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  • Writer's pictureMike Douglas

World Suicide Prevention Day

World Suicide Prevention Day

Today talking about suicide is socially acceptable, so let's get in there before it's frowned on again.

Suicide, the ultimate act of self harm can also been seen as a small part of self harm (in my mind). Thoughts, emotions and actions of self harm can come in many forms and can last for a huge amount of time. Suicide, if attempted (again in my mind), will be a small part of that persons struggles, mentally and physically.

However, it can also be a thought from nowhere....from many places in your mind. Maybe I'm not good enough, maybe I don't matter, maybe I've failed at being a friend, at being a boyfriend and husband, maybe I've failed at committing to something or someone, maybe it wouldn't matter if I wasn't here, the pain, the confusion, the struggle, that will be over. It will be easier for those around me. It's easier to just accept lose than to have the struggle of dealing with this, with me....That is why I have pushed you away, because I don't want to share this, this is mine, and it's better you don't know.

Sorry about the rambling... Sorry.

Don't we say sorry a lot? Sorry for sharing, sorry for not sharing, sorry I'm like this, why do you bother, please don't bother, please don't go. Errrrr, my mind.

Back to the point. Today.

Today is a chance to talk openly about suicide, something many people have said we should be doing more and thinking more about (in a positive helpful way, not in a diey way) particularly following the 22 push-up challenge promoting discussion of PTSD and suicide prevention. However, I question how many people would really be open to talking about PTSD and suicide. Personally I'm all for fad social media pushes that get donations, such as the ice bucket challenge. But that should be accompanied by promotion of events and / or gatherings where these points are discussed. I have seen many friends and acquaintances posting online their 22 push-ups with copy and pasted text. I wonder if I told you about the times I have tried to suffocate or drown myself, if I told you what my first thought was every time I see a knife, if I told you how many times I'd though about jumping from a bridge (enough to know that I could get over the safety rail), would you really want to engage with me in that conversation? I know I wouldn't feel comfortable having that conversation, would you?

I am sure I know people doing this that want to help and that would be prepared to talk about this but I'm just not sure. Maybe that says more about me than you, I didn't know.

Today specifically though we are encouraged to talk about suicide, to signpost to amazing organisations and charities that can help. Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, MenTell Health, NHS, iTalk, Samaritans. These are all great places to get help, advise and even just get people to talk to.

However I kind of feel today is about saying to people "go over there" "talk to them" "I'm sure some people out there struggle" "get help" (some of will know this last one) "go for a walk".

I think it all helps, but!

We need more people to say "this is my story" "this is what I struggled / am struggling with" "I found help by". Personal stories are so much more powerful, heartfelt, informed and are more well received. From my experience I have taken much more from personal accounts of someone journey or experience than I have from abstract descriptions of illness, symptoms or treatments.

So today I say, this is my story. I struggle with depression, I have symptoms of anxiety. I think about self harm and have self harmed, I have raged, I have episodes, I take medication and continue to have therapy (even if it's sometimes sporadic).

I have held a pillow over my face, a knife to my arm and considered jumping. I say this not to shock you but to be honest about the struggle that can come with mental health illnesses.

If you are affected by anything I have said please do not feel alone. Know there are many of us. Know there is support, you have people around you, you have amazing online communities that will support and help you to get information. There are the organisations and charities I mentioned above.

Lastly I am not a professional medical person, (I'm not even good at the board game operation!) but you can talk to me.

Remember suicide prevention isn't just for today...

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