Suddenly I felt like I was standing on the precipice of life

“In late 2009, I felt like I was on top of the world. That year, I attended the United Nations as a youth delegate for a conference about biodiversity. After that, I spent a month in South Africa with my best friend, working in a monkey sanctuary. Later, I set off for Scotland by myself, to spend the third year of my Environmental Management degree on Erasmus in Dundee. My high-achieving nature was continuing on an upward journey.  A few months later my life was all appointments with psychiatrists, visits to pharmacies for heavy duty psychiatric medication, and a whole lot of misery.
Suddenly I felt like I was standing on the precipice of life. Knowing that one blow of the wind could push me either way, back to safety, or into the void of eternity. This feeling has happened to me on and off since the age of 21, and I am so afraid that there may come a time that the wind will blow in the wrong direction. I remember last year – shortly after I was discharged from a stay in St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services – having a ‘level-headed’ conversation with a loved one. I was animatedly stating my case for driving myself up to the pier in Howth and driving off the edge. At the time, it made so much sense.
I am not talking about this lightly. Almost a year later, it still terrifies me that this was part of my reality at the time. It wasn’t me at all. Suicidal intent is truly horrific to experience. Thankfully, I have always been lucky there has been someone to catch me before I fall. But I am so frightened of a time there is no one to save me. I have been learning skills over the years to help me save myself but, in the darkest moments, my mind is so unwilling to quieten down and listen. Throughout the last seven years, I’ve been lucky to have had access to private medical care, and I could get adequate help really quickly. But at the same time, I have experienced the chasm that exists between public and private mental health care in our country. I know there are hundreds of people out there who can’t wait 294 days between a hospital attendance and the scheduled appointment.”