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There’s Nothing Selfish About Suicide

I found this article online and felt it needed sharing, its written by Katie Hurley who writes for the Huffington Post

“I am a survivor of suicide.

I don’t talk about it a lot these days, as I’ve reached the point where it feels like a lifetime ago. Healing was a long and grief-stricken process. There were times when I felt very alone in my grief and there were times when I felt lost and confused. The trouble with suicide is that no one knows what to say. No one knows how to react. So they smile and wave and attempt distraction… but they never ever say the word. The survivors, it seems, are often left to survive on their own.

I experienced endless waves of emotion in the days, weeks, months and even years following the loss of my father. The “what ifs” kept me up at night, causing me to float through each day in a state of perpetual exhaustion. What if I had answered the phone that night? Would the sound of my voice have changed his mind? Would he have done it at a later date, anyway? Survivor’s guilt, indeed.

Sometimes, I cried. Sometimes, I sat perfectly still watching the waves crash down on Main Beach, hoping for a sign of some kind that he had reached a better place. Sometimes, I silently scolded myself for not seeing the warning signs. Sometimes, I bargained with God or anyone else who might be in charge up there. Bring him back to us. Please, just bring him back. Sometimes I felt angry. Why us? Why me? Why him?

Yes, I experienced a range of emotions before making peace with the loss. But one thought that never ever (not even for one second) crossed my mind was this ill-informed opinion that suicide is selfish. Suicide is a lot of things, but selfish isn’t one of them.

Suicide is a decision made out of desperation, hopelessness, isolation and loneliness. The black hole that is clinical depression is all-consuming. Feeling like a burden to loved ones, feeling like there is no way out, feeling trapped and feeling isolated are all common among people who suffer from depression.

People who say that suicide is selfish always reference the survivors. It’s selfish to leave children, spouses and other family members behind, so they say. They’re not thinking about the survivors, or so they would have us believe. What they don’t know is that those very loved ones are the reason many people hang on for just one more day. They do think about the survivors, probably up until the very last moment in many cases. But the soul-crushing depression that envelops them leaves them feeling like there is no alternative. Like the only way to get out is to opt out. And that is a devastating thought to endure.

Until you’ve stared down that level of depression, until you’ve lost your soul to a sea of emptiness and darkness… you don’t get to make those judgments. You might not understand it, and you are certainly entitled to your own feelings, but making those judgments and spreading that kind of negativity won’t help the next person. In fact, it will only hurt others.

As the world mourns the loss of Robin Williams, people everywhere are left feeling helpless and confused. How could someone who appeared so happy in actuality be so very depressed? The truth is that many, many people face the very same struggle each and every day. Some will commit suicide. Some will attempt. And some will hang on for dear life. Most won’t be able to ask for the help that they need to overcome their mental illness.

You can help.

Know the warning signs for suicide. 50-75% of people who attempt suicide will tell someone about their intention. Listen when people talk. Make eye contact. Convey empathy. And for the love of people everywhere, put down that ridiculous not-so-SmartPhone and be human.

Check in on friends struggling with depression. Even if they don’t answer the phone or come to the door, make an effort to let them know that you are there. Friendship isn’t about saving lost souls; friendship is about listening and being present.

Reach out to survivors of suicide. Practice using the words “suicide” and “depression” so that they roll off the tongue as easily as “unicorns” and “bubble gum.” Listen as they tell their stories. Hold their hands. Be kind with their hearts. And hug them every single time.

Encourage help. Learn about the resources in your area so that you can help friends and loved ones in need. Don’t be afraid to check in over and over again. Don’t be afraid to convey your concern. One human connection can make a big difference in the life of someone struggling with mental illness and/or survivor’s guilt.

30,000 people commit suicide in the United States each year. 750,000 people attempt suicide. It’s time to raise awareness, increase empathy and kindness, and bring those numbers down.

It’s time to talk about suicide and depression.”

 

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Are you making yourself invisible?

