World Suicide Prevention Day

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September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day.

Here in the UK, the mental heath charity MIND  has a very useful list of resources.

Some may find the following disturbing, and my views might seem a little contrary:

My most vivid memory of my teens is waking up in my room to realise, with a crushing disappointment, that I had survived the overdose I took the previous evening. My family never knew about my attempt. I spent the morning crying whilst cleaning up the vomit myself. No help was sought.

I was 17 and had recently started sixth-form college, away from the bullies that had plagued me for a decade. You might think this was great? It was – until I realised how badly damaged I was. Unable to cope with being around people I took to hiding in a small study area outside of class times, where I had bonded with a group of other misfits who hid there. But constant fear and tension around other people (however nice they were) made me hyper-alert, depressed and exhausted. The thought of speaking or the sound of laughter causing me physical stress responses. Life consisted of watching others socialising, laughing, making plans for university etc, but I felt completely dissociated from it and unable to cross that bridge. Utter loneliness without being alone.

One spring day I could no longer tolerate it, locked myself in my room and swallowed two bottles of painkillers. The hour I lay there waiting for something to happen was the first time I had felt at peace in a decade. I still remember that feeling and for years it was so very tempting to go back there on the bad days.

21 years later I finally got the help I needed after planning another attempt. That was 13 years ago now and CBT helped me deal with the damage to my self worth inflicted by my childhood.

It seems easy for some (with no understanding) to dismiss suicidal feelings with a ‘don’t worry – it will all seem better tomorrow’ or well-meaning advice to ‘snap out of it’ or the classic guilt-tripping about it being a ‘selfish’ act and ‘what about the people you will leave behind’. Then there is always the reverse-psychology approach of calling it ‘the coward’s way out’.

Politicians and employers try to make the right noises about ‘support’ but the cynic in me knows that in their cold hearts they only care about the economic cost of suicide, the inconvenience to business or the possible legal ramifications. Hence the rise of the professional Stress Management industry – making profit from people damaged by the world’s relentless quest for, ironically, profit. My impression is that these companies really just offer an ass-covering service that benefits employers in the event of a lawsuit. It doesn’t remove any stress but just allows employers to get away with pushing people even further.

Any media report on suicide or mental health always includes the figures on the ‘cost to the economy’ (example). I realise this is often a way to push the point home to the lawmakers using the only language they understand. But it depresses me – and yes I see the irony there!

I already know the coping mechanisms for stress, thank you Mr corporate-suited psychologist-for-hire. I have had enough years of wanting to ride around on the bus all day and never reaching either work or home and the demands of others. What I want is for the stress to GO AWAY before I feel compelled to take myself away from it!

Sorry if this sounds angry. I am angry. But anger is a good motivator and I would take this over depression any day.

POSTSCRIPT:

There are still days when I regret that first attempt did not work. It seemed the right thing to do at the time, and my life as a young boy still causes me difficulties today.

Therefore I confess to feeling somewhat ambivalent regarding ‘suicide prevention’ as I firmly believe in the rights of the individual to do whatever they like with their own body – including ending their life. I would prefer to see ‘unhappiness prevention’ and ways of tackling the issues that cause people to have suicidal feelings in the first place by encouraging kindness, putting people and the environment before profit, ending bullying in all its forms (including, incidentally, removal of internet privileges for overgrown orange toddlers with oval offices….)

By the time someone is considered to need suicide prevention then the world has already failed them.

49 Comments

  1. I have a history is basically all I care to say, with that history, it led me to the same feelings you have. One who hasn’t touched the depths of the same agony with never see things the way we do. It’s that simple and that unfortunate.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It is very good that you have survived such a stupid behaviour (same applies for me). So you have the chance to improve certain issues which sometimes takes many, many years. Sensitivity is also a great strength which needs to be cultivated as an individual power. Easy to write but really worth a try!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I wish i could tell this poor people that every new day is a gift from God that must be enjoyed it, and used in a good way. Because when the real time of our death comes, there is no way to go back and enhance the things we did. Our deeds will remain with us, be it good or bad. So…. be grateful for each new day, and try to see the bright side of things. 🌸🌷💐

