• Mental Health Runner

One man's honest truth about Attempted Suicide.

Before we even start:


This entry is going to be heavily focused on suicidal ideation, attempted suicide and also facts, myths and everything in between. This blog is intended to help educate, de-stigmatise and also help anyone who may be struggling with their mental health to see that they are not alone in how they may be feeling currently. In my darkest days, I thought I was on my own and there was no way out. I don't want ANYONE else to ever feel like this.


I do want to stress, if this is going to affect you or cause you any emotional distress - please skip this entry. If you still want to read, please do so with the support and love of others incase you need them. Below are the details of contacts within the UK and USA should you need them (CORRECT AT TIME OF PUBLISHING). As always - Be strong, Stay safe.

UK

Samaritans: Call 116123

or please call NHS 111, or if in an emergency always call 999


USA

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK(8255)

Or if in case of emergency always call 911

Looking back, it's hard to really remember how I felt before I attempted to take my life. Whether or not forgetting is something my brain is doing to protect itself, I don't know; but all I do remember is doing it and the raw emotion it's left behind.


To this day, when I read, watch or hear about self harm and attempted suicide; it's the only thing which amongst the plethora of stories around my mental illness, that seriously causes me emotional distress. Maybe that's bit of a strong word- distress, but it's enough to really kick me in the testicle. It's like for a split second, all the oxygen in the room is sucked out and my heart feels like it's about to take its last beat.


KEY FACTS


How many total suicides were in the latest figures?

In 2018 (the latest statistics to be released) there were 6507 deaths by suicide within the UK. This is an increase of 10.9% which given the statistics dating back from 1981, that is the lowest it has risen by year on year. However it's a rise any way you look at it - but it's also reassuring to know that looking back on other years, the percentage of increase is getting lower, so something good must be happening right? And it's important to remember also that the way suicide is reported has changed significantly in the uk in the last few year with coroners needing less hard evidence around intent to rule a suicide than before, so in theory, reporting should have increased.


The one thing that jumps out to me is that we are talking more and that mental health conversations are getting more frequent.. Celebrities and high profile members of our communities are opening up about their mental health and lowering the stigma attached, but we still have a long way to go.


Within this total, in this same year it was found that men are THREE TIMES more likely to die by suicide than the female populace. This is believed to be for a range of reasons including lower rates of help seeking amongst men but also an increased likelihood of a man using deadly means (so they are less likely to survive an attempt).


Current Key Trends

The highest rate of suicide amongst men is within the ages of 45 - 49 years of age and this also unfortunately increased in this year; while in the current statistics (again, 2018) the rate of deaths amongst under 25's increased by nearly a quarter (23.7%)


It's for the above reasons that I do what I do. Why I talk and why I want everyone no matter who you are regarding race, sex, geographical location or anything which could possibly be holding you back, to feel empowered to talk about whatever is troubling you - including and especially self harm and suicidal ideation.


How did it effect me?


"I'm going to kill my self!!" - Something I remember screaming at the top of my lungs as the school bus was taking us home from another standard day of bullying and torment. I was sat at the front of the bus and the usual was occurring... Names, stealing of my school bag and even once they scattered the contents of my instrument case across the floor.


(Side note - I used to play bassoon in school to try and make my self "cool". Yeah I know right....)


"Go on then, do it" - This was a phrase replied to me almost like this person was begging me to get it over and done with. The very same person I've mentioned in a previous blog who was my girlfriend for about three days-ish (I think) but it turned out to be a dare from the other kids in school.


The next day - I was back on the school bus only to face even worse torment.


That was just an insight into what school was like, and that was the school bus in secondary school!


See this feeling followed me and to some respects is one of the main contributors of my PTSD diagnosis and social anxiety, but worse was yet to come.

I remember I had a real bad shift at work before being signed off with my mental health when something wanted to take over. It was like a quilt which was draped over me, but rather than giving me security and warmth, it just wanted me to die - there and then.


I wanted this thing I had become to be finished with, I wasn't happy and I was bringing the love of my life and my family down with me. Everyone was worried and yet I didn't open up because I didn't want to make it worse for them.


It was about 11pm I think, the roads were clear and this blanket of hate was around me - trying to choke the life and fight I had out of my system.


