An honest blog sharing the ups and downs of my personal mental health journey

Thursday, 10 September 2020

World Suicide Prevention Day

TRIGGER WARNING: the words, references and opinions stated in this post could be triggering for those suffering with depression/having suicidal thoughts. 

If you feel this way, please consider not reading this post for now and more importantly try and seek help and get yourself to a safe space

If you feel you can't talk to a friend or family member, call your local Mental Health Crisis Team, your GP for an emergency appointment, Samaritans: 116 123 or of course 111/999. 

If you're a friend or family member and you're concerned that someone may be thinking of suicide or harming themselves, you can also call Samaritans for help and advice, but most importantly get to them asap and ring any of the numbers above depending on how you judge the situation.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day

Maybe it sounds pretty self explanatory: look after yourself, look out for others. 

Trouble is, the 'looking after yourself' part is the hardest thing to do if you're suffering from depression. 

The 'look out for others' part is hard if you don't know how someone is really feeling or what signs to look out for.

What people need to remember, especially those that have the pleasure of never experiencing depression, is when you feel at your lowest you actually aren't feeling anything. 

You're feeling absolutely nothing, and that's why the option of suicide can feel the most reasonable. Because really, who wants to feel literally nothing at all?

Below are things that I have both had said to me and have overheard being said to other people far too many times. So, before anyone says the following:

"Commiting suicide is selfish"

"Commiting suicide is the easy way out"

"You need to 'man up' and get over it"

"How could you do that to me/us?"

"Think of what you're leaving behind"

"Just snap out of it"

"I'd be so mad/upset if you did that"

Take a big, motherfucking step back and realise how stupid, harmful and triggering those comments are, and how they're NOT helping in the slightest. 

"Commiting suicide is selfish": No, it's NOT selfish. When you're in that mindset it feels the most selfless thing to do, because you don't want to make other people suffer with you. It's the most tragic thing to do, and we need to help prevent it by understanding and educating ourselves rather than thinking that telling someone that it's selfish is going to stop them from doing it or help in any way whatsoever. You're the one being selfish if you're not choosing to understand the situation.

"Commiting suicide is the easy way out": if you genuinely believe killing yourself is classed as easy then you're a fucking moron.

"You need to 'man up' and get over it": no you don't, you need help. If you're not in the right mindset or don't have the ability to ask for help, it's our job as bystanders to recognise those warning signs and get the correct help. Never just assume someone will or can get over it.

"How could you do that to me/us": this isn't about YOU. Get your head out of your ass and realise how offensive that is. Help them.

"Think of what you're leaving behind": as mentioned, they're most likely not thinking of anything other than a way out. This is not helpful right now. Don't say it.

"Just snap out of it": honestly, fuck off with that one entirely. 

"I'd be so mad/upset if you did that": again, this is not about YOU. By saying this you're the one that's coming across as selfish. It may be coming from a good place, but think of a better way of saying it or don't say it at all.

"I can't deal with your problems": ...I don't even know what to say for this one.

Whether or not the people who said these things realised how damaging they were/thought would actually help, I have no idea.

I've tried to take my own life. I was clearly shit at it, luckily. It's not fun, let me tell you that. I don't want anyone to feel the way I felt when that was happening to me. I don't want anyone saying the shit above to anyone, ever. 

If you know someone that is depressed and has actually mentioned thoughts of suicide, or more worryingly has attempted to take their life before, saying any of the comments above or anything of the sort is going to push someone further and could actually trigger them to do it sooner. 

Instead of empathising and supporting, you're basically telling them having those thoughts are ridiculous and you don't understand them. If you don't feel understood by anyone, what's the point?

If you want to help people, if you want to help your friends/family that are potentially suffering, then it's up to you to look out for the warning signs and educate yourself on them, because I can almost guarantee the person whose suffering is not in the mindset to be doing that themselves. 

On a daily basis people take their lives because they can't see a way out and don't know how/where to reach out for help. 

We need to do our bit to help prevent our loved ones from reaching this point by recognising when someone seems a bit 'off' or 'different'. 

