What does feeling suicidal feel like?

Wednesday, January 31, 2018
“If you are looking for a sign not to kill yourself, this is it.” – Unknown

It's been a while since I've done a personal post, the last one a year ago received some good feedback, it touched a lot of people, both positively and a few negatively. Today I want to talk about suicide and mental health, and unintentionally it also happens to be #BellLetsTalk day.

Mental health should be a topic that is discussed and shared openly and respectfully at any time, not just on one particular day. There's this negative stigma to the word "mental" and I think that's one of the reasons why it's hard to talk about. As kids (at least for my generation) we would say things like... "OMG, Terry was mental today" or "Alex was crazy", but really, Terry was very angry and Alex was just very stressed. Instead of feeling compassion, we criticise and shame.

In most cultures even ours here in North America, expressing emotion is seen as weak and so is asking for help. I told my cousin I was seeing a therapist, and his response was "That's stupid,  if you're sad, don't be sad". Great advice, but unfortunately the answer is just as complicated as the feeling itself.

“The person who completes suicide, dies once. Those left behind die a thousand deaths, trying to relive those terrible moments and understand … Why?” – Clark (2001)

I've struggled with suicidal thoughts during very dark periods of my life, and those thoughts even scared me. So what does it feel like? It's like a deep hole you can't get out of. A bad feeling, that won't go away. You're frozen and sometimes you can't speak. It is a magnified kind of sadness, and depression that can make life feel bleak. It's an awful feeling, I can't even find the right adjectives to describe it. It's almost like pain that won't stop, being tortured every single day. It's a feeling so bad, not being alive is the only sensible option.

It's a feeling I never want to experience ever again.  Today I'm in a better place - a place that I also never thought I'd reach during those awful lonely times. I don't want to say I'm stronger now, because I wasn't weak when I felt suicidal, but I am more self aware and more importantly I have support. Someone recently brought up a time when I felt suicidal to criticise me. Looking at myself, I didn't do anything wrong by feeling the way I felt. If anything, they're just really lucky for being naive.

“If someone listens, or stretches out a hand, or whispers a word of encouragement, or attempts to understand a lonely person, extraordinary things begin to happen. ” – Loretta Girzartis

You can't ask someone to understand something they've never experienced, but a quality friend has an open mind and some empathy. I am asking you to have some empathy if you hear about a friend or colleague who has gone through this. Richard isn't different from you, and Amanda isn't fucked in the head... they are going through something really bad right now, something you have not experienced and something they may not be able to express either.

The last thing I want to touch on is the guilt that I do have, and it comes from a place where I'm actually thankful for not going through with my thoughts. It's weird because you're feeling negative for something positive that stemmed from something negative.  I'm thankful for not taking action, but I feel guilty for what I would have put my loved ones through. In ways, I completely understand how selfish suicide is, and how destructive it can be to people around you, but if we're going through an episode where we're experiencing a lot of pain, the last thing we're thinking about is you.

If you are going through a difficult time in your life, please reach out to a friend or family member - have a go to person... or be that go to person. In a situation where you don't have someone immediately available and you need someone to talk to, there are many resources across Canada including the few below.

National Kids Help Phone for ages 5-20 years old: 1-800-668-6868
Help within your own province: https://suicideprevention.ca/need-help/

No comments:

Post a Comment