My foot became heavy on the accelerator of my car... My speed increasing and a solid object coming up in the distance: a bridge. Rapidly accelerating and my journey's end approaching, I could think of nothing but how this is it. - how the world is better without me. How my family, my partner and everyone in between will be better off and could carry on with their lives.

...so I thought.


Still the car was hurtling at speed at my target; the solid concrete pillar which the bridge is build upon. The end of the line - the terminus. As I got closer, time seemed to slow. It was still in the ever nearing distance as everything went quiet - like a horror movie waiting for the jump scare for its audience. A deafening silence while I felt my body relax and still to this day I don't know why, I actually felt calm.


Just then, time stopped. Okay, not in reality but for me, time stood still. Like someone has just pressed pause on a video game. A dense nothingness entered the now present thought vacuum in my head.


I don't know if you have seen the scrubs episode where JD is leaving, and his life flashes before his eyes?

Much like that, the flood gates of positive memories opened, filling this previously vacant vacuum and I could think of nothing else but the love and support of mum, dad, Will and Rob; The loving hope which amber provided me from the day we met to this very present moment.


Thoughts of the future, owning our own home, and just all these emotions on how I hope the next stage of my life will feel flooded in.


I felt safe. Like a newborn being cradled by their mother. For a second I felt like everything was going to be alright.


As soon as time stood still, it wanted to play catch up, like someone hit the play button and all of a sudden I was jolted back into reality.


The car still travelling at speed, I had to get out of the direction i was going in. before anything bad could happen i spun the steering wheel throwing the car to one side and then a spin to the opposite to level the car up.


I returned home; shaken, silenced by my own demons and the act I was nearly part of.

I had survived by this autopilot which seemed to be controlled by both things that wanted to hurt me, and things that wanted to save me.


My brain was the battleground between life and death.


This is just one instance where I attempted suicide. It soon became a regular activity akin to brushing your teeth. Two trips to A&E in one night every other day - But those are stories for another time.


One thing I have learned about the entire experience is that at no point is that person who is attempting to take their life is being selfish - I want to stress that. I really believed that I was doing harm to my family. My friends at this point had turned their back on me and that only really reinforced how I thought the world would be better with out me.


Am I ashamed of what I attempted? In some respects yes, the fact I nearly left my family with one less son - one less brother - one less partner. But in more respects, I don't at all. It has helped me to understand my conditions and truly appreciate where I was to where i am now. The sickening fuel which is driving me to try and do good; to stop anyone going through what I did before it gets to the point of no return.


I think that's enough for today in this entry, I don't know about you.. but I need a coffee! if you would like to know more on what myself and Amber went through across my many attempted suicide attempts and how we put a stop to this war in my psyche, you can read our story in our book "Surviving the war against yourself" available at all good book stores and amazon kindle!

(Clicking the image below will take you to the amazon store)

What can you do to help someone who you believe to be suicidal?

Speak to them. Find support for that person and make sure they know you are there for them. The most powerful thing when going through something like this, is knowing that there is someone there on your side, metaphorically sat beside you waiting if you ever wanted to chat. This goes for anything within mental illness and for me especially, when i was in my other attempts, all i wanted was a hug afterwards.


There is a mass of information out there and know that if you or someone else may be going through this too. You are not alone and we will band together. We've got this - What ever it takes.


This blog is intended to help educate, de-stigmatise and also help anyone who may be struggling with their mental health to know that they are not alone in how they maybe feeling currently. In my darkest days, I thought I was on my own and there was no way out. I don't want ANYONE to ever feel like this.


Below is the details of contacts within the UK and USA should you need them (CORRECT AT TIME OF PUBLISHING). As always - Be strong, Stay safe.


UK

Samaritans: Call 116123

or please call NHS 111, or if in an emergency always call 999


USA

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK(8255)

Or if in case of emergency always call 911


This weeks blog has been an absolute horror to write as you can imagine, but if there is one thing I want you to take from this, it is to be empowered to help, support and love those in your local community and social circles. You can be the difference of saving lives. There is always hope.


Stay strong, Stay safe.


xxxx

Bibliography Key facts and trends - https://www.samaritans.org/about-samaritans/research-policy/suicide-facts-and-figures/

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