Recently I reached a point in my life where I experienced real feelings of depression and wanting to end my life in a way that I had never experienced before. For that reason I wanted to share my experience of mental health and suicide, what made me feel that way, how I managed to heal myself and start to feel good again. I wanted to do this in the hope that it might be beneficial to others who might feel the same way or be experiencing similar things.
The thing that makes you the most uncomfortable is your biggest opportunity for growth
Last summer I was experiencing family problems that were triggering such deep trauma within me that I decided the most self-loving thing that I could do for myself was to part ways with my family in order to focus on my healing journey. One of the ancestral wounds in my family is the trauma of not being heard and for me this is something that I have carried. It is also a trauma that my mother carries from her own childhood that I have inherited from her and I believe it is also related to self-esteem and worthiness. The feeling of not being heard, not being seen, not having my emotions or thoughts valued hurt me to such a degree that I knew that I had to separate myself from my family in order to heal it. I knew this because I was constantly attracting experiences from them that were re-traumatising these wounds for me, making me feel bad about myself and more than anything emotionally invalidating. These wounds for me were like weeds that had grown and needed to be uprooted in order to make way for new growth. I needed to plant new seeds and in order to do that I had to find a fresh piece of soil.
Also, I had grown so much on my spiritual and personal journey that when ever I was around my family I felt this growing sense of my own inauthenticy like a pressure cooker about to explode. I felt like I was standing on one side of a great precipice, with them on the other. Every step I took towards understanding myself better as a person, developing my spiritual gifts and living within my own personal truth was making the divide even greater and taking me farther away from them. Being around them had started to feel like living within a cage with no more room to grow. I was afraid to be authentic, to open up my heart and share the person that I had become in case they laughed at me or rejected me for it. I had changed so much as a person that they didn’t know me anymore and being forced to play the role within my family that I had always played felt so stifling I couldn’t breathe. So when things came to a head during the summer and I was forced to part ways with my family I wasn’t surprised as I was almost expecting it. I had already sensed in the energy within and around me that something drastic had to happen in order for me to move forward on my healing journey.
If you love someone set them free
A few months after making this decision I started to experience problems in my romantic relationship as well. My partner began to unconsciously trigger me in ways that were again making me re-experience the same trauma that I had experienced with my family and again I felt extremely emotionally invalidated. As a result of this I began to act out and behave irrationally. In a similar sense I was acting in a way that was triggering for him to the same degree but I was likewise oblivious that what I was doing was causing harm. For the most part it was subconscious programming playing itself out only the programming was triggering childhood trauma for both of us. The whole experience at the time was so confusing because I didn’t know what was happening. All I knew was that I was again thrown into the same deeply painful place of abandonment, loneliness and isolation. Not long after this we broke up. The grief over loosing my relationship triggered the grief over loosing my family that I had suppressed.
A place with no hope
It was difficult not to place blame and so I spent some time allowing myself to feel angry at everyone. However, after a while I realized that I was the only person that I was hurting with my anger. I saw that anger and blame had become a defense mechanism for me, a way of avoiding the intense pain that I felt when triggered by someone else’s behavior. Anger was an emotion that I had used to cover my feelings of trauma and hurt from being emotionally invalidated as a child. As a child I was born empathic and extremely sensitive to the feelings and energy of others around me. Not understanding this I took responsibility for the feelings of others, believing that their emotions were my own, as I would feel the energy of them in my physical body. I would also blame myself if someone around me was upset, believing that it must be my fault because why else would I feel so bad. Only what I didn’t realize was that I was sensing their hurt feelings not mine.
The grief that I felt during this time was so intense that I had a strong feeling of wanting to end my life in a way that I had never felt before. I began to research ways to kill myself in order to come up with a plan that would be as easy, quick and painless as possible. The main reason that I felt this way was because I felt extremely emotionally invalidated by so many of the people in my life that I loved. I wanted those people to love me back, so desperately, but I wanted them to love me for who I was, even if that was bad. By being told to behave in a certain way or to not have negative emotions that were a part of who I was, it felt like their love was conditional. It felt like they were saying to me “We will love you for who you are but only if it fits in with the parameters that we define as being love”. What’s more I felt like I was the only person that could see this truth and everyone else was lying to my face. Telling me that what I could clearly see and feel must be something other than what it was. All because they themselves did not have the courage to see the truth.
If you want to be loved play pretend
I felt that I would never be able to create unconditional love in my life, in the sense of any kind of real and lasting romantic relationship or friendship, and that I could never be my authentic self and have love and connection. I saw the rest of my life stretched out before me under the false facade of pretending to be the kind of person that other people would love in order to create the connection that I needed. “If you can’t beat them, join them Jacqueline!” Only being born sensitive and empathic I was never really able to do this, at least not well. I would watch other people behaving this way and wonder why, as being able to read energy I would tap in to the feeling of the person they were underneath. I would sense the fear, sensitivity or anger that they were trying to hide as easily as I could see them. I would know it wasn’t real as I would sense their authentic feelings. I could never be fooled or tricked in that sense.