However, at the same time, we cannot punish ourselves if it seems our attempt at help isn't getting anywhere. 

Be patient with people that are suffering - they aren't thinking the way they normally think or feeling the way they normally feel, we all just have to do our best to understand this and have a bit of patience. It doesn't get resolved or go away overnight. 

Below are a few extremely worrying and shocking suicide statistics:

"The ONS said men accounted for about three-quarters of suicide deaths registered in 2019, 4,303 compared with 1,388 women" -

"The suicide rate for men in England and Wales in 2019 was the highest for two decades" -

"In the UK, the highest suicide rate is among men aged 45-49" -

There were 177 suicides among 15- to 19-year-olds in 2017, compared with 110 in 2010" -

"Despite having a low number of deaths overall, rates among the under 25s have generally increased in recent years, particularly 10 to 24-year-old females where the rate has increased significantly since 2012" -

"Bipolar increases an individual’s risk of suicide by up to 20 times" -

On the website they have listed some warning signs of suicide to look out for:

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill yourself (a fairly obvious sign to be looking out for...)

  • Looking for a way to kill yourself

  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose

  • Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain

  • Talking about being a burden to others

  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs

  • Acting anxious, agitated or reckless

  • Sleeping too much or too little

  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated

  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge

  • Displaying extreme mood swings

I personally think these warning signs are really accurate and are a good starting point for what we should all be looking out for - for ourselves and for others.

Something I want to add is if you or someone you know are taking antidepressants do not assume they will magically feel better or that it's a quick, instant fix or a one fits all remedy. 

Funnily enough, I am not a doctor. This is my own personal experience with antidepressants, however it is also common knowledge that these can be potential side effects and it's what the GP will tell you in advance to taking them. Look on the NHS website too. 

A potential side effect of antidepressants (especially in around the first 3-4 weeks of taking them) is depression and suicidal thoughts. Sounds silly doesn't it, when that's the reason you're taking them in the first place. Keep an eye on yourself and anyone you know that may be taking them when they are already vulnerable and see your GP straight away if you don't feel right. They take time to work, unfortunately you won't feel better after a week, so don't expect yourself or other people to.

You may be on the wrong antidepressants in the first place - just because your GP has prescribed them to you doesn't mean they will work for you or are the correct ones to be taking. I've gone through god knows how many different medications because they either weren't suitable or made me feel worse.

VERY importantly, do not stop taking them suddenly, even if they aren't working or you're having bad side effects. Stopping taking antidepressants suddenly can be extremely dangerous and make you feel a lot worse. Get the GP appointment, tell them what's going on then wean yourself off them in whatever way they tell you is best. 

On the flip side, don't just carry on taking them because you feel a bit scared to go back and tell them (this is understandable, but you're not helping yourself) or you just assume they will work eventually, or even if you just can't be assed.

If they aren't helping - tell them. GPs will prescribe antidepressants based off the symptoms you are describing and choose an antidepressant that sounds suitable for what you've described (usually this will straight away be an SSRI antidepressant, which are the most common and usually the main ones that help the majority) trouble is, there are hundreds to choose from. Just because they have given you a common one does not mean it will necessarily help you. 

If you don't feel better after a few weeks then go and ask them again - you're not wasting their time by doing this, you're saving yours. 

I'm aware I'm starting to sound like a know-it-all and I really don't know-it-all (obviously) but again, this is from personal experience and what I have actually been told/seen first hand myself. 

Just make sure you say something if they aren't working for you. You're only harming yourself if you don't do this. 

I've gone off on one as usual, but I think it's important today and every day to make ourselves aware of the triggers, warning signs and severity of depression, suicide and suicidal thoughts.

It's still (terribly and fucking annoyingly) an extremely taboo subject, I've probably never written the word 'suicide' as much as I have in this post and it's actually starting to feel uncomfortable.

But guess what, feeling uncomfortable isn't going to make the problem go away or hide the fact that it's happening to people around the world every. single. day. 

Let's look out for each other and help prevent this from happening. 

Because we can, we just need to make more of an effort. 



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