*Trigger Warning: frank discussion about suicide.*
Suicide is defined as the act where one intentionally takes their life. To be suicidal is a disastrous and destructive place to be, as you are in a place that nobody deserves to ever exist within, as your life no longer feels like one you deserve to live.
The statistics for suicide are astounding, I shall tell you just one, as any more would be overwhelming. Suicide is the most common cause of death for men between the ages of 20 and 49. The truth is the fact that any one person chooses to end their life over any of the other thousand’s of alternatives breaks my heart. Suicide has existed in our society for as long as I have been alive and you have, and we must continue to fight for support for everyone who feels suicidal and depressed. Suicide should never be normalised and should never feel like anyone’s only option. And for those that contemplate suicide as an option, society should be reminding them each day that it isn’t the only option. And it isn’t the best option, that they will wake up to a brighter tomorrow and in the meantime, they have hands to hold and shoulders to cry on.
I have wanted to write a post about suicide for a long time, however, fear held me back, stigma held me back. I would like to highlight right now that I have never self-harmed or felt suicidal, however, I have been asked what feels like thousands of times this year if I am suicidal, or sugar-coated, a risk to myself. Mental health treatment has involved multitudes of questionnaires for me and conversations about the societal feared notion of feelings, and risk comes up every time. All assessments analyse for risk to oneself and to others. I have answered no each time. And honestly, it began to get irritating to be persistently asked and multiple times doubted that I was okay!
I am not in any way trying to suggest it made me mad being asked each time I went to a session questions like this, although part of me did think I have told you I am not, why are you still asking. Then it dawned on me. That though I may be saying “no” with undoubted truth, so many aren’t. Recently I have seen a vast amount of suicide awareness campaigning, and by vast I mean two huge campaigns, I mentioned both briefly in my Monthly Mental Health Memo post last Friday.
So you may still be questioning why I feared writing this post. The truth is I am suffering but I am not suicidal and people seem to have a hard time believing that. Mental Health issues do not mean that you are crazy nor is being suicidal a requirement. I feared writing this post as I feared the prospect of justifying what feels like my sanity to family, friends and readers. The mental health stigma affects us all. It affects each person who feels like suicide is the only option left, it affects those who are suffering yet not at crisis point from saying what they think and too frequently not receiving the support they need, and it affects those who don’t understand from ever understanding.
I was reminded of all these things when I was surrounded by awareness campaigns this passing week, and I am proud to finally be writing this.
As I am a mental health advocate and I refuse to leave anything unsaid.
The final message I am going to leave in this post is to everyone who is suicidal, has been suicidal and is human. You are all deserving of a second chance, we give others limitless amounts of chances, stop giving them to those around you and start giving yourself a second, third and fourth chance if you need it to be happy. Nobody deserves your chances, love and forgiveness more than yourself.
You are worthy.
You are beautiful.
You are enough.
And you will never ever not be any of these things.
So…Until next month,
Fighting for the day we all act with love, compassion, and tolerance.
Today Tomorrow Forever
In case of feelings of suicide or helplessness, I ask you please to contact any of these services by the numbers below, you deserve tomorrow, I promise you, you deserve it.
Samaritans – 116 123 Papyrus Call – 0800 068 41 41 SMS – 07786 209697