Happy Aliversary!

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I tried to kill myself almost a year ago to date. I’m not going to say the exact date here because since I got ill I’ve had to share every intimate detail with complete strangers and this is something I want to keep for myself.

Still, this is my first anniversary of being alive. It’s a weird one isn’t it? One celebration card companies haven’t tapped into yet. You can pretty much get a personalised card for your teacher, second cousin and great-auntie’s pet hamster for any occasion but for whatever reason finding a card that says ‘Congratulations for not dying’ is harder to come by.

Because I definitely think it should be celebrated. What else there is to do? I’ve talked to people and asked what they tend to do because this is my first one and I don’t quite know how to deal with it. Some people avoid any reminders, some return to the place where they tried to do it to reflect. Everyone’s different.

I really can’t avoid the place where I tried to take my life because it’s a train station, but I chose to alter my plans after finding out I’d have to travel by train on my anniversary. I realised that having to stand on the same platform I tried to sneak to the other side of the fence a year to the date would’ve been too hard. Luckily the change wasn’t difficult or overtly expensive. I don’t think there is a right way, you just need to do as you see right.

It’s a funny feeling, to be alive on the day you thought you’d be dead. I still remember how surreal it felt to wake up the day after the attempt. There is no way to describe what it’s like to face a day you thought you’d never see.

Whether I like it or not, my experiences have also changed who I am as a person. They are a part of me so I might as well celebrate it.

When I think back to that person who I was on that day, I don’t feel any animosity towards her. She was desperate and in pain. I understand why I made the choices I did.

To be honest, had someone told me I’d be spending several months in hospital and that it would take at least six more months before I’d find an antidepressant that suited me and that it would take several more months before I’d sleep throughout the night, I might not have been strong enough to wait for that long. So I’m glad I didn’t know at the time.

There is so much stigma, anger and shame surrounding the topic of suicide. Whenever I have opened up about my suicide attempt in public it has led to personal attacks, where complete strangers have called me selfish and a horrible human being. This doesn’t deter me however, it just makes having the conversation more important.

After all, I might as well. I’m alive, aren’t I?

Not everyone is as lucky to be here to celebrate their anniversary.

It should be a celebration. An aliversary. There are not enough celebrations in life, and this should definitely be one. What is more positive than being alive when you thought you weren’t going to be? I know it’s not all fun and games, but for one day it could be.

There should be a special cake baked for the occasion, in my case a chocolate cake with whipped cream on top and banana filling. I can’t drink with my medication but there would be coffee, tea and non-alcoholic fizz to toast. There would be decorations, balloons and fairy lights.

I don’t like big parties, so I’d invite only my closest friends who have travelled this journey with me so far. It would be a recognition how far I’ve come and a way to thank them for everything they’ve done. I have many wonderful friends who’ve never met one another so it would be a chance to bring everyone together. There might be cards, maybe gifts.

We could play party games like musical chairs and sing karaoke. An aliversary is about not taking yourself too seriously. One special party game could be coming up with a bucket list of things I should try to do with my second chance in life. I’m not a person who agrees to activities easily, so I’d definitely need help. And peer pressure.

I’m sure I’d cry at some point during the evening. Maybe someone would share something about their personal struggles, and we’d have a cuddle and cry. That would be perfectly fine though, there would be several discreetly placed boxes of tissues in pretty boxes. This is a party where it’s ok to cry. There would also be a quiet room, where you can go if things get a bit much. I’d definitely need it because constant company, no matter how pleasant, can get a bit much.

There would be no pressure to behave in a certain way. You don’t have to stay for long you don’t feel like it. There is no pressure in an aliversary party. We’re just celebrating being alive. The day after might be a bad one, it may be a good one.

But since I’ve had to learn to take each day as it comes, I might be just able to let that go and just enjoy the company of my friends.

This is why I’m going to make a suggestion. If I were to host a special Aliversary celebration chat on Twitter at the end of this month, how many people would take part? You don’t need to have been suicidal, it’s just to celebrate our individual journeys and how far we’ve come. You don’t have enough celebrations to do with mental health even though every single day is a small victory in itself.

Happy aliversary to us all.

15 comments

  1. Happy Aliversary to you. I’m grateful and happy you are alive.

    I love the idea of your party. I don’t use social media (a blog is about the extent of it… And I write on beyondblue forums) otherwise I would be there. I’d be in the kitchen. For some reason I always escape there and wash dishes. Parties are not really my thing 😊.

    My aunt went to a birthday party recently where the bloke wanted to have a living wake. Why let everyone else celebrate your life without YOU! Morbid but they had a lot of fun.

    This time last year did you ever dream you would be changing people’s lives by talking about mental illness and suicide? Probably not because you were fighting to stay alive. But the achievement is there. Your words this year have impacted on others. I am just one.

    Here’s my non alcholic toast to you. I’m not celebrating suicide… But your survival.

    ❀ Nat

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Nat, you are welcome in the party in any case πŸ™‚ I understand, I’m not a party person either.

      I love the idea of a living wake, I’ve always had a bit of a morbid sense of humour so it would be right up my alley.

      No definitely not. I was so ill this time last year that I couldn’t imagine the next day, let alone being alive today. I really appreciate your kind words ❀ Thank you for being here to celebrate my first Aliversary, and congratulations for withstanding your own difficulties. You're an inspiration.

      Ida Xx

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you once again for sharing your very personal journey with us, some complete and utter strangers.

    Happy Aliversary!

    I totally love your party idea and if I were privileged enough to be in your friend circle, I’d be there without hesitation! For that reason, YES TO THE TWITTER CHAT πŸ’•

    Shevy xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for reading it Shevy, as there would be a little point sharing my journey if nobody was reading it ❀

      You are so welcome to join the Twitter chat, I'll put out a questionnaire to choose the date ❀

      Ida xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so lovely and the party sounds wonderful.

    I’m glad you’re here, Ida. For many reasons, but of course, for some selfish ones, too. It’s been really nice to have you come into my life and that would never have happened if things had turned out differently. I don’t think I’m cool with the idea of going through my life without my fellow gangster gran. x

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you for sharing this personal story of yours with us. It must have taken a lot of courage to share. Well done πŸ‘

    Like

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