The other day at work, I transcribed an interview with a patient with BPD and PTSD that I will never forget.
Her interviews touched me more deeply than any of the others I had come across. There was something so gripping about her story that I just had to acquaint myself with all the data we had on her in the system.
A while later, still thinking about her case, I asked my supervisor if she had conducted any follow-up interviews with this patient or if she knew how she was doing. She asked me why I was curious, and I told her how much this case had saddened me, and that I wondered and genuinely cared about how she was getting on.
“Not good at all. So sad”. She said, choking up, “So sad because… because now… now she is dead.”
Her response shocked me on one level but I was almost expecting it on another. This poor young traumatised girl – this girl who I had just learnt so much about and in my own way, come to genuinely care about – had to be yet another sufferer with BPD lost through the tragedy of suicide. My heart sunk, my stomach flipped, my words faltered, and both of us starting crying.
The saddest part is that she changed her mind last minute; she changed her mind, but she was too late to be saved. I have not stopped thinking about this. About her.
I never knew this girl but my heart aches for her for what she went through when she was alive. My heart aches for all the pain she endured and the hell she had to live through for so long. My heart aches for the fact that she was not able to be saved even when she realised that was what she wanted. My heart aches for my cousin and the friends I have also lost to suicide. My heart aches for all the people who experience such unimaginable turmoil that it leads us to consider taking, or indeed take, our own lives.
As for myself, there are a host of mixed emotions and associations (suicide is oh-so complex, especially when so close to the bone). But on the whole, her story has evoked a passion within me to continue within this field, doing the BPD research I’m doing and pursuing a career to try and help people like her – people like me – with everything I have got.
If, by the end of my own life I have contributed to saving even a single person’s life through this work, my own life will have been worth it.
P62, I hope you are resting in peace.
*The participant number of this patient has been changed for confidentiality*