This week I will attend the inquest into my dad’s death, which is going to be pretty rough. I posted six months ago that he had passed away but I had not said why.
The truth is my dad took his own life. This is a hard sentence to write, and is made worse because he did this terrible thing because he was chronically ill as decided he did not want to be sick or in pain any longer. To my dad, being sick meant his life had no value and he had no future to look forward to, so he decided to end things rather than face this increasingly bleak future as he saw it.
As somebody with chronic illnesses myself (both endometriosis and adenomyosis) the thought that my dad felt that being sick meant his life was worthless and his future hopeless is particularly hard to accept. We [his family] did not think these things about him or facilitate him feeling this way. This thinking is everything I try to stand against in my daily life and in my writing.
I tried to tell him everything would be OK. That he would get through it. The truth is I didn’t know that it would be OK, for him and for me. But through the years I have hit rock bottom a number of times because of being sick but have always come through the other side again eventually. You have to keep hope inside of you that life is cyclical and things never stay the same forever.
Being chronically ill is rough, particularly when young, and can easily pull you under. At times it can make you feel so demoralized and worthless it seems pointless to continue. For example, I wanted a big and rewarding career that I’ve worked hard to achieve, but now have to accept this is beyond my capabilities with my health being what it is. I still feel sad about this and I still cry sometimes but I don’t let it rule my life or dictate my self worth. Instead I have tried to find a job which doesn’t sap all my energy, which I enjoy, and learn to take please in some of the smaller things in life. I try not to compare myself to my peers, most of whom have not had to wade through the challenges that poor health present, as I have. What does it achieve anyway?
There was a time a few years ago, before my my surgery, when I felt my life was over and I was doomed to a life of pain, infertility and sadness because of my illnesses. Three years on I’m thriving and have a gorgeous baby son. I’d never have believed this possible such a short time ago after a decade of pain. I have spoken with some many endo suffers who have felt suicidal at one time or another and this breaks my heart.
So long story short, believe in yourselves my fellow chronic illness warriors. Things are rarely as bleak as they seem, I promise. You can do this. Your life matters and has real value, being sick can never take that away. Take one day at a time and ask for help if you need it. People will answer. Don’t be like my dad and throw your life away because you’ve given up hope and you’re scared. It leaves too many broken hearts behind, and there are no surgeries or pills that can ever fix them.
In a crisis you can contact your national suicide support phone lines here.