About suicide

Samaritans

She says, by @mammapolitico

Not a topic that gets blogged about often is it, Suicide? Not a common subject for discussion around the dinner table, or something you chat to your friends about over a coffee. If the scary subject of suicide has ever touched even the edges of your life, I bet it was skirted around and then pushed away to the back of the drawer marked “Things that happen but we don’t ever talk about”

The door was barricaded from the other side. The bed or some other heavy furniture had been pushed up against it. This was the wrong way round, wasn’t it? I was the teenager going through exam stress, learning how to be a grownup. The ‘grownup’ was on the other side of the door, making incomprehensible and barely audible speeches. I could hear the pain in his voice and didn’t know what to do to help. I was frightened and angry at the same time. A voice inside my head tells me – Okay. You have to be the grownup now. Deal with this little lot:
An overdosing father who has drunk enough alcohol to kill an elephant.
A Mother in hospital having a bone marrow transplant.
Five younger siblings in a state panic – one screaming at you “I hate you, it’s your fault – you shouldn’t have said anything to him about his drinking”,
My littlest sister sat on her bed crying like her heart would break.

A few times more a similar situation arose.Years later, I got a phone call saying words like another overdose, A&E , in Resus. Then another phone call, another time. More harrowing – words like petrol, in the park, a lighter. I’m on the phone listening, slowly morphing back into that helpless sixteen year old girl on the other side of the barricaded door.

Suicide is a far from easy way out for the person who wants out. Attempting suicide is not an “easy way out”. It takes a whole heap of courage to make the decision to try cause your own death. I will never believe anyone who says that someone who attempts suicide is a coward. Let’s not sugar the pill though – the flip side to a “successful suicide” is a life long horrific, guilt ridden, survival for those left behind.

This is blogging in the raw isn’t it? Too hard for some people to read maybe and I understand that.
So why am I telling you all this? I’m telling you this because for me, blogging can be a powerful tool to make people think about stuff that is really hard to think about.

Suicide is such a taboo subject. Depression is something that just isn’t talked about enough. Right now, in your family, in your circle of friends or even in your workplace there might be someone who is thinking that the only way they can stop the pain they are feeling is to take their own life.

My father is a very brave man. He has fought on with masses of professional help and is a much loved part of my life. The memories of what I went through as a child don’t disappear but they fade and as I have got older I understand more about his illness. I know his suicide attempts weren’t a result of anything I did or didn’t do. I know to keep a watchful eye on my own children as depression and anxiety can run in families. I know that there is help out there should any of us ever need it.

So please, don’t mumble “I’m sure you’ll feel better tomorrow” and turn your back and walk away if someone reaches out to you for help. If yourself feel so unable to cope with what is happening in your own life, please reach out to someone and tell them how you are feeling.

Let’s not put this subject in the back of the drawer marked “Things that happen but we don’t ever talk about”.

That’s all I’m hoping for in writing this.

***

He says, by @ADadCalledSpen

September 10th 2013, was World Suicide Prevention Day, and this week has been, in the US, National Suicide Prevention Week. The idea is to inform health professionals and the general public about suicide prevention and the warning signs of suicide. By highlighting suicide in this way the campaign looks to reduce the stigma surrounding the topic, as well as encourage the pursuit of mental health assistance, and support people who have attempted suicide.

This week, on Monday, a friend told me they felt very suicidal.

I gave them my contact details again, I know they have them but I wanted to make sure that I was saying ‘please get in touch’ if they felt they could, and really that’s all I could do. The person is sensible and practical enough to know that there is assistance and support out there locally, from people who can help, but I’m a friend, and I know that this person has been under the most incredible strain recently.

I also know how this feels, as I’ve been in that situation, and have tried to kill myself twice.

I won’t go into the details here. I might leave that story for my own blog as it is quite personal, and long. But suffice to say I’ve felt that the only option to end the problems that I’ve been going through is to kill myself. They seemed insurmountable, and the sheer physical, crushing pain I was going through was too much to bear.

I couldn’t tell friends. I felt that friends would walk away. Stupid really because if I had managed to kill myself I’d be walking away from them, but I didn’t tell them. I know not everyone can handle hearing the word, hearing that a friend is in difficulty, and not knowing what to do to make them better. Some people have their own problems, get over them, and can’t see that this option is ever an option.  I know from my experiences of depression some friends just don’t see why or what it is. Oh pull yourself together. It’s not THAT bad. Time heals. All that. Words designed to make me feel better, but words which sometimes feel like they’re mocking what I’m going through. I can’t pull myself together, believe me I’ve tried! It IS THAT BAD. And time heals? Well HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS HELL FOR? I’m running out of time.

I’ve felt suicidal lots of times. I guess once you think it once then you think it again, and again, when Life gets on top of you. I’ve thought it recently while my brain was frying and then I remembered.

I’m alive.

I’ve thought about killing myself before but hey, I’m still alive. And I’ve tried it before and I’m STILL ALIVE. Yep. Life was shit and I thought it, tried it but I’m ALIVE NOW, and in between Point A, trying it and Point B, thinking about it again some time later when life took a turn for the shit, in between Point A and Point B there have been some wonderful moments. And there will be again. I know this.

I have two children who I love. And I know they love me. For them to ever think I didn’t, because I know whatever explanation I gave, it would still feel to them, at some point in their lives, that I didn’t love them enough. For them to ever think that I didn’t love them enough to be alive, well. I couldn’t ever put them through that. And I would never do it because they mean so much to me. However low I feel I think of them. I look at pictures and photos and videos of them. The sadness is still there but they keep me on track.

Yep. Life has been a bit shite at times, and recently especially, but I’ve got good friends, beautiful children and lots to look forward to. Hurt hurts, confusion confuses, pain is painful. But that was yesterday. Today, I’m looking forward and I’m still alive.

