So many other people have written about today and probably better than I will. Despite that, I don’t think I could let today pass without sharing something.
This post may be triggering, so for that reason it is after the cut.
Suicide has been an ever present spectre in my life for a long time now.
I have thankfully never attempted suicide. Nor have I yet lost someone who was close to me to suicide. I am incredibly grateful for both these facts, and a little proud of myself for the first.
I have however, thought a lot about suicide. It started when I was 14. I thought things like if it’s not better by 25, then I will. I thought, it’s ok, if it all gets too much, I can.
I don’t intend to keep that promise to myself. I intend to make things better over the next few years so that it’s worth not keeping that promise.
I know that if I’d known at 14 what was coming up, I probably would have attempted it. I’m glad I didn’t.
I very, very nearly did attempt suicide during 2008. One piece of advice that you would think would be obvious, but was apparently not so to my boyfriend at the time – if someone is alone, plainly mentally ill (even if not yet diagnosed), and says to you that they feel suicidal, that is a good time to go be with them until they are no longer going to be alone.
I’m glad I didn’t do so then either.
I’m glad I’m here to be glad about this.
Suicide prevention takes so much more than a day. My being here is the result of so much more than a days worth of work. I’ve put in many days into helping friends stick around through great pain and suffering. I’ve comforted friends and lovers as they talk about those they lost to suicide. I’ve seen the pain losing someone causes, and it is horrendous. I’ve seen the pain others go through when they consider ending it all.
I’ve felt that pain.
In the long run, the person who prevents a suicide is the person themselves.
Friends and family can, and should, provide short term help. Anyone struggling with this needs to know that they are cared for and loved. They don’t however need to be guilt tripped. They are not necessarily capable of thinking of the hurt they will cause others, because they can not see that their loss could be meaningful. They do not think highly enough of themselves.
Beyond short term help, it comes down to us helping ourselves. We have to learn to see ourselves as having worth and life being worth living. It’s hard, but it’s possible.