Suicide the big Taboo
This month we are focussing on the subject of Suicide. We’ve been talking to a few relatives of people who chose to end their lives, to people who have attempted suicide and to organisations that offer help and support.
It’s almost as though if we talk about it, it might bring it closer, activate it in some way, we shy away from talking suicide. The truth is … I believe that if we talk about it we may just be able to help those who are in the dark place of believing they have no other choice. We really hope you’ll find the podcast interviews and shared stories enable a greater understanding of this sensitive subject.
I think the thought of wanting to end one’s life is much more common than we may care to admit. There’s a shame to it isn’t there?, an unspoken pressure not to tell or disclose how we might really be thinking or feeling, because we may be judged, thought of as unstable and incapable. It’s the same with mental illness, depression, anxiety and schizophrenia to name a few. So it’s hardly surprising that some people slip through the net, fail to talk about and share their thoughts and so become isolated with them.
Some years ago when I was a teenager I attempted to end my life. I had reached a point where nothing seemed to be working for me. I was being bullied at school, my home life was poor to say the least and I felt so desperately alone and unable to see anything good ever happening for me. I didn’t have anyone to talk to, not anyone I felt would really listen. I couldn’t see any way forward. In those days there was no internet, support groups were limited and I didn’t know how to talk about how I was feeling. I remember thinking about the ways that I could end my life, jumping under a train or in front of a car or even off a bridge, were all considerations. I hadn’t got the capacity to think about the impact of my actions on anyone else, it was just about me. I chose to overdose. It seemed easier to me. I didn’t leave a note or talk to anyone not even my boyfriend. I remember feeling that the world wasn’t a place I wanted to be – it was physically painful, mentally exhausting. I wanted to be out of the daily task of living. I planned it, took tablets and went to bed. If I hadn’t been in the same room as my father’s girlfriend’s baby I may not have survived. I was discovered semi-conscious and rushed to hospital. Whilst in hospital the support I took was from an elderly woman in the next bed, she befriended me. Listened to me and gave me hope somehow, with her regard and understanding I stepped back into life. Have there been times that I’ve thought about since – yes of course, dark moments of loneliness or heartache – times when there hasn’t seemed to be an answer. Have I tried? No never. Would I? I doubt it and that’s the honest truth , I think the reality for any of us is that we can’t know what life could bring, that could make us want to reject it.
As I reflect on that time and decide whether or not to share this personal account I find myself questioning why I might hesitate. I conclude that it is because there is a fear isn’t there, in all of us of exposure, of being real, of being judged, stigmatised and so we don’t talk openly about things that may make us vulnerable to the preconcieved ideas or assumptions of others . Personally I think its time to address lots of taboo subjects and to be more honest about our feelings, less pretentious and under pressure to be OKAY
I wonder how many people who say they want to die actually really mean it. How many people could we help if only we knew how to bridge the gaping void that lies between us? , If society could be less judgemental and more willing to listen. Being faced with someone who says they really just want to die can evoke fear and inadequacy in us, we don’t know how to be, or what to say. We may feel afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. If someone were to tell you they were thinking of taking their own lives what would you say or do?