There are some Days that I’m not sure would ever really catch on. World Constipation Day. World Ingrown Toenail Day. World Thrush Awareness Day. What kind of ribbon would you pin to your lapel to show your support for World Inverted Nipple Day? Would it even be a ribbon for International Threadworm Day?
I have a feeling there would be no sausage sizzle to mark International Offal Intolerance Day. No rally for World Claustrophobia Day. Nothing would ever be organised for World Procrastination day.
It’s all shit and giggles really, until someone tells you that Tuesday the 10th of September is World Suicide Prevention Day.
I don’t know what the statistics are, but I can confidently state that suicide is something every person will at some stage have a brush with. At best, your brush with suicide might be a vague acquaintance that has a failed attempt.
But that vague acquaintance is going to be someone else’s child or sibling or best friend. Once you add context to a person, that sting of the nearness of intentional death becomes just a little sharper:
My son attempted suicide.
My daughter tried to kill herself.
My sister didn’t want to be around anymore.
My brother just couldn’t take it anymore.
It changes things, huh.
Suddenly, suicide has gone from being a word to being a world.
I’ve never made it a secret, that my mental health is somewhat dodgey. I’m fortunate in that I have had a consistently excellent support network, consisting of friends, professionals, medications and an easily amused mind. But all the help and support and hilarity in the world didn’t stop me from trying to take my own life.
It was a particularly dark time in the naughty corner.
It’s a time I often think back to, even now. I check in to see if I wish things had turned out differently. Because, obviously, I failed.
If people ask me about why I wanted to die, the answer is really pretty simple:
I ran out of internal resources.
Suicide is permanent. It’s a candle extinguished, never to flicker back to life. Words like permanent and never – they represent significant time periods. Suicide eases pain for one person, but opens truckload of agony. And that agony hangs around for a long, long time. The person has gone – it’s over for them.
But… if only. If only there was another option. An option to stay.
There is good news:
Suicide is preventable.
The trick is to remove the mystery by talking about it.
We’re in a time when we’re more iSolated than ever before. iDon’t know what happened. iThink it has to do with social media or some other faux popularity contest. But let me implore you: on World Suicide Prevention Day, speak to someone. Face to face. Make eye contact. Because I have a hunch it’s going to be words that kick this thing in the arse.
In writing this post, I’ve thought back once or twice to the moment where I was ready to leave. Where I saw no reason and no way that I could possibly stay.
In my head, I approach myself, sit beside myself, and stare off into the same general direction.
And then, I speak.
If this doesn’t work, there are other things you can try. Other ways to die. Because the truth is, you don’t see any other way this misery can end. I know that and I respect your right to make choices. This is a big choice, and I know it isn’t one you have made lightly. I respect your right to make a choice.
However, I also respect your right to make an informed decision.
Because I am you, but a few years from now, I can tell you that the things that have you right here right now – they aren’t going away. But in a month? It’s going to be easier. Within twelve months, you’re gonna have built up a shitload of skills to help you fight this crap. Then one day, those skills just become life. They just start being the way you live. You’re gonna learn to live strong.
And yeah, twelve months is a long time to stay. But the intensity of what you’re feeling right now isn’t going to hang around. This time tomorrow, it’ll be heaps less. Within a year you’ll forget to remember every day. One day this will be another one of those moments that you survive. This isn’t just trite crap to try and speak you down – it’s a physiological thing, too. So you can kill yourself, right now. Or, you can give me just one hour. Just stay, for just one extra hour.
And then one more hour, after that.
If you really are committed to this suicide thing, you’ll still be committed in a couple of hours, right? So stay. Stay, and hear me out.
Because you are gonna stay. And you are gonna live strong. You’re gonna find a way to use your words. You’re gonna get to use them, every day. You’re gonna get to write, and people are going to read. And one day, a few years from now? You’ll know:
It’s gonna be words that prevent suicide. And you’ll encourage people to talk to each other.
You’ll encourage people to stay.