Trains, Suicide & Transitions

WP_20150117_005 I am fortunate to live by the River Thames, in London. I must admit, large rivers do scare me a little.  In the morning’s, Jack and I usually have a forty-minute walk along the river footpath.

The local council recently resurfaced the road that leads us to theWP_20150114_008 river. Unfortunately, some bright spark didn’t think to adjust the road sign.  The obscured part should read, “penalty charges apply.”

Our hour and a half walk in the afternoon (oh, yes, Jack has me in the palm of his paws) often takes us to a nearby park. We have walked along the same railway path countless times, but today was to be a little different. Trains are a regular sight along this stretch. The nearby station is where I almost took my life a few years ago.

thR647RM62Fortunately, I don’t remember much about that afternoon, as I waited on the high speed Gatwick Express. There must have been countless trains passing through that day, with people buzzing all around me.

My brain felt like it was melting and an alternative solution did not exist. I had rehearsed this “option” in my head countless times. That day, I was on automatic pilot.

It might have been the sound of a steam train and its distinct old-fashioned whistle,thVQXNM3UY that brought me back to reality. Rolling into the station was the famous and very beautiful Orient Express, with its  luxurious 1920-50’s restored carriages.

I would love to travel on the twenty-four hour route from London to Venice, via Paris, Innsbruck, and Verona. A one-way trip will set you back £2,055.

Whether it was the slight glimmer of hope seeping into my consciousness, a hint of desire, or a possible future… or maybe I just bottled out, I do not know because I never once looked back.

This afternoon, as I watched two Gatwick Express trains tear alongside the railway path, I suddenly realised that I no longer recognise the person I was back then. It is difficult to imagine the edge of that platform, incomprehensible that I would wish to end my own life.

Orient-Express-minervaI have come from a very bleak place, where it’s difficult to imagine anything other than the emotional pain that torments us day and night. When people say, “It will get better,” we feel as though they misunderstand the magnitude of our pain or the helplessness of our situation.

Recovery does not come easy, I cannot pretend it does. I just had to force myself to start it. I remember struggling to find the energy, the willpower, just to pick up the phone and speak to someone. I dragged my body along to appointments. My paranoia stood in the way and the crippling anxiety almost made me give up.

Of course, it is still a struggle at times, some days feel better than others, but I can see – I can feel – significant improvements happening in my life.WP_20150114_005

This was His Royal Nibs, Jack, by the river this morning.

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44 thoughts on “Trains, Suicide & Transitions

  1. mandy

    Dear Cat, my heart is swelling with both sadness at picturing you waiting for that train—empathy because I understand from having been on the precipice of making that decision—and gratitude that you are here telling this story today. Surviving is damn hard. And you’re doing it, one step at a time. I know your precious little Jack is glad you made that decision, too. ♥
    On a side note: I love your photos! I can’t believe I’ve been so bogged down I haven’t gotten to my blog reading–I have to catch up on your previous couple that I see I missed.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Mandy… I did drop by your blog yesterday to make sure you hadn’t fallen off the face of the earth 😉 Only joking, really.
      Surviving is damn hard, but Jack makes it easier. He kicks my butt into gear on a weekly basis!
      Thank you, Mandy, nice to hear from you

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      1. mandy

        Well did you come looking for me? Put out an APB? Lol! I’m trying to keep up with demands of the book pub stuff–I’d rather be here having coffee with all my friends! We depend on our doggies to get us moving–good for Jack–Joey’s the same way! 🙂

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  2. kat

    i can identify with what you say here, i too am now in a position to see that where i came from is a place i don’t now know. isn’t recovery sneaky? we slowly change, not always realizing that it is happening, until moments like these. glad to hear your in a better space now!

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    1. Cat Post author

      I suppose recovery is full of those ups and downs, but as long as we remember the better times when our mood is low… it helps to have a little faith in the other side of depression.

      Thank you, Kat

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Ellen… yes, recovery is full of those medium highs and mega lows, we just need to hold onto a little faith that there is always an end to the tunnel. Sometimes, the tunnel’s on a bend and we can’t see light at the other end, but it’s there and I hope you see it soon 😉

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  3. Priceless Joy

    Your little dog is so cute! When I was reading and you mentioned Jack and that he had you in his little paws, I thought, “Oh, I wish he would put a picture of him here. Wala! You did!! And he is so cute!” My little dog helps me so much. She is more than a companion, she is my dear little “another species” friend. I tell her almost every day that she and I are growing old together. (I use to hope and pray that I would not grow old alone).

