A note to start. If you are having suicidal thoughts and feel unsafe or you suspect someone else is at risk of harm, you can call Samaritans at 116 123 (UK). Alternatively, if you go to A&E, the mental health crisis team will talk to you. They would definitely rather you come before you do anything.
I’ve written about a point in my life when I attempted suicide before. I’ve since taken the post off the blog as, reading back, I was rather focused on the “before”, writing about my disturbing thoughts and feelings. I actually realised that I found it mildly triggering and decided that there was a degree of irresponsibility in publishing something that could elicit such a negative response in someone who happens to come across it.
Some months on, and with rather less urgently intrusive thoughts about suicide, I want to write a post from another angle. The “after”, if you like.
Something that really made a positive impact on my immediate emotional state was how some of my closest friends didn’t treat me differently after they found out about the attempt. They piled around my bed at the hospital (blatantly ignoring the “two visitors maximum per person” sign), laughing and joking, bearing sweets and magazines. We talked about things we would have chatted about on any other day. Our little group was so lively and loud that I started to worry we’d annoy the other patients.
Let me stress that they weren’t ignoring the issue. Rather, they recognised that I might still be in a raw, fragile, illogical state of mind and let me know wordlessly that they’re there.
They, in essence, gave me the space to decide when I’m ready to talk and let me know they’ll be available when I do. We happened to be in the run-up to exams too and the fact that they’ve given up a half day they could have been revising to spend it with me made me feel loved. Their actions cut through the fog of deception which convinced me that I was unworthy of life. I believe they were a massive part of my crawl out of that depressive state.
Apart from the literal life-preserving, taking-me-to-hospital-to-sort-me-out thing, I do believe they’re genuine lifesavers. Today, I am truly glad that I am safe. Today, I am thankful that I can appreciate the vibrancy and fragility and complexity of life. Today, I am thankful to be alive.