An article by Peter Hawes
I felt I would write something to all the people out there struggling, like I have many times myself. Especially at this time of year, as I believe a lot of us struggle during the holiday season.
First off I would like to explain some things I have learned through a rough life and my own battles with suicidality.
Feeling suicidal is just that - a feeling. I often describe it as when there’s so many intense feelings that one can not put into words, or explain the severity of the emotional pain one is feeling, then suicidal is quite possibly the emotional description.
I also think that often suicide is a misinterpreted emotion and is often about an end to the situations one is going through or about change.
I had a call one night from a guy on the west gate bridge quite a few years back who told me he had enough of life and was going to jump.
I said that’s fair enough but can you tell me why and what’s brought you to this somewhat final decision.
He began to tell me how he had lost his job. Then subsequently his wife, kids and house. With all that happening, he voiced that he could not continue living any longer.
I listened and empathized with his situation, then said “Okay, so if I could snap my fingers and fix all those problems, then would you still want to jump?”
He replied with the words “What? Are you fucking nuts? Of course not!”
I said “Well fair enough... Let’s fix them.”
He asked me if could I do that, to which I replied no. Although I can help you nut out a plan so we can do it together.
I then got him a taxi to where I was staying and we sat up for five hour putting together a plan. The first step getting him safe accommodation.
Where is this guy now? He has a job, a house and see's his kids every weekend. He’s even in relationship counseling working things out with his wife, last I heard they are going to give it another go.
Life is a tricky thing to master and life throws curve balls at you but as demonstrated in the above there are always solutions. If you can’t find solutions, don’t be afraid to reach out for help, as the young man in the above depiction did.
I, having battled with suicidality off and on for years, live by the rule;
There’s no problems that can’t be fixed, just solutions we haven’t found yet.
I still get suicidal sometimes but now I accept it for what it is, an overwhelming feeling and a sign that I need to either make some changes in my life or reach out for some support.
I don’t want to get into the whole ‘my life is worse than yours’ argument because I believe everything affects us differently, so there’s no such thing as people having worse lives the simple truth is pain is pain be it emotional or physical, but I will say that I have had a pretty bad life spanning multiple huge traumas.
I have found that there is some kind of universal law that I can't really explain nor do I fully understand but I can definitely testify that its got a lot to do with balance.
Things balance out eventually in the 28 years of hell I went through while I am 34 now and have had six years which seem to have spanned more traumas, I have found in those six years there have been some really good times as well and the magnitude of those good times seems to balance out the bad times of all 34 years, or at least is starting too.
So when I feel suicidal I accept that like any feeling, it will pass. Even if I do absolutely nothing about it at all, it will still pass.
But most of the time I do something about it.
My first step is I put myself on fish oil 3000 – 4000mgs a day as this makes a tremendous difference to my negative self talk and negative feelings and increases my motivation.
The vegetarian equivalent of fish oil is flaxseed oil or anything omega 3 really.
Also when needed, I ring lifeline or mens line to talk to, as that helps and I will include numbers at the bottom of this article.
I must stress that if you ring up and get a counselor that pisses you off just hang up on em and ring again I’ve done it heaps of times and you don’t always get a counselor that you connect with who you feel gets it. There’s no crime in hanging up on them, it's anonymous service so they aren’t going to know who you are. But please do ring them back again because they’re not all idiots, sometimes you just have a bad fit and its important to talk to someone who you feel understands.
The other most helpful things I can recommend is eating regular meals.
Honestly I was not big on this either and discounted all scientific evidence but the truth of the matter is we need to eat regularly to fuel the fire or it ends up burning out. I get really miserable if I don’t eat regularly and I have noticed if I eat regularly it makes a huge difference. I don’t think for me it matters how much I eat or what I eat as long as I eat at least 3 times a day. I sometimes carry muesli bars or chocolate bars for a quick meal when I am on the road working, but I have eaten something as simple as a piece of bread. Obviously the goal is to eat healthy and regularly but hey lets be honest the goal is not always realistic, obtainable and instantly achievable but the point is eating regularly no matter what makes a world of difference.
Another important tip I can give is to look at your friends circle and if your friends circle are making you feel worse about yourself then good chance you need to change the circle.
I have found that a friendship needs to be reciprocal in that I mean you have to feel your getting as much as you’re putting into it, in time and emotional support and monetary and material resources.
If a friendship is all one way, good chance you’re being used and this can damage one's emotional health quite dramatically.
All my friends at the moment are not afraid to contribute to the friendship as much as I do, thus making me feel valued and accepted. If me and my current friends have an argument we both own our part in it and look at where we could have done better and thus have no ‘blame game’ arguments.
There are countless places to meet new friends plenty of different clubs out there and new hobbies to learn.
Sometimes a change is just what’s needed.
I also recommend sitting down with a pen, writing all the problems in your life and then looking for solutions. If this seems impossible, break the problems into smaller problems and look for smaller solutions as sometimes ten smaller solutions solves a big problem.
If this is just seeming beyond what you’re capable of, then reach out and get some support to do so.
I can tell you no matter how terrible you feel at any given moment in ten years time, you won’t even remember how terrible you felt.
It all starts at understanding suicidality and what steps you can take to change it, for I honestly believe that suicidality is a message from our unconscious about making changes in our life, and that we can all do so and live to see another day, changing our lives in the process.
So hang in there, stay safe, and remember... You do matter, I believe in you all, and you each have the capacity to make it through this.
http://www.befrienders.org/ Is a website linking to 24 hour counselling lines in all countries
https://www.lifeline.org.au/ 24 hour counselling service in Australia.
http://www.mensline.org.au/ 24 hour counselling service for men in Australia. (I ring this one a fair amount and find them most helpful.)
http://www.ehub.anu.edu.au/welcome.php Ehub online programs like therapy from your couch. Moodgym and Ecouch I have used and find helpful. Mostly CBT Based
https://www.facebook.com/suicidalsupport?fref=ts A suicide support group run by a good friend of mine and the private group here https://www.facebook.com/groups/425874220898812/?fref=ts
You can also do a google search for supports in your local area from financial supports to housing crisis to domestic abuse to drug and alcohol problems and so on, because lets be honest, there are damn good reasons as to why we would feel suicidal and the first step to feeling better is finding some damn good solutions and supports but don’t despair if you get no help from the first support, just keep trying the different ones out there because they’re not all brilliant or well suited, you have to find what works for you.
Like glass life can be broken
But if you sit and think about it
And rearrange the pieces
You can still create something beautiful.
A metaphor for life and glass pendant I created during one of my own dark times. The full story can be found on my website www.psychpatientnomore.com