.

But I have absolutely no idea what it’s like to live without weekly, often daily, thoughts of suicide. And they’re not just thoughts; they’re instincts. A need, almost, same as any other physical and mental, spiritual, need. And this has gone on for decades. It’s bloody tiring, I tell you. Never let it be said people with a mental illness aren’t strong. We’re Hercules, Samson and, uh, other very strong people.

I manage to ‘hang in there’ (an unfortunate turn of phrase) and ride the storm, which comes in waves. Sometimes the waves are like prissy lappings at the Welsh shoreline in summer at the beach. Sometimes they’re like surf-stuff in North Cornwall. Sometimes they’re thrashings at cliffs, like that sea which just hates the land and wants to, like, totally destroy it.


At this very moment, I’m in a North Cornwall-cliff thrashing kind of place. And I have no-one to talk to about it. I’m not a ringing Samaritans kind of guy. I’m certainly not a ringing that emergency number my therapist gave me kind of guy. I’m too shy for that; don’t want to cause any bother, eh?

Not only do I have to deal with the idea that there are people who aren’t suicidal, and who never, ever have been not even for a fleeting second, I have to deal with the apparent fact that some people even experience happiness. Daily!

People are strange.

So I put my blinkers on, put the music I know will make me focus, have a glass of wine or two (I know, I know..), and wait for the waves to stop beating up on the land.

The philosopher Bertrand Russell (whose childhood home was in a village with a lot of meaning for me, Trellech) pointed out that just because the sun comes up every morning and has done for millions of years, there’s absolutely no reason why it should do so tomorrow.

I’ve weathered the storm, Canute-ed the waves, and no doubt I’ll make it through the rest of this evening too. Same as it ever was. Same as it’s always been. And if I’ve done it for 35 years then it’ll never be different. Will it?

3 comments on “Suicidal tendencies with loads of metaphors

  1. I recently wrote a similar entry. It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one that has to live with the thoughts daily without the urge to act on them. Don’t be afraid to reach out, that’s what this place is for. Best of luck!

  2. fishrobber69 says:

    I’ve had the thoughts frequently as well. I almost acted on them twice, but usually it is just an expression of wanting to escape the bipolar life. I have a plan in place, but for now I just think about it.

  3. Claudia Wierszylowski says:

    Your writing ability is a true talent John. I’m reading your thoughts bit by bit. Never one for reading much, don’t know why ,as I used to read so much when I was a child. Think it’s the not so relaxed state of mind. Anyw I just wanted to say many people have suicidal thoughts as you probably well know. try not to think about those who don’t. Concentrate on you and what you need to do and what makes you tick. I don’t know what hypomania is or what it makes you feel, buI can see it is part of you and has been for a long time. Cling to your creativity in these moments. I bet there are many artists who have created their best works at these times. Music is great too. I have come to rely greatly on the radi these past months. It’s great distraction from my hugely intrusive thoughts. Sorry I’m not as eloquent with words as you and expressing myself doesn’t come so easily… Samaritans didn’t help me much, so you’re not missing out there. You have my number 🙂

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