14/12/2016 11:52 GMT | Updated 14/12/2017 05:12 GMT

I Was Going To Commit Suicide - But Someone In Edinburgh Saved Me


Hi there - I'm Alex, and in October I wanted to die.

I made the decision. Holding back tears and pill sachets in hand I left my house to find a quiet spot, ending up not far from the local graveyard and sat down.

I knew my life wasn't bad - there were many more people worse off than me - but while I was sitting there pushing tablets through the foil, I felt for the first time truly alone. A lot had happened this year; a set back in my career, the loss of my Mum in June - so much had gone wrong that I was blind to the things that were going right.

I felt alone, isolated and had finally given up. I kept telling myself that I shouldn't be feeling what I felt, but that only made me worse, crying at how pathetic I had become.

While sitting there with pills in hand - I got a text from a friend I hadn't seen in awhile. A conversation sparked up, he said, "Miss you, man" and "You really need to come up and see us - it'll be amazing" and without knowing it he saved my life.

Before I knew what I was doing I had got out my credit card and booked a flight to Edinburgh to see him. At that moment I wasn't entirely conscious, like I was on autopilot, as my mind gave me something good to look forward to in the coming days. My friend was excited I was going and started making plans and I walked home, smiling through dried tears.

Over the coming days until the trip, I told no one. I knew it looked crazy, planning a trip with a few days notice that I definitely couldn't afford - I'm also awful at lying so I wouldn't have been able to make a cover story. I called the Samaritans to vent and clear my head, then a few days past, and I was on the plane with my friend still none-the-wiser that he had saved me.

After the trip, close friends were noticeably confused. They didn't know where I was until I checked in with my friend in Edinburgh. They acted differently around me, some even tried to ask things like "What the hell was that?", but I couldn't tell them the truth. I felt a massive weight of shame. In society boys are told they need to man-up, displaying emotions or letting them get the better of you is seen as a sign of weakness - I was ashamed to say, even to my closest friends, that I let mine almost get the better of me.

Although everyday life got a little harder, I started to feel better. Friends were worried, picking holes in cover stories and trying to force me to open up. I tried to dodge their questions, afraid of how I would be perceived or that they would be angry, and that it wasn't them that I turned to. But eventually, one at a time, I started to open up.

I got mixed reactions, some good, some bad, but I felt stronger after each person I told. Some didn't believe me but I didn't let that get in the way. I was no longer telling people that something got the better of me - I was telling people I stared at the abyss and didn't fall. I was on the edge and I survived.

Many don't survive. In 2014 there were 6,109 suicides, of which, 76% were male. Suicide currently stands as the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK. Although I have worked in mental health for years - I never truly understood how scary it is until I was on that ledge.

I wanted to write this to hopefully be a voice for the people on that ledge. Christmas is the loneliest time of year for some people, and although people that love them surround them, they might feel so desperately alone. That friend, by showing some everyday kindness, saved my life without knowing it. Be that friend this Christmas.

If you are feeling like you need to talk to someone, CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) run a helpline and Web Chat for men with trained listeners will try and help. Samaritans also run a 24/7 helpline, and also have branches all over the country, for those that need that ear. If you can spare a gift this Christmas - I know both organisations would put it to good use.

Lastly - if you're on that ledge, where you feel there's no hope, know that others have been there too - survivors - and are here to listen. Myself included.