Personal Monday - a friend's view
Suicide has affected me in many different ways over the years, through knowing people who have committed suicide, to people who have self-harmed, had suicidal tendencies or thoughts, to people who attempted it, (which is a phrase I disagree with slightly, as it was more a case of committing it but failing to 'achieve' their goal).
The last mention above is a shout out to my best buddy, who 21 days before his 21st birthday, took what he'd calculated to be enough pills to 'do the job'….bid an open farewell on Facebook to his friends and family and fell away into unconsciousness.
As you can tell from my opening paragraph, he failed in his attempt - but solely through the intervention of his brother who had skipped class and was home per chance (chance, divine intervention or whatever belief in coincidence you may have) he was rescued from this pit (against his will) and escaped physically unscathed.
In this case he was committed to St John of Gods, but was still intent on his original endeavour and whilst there, saved medication to build up a strong enough dosage and even managed once to sneak out and make it home.
Whilst I had an understanding in terms of depression and overall mental health issues as they featured in my personal development through family members and friends, this level had never been reached before, so I sought to understand the normal questions - why? how? when did they decide? why didn't they say anything? how could they? etc. It was a long time before answers could be sought and the understanding didn't come for a long time after that again, until one day I asked him "What made you want to do it?"....and his simple response was "you wouldn't put a dog through the pain I was in".
This gave me an insight into suicide that most people who are affected by it would go to the ends of the earth for.
What a lot of people fail to understand when discussing depression and other mental health issues, is that emotion can manifest itself physically, that the mind is capable of creating an internal suffering, a pain that cannot be visually verified or medically corrected. The follow on therefore is ‘What gives us the right to deny a human being, who is suffering a pain which is beyond our own personal comprehension - the same perceived 'decency' as a dog, a horse, or any other animal for that matter.
And the answer is - It's hope.
If you are someone who is contemplating/has contemplated or has attempted suicide before, yes - the pain is real and the feelings of hopelessness are difficult (or near impossible) to shake. But speak to those people who have come out the other side, listen to the stories, achievements and inspiration they can offer. They HAVE been in the same situation, they HAVE experienced the ultimate human low of 'nowhere to turn' and they ARE grateful that they are on the side of 'attempted' and not the permanent and irreversible 'committed'. Reach out.
If you know someone that is suicidal or that you think may be suicidal, you probably can't change their mind or reason with them when they’re in their darkest moments, which is not to say you shouldn't try, but rather to say not to feel defeated if you receive a strong push-back. The important thing is to offer a hand, a shoulder an ear and sometimes purely a dose of normality. When our world is crumbling around us, we often seek nothing more than a moment where we can ignore the problems, ignore the inner daemons and plead blissful ignorance to everything around us.
For the carers - It's not up to you to figure out what's wrong, it's up to you to figure out what's needed…and to be there, in any way that you can.
The healing process is a long and arduous one. It comes with many slips, trips and falls. But the most important thing is to get back up. As cliché as it is, it is fact.
This week's personal story is from the point of view of a guy who has almost been touched by suicide but who luckily can say his friend chose to survive. When we are in the deepest parts of our minds, the destructive thinking may lead us to believe that people would be better without us. This personal insight is proof that this is completely untrue. Everyone is significant in the world and every person has their role to play. Our lives touch so many others without us always realising it. You are important and you deserve to choose life.
Happy Monday everyone!
Dare to Live SOS