This blog is not an easy read, it’s a tough read but I hope if you do read it, you’ll find it is worth it. If you want to skip it then do it and don’t feel guilty!
It’s been a hard post to write, not least because I worry about how it affects those I love and know but also I have to write it …. for the people I love and know and also for those I don’t.
When your child dies…..and I’m sure for many other people who have lost a parent a sister, a brother a friend, a husband a wife, any loved one……but dare I say it…… maybe even more so when your child dies and I put more emphasis on this because the point is so important……. for a parent…. our future is changed, forever, in that second.
When the consultant came into the side room of the hospital where we waited, in a part of the hospital I never knew existed, when as he opened the door in his blue gown, we held on to the one percent of hope, despite what we’ve seen, we hold on to the sliver that a miracle might happen, a miracle that might mean our fourteen year old daughter has not died. But. When the door opens and you see the look of despair on the clinicians face, you see that despite his difficult job that this is one of his hardest days. As he begins to spill out the words that begin with… I’m sorry…. you scream silently inside while at the same time inexplicably feeling empathy with this man who has had to tell two parents that their daughter has in fact, died.
In that second it isn’t only death. It isn’t only loss. As a parent it’s your whole future. Changed in that second. Gone. Altered. Disappearing dreams. Vanished.
I have mourned and continue to mourn for what I have lost, what future we have lost and this blog is about how I almost was not able to face the future without her.
Suicidal thoughts. Not something we talk about. Not something I’ve talked about much. I have a son who fills my heart and I would never ever ever leave him or hurt him and he is primarily why I struggled with the idea of writing this but equally young people need to know us older people aren’t perfect despite what we try to let them see, it’s not right not to talk about the deeply dark times – how else can they know it can be totally normal at times to feel this way and that there is a way out of it.
On occasion, over the years, I’ve allowed myself to imagine how it’d feel to be without the constant pain. Without the ache. Without the heavy tsunami of grief. I have lived with the enormous guilt of these thoughts for the best part of the last five years until a very courageous person (thank you for letting me share this) confided their feelings of similar despair. Of feeling suicidal. Of not wanting to go on. This person then gave me the confidence to share with them how I have felt on occasion and then during the last few months I have also shared these thoughts that I’ve had with three other people. I have shared with them that sometimes the thought of not being here has passed through my mind. I talked about the guilt. I talked about the fact I would never do it to those around me. I talk about how I wouldn’t do it but I had imagined it. I talked about how awfully guilty it feels just to have those thoughts at all. I talked about how glad I was that I had eventually, talked about it.
Do you know what astounded me? Out of those people, every one confided in me that at some point in their lives they too had fallen to those levels of despair. Every one. So, it’s either a huge coincidence or the truth is there’s a lot of people out there that have felt similarly and just don’t talk about it.
I thought long and hard about writing this blog. I know how it can affect my friends and my family and people I love but this is bigger than that. Suicide obviously kills. Predominantly it kills men and it doesn’t take much to work out why because men in general don’t share, don’t talk, don’t reach out. We have to find a way of talking about our mental health just like our physical health and we need to treat our mental health alongside our physical health. Understanding that what we eat and how we exercise and who we talk to and how we interact doesn’t just make us physically well, how we live keeps us mentally well and sometimes we are all not mentally well, just like we can’t always be physically well.
When we are physically unwell we look after ourselves better, our friends and family help us or we visit a chemist, maybe a GP if it becomes worse and perhaps further on we may even need to go hospital. Our mental health is and should be treated just the same, however it isn’t . People don’t know if you don’t tell them and sometime people don’t know what to do so they stay away or they misinterpret your mental health problems for something else.. being quiet, being reserved, being moody. Sometimes we need help for our mental health, that isn’t embarrassing to admit. It’s brave.
I got help. Lots of it. From multiple people – professional and not. I still do. I am very fortunate to have people who truly love me for the whole person I am. However had I not talked to them, they would never known I needed that help.
So talk please or if you are on the other side – listen please, because from my experience there’s a huge amount of people suffering in silence and sadly we probably all know at least one person who didn’t make it, someone who decided and went through with their thoughts. Talking can’t solve everything but being silent solves nothing. All it needed was for one brave person to open up to me about their feelings and I now feel I need to be open to others.
I’m well now. Really well in fact. Happiest I’ve been in a very long time, I’m a little giddy on life and the reasons are many (x), with honesty brings clarity. What I feel more than anything at the moment is that I am being me. Truly me.
Happy Sunday xxx