I believe that feeling invisible has a shared responsibility with ourselves and the people we spend our time with. When I was at school I had a brilliant group of friends, they were supportive, understanding, the best you can ask for, but after I met my now ex boyfriend I changed, I became invisible over night, due to his verbal and physical actions, I  didn’t talk to my friends as I was told they didn’t actually like me they just put up with me, made excuses not to go out because I didn’t want to wear an unusual amount of make up to cover up things on my face as it was very rare for me to wear mascara let a loan cover every inch of myself in foundation. I was too scared to not be by his side as I knew full well what would happen. After 6 years of that I managed to get out. At work that invisibility cloak wrapped itself back round me. I worked in an environment within a very small team, and I felt extremely invisible. I had very low self esteem and confidence and believed it was my fault I was being left out, it was my fault they would just walk off and leave me out of conversations, but looking back I don’t think it was all me, if they cared enough about my feelings, they would’ve tried and made me feel part of a team, but no such luck, and I was only noticed when one member of the “team” was upset with the other person, and I was used to be spoken to about the other person.

Why was I only made to feel visible when someone wanted to moan? why couldn’t I have been spoken to all the time? I was so angry that I, in my opinion, was being used, that I ended up shutting myself away and making myself invisible. I purposely worked in a different area, purposely changed conversations and purposely ignored my “team”, but this was the only way I could feel content, I had gone from hating being invisible to hoping I would be invisible, this is what I mean about making ourselves invisible, sometimes we make ourselves disappear due to bad experiences that we fear we might get back into.

Even though all that happened only a year ago, it still effects me like it is still happening.  It has knocked my confidence so much that I hardly go out in large groups as I only feel comfortable with my new and amazing boyfriend. I have lost some friends due to paranoia. I am hoping that continuing to write my worries and thoughts on this blog, I may start to come to terms with my fears.

I wish I looked like you

Why are we always trying to look like someone else? And more to the point, why do companies want us to want to look like someone else? You may be thinking, “I’m not trying to look like someone else!”, but the truth is that modern standards of beauty only say that we are attractive if we have certain physical attributes that tend to come from a select pool of celebrities, which permeate every social media platform.

Just glancing at the magazines in a newsagents, I can’t escape the constant reminders that I too, can get Keira Knightley’s arms, or Cameron Diaz’s abs, or follow Britney’s quick weight loss plan. How do I copy Kate Winslet’s outfit, or Paloma Faith’s hair? My complexion is most like Karen Gillan and here is a list of lipstick shades she wears! These magazines say that I too, can be glamorous and so can you – we just need to alter our appearances to match Hollywood standards. And by alter, i mean change literally everything.

As technology advances, we are not limited to simply changing our workouts or getting new haircuts! A wide array of reality shows about cosmetic surgery inform us that we have new options right at our fingertips. As the number of people going under the knife of cosmetic surgery rises, more and more people request specific celebrities’ features. The most requested celebrity nose is Jessica Alba’s. Women are asking for collagen injections to get Angelina Jolie’s lips. There are people asking specifically for Scarlett Johansson’s eyes. Would you want to undergo a painful procedure just to look like your favorite celebrity?

With these shows and ads telling me that looking like my favorite celebrity is as easy as 1, 2, 3, a little voice pops back into my head: “Why are you trying to look like someone else?”.

Semi Life Crisis

Hey guys, this is a bit of a weird post and I have no idea where it’s going but hey ho… basically, at 24 years old, is it acceptable to have a semi-life crisis? If that makes sense, I don’t know if it’s normal at this age to find it really difficult to find yourself and where you want to go and what you want to do in your life.

Obviously as a young adult I am changing and developing and still learning new things everyday (I definitely sound like I’m explaining puberty to you lot but I can confirm that I am over puberty and I am an adult, haha!) I don’t know, I just guess I feel a little lost about how I am as a person, I’ve felt like this for a few weeks and I’m at that weird stage in my life where I have moved out and things are getting serious. I even got a letter the other week saying that I am officially paying into my pension fund, jeez. I just feel really uncomfortable. I personally feel that I’m still young at heart and whatever but society and my age are telling me to grow up, which admittedly I’m excited for but it’s just strange.

