** Trigger warning: Suicide**
My heart skipped a beat as my vision blurred in and out of focus. Where was I? What had happened. As I slowly gained consciousness, I realised exactly where I was. My brain may have been foggy but I could remember enough to know why I was waking up in the intensive care unit at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield. My fast beating heart sank. I had been unsuccessful at removing myself from my current life. It wasn’t that I wanted to kill myself but I felt like it would be better for everyone, in those desperate times, I was out the picture.
I couldn’t cope with my reality. And I certainly didn’t want to be waking up in the aftermath of an even worse reality. But luckily I was confined to a hospital bed with medical professionals and loved ones around me whilst my strength was restored, my worst fears subsided and I was loved back to life.
It’s easy to scroll by just “another awareness day” but every year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages and this week marks World Suicide Prevention Day. So, whilst for me it had been the second unsuccessful ‘full’ attempt at taking my own life, there have been other times when I felt suicidal and I was “saved” by a number of people including friends and professionals. The theme of World Suicide Prevention Day is “Working Together to Prevent Suicide” and it rings so true to me because it takes a joined up approach of all of us as humans, friends, carers, professionals, colleagues and members of the community to help one another not reach such a crisis point. For me to start with is the stigma around suicide as being “selfish” or an “easy way out,” when I know all too well that in those times where my brain was pushed to its limits, I genuinely convinced myself that it was better for everyone.
Obviously, this is not the case as my loved ones also suffered as a result of my actions and would have to endure an even worse aftermath if I had been “successful.” In fact, statistics show that for each suicide approximately 135 people suffer intense grief or are otherwise affected.
And the stigma around mental illness stems back even further prior to the point of suicide where we see mental health problems as a “weakness” or that it only impacts a certain stereotype. More so, I think for men too who are three times as likely to die by suicide than women.
As I write this, I can tell you that there is life after those dark moments where you think death is your only option. I can reassure you that there is always a way out and there are always people in this world who will support you. I am so grateful that I have a second chance, I am incredibly relieved that I did wake up. I have the support, community and love to live my life again and I can see that there is always hope.
No matter how dreadful and painful you feel inside. No matter what your situation is, there is always a future much brighter ahead even if you can’t see it at the time.
For more information, go to: https://www.iasp.info/wspd2020/
You can read Sophie’s memoir talking about her recovery: https://www.hallgoodbooks.com/product-page/eat-sleep-control-repeat