This song, My Kinda Love by Emeli Sande, was a given really, for this week. Last week was hard going. I’ve mentioned a few times on here that my husband has PTSD, and I suffer from similar conditions. Well, after months of spiraling, last week my husband relapsed. He had a full blown panic/paranoia attack and confessed that for a while his suicidal thoughts have been getting worse and more vivid. So last week we made an emergency doctor’s appointment to go and get him some support. The upshot of all this is that he’s on a new drug (which will steadily be increasing in dose for a while), seeing his doctor on a fortnightly basis and has been told to call 999 if this happens again and he is alone. Doctors don’t often give out that advice – they tell you to call the surgery, or your pharmacy, or NHS Direct, or the non emergency number 111. To be told to call 999 is a mark of how severe this condition is for my husband.
PTSD is something we both live with as sufferers and as supporters, but there is no doubting that his is the more severe case. The suicidal thoughts thing isn’t new, but it does worry me more now that we’ve spoken about it.
The thing is, my husband hasn’t decided to kill himself.
He just realised one day that he was deciding which method would be the best to use.
His mind has subconsciously made itself up in this direction, and that means that no amount of conscious thought will undo that process. It’s not a flip switch. It’s a battle inside the mind.
He has so much to live for. We both do. Our work brings us enormous satisfaction, we are in a deeply loving and committed marriage. We have great friends and loving families. We are both passionate writers and creative people. We look forward to living on a boat, having the sort of lifestyle that will give us the freedom and close proximity to nature that we both crave. Life is going to be good for us. And he knows this.
But his subconscious doesn’t.
And that scares me.
Suicide is seen as a selfish thing. It’s even seen as selfish to talk about it. Like the person opening up is blackmailing the listener for attention or trying to upstage everyone else’s woes.
Frankly I find that kind of thinking in and of itself selfish.
Does it distress me to hear my husband confess to me that he’s considering how best to die at times? You bet it does! But not just for my own sake – for his too. Because I know that on some level – the one that’s awake and calling the shots for most of his life – he doesn’t actually want to die. And that’s why I will never call him selfish for telling me about this. I want him to tell me. I want him to get me on his side, in that fight, working to keep him alive. We are a team, and we will work together on this. So I need all the briefings. Even the unpleasant ones.
It’s easy to love someone when times are better. When things are going well. When life is filled with dates, and parties, and celebrations, and happiness. Anyone can fall in love under those circumstances. It’s not falling in love that’s difficult, it’s staying in love.
This song by Emeli Sande gave me a point of reference for that difference.
I might not be the craziest little socialite the world has ever seen. I’m not a party chick, or a social butterfly. I am prone to bouts of seriousness and at times people might question whether someone like me, who can be a bit dour and isolationist in her own weakness, would be the best match for my husband. Perhaps someone like him might need people who are more bright, and joyful, able to remind him of the fun side of life.
I know better than that. This song sums up why.
I love him, with everything I am, for everything he is. And don’t ever question that my heart beats only for him.
‘Cause when you given up
When no matter what you do, it’s never good enough
When you never thought that it could ever get this tough
That’s when you’ll feel my kind of love
And when you’re crying out
When you fall and you can’t pick
Your two feet off the ground
When the friends you thought you had haven’t stuck around
That’s when you’ll feel my kind of love
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