A few weeks ago, a friend of mine committed suicide. It was deeply shocking and upsetting, as I’m sure you can imagine. As a sufferer of mental health issues myself, this hit me really hard. Even though I wasn’t one of her closest friends, I still had known her for quite a few years and she was a very caring and thoughtful person.
Her struggle really resonated with me and it brought out all of the worst parts of my depression. It caused my brain to spiral out of control and I was no longer able to keep a cap on my emotions. This is one of the main reasons that I haven’t written a blog post in a while. I have not been in a safe enough mental space in order to be able to bring myself to write anything.
The sheer extent that my friend’s death had on me completely took me by surprise. Losing someone is always going to be upsetting, but I didn’t really realise until it happened that I would take it to heart as much as I did.
I woke up one morning to discover that my friend had put up a couple of very troubling Facebook statuses, indicating that she was going to end her life. Suddenly, I flew in to a state of panic and began to message her repeatedly, call her and message others to try to find out what was going on. It turned out that loads of people were all in the same boat. There were over 200 comments on her status that day, all of them trying to find out if she was alright.
It wasn’t until around a day later that we finally heard something. I was in hospital at the time having some tests done when a mutual friend messaged me saying that she had passed. I immediately burst in to tears. I never thought that it would actually be the case that she was gone. My first thoughts were that she would, at best, be nursing a really bad hangover, and at worst, in the hospital recovering. I never thought that it would come to this.
That evening, a couple of dozen people mutually decided to meet up at our local rock pub – the place that we all used to hang out. When people walked through the door and saw each other, we all burst in to tears. We just couldn’t stop hugging each other. Another thing that a lot of people did was feel guilty. There was that instant pang of regret – could we have done something to stop her from doing what she did? Should we have reached out to her sooner? And, god forbid, was any of this our fault? Did we fail her? I certainly felt like I had. I hadn’t seen her in a while and certainly didn’t hang out with her on a regular basis anymore. I was left feeling guilty, and then felt like a hypocrite for feeling guilty.
A group of six of us decided that we wanted to organise a memorial night in her honour. It seemed only right that someone that was loved by so many should be given a good send-off. It was also, selfishly, therapeutic for all of us too. It was a way of us being able to occupy our minds and focus on something – we had to focus on the memorial to make sure that it went just right. For the week that we were organising, it completely occupied my mind. It kept me busy and helped keep out my own personal demons for a little while.
We decided that we would hold the memorial in our local rock venue – after all, that’s where a lot of us would usually see her. The six of us spent the week coming up with ideas and putting them in to action. We collated and printed off hundreds of photos of her to stick around the club. We bought tubs of glitter because she absolutely loved glitter. We decided that we would have a toast to her with her favourite drink – earl grey tea. We also handed out some Tuaca because she loved that too! We collated all of her favourite music and made a playlist out of it. The evening was perfect and I think that she would have loved it.
What I did not anticipate is that after the memorial was over, I was immediately filled with a very instant and intense bout of depression. I have been suicidal myself for quite a while but it was incredibly intense immediately after the memorial. As soon as I left to go home, I just wanted to die. I wanted so badly to not be on this earth anymore, and I had every intention of going home and ending it all. Thankfully, when I got home, I fell asleep and therefore was unable to do anything.
The next morning, I woke up to lots of messages and missed calls because I had stupidly put up a status on Facebook indicating that I couldn’t handle my life anymore. I felt so incredibly guilty for doing that because it made people panic. It must have made them think of what happened to our friend, because I got woken up by the police trying to bash down my door. The ambulance crew followed soon after. After that, one of my dear friends turned up too. I’ve never felt so ashamed. I felt like I had wasted everyone’s time and that I had made everyone feel so awful. I had upset them, and I hated myself for it.
What happened over the past couple of weeks has been the wake-up call that I needed. I have been suffering with depression for a long time and thought that it would never get better. I went in to work two days after almost taking my own life, and was immediately sent home by extremely caring and concerned workmates. I was told to go to my GP, which I reluctantly did. My GP put me on new anti-depressants which I immediately started taking. I didn’t think that they would work, but I am overjoyed to say that they seem to be doing the trick. I have not felt this well in a very long time and I am ecstatic about it. Not only are the tablets having a positive effect on my mental health, but this has also had a knock-on positive impact on my digestive health as well. My Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms have greatly reduced, which is fantastic!
So there we have it. That’s my experience of dealing with suicide – both from the perspective of losing someone else, and nearly losing myself. Do you have any experience of dealing with suicide? Let me know.