I’ve wrote about mental health before, almost countless times. And whereas it’s a conversation we all definitely need to be having, I feel like talking openly about suicide is a much different and more intense conversation. I could count on two hands, the people in my life who have been suicidal at one point. That in itself is shocking and terrifying, and most of all, it’s disgusting. It is disgusting that life has become so challenging for the people around me that they felt they had no option left but to end it. Nobody, nobody, nobody should have to get to that place and it breaks my heart that so many do. But that is life and life is not always kind. I know too well, as I have had suicidal thoughts myself.
When I was fifteen, I had dealt with bullying for so many years from different cliques at school that one day it just became unbearable. I remember hyperventilating in my room at the idea of going into school the next day, completely overwhelmed and feeling like the world would be better off without me. I kept thinking, ‘If I was meant to be here, people wouldn’t be trying so hard to hurt me.’ I thought the way people were treating me was some kind of divine intervention to make me hurt myself, I constantly felt like I was being punished and no matter my positive outlook, the day always ended with tears. There was a particular situation, that not only gave me an eating disorder, but left me begging my mum to let me be homeschooled. I kept telling her my only other option was to end my life. Throughout this situation, the school did nothing, the doctors did nothing. And I felt completely alone apart from my family.
Looking back now, my situation would have been a lot easier had somebody from the school listened to me and offered me some kind of protection from those bullies. Surprisingly, it’s those bullies who post about mental health now on social media, and I know people can change, but I refuse to understand how people can forget the terror they endorsed onto somebody’s life. And the words that were said, the threats that were spread around still effect me now. I still struggle with eating, I still have confidence issues, but I definitely know how to stand up for myself now. But some people don’t, for some people, what some could see as harmless could be the last straw for them. And that is what brings me to this.
Kindness is a healer. There are individuals who started talking to me in my last year at high school, and just by being kind to me and accepting me, they gave me the confidence to stand up for myself and continue with my life. I stepped out of my shell, I’ve never been quiet about what I went through because mental health and suicidal thoughts shouldn’t be something that is swept under the carpet. It should be known, that sometimes people feel like it’s their only option. Because all of us, always, should be looking to help prevent people feeling that way. Smile at the next person you see on the street, show some compassion to the next grumpy customer in the store, don’t turn to judgement in anger. Ask your friends or family if they want you to accompany them to the doctors. Ask them out for coffee. Just get them out. Show them the little things that make life worth living.
It’s not always going to be easy and it’s definitely not these days, with waiting lists probably as long as my body for mental health services. But, once somebody is in breakdown mode for whatever factors have lead them there, they need you. They might try to push you away or downplay what they are going through, but they need somebody. They will need somebody to back them up because they will feel like life has failed them. And don’t give up on them either. The services around us may be too underfunded to give everyone what they need, but as people, as a collective, if we are kind, supportive and just that little bit more patient, we can avoid behaviours and situations that lead people who are already dealing with bad mental health to suicide.
You can call Samaritans at: 116 123 in the U.K if you need to speak to somebody.
Please reach out, you’re not alone.