TRIGGER WARNING – Suicide and mental heath discussed. If you are under 16 check with a parent if you should be reading this to keep yourself well and tell someone if you need help.
Have you ever contemplated suicide or had suicidal feelings of any kind? Whether it be for a few seconds or for years have you thought about ending your own life? If you have then firstly may I say you are not alone. There are so many people that have been in this position and many people attempt to end their life every year. Sadly a huge number of people succeed in doing this. On September 10th it is World Suicide Prevention Day so I wanted to share with you a little of my story. I also wanted to give you some reasons to keep on going. If it helps to prevent one suicide then it is worth it. Sharing my story isn’t always easy so do bear with me but I do feel it important to get the subject out there and talked about.
My Story of Suicidal Feelings
I have shared with you previously about my depression and now I am going to share a little more or my life which is quite personal and has taken a lot for me to decide to share it. This year around Suicide Prevention Day I can look back a little more reflectively at my past than I have previously. I still struggle with my mental health and I know I probably always will but I am so much more aware of why now.
How it feels to be suicidal
I have attempted to end my own life on a few occasions in the past. My first suicidal feelings were when I was 12 years old. The same age as my son Ben is now. I remember coming to the conclusion in my head that one day it would be the right time and I would end my life. I knew how I would do it but just did not know when that would be. That time came when I was 17. I had already bought what I needed in order to carry out my intentions in the months before but one day I just decided now was the time.
I had fought enough. The drowning feeling had gone on too long. I call it the drowning feeling because when I am feeling that low it feels as though I just need that last push to drown and end it all (metaphorically speaking). The feeling that everyone else is just fine but you are not. Have you ever felt like that too? The feeling that no one would mind if you were not there? Knowing that you just can not take any more of feeling this way.
Genuine Attempts or cries for help
The attempt when I was 17 was not the only one but I guess the most severe and the one I feel most comfortable talking about and sharing with the world. I know that on this occasion I most definitely intended to end my life. The hope that I could stop the pain I felt in my head and heart would soon be gone for good. Wishing that I could have a life like everyone else’s but knowing I didn’t, knowing I couldn’t carry on with the feelings I had.
It is a feeling that if you have ever been in this position you probably know very well. Everyone will be different and not all suicide attempts are a genuine wish to die. I know that it can be a cry for help too, begging someone to notice you are struggling and hoping someone can change what you feel inside. Everyone is different and there is no rule, that is ok.
How can you help someone with suicidal feelings?
My experiences may not be the same as everyone’s however I believe the following are the best ways to help someone who you think is suicidal. Some are more suitable if it is a friend or family member than a stranger however.
- Show them they are loved and cared about.
- Accept that you can not change their mindset overnight but you can help a little.
- If they have told you they feel like this then this is a massive step to be sure to remember that.
- Offer to go with them to the doctors or hospital.
- Never minimise their problems, they may not seem big to you but they obviously are to them.
- Listen and let them talk.
- Even if you think they will say no still invite them places, make sure they feel wanted and needed.
Why you shouldn’t end your life today
You may wonder why I have used the word today? This is because in my experience it takes more than a few reasons and a few thoughts to make you suicidal. In the same way it takes a lot more than that to stop you feeling suicidal. Seeing your doctor, ringing the Samaritans and accessing counselling can help in the long term. In the short term I can honestly say it is about concentrating on surviving every day and reminding yourself why you can’t do it today. One day turns into another and they all add up but just take it one day at a time.
- Someone has to find you – think of those you love, can you imagine how it would affect their life?
- You are not alone, you may feel it but that is the chemicals in your brain messing with you. You would be missed whether that be by someone close to you or just the staff at your local shop. Someone will miss you and your friendly face.
- Don’t let those chemicals control you, the ones in your brain that tell you that you are not enough, that you don’t deserve to live. They are wrong. You can get help to put them in their place. You can beat this and be better again.
- Don’t do this to the children. You may not have children but imagine someone having to explain to your niece or nephew, imagine your friends child wondering where you have gone? For that child or those children hang on today.
- One day you will be glad that today you didn’t do it. One day you will be like me still struggling with your mental health but glad that you are still here.
- You may think you are thinking rationally but you are really not, trust me on that one.
A few things to do if you have suicidal feelings
- Speak to a friend or family member, if it helps write your feelings down to them so you don’t have to say it.
- Phone The Samaritans – 116123 is the UK number they are there 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I have personally called them a few times and can honestly say it helps.
- Call your crisis team or the hospital if you need urgent help to keep you from ending your life today.
- Write down how you are feeling to get those feelings out.
- Go for a walk, have a bath or just do something to take your mind off things a little.
- Cry, and keep crying if you need to do not bottle it up.
- Seek help – it doesn’t mean you are week it doesn’t mean you have failed. What it does mean is that you are not well. This is an illness and you can get better but you need help. If you had cancer you wouldn’t be afraid to accept help. The only difference here is that your illness affects your emotions and the way you see the world.
- Think about some time away or some time off work to get help until you feel better.
Last Few words from me…
You are loved, you deserve to be happy and you would be missed if you were not here. Don’t let the chemicals in your brain tell you otherwise. Help is out there be strong and make that call or text someone and ask for help.
I am glad my suicide attempts failed. I am glad I am still here and one day you will feel this way too.
You are not alone, someone cares because I care. I shared above a little of my story because I care enough to hope that my story helps YOU.
Reach out and hold someone’s hand either in person, with a text or a social media message. While you are thinking of it now send that message to someone you love and tell them that. If you know someone who needs to read this share it with them.