I told someone close to me that I was struggling with my mental health to the point that I had contemplated suicide. I had thought about asking someone to collect the kids so they wouldn’t be in the house or left alone and I had thought about how was I going to end it. I told that person how I was feeling because I know that when you feel this way you HAVE to tell someone. You MUST reach out.
I also know that suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems. It may feel like the answer but it is not and that all it does is pass the pain on to someone else.
The reaction I had anticipated from my loved one was empathy, sympathy and understanding. I was reaching out looking for a solid surface to stead myself on so I didn’t slip into the abyss.
The reaction I received was one of fear, confusion and rejection “you represent yourself as strong and as a feminist, one thing happens and everything falls apart”. This led to further feelings of hurt, shame and embarrassment.
Admitting I am struggling is not something to be embarrassed or ashamed about. It is not a sign of weakness. My mental health at its worst does not invalidate all the good things about me. If I tell someone I am feeling suicidal it does not mean I am not a strong person or a good person or that I’m not feminist. It means I am in pain and I’am struggling and I have had the good sense to speak out and seek help.
I know it can’t have been easy to hear what I was saying and naturally humans are fixers. We like solving problems and finding solutions. But we are all living extremely stressful lives and there is no easy fix or quick solution.
Listening to a loved one tell you they feel suicidal is extremely hard. You don’t want to hear it, I know my loved one found it difficult to accept I was feeling that way and didn’t intentionally minimise my experience or mean to trivialise the situation. I didnt expect my person to solve my problems or fix the situation. I just wanted to be heard. I wanted to be comforted. I wanted to know I had solid rock to hang onto in stormy sea. I wanted to know I was not alone in my dark place.
When people commit suicide we always wish they had told someone how they were feeling. We wish they had spoken out.
If someone tells you they feel suicidal it may come as a huge shock. It may break your heart. Don’t take it personally. You can’t solve their problems or fix them. That’s not your job. Just listen and let them be heard.