For as long as I can remember I thought it was normal to have suicidal thoughts. I thought everyone had them at some point in their life. It was only when I was watching The Stranger on the Bridge, that I realised it wasn’t something everyone experiences.
It was a true story about Jonny Benjamin, who in 2008 stood on a bridge ready to take his own life. Thankfully a stranger stopped and spoke to him and the program was following Jonnys journey to finding this stranger who saved him.
I was watching it with my parents and my Mom said “I can’t imagine ever feeling like things are so bad that I’d want to take my own life” and I didn’t say anything at the time. But recently I said to my Mom “Doesn’t every one think about it at some point” and my Mom was really shocked that I thought this. She said she’d never ever had those types of thoughts and couldn’t imagine ever feeling like it. I was so surprised because I really believed it was something everyone thought about.
If you’ve ever been to counselling you’ll know you have to fill in a form before every session where it asks if you’ve had any suicidal thoughts or any thoughts of harming yourself since your last session. I’d always say to my counsellor “Just the usual where it crosses my mind but I don’t think I’d actually act upon it”. I thought this was the usual for everyone and that it crossed everyones minds.
Recently my friend was telling me how a man had jumped off a building next to her work and I got a really overwhelming feeling. I didn’t know this man, I wasn’t there and I don’t know how I would’ve reacted if I was faced with this situation but I felt like I could’ve done or said something which could’ve stopped him from jumping. I don’t know what I would’ve said but I do know that sometimes all it takes is someone saying one thing and it can change your whole life or your perspective on life.
I know from experience that bottling things up is the worst thing you can do. I’ve spoken to family, friends, counsellors etc. about things that have been worrying me in the past and they’ve put a different spin on it and broken it down and it no longer seemed as bad as I thought it was. We just need to talk about how we’re feeling or what we’re thinking to realise things are never as bad as they seem. Suicide is so final, it’s permanent and once it’s done it can’t be undone. I also know how easy it is for me to say this when I’m sat here on one of my good days and how it would be a different story if you asked me about it when I was in a bad place.
I know it’s not as simple as snapping out of it or trying to think of the positives because when you’re in that frame of mind the only thing you can think of is that you can’t see another way. You’re fixated on the belief that everything will be so much easier for everyone if you weren’t here. But that’s not the case.
It’s almost impossible to see that whatever you’re feeling at the time and whatever’s going on in your life, it won’t last. Your life can change in a split second. You could be feeling so low and it could feel like everything has gone wrong in your life but there’s nothing saying that in the next minute you won’t receive the best news that completely changes your life. We just need to talk about these things. Whether that’s with family, friends, a professional or even a stranger. Just talk, let it out and accept help.
Jonny has recently brought out a book which I’ll definitely be reading and he is proof that it’s never too late to turn your life around. It’s incredible to think of how many people he has helped and how his life has changed.
Some of you might be reading this thinking you’ve never had these thoughts so this post isn’t for you. But it definitely is. Because even if you’ve never felt like this yourself, someone you know probably has and they might not feel like they can talk to anyone about it. This is why it’s so important to just check in with people, make sure they’re ok, and let them know they’re not alone.
When you’ve got depression the smallest of things turn into the biggest of problems or failures. That’s why you shouldn’t just assume things, there’s always more to it than what meets the eye. Look at the bigger picture and listen when someone tries to explain it to you. Don’t just think they’re being dramatic or over exaggerating. Even if you don’t understand it just listen and be there for them. Sometimes that’s all it takes.
And if you’re reading this and you have had these thoughts then there are so many people you can talk to and there are so many alternatives other than suicide.
Please talk to someone. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. I’ve been there myself so know how hard it is but I promise you things will get better.