Let's Talk About Suicide
Posted by ais.reilly
14th Mar 2016

Unless you've been there you can't know the absolute horror, the bleakness of feeling so hopeless that you chose to try and end your life. It doesn't even present itself as a choice; it's like swimming in a flooding corridor and the only door with a fanlight, that you just might be able to break through, has a little plaque that reads "Death". It's ironically like a survival instinct. If it leads you to air you imagine it might be like an embrace.

I know there are many who won't understand this, I can't honestly say I could if I hadn't been through it but I have never thought of people who attempt or succeed in suicide as cowards. I have always understood the strength of emotional pain. It angers me that people label sufferers of this kind as weak or shameful. The bravest, strongest, most resiliant people I've met have been fellow patients in a mental health hlospital. They have also been some of the kindest and most compassionate people I had the good fortune to share time with. I suspect it is because they understand what it means to suffer, to battle relentlessly with depression while enduring panic attacks, psychosis for some, while sleep deprived, sometimes for months on end, while stigmatised, not just by strangers or mere acquaintances but by loved ones, and worst of all, self-stigmatised - feeling like a burden, a failure, worthless, pathetic and unlovable.

In the past I did believe no matter how low I sank I would choose life for the sake of my loved ones, I felt a comfort in that, I felt brave.
Then the time came when I felt I'd exhausted every avenue seeking help (G.P.s, charities, counselling, exercise,  supplements, medication, psychiatrists, hospital) to no avail, I'd lost the people I feared I would if I didn't "hold it together" and I found myself in the loneliest place imaginable, that flooding corridor and I tried to smash that fanlight.

Now I know a little more of bravery, I know getting up again after that and grappling for hope was bravery, I know continuing on everyday through this hell of depression is bravery, especially now I've been in that flooding corridor time upon time and know I most likely will be again, messy and humiliated in a way very few understand and I'll need to shout and shout for help, from under water. I'll need to have the presence of mind to find and tell someone, not just anyone but the right someone, the someone who will stop me from doing the only thing, in that moment, in my mind, I believe will save me, stop me from breaking through that fanlight. Afterwards I'll need to pick myself and the pieces back up and start again.

Don't you dare call me a coward.

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