an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof.
trust, faith, or confidence in (someone or something).
As the night draws to a close on World Suicide Prevention Day, I felt compelled to write something, anything. I dread to think what this years statistics will look like as the fall out of not just the mental effects of lockdown start to take their toll, but also the effect of Covid 19 on those brave brave NHS workers who literally, helplessly, watched people die from this awful disease. That being said, lockdown does seem to have given us something of a renaissance in communicating with people virtually both new and old friends. How many messages did you send to people you had lost touch with, just checking in, seeing how they were doing? or how many new friends did you make on social media like Twitter?
Men aged 45-49 still have the highest rate of suicides.Samaritans Key Trends 2019
Fortunately, I have never been closely connected to anyone that has taken that dark decision to end their life, believing that it’s the best, or sometimes the only option. I know people who have though, and the lasting impression that this leaves on those left behind, is just as devastating. People thinking, “why didn’t I do something?” Blaming themselves for not seeing the signs or responding to them. People that take their own lives, aren’t cowards, it’s a daunting step to do something where you know it will lead to your final breath. It leaves an indelible mark on those left behind, who are left with a life sentence of their own coming to terms with such a sad, cruel, and in many cases avoidable loss.
Suicide rate for females under 25 in England & Wales has risen by 93.8% since 2012Samaritans Key Trends 2019
I’ve been there. Only once and once was enough to scare me senseless. I was nineteen, maybe twenty. I was a cocktail bartender in a busy town centre pub. The managers there were, (and still are) like a second family to me. I worked with my oldest friend, who I had grown up with from the age of 3. I had a loving family. Yet still, STILL, that dark winters night, when my confidence had taken a beating, I thought for a few moments about just ending it all.
The pub was 2 miles from my home, and after we finished serving at 11pm (ask your parents you young uns) I would sometimes call at the Asda and grab a bite to eat. Then I’d stick a film on my Playstation 2 (usually Men in Black or Independence Day (The originals not these reboot shite)) and settle down ready for my alarm to go back to work in the morning. This one night though, I didn’t go to Asda, I just felt numb. I got in my little Blue Ford Escort and sat looking up at the moon and the stars. I have always been fascinated by the moon, especially when you can see the craters. It looks so peaceful and still up there, and at that point, that’s what I felt like I wanted. I turned the ignition, and started the journey home. About a third of the way home, there is a railway bridge, and the road narrows as the bridge juts out at an awkward angle. I started to pick up speed as it’s pretty much a straight line to that point. The only movement came from my eyes as I checked the speed, and my right foot as I continued to press hard on the accelerator. I was way over the speed limit as my hands froze, locked on the wheel not moving it to steer me away from the stonewall structure of the bridge. The road was desolate, as was my heart at that moment. I don’t even know why. I didn’t even have a girlfriend at that time such was my luck in love. Maybe that’s what it was, maybe I just felt lonely. As the car moved ever closer to the bridge, my heart pounding so loud it felt like it would burst my ear drums, my eyes staring only at the structure in front of me, something caught my eye. It could have been a cat or a fox, or even just a weird reflection, but in that instance I snapped out of it, eased my foot of the accelerator and steered gently away from the bridge safely home.
I guess my point is, as a young lad, with not a care in the world, with good friends and family, it can happen to anyone. I consider myself fortunate really. That I have people that believe in me.
Belief is such a precious commodity, and the first step for anyone with troubles is having someone believe in them. It’s coming up to 12 months since I made a new friend on Twitter. She was funny, and kind, but so very sad. Her life had been turned upside down when her partner cheated with a neighbour. She had to face this reality every day, getting anxious every time she left the house. We first started talking about writing, and I encouraged her (as I do with anyone) to write. People worry about if it’s any good. My view is, I am writing as my release, my escape, so as long as I like it, I don’t mind what others think. Of course, it’s lovely when someone says your writing resonated with them or they enjoyed it but when you start to like what you write, you believe in yourself. Anyway, my friend told me that she always wanted to live by the sea. When an opportunity came up a few months later, I encouraged her, “Why can’t you?” I gave her some belief and a little encouragement and she decided to do it. here we are and she is a world away from those dark times, living by the sea. She still says that my belief in her was a big factor that led her to make that choice, but to me it was nothing. Just a bit of kindness and honesty. Big things aren’t big things when you take them apart.
Belief can also be a bad thing. I won’t focus too much on it, but not everything is black and white. Just because someone has a good reputation, doesn’t mean they are telling the truth. Sometimes it can be their version of the truth which is a very different matter. I know that there are 3 sides to every story, so I try not to form opinions based on someone else’s feedback. I take people as they come, and treat them accordingly. In this day and age though, we each have a responsibility with regards to what we are saying, especially on social media, when it is put out there on a platform, for all to see forever.
Is It True, Is It Kind, Is It NecessaryBernar Melter
I see many people tweeting about mental health, but sometimes these are the ones not adhering to the quote above and it makes me so sad. But, for every unkind person there are a whole heap of kind ones. You see, when people believe in you, eventually you start to feel it yourself. Especially when those people are practically strangers, who ultimately owe you nothing. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the kindness of strangers who are now friends. Likewise, I try and pay it back, I can think of two people in particular who just give without asking and feel guilty for taking. Two people who feel every heartache and almost cry every tear for someone else who is hurting. The biggest compliment I can give myself is that they allowed me in. They trust me with things, and seem to appreciate my ear or words.
I guess my final point is to stress to anyone who is reading this, who is having a bad day, or week or month or year … I’ll be there for you. (Oh come on you sang the theme in your head right?)
Seriously though, I would hate for anyone reading this to think they have no one. There is always a way, help is there, and the hardest part is asking for it. You can contact me via my blog or by Twitter. I can’t promise I can fix anything, but I can promise I will listen and give my perspective. No judgement. There are so many little things that can be done to make yourself feel brighter, but you’ve got to want to.
I will ALWAYS leave a light on for anyone that needs it.
If you are too embarrassed to speak to me then please try and contact The Samaritans or CALM it can even be done via webchat these days if you don’t like the sound of your own voice (who does) . #BeKind