My life at the moment is work, career prospects, getting excited over duvet covers and buying irons, kettles and toasters and whatever else and setting up savings accounts and insurances and stuff. I just wish there was some transition between ‘young carefree adult’ and ‘responsible adult’, but there’s not, at least I don’t feel there is anyway. Maybe I’m too young or not old enough within myself to be like this at this age? I don’t know, I guess I’ve never really had the time to go and find myself and learn about me and what I like and what I don’t like and how to deal with different situations.

I mean I completed my GCSE’s and worked so hard with them, I then went straight onto A-Levels and did really well, then a few months after I got my results I started a full time job. I know a lot of people went on gap years and things like that and I wish I did or maybe I still could now, but a few years too late. I genuinely wish that I didn’t rush into work, well I didn’t but I started straight after sixth form and I know now if I could go back and change that I would. Realistically I didn’t feel at that time in my life I was mature enough for uni, I am glad I waited and I know now I would have done a different subject and went to a different uni and it would have shaped how I am today and I’d be totally different.

Even now its 5pm and I’m sitting on my bed, caught in the rut of should I have a Netflix marathon or should I be productive and clean and make a healthy dinner? I’m debating whether to go out or have a nice night in and save my money. I’m going to stay in. I just feel that my mind is in a constant 50:50, two-way thinking ‘thingy’. I’d like to either be a young carefree adult or a responsible adult and not in-between. I’m at that age now where some of the things I am doing I am regretting and I guess thats part of life, but just so many regrets and I find it difficult to pick myself up from these and change things, not silly things but letting go of people I shouldn’t have and arguing stupidly with family when really now is the time when I should value them more than anything. I’m trying my hardest to do what makes me happy but I don’t know what does make me happy anymore. 10 years ago I was halfway through year nine at school, which was crazy, I feel like that was yesterday, in 10 years time I will be 34 and am hoping to be married by then (a lot of sympathy goes to the poor guy!) and hopefully having started a little family of my own. HOW THE HELL? So what am I going to think when I am in that phase of my life and how I am now, will I be proud or frustrated?

How am I supposed to feel and be like now, this very day? Should I feel confused like I am? Should I want things I can’t have? Should I appreciate things I’ve got a little more? Shall I accept my flaws and myself for who I am or should I change them? Should I trust people and allow myself to love or loathe or should I be all guards up and protect myself?

To think some people my age and people I went to school and grew up with are married, some are having children, some have even had more than one child, some are settled in houses with their partners. My big decision right now is what colour to paint my nails, ah life… anyway, I’m sure, at least I hope I’m sure, that I’m not the only person my age who feels like this. Let me know and I’m sure we’ll all find ourselves one day and be happy. I’m not enjoying being 24.

An interview on yourself?

How are you coping?

Over the past few months I started to notice that all I was doing was asking how other people were, what other people had been up to, listening to other people’s problems, then it came to me, it’s so simple to ask other people so why can’t I ask myself.

How am I? What do I want to do? What are my problems? I wrote these questions down, and a few more, and with a different coloured pen I answered them all. I was surprised at what I read. I had always managed to block out my own thoughts and feelings around other people as I like putting the focus on making someone else happy instead of thinking of little old me. Re-reading what I’d written I saw that I had amazing goals for myself, but I was also extremely unhappy and didn’t believe I could reach them, I was scared at the prospect that I could write I was unhappy but couldn’t say it and I panicked thinking I’ll never achieve these goals if I don’t open up to people and I don’t say how I really feel, but then I just thought they wouldn’t listen to me anyway, why should they, but I know why they should, they should because I am only human and everyone has worries and everyone has the right to be listened too. This was a massive reality check for me and from that I started telling people I was worried, scared, and they helped me and didn’t shun me like my mind was telling me they would.

Since doing the interview on myself, I have been more aware of people hiding behind asking people questions they should really take the time to be answering their self.

So I ask you all, make some spare time for you and do an interview on yourself, if you can’t be honest with yourself, who can you be honest to?