    Thank you for being so honest about your suicidal thoughts. I am so glad you don’t have those any more. My life would not be as bright if you were not in it. Even if it is only through the blogs. I have been at this place too (mentally). It is a terrible place of despair and hopelessness. I am so thankful and happy to not be in that place any more. And, I am so thankful and happy that you are not in that place either. ❤ Hugs! xo ~PJ~

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    1. Cat Post author

      Lol I say the same to jack about growing old

      Despair and loneliness it is, Joy, but thankfully we turned it around. Spare a thought for the 16 people per day in the UK and countless more throughout the world who are not so lucky *Jack high-fives Bria* 😛

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      1. Priceless Joy

        Yes, I do spare a thought for those Cat. One of those people is my sweet niece. I am so thankful not to be there anymore and I am thankful you are not there either! xo (Oh, that’s funny you say the same thing to Jack)haha

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    1. Cat Post author

      That awareness comes through years of work to improve my situation. I’m glad I made you smile rather than cry!

      Thanks for commenting 😉

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  4. dodgysurfer

    Very open and brave post, and very much worth telling it from the position you are in now.
    It’s very encouraging to see how you have moved on, and it will hopefully give others that hope too.
    The honesty about the recovery process being up and down, and keeping that faith that things will improve by referencing how they were before, is good advice I think.
    All the comments from others are also so positive and supportive.
    I like the train analogies too. 😉

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    1. Cat Post author

      I think our stories are worth telling if they help even just one other person turn around their own suicide ideation, but it’s important to be honest about how difficult that journey can be.

      I love all my comments from readers, they have given me so much support during a very crucial point in life and thank you for your own comment, it means a lot 😉

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  5. cardamone5

    Dear Cat:

    This is a very personal post, which I appreciate and can identify with very much. Back in 2003, and again in 2005, I contemplated the same solution (that’s how it seemed at the time.) As you say so well, recovery is really hard, and never complete, but it does get easier. Therapy never really worked for me. What worked was self contemplation and writing. Through these outlets, I realize that self forgiveness is the key to all of my problems and full recovery so that’s what I’m working on. I have been catching up with a lovely author with whom you might be familiar: Anne Lamott. Her honesty and vivid imagery has been very refreshing and underscores my truth, which is that self forgiveness, faith and grace are the keys for me.

    Wishing you lots of happiness, peace, good health (all kinds) and laughter,
    Elizabeth

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Elizabeth
      It’s so nice to hear from you again. I think the last thing we want to hear when in the depths of despair is that recovery is hard, but I do believe honesty is important, especially when dealing with someone who is depressed.

      Therapy is not for everyone, but contemplation and writing are just as effective, in my experience.

      I love what you said about self-forgiveness being the key because it is something I’m slowly beginning to realise in therapy…

      Now, I do know the name Anne Lammott, which must mean I’ve read something of hers, but I just cannot place the book titles.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

      PS I’ve tried connecting to your blog but when I click on your name, it doesn’t do anything. Would you mind pasting the address to me, thanks 😉

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  6. PatriseArts

    I’m so glad you shared this. I read a blog last year about an almost suicide-by-train and remembered something important from years ago, my own similar event. It’s very powerful, and healing, to tell our stories.
    I love the River Thames, and am so glad that you and Jack shared your walk with me today. Toss a pebble or a leaf in one of these days and give her my love.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Telling our stories can help set us free and hopefully be of value to some other people in similar situations.
      I love the Thames too but the volume of murky water does creep me out a little. Of course, it’s tidal and quite amazing how it almost empties when the tide is out. Archaeologists say if were were to empty the river, we would probably find well preserved artefacts dating back to the stone age… and probably a few more recent bodies!! 😉
      Thank you for reading and commenting and the next pebble I see by the river has your name on it

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  7. jamborobyn

    This post totally resonated with me, Cat. I am particularly delighted to see that Elizabeth raised the topic of self-forgiveness which I feel is so important. Having been there myself, I was surprised to discover that self-forgiveness also became easier when I recognised that I didn’t do it. Even at my worst/lowest, my true instinct was to survive, despite what I was busy trying to make happen. Honestly, I tried a couple more times just to be sure I wasn’t deluding myself and as far as I can tell, it ain’t gonna happen 😉

    Writing this comment, I can see I am not even ashamed anymore. I am at the point where I find it almost amusing that I could come up with such a destructive idea, repeatedly. So yeah, a lot of distance from where I was to who I am now. Funnily enough, the poem I wrote yesterday was about giving in to and becoming the self that chooses to survive. The self that also has an overwhelming will to freedom and joy, and thus had to go MIA during the “abuse years”. So much so that finding the keys to bringing it back seems to be the work of a lifetime, but oh so thoroughly worth it.

    I learn so much every time you write. Thank you!

