Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.
I am a survivor.
It was on my twelfth birthday, that is a year younger than my youngest child is now, that I first found myself assaulted by suicidal thoughts. Though they were in my head, I’d say they came from ‘outside of’ me...
The second time came when I was seventeen, and that time, it was more of an internal wrestle. As with many, maybe all, survivors, I did not want to die, I just wanted the pain I felt, after years of depression, to end.
The first time, I felt all alone in the world. I think there must have been angels fighting for me. The second time, I was surrounded by some good friends, who I could talk to. They got me home, got me talking to my parents, my GP, a child psychiatrist. I was able to access support, of various kinds, and so began a two-year journey towards life.
At university, I discovered there were plenty of other people going through something very similar, and that I was able to listen, to be a friend to them in their need, as others had been a friend to me. I discovered, as again so many survivors do, a sense of life-purpose through my experience of pain.
When I was going through the selection process to be a vicar, I was sent to the Priory, and they gave me a clean bill of health. I’ve known low mood since, but I’m not in that place. I wouldn’t wish my past on anyone, but I don’t resent it. It has more-than been redeemed.
If you are struggling, reach out. If you are concerned about a friend, reach out. Night is long and cold and dark, but the dawn comes. We can watch the sunrise, together.