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are strong and brave. I am sad you had to have that journey early in life. I can relate to some of your feelings. I am also so grateful that you are here today. I can’t begin to imagine my daily life without you in it. Thank you for sharing this, you are an amazing and talented soul. Much love and massive hugs to you! 😊💗🌿

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I am ok with it now, thank you. Which is why I can now write about it.
    If I am with someone in the same situation I find it hard too. I know there is little I can say to help except to show them kindness and offer a hug if appropriate.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you again for the reblog but also your kind words and the virtual hugs which I am happy to accept and to return.
    The right to choose to die is an emotive subject but like you I believe in the right of personal choice. People do get angry but then I ask them why they believe they have the right to control my choices. Usually they cannot answer or say that those choices are because the mind is disturbed and not rational. This is rubbish and STILL does not give them the right to interfere anyway. x

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thank you Lisa.
    I know you have your own battles at the moment and I so admire the open way you write about them. Your own writing played a part in my choosing to share this story.
    Hugs accepted gratefully and returned dear friend. x
    How was the massage?😊

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thank you Lisa.
    One of the reasons I started blogging was that I still felt the loneliness. Since you and our other friends came into my life that has gone completely and I love you all so much. Love and a huge hug to you too! 😍😊

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Ah bless you Darren, you’re so sweet to say that. What you wrote about your struggles inspired me to stay strong so big thanks to you too 😊
    It was lovely thank you 🙏 plus the weather is is beautiful so I spent the afternoon at the pool swimming and listening to Sadhguru who explains the world in a way I find very comforting. Enjoy the rest of your day my friend xxxxx

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Love you too Linda❤. And thank you. It took a lot to allow myself to be vulnerable and let people in again, and now you understand why. The last few days have been like a wonderful dream already and I am so happy to have such amazing friends. We are about to go collect Dee Dee and then soon you will be here too. 😄😄😄😄😄❤

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Thank you Brigid. I keep looking at anti-bullying charities like the Sophie Lancaster Foundation and wishing I could help but even now I am wary of putting myself forward and having to deal with bullies again. I am now 52 and a gym bunny but my childhood fears still haunt me to some extent.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Thank you for sharing Darren and funny that you posted it from far away when life is good. Like so many, many others, I can so relate. That is all I want to share on a public forum, but my life has been touched by suicide so very deeply. I’m glad you have found a kind of peace many years later. I’m so sorry that you felt that way, back then, and that you were surrounded by insensitive people with no empathy.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Sorry to hear you went through this. As a schools counsellor I work with people going through similar things on a daily basis and whole heartedly agree that it’s not suicide prevention we need but unhappiness prevention. Thanks for sharing such an honest post ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Thank you so much for this comment. People think that bullying is in the past once someone leaves school or moves away from it. For some maybe it is. For others like me it permanently undermines any sense of self worth.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Darren, I am so sorry for the pain you have gone through in your life…I wish no-one would suffer like that, but sadly I think many do. I have painfully watched some I love suffer in the same way, and would so love to be able to take their pain away….it is heartbreaking. i read a really good book one time by the founder of Compassion International, a wonderful organization that helps impoverished children around the world. He sufferd abuse as a child, and speaks in the book of just how small acts of kindness in little ones lives can make huge impacts. I wish the world was kind, but I am so glad you are still here blessing others with your compassion and talent. Big hugs to you!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. It feels so weird to put a “Like” on this post but it is just to let you know that I read you my friend. And I will give you as many “real” hugs as you need while you are here with me in Montreal. I’m so glad that you are here today and that my path crossed yours. The world is a better place with you in it. You have so much to give. My own life is enriched by your friendship, our complicity. Much love to you Darren. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you so much Jen. I hate to think of others in the situation I was in but ironically my problems make it hard for me to do anything practical to help. The book sounds great and I believe hugely in the power of little kindnesses.
    I am glad I am here too, now. Hugs back to you Jen😊

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I understand and agree with your thoughts here. I have been there too, and I also feel that, ultimately, we should be allowed to make our own choices about the quality of our existence. I will be very selfish here, and tell you how happy I am that you were unsuccessful all those years ago! I love that I have had the opportunity to meet you, and I know your presence on this planet has enhanced my life❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Thank you Dee Dee. I too am happy we were both around to meet each other both online and in person. You inspire me and are living proof that things can get better. We are both pushing our boundaries and are happier for it. Long may it continue my friend. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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