A decision has been made and it’s a fair one and the right one but it’s the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to consider and deal with. Before I say what it is let me say this: I agree with this decision 100% and it was set out when my ex-wife and I separated. I know that you all know how much my children mean to me and I hope you understand just how tough this is for everyone. It all boils down to the fact that daddy isn’t well.
I’ve suffered from depression since I can remember, but was diagnosed with it when I was 17. I was a long-haired grumpy teen and being told I had depression felt a bit cool. Wow. I can actually say I’m depressed and mean it. Awesome.
But it’s not. When your brain wrings your body dry. When you shake with fear and uncertainty and when your rational thoughts disappear in a second and are replaced by terrible doubt and vomit-inducing self loathing, it ain’t cool. To be physically sick because you find yourself so utterly disgusting is not cool. It’s frightening. And it’s frightening for those around you. I have depression and that’s a mental illness, but as soon as the words ‘mental illness’ appear to those around you, those who don’t quite get it or are scared by this label, it all becomes a bit too much for them to handle. To buck up your ideas and get over it isn’t an option. To say ‘we didn’t have it in our day’ and ‘we just got on with life’ isn’t what you want to hear. You find yourself thinking ‘well, I must be even more of a failure if I can’t do that. Great. Pass the tablets.
And I’ve done that, thought that, and passed myself the tablets twice in my life. Both occasions I was so sick my overdose didn’t work. Kind of obvious me saying that really as I’m typing this now. Durr.
And I’ve been thinking like this recently. Two days ago I made a plan as I’d had enough. I told myself I’d return to London to see my family. I would explain to them my problems and then, once they knew, I would walk away and kill myself. I’d set that date for Sunday, today, and, up until yesterday, I still thought this would be the best solution.
I wrote about feeling suicidal last year, on my old blog and got lots of support and comments from people. Some shared stories of loved ones who made this decision, carried it out, and are missed every single day. Someone said something along the lines of ‘Don’t ever think they’ll be better off without you. I’m not and I will always want that person back in my life.’ Real people telling you how they feel and still I didn’t hear it. I still thought that I would brighten up everyone’s life by being dead.
But that’s not going to happen. I need to get on and I know that my children need me in their life. It would be unfair of me to put the words ‘Daddy killed himself’ into anyone’s mouths. And if I did that then my children would never know just how much I love them.
So. Knowing how hard it is to be around someone suffering from a terrible period of depression, the time has come to make this tough decision.We don’t want our children to see this. I don’t want to be around them and take their sunshine and joy, let it fill me for a while to distract me from my own irrational horrors, and leave them, and leave with a feeling of a crushing loss. I don’t want to beg my ex-wife to let me stay with them. I don’t want this for her, for them and I don’t want it for anyone. I thought for a while about walking away. I thought about saying goodbye to my children and simply never contacting them again, for the same reasons. But that’s what my father did and I’m not him. No way.
So. While I’m feeling like this I won’t be with my children and when my ex and I separated we talked about this. If I hit a low point then as much as it would be hard, it wouldn’t be good for them to be with me. It could frighten them, upset them, and could also cause my ex-wife anxieties she doesn’t need. She wants to be able to feel comfortable knowing the children will be fully cared for when they’re with me and, she’s seen first hand, that when I get low I can barely look after myself. We agreed this. I hoped we’d never have to consider it, obviously, but the time has come for us to do so.
So I won’t be spending time with them for a while and I’ll concentrate on getting well so that I can as soon as possible. I’ll Skype them. I’ll speak to them on the phone. I’ll hear their voices and talk to them and keep in touch that way. But that’ll be it for a while. And I don’t know how long that while will be. We decided that I could look after my children when my ex next goes away for work, and that’s in April. That should give me enough time to sort myself out and keep on the right path. I’ll have time to feel better for a stretch of time and then I’ll see them with all the bad things behind me and some coping mechanisms in place. I might see them with family before then, when my aunt goes to see them, a kind of supervised visit. I’m staying with my aunt at the moment as, simply, I can’t be alone. But I don’t know when we’ll make that trip or, even if she does, whether I ought to go along. I just don’t know. I don’t know much right now. I just know that I have to continue, and sometimes that feels a bit pointless, but I cannot lose sight of what this might mean for my children.
It’s not because of anything specific happening, this low feeling I have which is crippling me. I’m too tired. Right now the fact is this. I won’t be with my children for some time. I won’t be able to hold them or cuddle them. Read them a story while they sit on my lap or kiss them good night.
And those are the worst words I have ever seen written down.
Thanks for reading.