EDITOR'S NOTE: The post that follows needs to be prefaced with a severe trigger warning. The post is from the point of view of a young person who has experienced suicidal thoughts. Due to the nature of mental health issues and suicidal thoughts themselves, it gives a romanticised view of suicide itself. This blog post has been written honestly from the point of view of the sufferer and shows that while the contributor is aware of the actuality of suicide, the thought process itself can lure sufferers into thinking this way.
It is a topic that is often shied away from, as death is a concept that makes many uncomfortable. I would describe it as one of the major taboos surrounding mental health issues. However, according to the Samaritans, in England and the UK, female suicide rates are at their highest in a decade. It is also a much documented phenomenon among young men, with the Samaritans reporting that male rates remain consistently higher than female suicide rates across the UK and Republic of Ireland – most notably 5 times higher in Republic of Ireland and around 3 times in the UK. For this reason, we think it important to share this post in order to increase awareness of the thought process and experiences of those with suicidal thoughts. Please do read with caution, and if you are suffering yourself or have suffered in the past from thoughts such as this, we advise you skip this post.
The 24hr hotline for The Samaritans is: • 116 123 (UK) • 116 123 (ROI)
"...And the thought of being hit by a bus tomorrow is preferable."
For millisecond I am shocked, how is that funny? I asked myself. There could be three reasons my mother is laughing at this statement; 1, she, like most others would, assumes that I am only joking and myself humouring the sadistic idea that being hit by a bus would be preferable to performing an ordinary task. 2, she, like most others also would be, feels awkward by the suggestion that such a notion could be true and therefore 'laughs it off'. Or 3, she genuinely finds the idea of me getting hit by a bus tomorrow humorous.
Discounting the third as unlikely, I come to the conclusion that it must be a combination of the first and second reasons. Meanwhile, conversation has continued from her mouth whilst my mind still lingers on the thought, wish, hope, and all of the implications of being hit by a bus tomorrow.
This is my go-to thought when under the slightest amount of pressure. Sometimes the thought is more dramatic; like being struck by lightening or having a piano mysteriously drop from the sky onto my head and crushing my body. Another is falling. I lie awake at night with the door to my balcony ajar listening to the occasional car drive by below and I think about opening that door a little bit more, stepping forward to look over the banister and peering out, down onto the street below. I imagine climbing over the metal bars and standing bear-footed in my pyjama t-shirt and onto the stone ledge. I close my eyes and I fall, forward, slow and then fast and then slam into the concrete pavement. I watch myself crippled on the floor, breathless and unmoving and I don't feel happy but I do feel relief at the sight of my still body.
My thoughts return to the balcony door. A Balcony - A signifier of a middle-class, well-to-do girls bedroom. I think of the drawers full of clothes, the boxes of jewellery and the laptop resting on the table. I think of my family asleep and I think of all the food in the fridge and the television on the wall and the coffee machine and the blender. I think of the city I live in and the friends I've made, my friends elsewhere in the world, my boyfriend who loves me. I think of all the privileges that life has granted me, often without me even trying and I feel guilt. A horrible gut-wrenching guilt. I don't deserve these privileges if I can't value my life? There are those living with next to nothing, victims of war with possessions and people taken away from them daily by the terrors that befall them. How dare I consider my life as imperfect, how dare I seemingly take all that I have for granted. How dare I take pleasure in the idea of taking something away from my family and those who love me?
And thus continues the cycle of unworthiness. Unworthy of life, unworthy of death.
Everyday, multiple times a day I 'joke' to myself in my head or to others that "it would be preferable to be hit by a bus" than follow through with a basic task or continue with the standard struggles everyone is faced with. Everyday I go through the same cycle of guilt for feeling this way. Everyday this is not a joke. Thinking about death is part of my life and feeling guilty and ashamed for being this way is my penance.
Depression is different to 'feeling depressed'. Depression isn't something not going your way, or being lonely or bored one day. Depression isn't an adjective. Depression is a condition and it encompasses all aspects of your life when you suffer from its wrath.
Side note: Next time you or someone else 'feels depressed' because it's raining outside, please check your privilege in not having a mental health disorder and refrain from using depression as an adjective for mildly unfortunate events.
Talking about suicidal thoughts with those close to you is extremely difficult, for fear of upsetting or feeling as though you're letting them down, as if you're betraying their love and care for you. But talking about your feelings and experiences with thoughts of suicide could be the difference between life and death. I would consider myself fortunate in that my depression is mild enough to keep me from acting upon any of these thoughts. But others are not so fortunate and they need our help, it is so important that those experiencing these feelings have someone to reach out too who won't make them feel belittled or even attention seeking as can sometimes be the case.
If you notice a pattern in consistent death related 'jokes' coming from a friend or close one please consider this could be a cry for help and offer sensitivity and support to them, even just a subtle hint that you're thinking of them and care about their mental health state could make the world of difference to an individual.
Lily is a pseudonym for one of our anonymous, 22 year old mental health bloggers. If you would like to write for us, but would feel more comfortable under a pseudonym get in touch and let us know. You can get in touch about your blog ideas at: Hellomeitsyou@gmail.com
Hello Me, it's You
Welcome to the Hello Me, it’s You blog! We are launching this blog with weekly content from different contributors, giving their opinions and experiences on all things Mental Health.