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Robyn… Yes, I am becoming more aware of the self-forgiveness concept. I remember some of my earlier posts were stuck on this idea of forgiving the abusers. I viewed it as the be all and end all of my healing. When some fellow bloggers suggested forgiving myself, the notion felt completely alien, even ridiculous. It’s amazing how our view changes as we progress and isn’t it wonderful when we start to see the old self objectively, even better when there’s a bit of humour in there!

      Thank you so much for your comment. I’m pleased you get something from my posts because I really do appreciate your supportive encouragement. Peace 🙂

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  8. Cheryl

    Cat, once again, I am touched by your honest and powerful writing. And by your steady progress on your journey — it seems like, with each post, you uncover more and more truths and realizations about yourself. I’m grateful that you share them with us. Reading your blog inspires me to keep plodding along — to dig a little deeper and to reflect on my journey. Thank you!

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Cheryl… Sometimes I feel like I need a little time to catch my breath. Therapy steadily progresses each week and I really wouldn’t be this far without the reflection on my blog and the enormous support and encouragement that come from fellow bloggers, you being one of them. It’s good to reflect and even better when we recognise change.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment 😉

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  9. Lauren

    Everyone else has already said what I would have, and with more eloquence, so I’m really just leaving a comment to let you know I was here, I listened, and I am so glad that you did not take your life. This world needs more people like you in it (and I mean that dead seriously, no ass kissing involved). I also had to comment that Jack is a handsome one. 🙂 ♥

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  10. manyofus1980

    I’m glad you didn’t take your life. I’m glad your still with us. What breed of dog is Jack? Sending you much love and many hugs too! And wags from Nitro!

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Carol Anne. Jack is a Jack Russell, but somewhere in his blood line he must have corgi because his ears are sticky up and enormous. He is also quite big for a Jack Russell and not as yappy either. He absolutely loves everyone and adores children. What kind of dog is Nitro and where did you get the name from?

      Thanks for commenting, I’m also glad I didn’t do it.

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  11. Sharon Alison Butt

    Oh he’s such a cutie! Have you ever been to Crufts? My daughter and I can’t wait to watch the next one in March. I didn’t realise you were from the same country as me (don’t worry, I’m not gonna track you down. I moved up t’north 14 yrs ago and I live it) For some strange reason, I always thought you were from the USA, even when you posted that lovely Scortish photo. Well, I hope the weather is not getting you down! 😊

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      1. Sharon Alison Butt

        One of my good mates is from Glasgow. She’s Asian so everyone is always surprised when she opens her mouth. I grew up 30 miles north of London then moved to Yorkshire 15 years ago. Seems to be a lot of southerners up here, but for some strange reason, since I’ve moved, the south gets more snow! 🙂

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  12. Life in a Bind - BPD and me

    This has really struck me Cat. I’ve thought about ‘my’ chosen train crossing so many times. Yesterday, which feels at least a week ago, I was on the verge of looking up the train times, and composing a note in my head. When I was dwelling on the fact that my life adds nothing to anyone, and on balance brings pain to others rather than pleasure, I actually thought of you. I thought of so many of the things you’ve said to me about our conversations and the fact I may have played some small part in your changing views of therapy. It seemed like the only tangible evidence that my life had added something to someone. Thank you so much. I know it probably sounds dramatic and I myself don’t understand how I can be in that place one day, and have a tiny bit of hope the next. I’m so glad you carried on, and haven’t looked back xx

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    1. Cat Post author

      Your comment doesn’t sound dramatic at all, it’s lovely and just what I needed to hear from someone today.

      Oh, you didn’t contribute a “small” part in changing my view of therapy, you completely altered my opinion and awareness – turned them on their heads! 😉 I really don’t know where I’d be without this theory about the client-Therapist relationship. Last session, our focus was on connection and how my relationship with the T reflects those on the outside. After 6mths, I actually think my therapy is just beginning.

      It’s bizarre how our moods can change so drastically. I’m pleased our conversations came to your mind. We take our low opinion of ourselves for granted and cannot possibly see what we mean to other people.

      Thank you for your lovely comment

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  13. janetcate

    Recovery and healing has been a long journey for me as well. It is hard to believe I spent 10 years in such a dark place. Gratefully I have learned how to manage my PTSD. I have not cured it but my healing has come about because I have learned to live with it and not see it as a problem anymore.

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  14. janetcate

    So glad that things are improving for you. I have been at the depths of despair as well. So glad we both pulled through. I have such beauty in my life now which makes the pain of PTSD more manageable.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Thank you, Janet, pulling through the trauma and then PTSD says a lot about our resilience and here was us thinking we’re weak!

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