Monday night’s Coronation Street saw Aidan Connor’s heartbreaking last scenes. In Wednesday’s hour-long special Aidan’s father, Johnny, will discover his son’s dead body.
For those of you unaware, Corrie is tackling the very difficult subject of male suicide. Aidan, portrayed brilliantly by Shayne Ward, appeared to have it all; the ladies fancied him, the men liked him, he had his own business, money, style, you name it. But ebbing away in the background were dark thoughts caused by reasons we may never truly know.
As someone who will always live with depression I think this story line is important and has been beautifully portrayed. The fact the viewers didn’t know what was going on with him and people would take to social media questioning when he behaved slightly odd confirmed that very point Corrie was trying to make: it isn’t usually that obvious when a loved one is suffering.
Corrie cleverly only revealed the details of Aidan’s exit one week before the event happened, once the cat was out of the bag it was very obvious that the character was in turmoil. Corrie have not only proved the notion that it isn’t easy to spot but it’s sometimes the last person you would expect; David Platt behaving irrationally because of his male rape ordeal would seem a more likely candidate to fall into depression and take his own life. It has also raised the very important point that speaking out makes a huge difference. Aidan never once spoke out about how he was feeling or asked for help. If he had, things would be different.
I know all too well though how it can sometimes seem like the only way out, as previously mentioned I have suffered depression all my life but I was at my lowest after the birth of my beautiful daughter and suffered severe post natal depression, which is what triggered my suicidal thoughts. I had it logically decided in my head; both my husband and baby would be better off without a burden like me. He would remarry someone ‘normal’ and my daughter would have a much better mummy than I could ever be. Writing these words brings tears to my eyes now but at the time it made sense. While I knew they may not understand my reasons I knew it would be easier than living with the burden of my depression, my erratic behaviour and dark spells. They may not have ever realised it but it would be for the best.
During my lowest time, in our very close knit cul de sac, a neighbour’s son took his life having struggled for a very long time with mental health and addiction issues. I watched that family crumble and try to come to terms with what had happened and suddenly I had an insight into what my family could go through were I to succumb to my dark thoughts.
Worse still I hadn’t even asked for help or told anyone how I felt, so why did I think this was the end?
Following on from Aidan’s tragic death, David Platt will realise he doesn’t want to die and speak out to his ex partner Shona about his rape ordeal thus justifying the notion that talking helps.
For too long men have been told to bury their feelings or ‘man up’ and it is time that dated notion changed. Suicide is the UK’s biggest killer of males under 45: 12 men a day take their own lives, that is 84 men a week, 336 per month. Those statistics are heartbreaking.
After my wake up call I booked myself into the doctors and while I couldn’t sleep the night before and felt wretched when sitting down to confess I wasn’t coping, it was the best thing I ever did. The hardest, but the best. I have now gone from someone who would never open up about how I felt to someone talking about it on the internet.
Never be afraid to ask for help. It’s OK to ask for help.
Well done Corrie for highlighting this important issue.
Useful websites and helplines:
- Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
- Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
- The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org