I felt that the only way to get unconditional love in my life was to play pretend and to behave in the baffling and confusing way that everyone else did. To pretend to act and be what ever people wanted me to be in the same sense that I had tried and failed to do with my family most of my life. Never really being loved for who I am, putting on the face that others wanted to see, hiding the “ugly” aspects of my personality. I saw all of this and I couldn’t bear to live in it any longer. However, I also couldn’t see how I could act differently as my experience from my family and relationship had taught me that to display certain negative personality traits meant rejection and abandonment.
The enemy within your own skin
I felt so powerless over the defective behavioral patterns in my family. I felt powerless to heal them or fix them. What’s more I saw that I was the product of these aspects and as such carried them within me. The idea of admitting this and taking responsibility made me feel worse and it made me feel like there was no escape. As the enemy was not just outside of myself, it was within. I was carrying these aspects that I hated so much inside of myself, within my very skin. No matter how far I ran I could never escape myself and the universe would keep confronting me with situations and people that reflected these aspects to me over and over again. It seemed that my only option was to take full responsibility for my own emotions and to commit to healing myself 100%. I had to let go of any kind of blaming or victim mentality and start setting boundaries with myself. By seeing that the aspects of other people that I didn’t like were reflections of me, I was able to do this.
Once I recognized and fully accepted that the enemy was within me, not outside, I actually began to feel a lot safer around people I didn’t like. As by learning to take whom ever I was confronted with as myself I was able to learn to love it. I wasn’t powerless over their behavior as I had the ability to heal myself and by doing so, heal the aspect of me that was reflected in them. By dropping blame I was able to take responsibility for loving and parenting these “negative” aspects within me that I had previously rejected. In doing so I was able to have a lot more compassion for people.
I began to see how much these internalized shadow aspects impacted my life and actions and how much control that they had over me. I was able to identify that there was an aspect of my subconscious that was extremely judgmental and frightened of my own emotional nature, of both “positive” and “negative” aspects. This aspect of my subconscious mind was reflected to me in others who would shame me for having “negative” emotions such as anger or jealousy. This internalized aspect was like a parent within my own head, censoring me for having any kind of extreme emotion. Therefore, I was in fact shaming myself first for the feeling and then, by the law of attraction, it was being reflected in my reality. In the case of positive emotions such as love it was reflected back to me through another persons fear of intimacy or connection, which was of course my own fear of intimacy or connection. Through becoming more aware of this I learned that it was my responsibility to parent these defective aspects and to show them love and attention because if I didn’t then they would take control over my life.
Giving myself permission to die
Another powerful action that helped me during this time was to validate my suicidal thoughts and to give myself permission to die. Once I realized I had an internalized aspect of me that was judging all of my reactions and emotions as being bad and wrong, I saw that this aspect was also judging me for feeling suicidal. This internalized censorship aspect saw my emotions as being a weakness, something to make me a target for bullies, and was trying to protect me by telling me not to feel. Being born an empath, my sensitivity had lead to me getting hurt by others and therefore my feelings, spiritual gifts and authentic self were all judged to be unsafe by this aspect. Equally, it also saw me as being weak for feeling suicidal. Therefore, I understood through this that my only option was to do the opposite and completely validate and support my feelings of wanting to die.
Once I gave myself permission to die and completely validated my feelings I did not feel instantly better but I felt a lot safer within myself. One of the main reasons why I felt safer was that I felt that I had regained a sense of control over my life. Even if the only control that I had was to choose whether to live or die, I still had a choice. I was not completely powerless. By realizing that I had this small choice, this opened up a door in my mind that made me realize that I had another choice and another choice and another choice. It may still have seemed impossible to me to create the life that I wanted, but impossible did not mean that I couldn’t try. After all, what did I have to lose? I could always decide to kill myself again if I failed at trying to achieve the impossible.
Another thing that I realized through giving myself permission to die was what was really important to me in life. If you have never experienced suicidal thoughts before then you can understand this by asking yourself the question, “If I was diagnosed with a terminal illness tomorrow, what would my life look like? What would I choose to do with the time I had left on the planet?” I could identify all the people and situations in my life that were a waste of my time and energy and I could also identify the people and situations in my life that made me light up and brought me joy. I saw that if I followed the things that made me happy and let go of the things that caused me undue stress then I could begin to create a life worth living.
The birth of a new identity
I even changed my name legally to symbolize my commitment to loving myself and being authentic. I changed my last name to Swan which to me is the symbol of both of these things. As an animal totem it is the symbol of unconditional love and through the story of “The Ugly Duckling” by “Hans Christian Andersen” it is the symbol of real authenticity in the face of adversity. The ugly duckling did not become the swan, he was always a swan, he just had to recognize and accept himself for who he truly was and stop trying to conform to what other people wanted him to be. The swan is also the symbol of serenity as it appears to swim beautifully and gracefully across the surface but what you cannot see is that underneath the water its legs are working hard to keep it moving forward. The swan is also one of the symbols of my soul family, the soul stream that I choose to incarnate with, who share a common life purpose of love and unity.
I hope that by writing and sharing my experiences I have helped someone and if you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below and I will get back to you. Alternatively you can also email me at the address provided below. Thank you!