Editors Picks,  Mental Matters,  Speak Up

The S Word

So many are afraid to say it, aren’t they? That word. That whispered taboo. Why do we dance around it? Why don’t we just talk about it? What exactly is it that are we so afraid of? Why are we so afraid to hear of it and so afraid to open up about it?

Suicide.

It steals so many lives. Every day. Every minute. It devastates families, seizes lives yet to really live, leaves children motherless, women as widows, friends feeling the blame and questioning why they didn’t see the signs.

Why is it after someone has taken their life that we begin to pour out support and preach about opening up about how we feel?

We need to stop waiting until it’s too late. We need to stop waiting for another person increasing a statistic before we TALK, before we do something. We need to not feel afraid to open up, to accept we need support.

To honestly say, “No, I’m not coping actually.”

I have attempted suicide, more than once. Mental health is a fight I’m still trying to overcome. My feet have dangled by the ledge. I have been paralyzed by anxiety, crippled by depression, ruled by OCD, and been consumed by a relentless fear of abandonment. On those days, those so very dark days, I had never felt more alone.

So, why didn’t I just talk to someone? Why did I not reach out? Why did I not think of the people who loved me? Who cared about me?

I felt ashamed. It seemed pointless. Ending my life seemed like the only solution to silence my mind and end this suffering I could no longer endure.

In the black fog of bleak anguish, I couldn’t see the people who loved me. I couldn’t see a reason to stay or a glimmer of hope that things could get better. On those dark days where the mind clouds any small thought of peace, I couldn’t see why anyone would care about anyone so worthless, so unlovable.

I didn’t know who to turn too. I had mentioned the dreaded S word before and watched people suddenly tense and shift uncomfortably, dart their eyes quickly away from my own pleading stare. They seemed unsure what to say, how to really help.

I had scribbled “I want to kill myself” in every notebook, cries for help on every social media platform gone unheard, remarked with a like or love heart.

I sat only in October after a heartbreaking week, in a GPs office, who asked me if I had any plans to kill myself. When my response was, yes, the solution was to dope me up on sedatives and send me on my way because I hadn’t actively done anything yet and that realisation that it would take something drastic, something I couldn’t take back before help would even be considered, was indescribable.

Thankfully, my mind is slightly clearer. It will always be a daily battle. It will always be highs and lows, mania and depression. It will always be anxiety, and irrational thoughts. Intense emotions and fear of loss… But it will become manageable, more bearable.

However, I have started receiving help and I am trying very hard to work towards recovery. I finally spoke to a professional who, for once, didn’t condescend, didn’t make me feel invalid or silly. Didn’t brush off my pain or my loss or my sometimes, irrational thinking. But, instead, made me feel comforted, assured with a promise for understandable reasoning behind my feelings, the way I see the world and my own processing of life. It was a flicker of hope for the first time in a long time. The same, however, cannot be said for so many others whose pleas were shrugged off. 

So many others who were belittled or made to feel as though their feelings weren’t bad enough, whose problems were compared to people who were worse off and were therefore made to feel like they weren’t valid.

So many others whose cries turned to exhausted whispers, grown tired of unheard pleas for help. So many others who are suffering alone and just desperate for a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen.

Let’s stop just hoping that things will eventually get better. Let’s stop hiding how we feel, pretending that everything is okay when we’re silently struggling. Let’s admit we need a little help. Let’s be encouraging and accepting towards those who openly confide about their struggles.

The S word … Let’s talk about it!

photo credit: Nicholas Erwin HELP ME via photopin (license)

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