Suicide and why we have to talk about it...
Whenever I read of a suicide my heart literally breaks for the person and of course the friends and family. It also reminds me of why I do what I do to help as much as I can...
I found myself as a teenager trying to end my own life in three ways - starving myself to death through extreme anorexia, jumping out of a window and another attempt which I don't feel is appropriate for this blog.
They were all stopped by huge clinical and physical intervention.
I owe my life literally to the male and female nurses who tackled me to the ground, gave me antipsychotic medication to prevent my mind taking over in retaliation and for the hours of intense therapy day after day with my psychiatrist and therapists.
What's now interesting for me about it all is there were occasions in which I chose to purposefully end my life - but there was one particular occasion in which I felt I had no control over it... this to me was even more terrifying.
The episode I'm talking about was something I had no control over... I felt I was being dragged out of a window of my sister's flat, which was the top floor of a huge building. I felt there was a bungee cord around my waist pulling me - I was terrified and tried to cling on for dear life. I ran out of the flat, got into my car and drove myself to the local psychiatric hospital begging for help. I had suffered a psychotic episode and thankfully with medication and admission to the ward I was back to myself in 18 months.
I've spoken a lot about my experiences since then to help others understand why I had done this - my open discussions allows people who have been through it to feel they are not alone and also for loved ones to try and understand some insight into the mind of someone who was making the same choices.
These are my own personal thoughts and processes - I just feel it's important to share them as it may help in some small way.
What I think is important to say though is that everyone has their own very personal reasons why they are facing the decision to end their life. Whatever it may be, it's unique to them and perhaps no one will ever understand that reason or even know - which for families left behind must be even harder to comprehend no matter what.
They say all suicides are preventable by speaking out - reaching out. Having the confidence to open up about what you're going through is clearly the hardest thing for so many people to do as they fear the reactions of the loved ones towards them.
I recently listened to a TEDTalk by a patrol officer of the Golden Gate Bridge - Kevin Briggs - The Bridge Between Suicide and Life. He has talked thousands of people off the bridge and sadly, has also been unsuccessful in reaching others. His talk was incredible and very honest. Kevin advocates talking and listening. These two simple things are both incredibly powerful.
I did a talk at a school a few months ago. In the audience was a young lady whose father had taken his own life just a few months before. I had no idea she was in the audience or anything about the story. At the end of the talk she came and spoke to me and thanked me for raising the difficult issue of suicide as she felt everyone around her was scared to approach her about the subject. She said the awareness I had just raised felt like a weight lifted off her shoulders - I felt incredibly humbled to hear her story and very grateful she came and spoke to me about it all. A few weeks later I heard that so many friends had felt able to talk to her openly about her dad's suicide - thus allowing her to be honest and open about her emotional struggles each day.
Once again shows the huge importance of speaking out...
It's still often a taboo subject. I felt that way for many years so totally understand - but really no topic should be.
Silence and shame can be deadly in situations like this - so I'm going to be talking very loudly about this across the country helping raise awareness as much as I can and hopefully showing others early intervention is key and there is hope of a life without suicide no matter how black the hole feels right now...
Start those conversations please...
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