Thursday 10th September 2020 (1235pm)
**warning, blog contains triggers and talks of suicide. Please seek help if required**
Today marks national suicide prevention day, a day of reflection for me and somewhat celebration, but nationally a day of raising awareness and promoting support.
Let’s start with reality, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that in 2019, the suicide rate for men in England and Wales was the highest for two decades, with 5,691 suicides registered. Men accounted for 4,303 deaths and women 1,388. There continues to be a trend in men aged 45-49, and in women under the age of 25. Each one of these figures represents one life gone, through whatever means or circumstance, some of which may not even be mental health related. The collateral damage to those close to each suicide would run the figures in excess of 10,000. There are many theories as to why these age groups are more at risk and include work, money and family pressure, and for the younger group, exams, social media, body image, relationships, and unemployment.
Over that last 4 years I could have been a statistic recorded on file with the ONS. A person who hit rock bottom with life and the pressures of work. A person who had everything, yet felt had nothing. A person who was loved by many, but never saw it. A person who always smiled, but hid the truth so well as I worked so hard at achieving everything I set my mind to. A person who would have left behind those grieving who would have had no idea how or why, or even where my thoughts and feelings even came from.
I’m often get asked why I have wanted to take my own life. For those who have not read earlier blogs, I have made attempts by wanting to drown and taking an overdose. I have been in hospital twice. My last attempt really put the shits into me when my GP told me that the drug I had taken could have easily put me into heart failure. The literal, panic and worry on her face I will always remember. If she could have punched me in the face there and then I think she would have. There was me thinking that I didn’t take enough to cause damage. Little did I know, that what I did take could have easily killed me. I felt so ill from it, all I could do was lie down and wait for the effects to wear off. The following day I was told that I should have called an ambulance there and then. Apparently, I was lucky not to be found dead. This is hard reading but this is reality. I am writing about me. The one who runs marathons, has completed an Ironman, the one who whatever the circumstance or pain can still smile on that Instagram or Facebook photo. The trigger for this attempt was work and being in a sickness process which is stressful and prolonged. I have been off work 4 and a half years and the process still rumbles on. Until this is over, I am not safe in myself, I am still vulnerable.
Another question I am asked, is what about your family? For those who have lost lost ones to suicide, all I can say is this. You do not think about anyone. Your head has no rationale thinking. It cannot think. Maybe it is too afraid to think and blocks those thoughts out. All you want is an ending. I did not want to die, all I wanted to do was block out and end the pain that I was feeling. At the time this was the only option. Blurred by negative thoughts and emotions. Such pain seeing no other way out. How can you end such pain without death? Did taking the tablets help? No, all I felt was ill, like my head was spinning on its axis, unsure of where the floor was as each step into the kitchen to get a drink required me to trace the walls around so not to fall over. I was scared, afraid with no idea what to do.
The rational person in me understands what it does to those left behind and that is the last thing I would ever want. The completely ‘gone in the head, irrational person’ does not see or understand this. I am sure that I speak for many in the same situation. In my job as a police officer I have attended suicides, images that will forever stay with me. I have known colleagues to take their own lives.
Thankfully, I sit here now writing this. I got lucky, many do not. Many leave us without wanting to. Many become a statistic.
If you can take anything from this blog, it’s don’t even try to end the pain through harmful ways. You never know what could happen. Mine would have been an accidental overdose, stupid, pointless and worthless. I don’t even allow myself to think about what it would have done to those close to me, I can’t, it hurts too much.
I write now in a better place. Forever thankful that I am around to walk my boy Olly and to see my gorgeous nephews grow up. So many things I would have missed out on. Too many to mention.
Keep safe people, help is out there.