Unless I get hit by a bus after writing this.

And so, this week has been World Suicide Prevention Day. Not sure why every day isn’t really, but if you know someone going through a tough time, or spot signs that concern you, reach out a hand if you can. You don’t need to bear the full weight but a simple gesture might be enough to let that person know that someone loves them, even when they don’t love themselves.

***

Thanks for reading and please leave your comments and thoughts and experiences below.

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34 thoughts on “About suicide

  1. Thank you both for sharing. At the moment I feel like that everyday but feel that I can’t because I have two children. It does feel like the only way through but it’s not an option. But people need to understand it can be that bad for some and people being there can help. I look forward to the day when it doesn’t feel like the only option.

  2. Reblogged this on justgoodenoughmum and commented:
    I thought this joint post was far too important not to be shared, and as widely as possible.
    Suicide has touched our family, as in members of my family have been affected by other’s choices to end their lives, and it has spread devastating and heartbroken ripples.
    There, I’ve said enough. Just read please.

  3. I have no personal experience of this so it was very insightful. I’m sorry that you both have. Very thought provoking. I agree we shouldn’t have special weeks we should all try and be a friend to one another all of the time.

  4. This is a really important post and I’m so glad you’ve both been brave enough to raise it. Thank you.

    I’ve dealt with the aftermath of suicide in my previous work life. It’s so misunderstood.

    Did either of you watch the recent documentary about suicide and depression in sport/football recently? Very insightful and the more that’s done to bring it into people’s conversations and enhance understanding like you’ve done here, the better chance we have of helping those when they need it greatest. Or better still, before it gets to that point.

    x

  5. I have first hand experience too. I’ve attempted suicide many times. As I have issues that caused me to repress my memories I’m not sure how many times actually. Trust me. You probably don’t want the details but like you Spen I didn’t tell people, who would care? The most recent time I wanted tojjump from windows… Hence I no longer work as my job was on the thirdgfloor up in a old shop, massively high ceilings. Was more like a fifth floor, I stood in the open (and worryingly easy to access) windows, wide open. Sat on the window ledge looking at tiny people on the concrete floor below. Not one staff member notices I’m gone until a customer complains they can’t get service. Sod off!!! Then a staff member comes in and tells me off, seriously they still do not see I’m half out the window…. They just tell me off so I curled up in the stockroom where I was and REFUSED to come out.

    Even when upset as hell I get told off?
    And thanks to you mammap for saying it’s not cowardly! I assure your readers what you said, it’s hard and luckily for my kids I’ve failed.
    Ps, in therapy at last… So don’t panic. X

    • Thanks for being so honest and I hope you’re well. You know what we mean, from your experience, and it isn’t a cowardly thought.
      Stay safe and if there’s anything I can do, or if you ever need a chat, you know where I am *Points at Twitter*
      Take care you and thanks for reading.

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  7. Very honest post. Having lost a close friend and my younger sister to suicide I’ve experienced the flip side. It will be ten years next year for my sister and not a day goes by that I don’t wonder what the trigger was or if I could have done something to stop her.

    • I’m so sorry to hear that. Sometimes there is nothing someone can do. People shut down and don’t want to tell people for fear of hurting them I guess. And yet the event does, even though that person might not see it, and think people might be better off without them in their lives.
      I’m so sorry you’ve experienced the flip side, and I hope you’re okay.
      Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment.

  8. I am almost crying reading this. I am so sorry that you both have experience of this – I too have been very low at times, and though I’ve never got to the point where I seriously considered actually going through with it, I have hated myself so much that life felt like pure pain and humiliation, and something I wasn’t sure I had the strength to carry on with. Fortunately, I was taken care of by a wonderful friend and I have some amazing people around me, but there are others who aren’t so lucky. The one thing I want to say to anyone thinking about suicide is to hang in there and tell someone. You will be loved far more than you know, and if you just reach out to people they can help. Things do get better and there will be a day when you are glad you didn’t take that step.
    Spen, please don’t ever feel like that again. You don’t know me very well, but if you are even a bit low then just come and find me on Twitter. Don’t suffer alone, you deserve so much better.

  9. My brother committed suicide almost 20 years ago….I was 14 and his funeral was on my 15th birthday. Sometimes it still feels like yesterday….and I still feel guilty as I had noticed he was abit quieter than usual…..If only i had asked what was wrong…so many what ifs and if only’s but it doesn’t help.

    People have the wrong idea about suicide..where I worked someone threatened to kill themselves…a colleague goes those that keep shouting about it wont do it.

    My brother told ALL his work colleagues he was going to do it…noone believed him as they thought he wouldnt as he was just upset and wouldn’t do something as stupid as that.

    because of that he died alone and upset..he had cried out for help and noone helped him.

    Thanks for writing about it…more of us need to

    • Thanks for sharing your story with us. People often say those who shout about suicide won’t do it and it couldn’t be further from the truth. I ‘m so sorry about your brother and I am sure there was nothing you could have done to make things turn out any differently. xx

  10. A beautifully written piece, poignant, thought provoking as ever. You’re right, I think blogging is a powerful tool, especially for ‘tough’ subjects such as this. I feel that the concise nature of a blog piece can convey so much, word for word, than a full book ever could, and being online, so much more accessible too.
    Debs x

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  13. You’ve both been through a lot and I’m glad you took the time out to share with us. Depression has reared its ugly head though my family on more than one occasion and its not pretty. It’s extremely hard for me to talk about or deal with. It’s serious and sad.
    Thank you it’s so important to talk about especially for people like me who need to open up. xx

  14. Thank you for writing this. Not enough people are so honest and open about their experiences. What you have said will help lessen the stigma. And that is how we will save lives. ❤

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