Recently, I was touched by a story of a young teenage girl making the tragic decision to end her life.
Hearing of someone so young feeling that hopeless is heart breaking and as a parent sends you into a spiral of thinking of the pressure that young people are under, especially after the last few years of the pandemic.
However, we know that suicide is certainly not something that only affects young people, far from it. In fact in 2021, suicide was the highest cause of death in men under the age of 50.
In 2021, there were over 5,000 suicides registered in England.
There is much I could write on the topic of suicide but today I want to share some thoughts that if you are feeling desperate, I wish you knew.
When life loses meaning, when we feel a failure, when we have lost all hope; it is hard to believe that we have any purpose, to believe that we matter. Please believe me when I tell you, you really do matter. Your life has undoubtedly touched so many others and will have changed people as a result.
People care more than you think, even complete strangers care about you.
You Deserve Happiness
You may feel you have done 'bad' things, you may feel that you don't deserve any of the good in life but you do. You deserve to have the same happiness you see in others and more importantly it is there waiting for you when you are strong enough to reach for it.
Happiness isn't something we are rewarded with if we are good or bad people, happiness is something we can choose to have on a moment to moment basis. From watching the birds in the trees, to a moment of calm in a deep breath .... cling to those moments as they are the chink of light in the darkness.
Don't Make Permanent Decisions Based on Temporary Emotions
I often describe our lives as a big wheel, sometimes we are sat at the top of the wheel, everything feels great and wonderful, sometimes that wheel starts to turn and we can find ourselves right at the bottom of it, this can last an hour, a day, weeks or maybe even longer and feels like it will never change. But the fact is, the wheel always turns no matter how slowly, no emotional state lasts forever. This too will pass and in doing so will give you clarity and perspective.
Thoughts Aren't Facts
For years, on pretty much every course I have ever delivered and in every 1:1 session, I have told people this statement over and over again. Our thoughts can seem so very real and accurate to us that it does not cross our mind to challenge or doubt them. But just because you think something doesn't make it true.
The challenge with this is when we have had a thought over and over again, such as "I am not good enough" then the brain seeks evidence to prove it is right. This evidence will be distorted, manipulated and biased but it eventually makes us think that the thought is a fact.
Challenge your thoughts for real unbiased evidence. And don't believe everything you think!
There Is Always Someone Who Cares
Our thoughts when we are despairing, will often make us believe we are entirely alone and that nobody cares but this is just not true. Humanity is wired to care about each other, we need each other to survive. Of course, there are some uncaring people, but on the whole people are compassionate about another humans suffering.
There are also lots of professional support avenues, here are some with a variety of ways in which you could reach out:
The Samaritans 116 123 or firstname.lastname@example.org
CALM 0800 58 58 58
Maytree Suicide Respite 020 7263 7070
National Suicide 0800 689 5652
SHOUT 85258 (text SHOUT)
Stay Alive prevent-suicide.org.uk
Heads above The Waves Heads Above The Waves (hatw.co.uk)
Please be kind to yourself and reach out to someone TODAY.