Desperation. So low I couldn't handle it anymore. I just wanted it to be over. It hurts so much. Every second of everyday is a complete nightmare. I am a burden. I am a failure. I had walked here. Taken steps to my end. "Just going for a walk" I had said. Ended up at a place where I could end it all.
A few months ago this was me. Mother, wife, daughter, teacher contemplating ending it all. I thought it would be better if I wasn't here.
Last week Sinead O'Connor posted an "alarming suicidal video" (independent). Her video, which I haven't been able to watch because my own experiences are still so very raw, has been commended for its openness and bravery.
I have been thinking about this post for a while. Am I brave enough to share? Will I get the tone right? Can I explain it clear enough? Can I get people to understand? But O'Connor's video made me remember stigma is only shattered by sharing.
The Samaritans share that:
Suicide is the leading cause of death among young people aged 20-34 years in the UK.
6,188 suicides were registered in the UK and 451 in the Republic of Ireland
There is still a battle to be won. A fight to eradicate suicide. If we have any hope of that we need to help people understand suicide. There are so many myths about suicide.
Firstly and key for me is knowing
"the majority of people who feel suicidal do not actually want to die; they do not want to live the life they have."
Depression can make life feel unbearable and impossible to live. In the midst it is so difficult to see that there is anyway out.
I can remember the first night I really felt suicidal. I was off work, yet I had just heard about something that had happened at work in my absence. I was happy for my colleagues but I felt like I wasn't needed anymore. It felt like they were better off without me. When this combined with my thoughts that I was a useless mum and wife was catastrophic. A burden to everyone. No one would miss me.
That night I was desperate. I just wanted it over. I wanted to go and throw myself in front of the first car I saw. The combination of texting a friend and her husband contacting mine meant I spent the night sobbing in my husbands arms rather than anything else.
In the weeks that followed that time, suicide was often on my mind. Several times a day I would think about it. This is someone petrified of dying. Scared of the unknown. I don't want to die. I want to live forever. But depression is so bad at my worst I would have considered death just to make it go away.
I have planned different ways. I had thought about when. Then one night after a particularly bad day I put my boys to bed and declared to my husband I needed space and I was off for a walk. I set off in the direction of town. I knew where I was heading. I text a friend. I told her how I felt. I told her where I was. This was my safety net.
I walked whilst texting. She urged me to turn around. She begged me to stop. She commanded me to come to her house. I ignored her instructions. I pushed her worries aside. I was glad her children in bed meant she was unable to come out to me.
I walked. I cried. I internally screamed at the desperation I felt. I knew where I was heading. As I turned a corner I could see it in front of me. It was like I had reached the promised land. There was a sense of relief. There was the multi-story car park. There I could end it by throwing myself off the top. Quick. Sudden. No pain. Not to be found by a family member.
And that's as far as I got. A street away. I didn't dare go any closer! Just in case it was like Winston Churchill once wrote:
"I don't like standing near the edge of a platform when an express train is passing through…A second's action would end everything."
I avoided the situation where in a split second I could make the wrong decision. I avoided dealing with the second of desperation.
3 times I have made this journey. 3 times I have been so desperate for the illness to be over. 3 times I have lost all hope that it would get better. Many more times I have had other suicidal thoughts (sometimes several times a day) and done nothing about it.
This is not a selfish act. Of course I had thought about my friends and family. Depression is irrational. It cannot be explained. In those moments I felt like everyone would be better without me in their lives. I knew people would be upset but long term I thought they would be without the burden of putting up with me.
So what stopped me? My two boys. Thank God they are in my life. God is great. Even at my worst. Even when I can see the car park. Even when the option has seemed viable. They have made it impossible. Luckily never have I felt that they would be better off without me. I know my suicide would affect their whole life. They need me now and in their future. I'm their mum and I couldn't do this to them. I'm one of the lucky ones. I have been able to hold onto this in the depths of despair. Others haven't.
So what do I want you to know? Suicide is real. Action is needed to be taken to eradicate it. Suicide is not selfish. It is not a wish to die. It is a wish to end the pain. A desperation for it all to be over.
Please be there for friends and family. If you are worried about them, don't shy about the obvious question. Ask it. "Are you suicidal?" And if they say yes. "Have you made any plans?" It maybe the thing that could save their life. Sometimes people need to talk. Sometimes this is all it takes to help.
I repeat. Im lucky. I have had four friends and a husband who took me seriously. Who encouraged me to share about the reality of my suicidal thoughts. Thank you.
If you ever feel desperate call the samaritans free from any phone anytime 116 123 (U.K. and ROI).