#WMHD2019: Mark's Story
You will not save everyone, but you can save someone. Maybe that someone is you.
10th September 2019, 11.52am | Written by: Mark
"Maybe you don’t want to be helped. It doesn’t mean you can’t be saved. If you have it in you to reach out, even with the tiniest amount of energy, do so. You will not be burdening someone with your thoughts and fears."
You will not save everyone, but you can save someone.
Maybe that someone is you.
If you have come through the deepest despair, where a future seemed impossible, then you are stronger than most.
The emergence of suicidal feelings might have brewed over time, they could then become a regular visitor; for some, they can come from nowhere.
It can be scary beyond belief, or an uneasy calm. Some of us show the signs, while you’d have no way of knowing with others.
More people experience suicidal thoughts than you might think. Sadly, the number of people taking their lives is not getting any better. The reasons for that are numerous and complex, too much so for this blog post.
All I can give you is an insight into my experiences.
Late last year, I tried to end my life on two occasions. I now know that it was mainly down to a combination of bipolar disorder, abandonment issues and the raw grief of losing both of my parents within a year of each other.
After the first attempt I was in a storm of confusion and fear, but knew I had to do something to save myself. Without going into detail, I didn’t need to go into hospital, but I did need urgent support. Within the first 24-48 hours of attempting, I had to make more phone calls than I would in an average month. It was a combination of friends, family, colleagues and health professionals. I came to realise that my immediate support network was bigger and more effective than I’d previously thought.
The process helped to stabilise me in the most turbulent of times.
However, I attempted again five weeks later. I really didn’t want to be here. I was upset, angry and frustrated with myself, which was different from the first time. Strangely, even though I tried harder to go, the recovery process was easier. I didn’t want there to be a third time. So far, there hasn’t been. I’ve only had infrequent, flickering thoughts of going, which is a million miles from where I was nine or ten months ago. I haven’t had a day off work through mental ill health since going back in January.
Don’t get me wrong, I sometimes feel that being me isn’t easy and bipolar disorder seems harder to manage the older I get. It’s hard wearing the mask when I need it. The thing that just about makes a day bearable is the thing that takes the most energy to keep up. It takes a good actor to show the world that you’re doing ok when you’re anything but. I’ve given that many performances, I should be on a West End stage.
It can be the same with suicide. When thoughts are forming in your head, or you’ve reached a point when you know what’s coming, you might switch into a mode that totally belies what’s going on with you.
That makes it hard for people to help you. Maybe you don’t want to be helped. It doesn’t mean you can’t be saved. If you have it in you to reach out, even with the tiniest amount of energy, do so. You will not be burdening someone with your thoughts and fears. You can start off by talking to Samaritans, which I’ve done on numerous occasions.
There’s no one set of instructions for being saved in these situations, as we’ll find ourselves there in all sorts of circumstances. Please, just talk and keep talking. Contact whoever you trust, and who you know will listen and help. It can be the most important conversation you ever have.
The pain you want to end will go away, without you having to do so.
I’m turning my crisis into something that will help others. I’m developing a social enterprise called Sixty Six / Ninety Nine, which is providing creative approaches to prevent suicide. Today, we’re running #PoemsForLife, where people have sent in poems that have touched their lives in some way. They are poems that have given hope, helped to externalise feelings, given to other people so they can benefit, or pieces that have stayed with you like a companion. You can check them out on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.
If you feel like sharing today, please do so. You could make a big difference to someone’s day.
If this blog post has helped you at all, then that will have made my day. Thank you. Take care guys x
Ex-Manchester United player Rhodri describes how talking to family and close friends was a lifeline when he was struggling with his mental health after an injuryFind out more
Eventually I spoke to someone - it was a lifeline. I have learned mindfulness practices that have really helped alongside better self care. It’s meant letting go of the brave face and learning to say ‘no’.Find out more