My impression was that New Zealand is a virgin, not yet corrupted by greed and ruthless competition. People here are sweet, not aggressive. Even the birds are friendly. There have never been any predators so even the robins come up and stare at you with absolutely no fear; practically feeding you crumbs
No matter how much my exhausted mind tried to move the thought process on they came back to me. Could I really face another day like today? Could I really just go to bed again now and wake up and do it all over again? I could end it. The physical pain, the mental exhaustion, the utter despair and hopelessness I felt could all end.
We are now better than ever before at talking about mental health and I want to thank all those who have told me - and others - their stories and experiences - both good and bad. Their stories move me and spur me on to do all I can to continue to improve mental health services. I think each and every person involved is providing such care with such commitment.
"How could I have prevented it?" It's the question every person asks if their lives have been touched by the death of a loved one who killed themselves. It doesn't matter if you were the distant friend who saw them once a year or the spouse who kissed them goodbye hours before. It haunts your every waking moment. Every last moment is pulled into sharp focus: the last meeting you cancelled, the fight you had, the phone call you didn't make, the I Love You that stayed inside your mouth. My husband Rob passed away from suicide this year, a lost battle against a depression that had gripped him for decades. How could I have prevented it? It is a question I ask myself every day.
There is a lot I have discovered since you took your own life. Firstly, while there is no hierarchy of death where one is better than the other, it's safe to say that living a long life is at the top while a short one is at the bottom. I don't know where suicide sits, but it's safe to say, it makes other people REALLY uncomfortable. I was advised against telling people how you died. And in the initial bizarreness of picking your burial plot and coffin (and being asked whether Robert was an eco-friendly man), I erred on the side of caution. But by this 30th day, I have realised when the worst, most devastating thing possible happens, you lose the energy to maintain any artifice.
In 1999 I worked with a group of men looking to offer younger men in trouble the chance to find a way in to a better life. This led to the founding of the charity abandofbrothers (ABoB) in 2008. This ground-breaking organisation offers a new way to address issues arising from mental ill health, crime and addiction.
Research tells us that some men tend to use alcohol as a long term crutch to get them through tough emotional times, and they are less likely to seek help unless they reach a crisis. This means that by the time someone comes to the attention of NHS or other support services they may already be dealing with complex and entrenched problems.