Friday, 6 September 2019

Being suicidal

Did you the word suicide grab your attention? 'Suicide' is a word that intrigues us and yet makes us all a little uncomfortable. It's a topic that we want to skim over quickly or ignore completely. But with suicide rates rising at an alarming speed, we need to have conversations about it. We need to talk about suicide until it is no longer an uncomfortable topic, until you can say that you feel suicidal just like you can say that you found a lump in your breast. 

In the last year, 4 people from my university took their own lives, and yet this was dealt with as though someone had committed a crime, it was spoken about in hushed voices, if spoken about at all. But my university should have used this as an opportunity to make students aware of the services available to them, to reach out to students they felt may be at risk and to create a conversation to avoid this happening again. But instead, as our society does, it carried on pretending that there isn't an issue.

There is a huge silence around suicide or feeling suicidal. This silence kills.  

In the summer of 2018, I was suicidal. I didn't tell my family until only the last 6 months. Like with anything mental health-related it seems easier to talk about it once you are on the other side. But I thought I would share what it is like to be suicidal, something I've never openly talked about and maybe that in itself is adding to the stigma and the silence. So I thought I would break that, for everyone else who has remained imprisoned in silence, here is my experience with being suicidal. 

Suicidal thoughts are an odd paradox between a comfort blanket and downright terrifying. Some days I felt a sense of comfort in the fact that I would soon be ending my life; I dropped a cup, it didn't matter because I would be dead soon, someone said something hurtful, it didn't matter I would be dead soon. I lived like this for a little while, nothing really mattered anymore because my days were numbered. There was a comfort in knowing that the pain and terror I felt daily would soon be over, there was finally a cut-off point in sight. The way I saw it, if I was a dog I would have been put down a long time ago, so why as a human did I have to keep living? 

Other days, however, suicidal thoughts were terrifying, there was a driving force numbering my days and yet, although very small, there was still a  voice inside me that didn't want to die. Life wasn't the problem, my life was never the problem, my head was and I couldn't seem to get a break from the hell I was in. Some days I would be like a child refusing to walk, I didn't want to get closer to that day where my life would end, I was scared. 

It was a continious battle between these two voices. 

I was actively suicidal for a little while and I knew that soon I would get the courage to put myself out of my misery. But actually, by hanging on I found a different type of courage, I reached out for help and I told my doctor how I was feeling. As a last shot I gave therapy another go. I told my therapist that this was my last effort at recovery, that if this didn't help, I was giving up. The combination of that therapy and medication saved and changed my life. 

Staying silent may have taken my life, but by having that conversation I was given help out of the dark hole I was in. If only everyone who feels suicidal could have this experience as well. 

Suicide is the biggest killer of men and is one of the biggest killers of young people. As humans we have found ways to stop people dying from the flu, we are working on a cure for cancer and yet the biggest threat to humanity is our own minds. 

If you are currently suicidal I would like you to take this away with you; recovery takes time, but with help,it is extremely possible to love life again. I love life again. Please reach out to someone. 

If you are reading this to educate yourself then please learn the warning signs of suicide and look out for your loved ones, for your colleagues and strangers. We need to look after each other. 

Please take care.

If you are feeling suicidal please talk to the samaritans on 116 123. 

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