I've wanted to talk about suicide for a while but in the wake of Robin Williams's death I felt it trite to do so straight away. A lot of people came online with opinions, facts and experience and I didn't want to just add to the noise. I wanted to share my feelings and personal relationship with suicide, but this isn't a prescriptive "this is how it is for everyone" because you may have noticed I haven't killed myself; so I don't really know exactly what it's like at that point.
When you have depression one of the problems you face is a lot of what you feel is absolute or grand. "I'm the shittest person in the world ever" "things will never get better" and the old chestnut "maybe everyone would be better off without me."
I've felt the last one a lot. It's a logical place for a depressed mind to go. It doesn't matter what you have in your life, sometimes that pit you find yourself in is so deep, so dark, that you just feel like those around you could do without you.
I've seen reactions where people who commit suicide are painted as attention seekers. Now while I'm sure this is the case sometimes (and with 800,000 a year ending their own life there's a variety of reasons) every time I've considered ending things it's not been to be noticed, but the opposite.
Considering suicide has been something I've done a fair bit of over the years. When I worked with vulnerable adults they called it Suicidal Ideation. The act of lingering on the thoughts of killing yourself, but not actually doing the act.
Quite frankly it's the worst feeling in the world. It's the lowest I get. Obviously something like that is hard to describe, but if you imagine the most tired you've ever felt, now add a feeling of constant sinking, twinned with the real belief that you had no worth to this world at all. When you reach that point the thought of dying becomes an escape. Why wouldn't people's life get better without me? If I'm not bringing anything to the table, why don't I just leave?
Look, I know this isn't the reality of the situation. I'm not here to court sympathy, or for people to let me know what I have to live for. I have two young children and a loving family. I know all this.
But when you're in this place none of that matters. There is no clarity of purpose. I would sit there going over everything I'd do, planning logistics. But obviously in my case it was fantasy. It was my wind dwelling and sinking, but still I came out of it.
I can only imagine how low someone would have to be to actually do it. Truthfully I can see why they would. I'm not saying it's the right thing to do; but I get it.
People are often attacked when they say that suicide is selfish. Well it is by its very nature. It's an act anchored in self and self-belief (or lack thereof.) People see it as their last vestige of control. But to use it as an insult to someone who's just done it isn't right. These people are living with a crippling pain that they see no escape from bar death. It's not noble or heroic but it's their choice to make. If they have a responsibility to others around them may have kept them going for a lot longer but sometimes it just becomes too much. They don't see themselves as abandoning a responsibility, but fulfilling it (I imagine.)
Just to be clear, killing yourself is not easy. It's not a cowardly end. It goes against your very being. We're pre-programmed with self-preservation at the forefront and to actively attack oneself knowing it's lights out is a massive thing to do. Just try and imagine how awful you must feel to be there. You can't. I can't, and I've considered it many times.
What I wanted to do here is to try and give insight into the mind of someone on the edge, or over the edge. I realise that those of you left behind want answers that you may never get. I just hope that reading this helps in some way.
If you're there yourself, I'm not going to tell you what you have to live for. I know that actually makes you feel worse. All I'll say is this, stop and consider. Talk to anyone about where you are, and maybe try and find one positive idea to float on. Even if it's wanting to get to the next chapter of your book, or the next episode of that show.
You're not worthless, there are people who understand. Your pain is real, but you needn't suffer in silence.
Give yourself that one more day and give yourself that chance.
Here's some people who can listen:
The Samaritans - I called them many years ago and they helped me through a rough patch.
Remember not every form of help works for every person, so please try again if it doesn't work for you.
Need help? In the UK, call The Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90. For more support and advice, visit the website here.