Every year World Suicide Prevention Day comes around, I’m forced to think about my own past.
The first time I attempted suicide was when I was around 13 or 14.
I had been living a relatively uneventful life.
But then my mother and step-father, who had been together since I was baby, announced they were splitting up.
It broke me and triggered the start of my battle with depression.
I found myself self-harming before I even knew what self-harming was.
Not long later, my mother moved in with her new partner and I moved in with my biological father.
I’d always relied on him as a break away from home and so had hoped that living in a calmer household would bring me back up out of the pit.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Even more of my life was different. I was seeing friends less because I wasn’t in the same town anymore.
And that’s when it happened.
I remember feeling so convinced it was the right thing to do. But at some point, a light in the far corner of my brain switched back on and I realized what I’d done – what I was doing.
In the hospital, I was introduced to a woman from Children and Adolescents Mental Health Service, or CAMHS for short.
I’d go on to have regular appointments until I was 16. All the while, the mention of suicide or overdosing would make my eyes sting as tears surfaced. Echoes of the horrid feelings I’d had would come back. It wasn’t great.
The tears would strike again
Then, my second attempt came during my first year at University.
It was in February 2015. This event, I can remember far more clearly.
I was sat crying on the floor in my flat kitchen. Everyone I lived with was out so I knew I was alone.
My mental health had been all over the place before I’d started university, so the move itself had been somewhat detrimental.
A halls security guard walked in at one point and just looked at me, shaking his head with disbelief almost and just said ‘No, no’ repeatedly. And then he walked out, leaving me.
This time around, I was found. The one person in my flat I was friends with walked into the kitchen to find me on the floor, still sobbing. He rang my best friend who lived in another flat and she came over immediately.
Somehow, the security guard from earlier was surprised when my friends called him to our flat and told him we needed to ring an ambulance.
My stay in hospital was a lot shorter this time.
This time, my therapy was done through university health services. I knew the protocols.
Every time I had to tell someone though – whether a teacher, tutor, or family member – the tears would strike again.
I see my suicide attempts as pivotal points in my life
It’s been about two and a half years now since that attempt.
Talking about my own suicide attempts don’t quite get to me as much anymore because I have a far better grasp on my mental health now than I used to then.
(Although I must admit, I’ve never spoken about them as much before really as I have here. Which probably explains why I’m getting a bit choked up as a type this.)
I’m better at talking and being able to admit when I’m struggling.
My mental health is far better in general than it was. After six years of therapy, doctors finally got the message and put me on antidepressants.
I really wish I hadn’t done what I did. It’s like these two bad exes of the past are just constantly lurking over me. They’re not always a problem, but they like to pick their moments. Nobody could want them gone more than me.
Weirdly, I still see my suicide attempts as pivotal points in my life though. They happened. I can’t deny that.
People don’t realize just how much the little things can help
Suicide attempts are big things. And have, unfortunately, had a big impact on who I am.
Taking normal painkiller medication still makes me a bit uncomfortable because of my unconscious association of something bad.
Suicide is a heavy subject. It’s something that happens when people are left to get to their very worst point, their lowest of lows.
Having experienced it first hand myself means my heart breaks, even more, when I hear of anyone else having to deal with it.
I don’t think people realize just how much the little things can help. Whether that be genuinely asking how people are, or bringing them their favorite coffee or chocolate bar.
People in a dark place need those little things to make them realize everything isn’t really all that bad.
Suicide attempts are going to change people, and those around them. Not in good ways either. Which is why more people need to be helped before they get to that point.
Every day should be Suicide Prevention Day.
If you need to access mental health support, please click on this link for a list of global contacts