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Posted on 10th December 2021 at 17:51
The season of magic, dreams and love is upon us, exploding our senses, a billion lights and decorations are up in our houses, on the streets and in every shop, gym, hairdressers and busines we visit, the smell of mince pies radiates around households across the civilized () globe, tis a time of good will to all men, inside old blue eyes croons a white Christmas from Alexa, whilst outside standing solemn and defiant against wind and rain the salvation army trumpet a classical brass rendition of seasonal favourites, it’s so overwhelming, that one can’t help but me moved to think…
Fuck this, might as well kill myself.
Barely a week goes by where the thought of this occurs to me as an option, it’s only Tuesday as I write this and not to burden you with sadness but the problems I must deal with seem worse than anything anybody has to deal with in the whole world, ever.
For starters, my Dyson V10 has broken, I sent for a replacement part which hasn’t fixed it, and then as if this wasn’t enough, I’ve just switched networks from Giff Gaff to Three for myself and family and the PAC codes haven’t come through to switch numbers on time, it’s maddening.
I wish that the only thing I had to concern myself with were the trivial worries of a citizen in the Ethiopian civil war raging right now, or any of the one million Chinese Muslim citizens of Kazakhstan who have endured arbitrary detention, or the people of Yemen being carpet bombed by our friends in Saudi who kindly buy up our military products or any of the other news stories we are constantly bombarded with on the news, (if only we could access more hard hitting information such as the minutia day to day activities of Harry and Meghan).
The World is going to end soon because of our selfish indulgence, our lazy nature and attachment to modern innovations, covid has taken all the fun out of everything and is probably going to kill us at some point when the new foxtrot pro plus special mega twatbomb variant develops at some point in the next few years, Brexit has led to a shortage of everything including staff apparently, and for many of us money is rapidly bleeding out of our bank accounts to pay for presents that mostly won’t be appreciated, and to cover the cost of a large celebration most of us don’t really believe in. The days are short, dark, and dingy and every week a new storm seems to be tearing up our coastlines.
Is it such a surprised when we learn someone has committing suicide? How much of a shock is it to find out that so many people have had enough and took the quick option to solve all of this stress by taking their own lives, every day I walk past people who aren’t exactly leaping with joy and celebrating how fortunate they are to be alive, I can’t think of anybody I know who isn’t at least a little bit depressed, stressed or just generally angry and annoyed at life. Social media has many examples of people posting about their amazing lives, just days or weeks before they end it all.
The thing I wonder isn’t why so many people commit suicide, but how come more people aren’t shuffling of this mortal coil earlier than expected.
We shouldn’t talk about suicide or even suicidal thoughts like it’s a rare thing, an obscure thought only occurring to the unfortunate few, if we were all more honest, I bet most people have at least considered it at some point, I know I have a few times at various points in my life.
Why wouldn’t you consider it? When I get a letter from HM Revenue saying I must pay thousands of pounds by the end of January and if I don’t, I may have my house taken away, my children put into care and abused and my hands cut off (I don’t usually read the letters all the way through), I know that actually I don’t have to pay. I could just kill myself, end of problem. For me at least.
On average six thousand people a year in the UK commit suicide, contrary to what we might believe, there isn’t usually a spike at Christmas, but it does start to rise from January onwards, which suggest that the stresses of Christmas might play a role in why some people take this course.
For many people Christmas is a lonely time, for others its can be a time of arguments, excessive intakes of alcohol and comfort eating. The Christmas holidays for many people are a reflective period of everything which is going wrong in their lives, another year has flown by and they haven’t achieved anything they were determined to achieve at the start of the year, they’re not earning as much as their peers, they hate their marriage, their kids don’t respect them, their family are selfish and unappreciative, their boss is overly demanding, and nothing seems to be working out the way they imagined it would when they were kids and thought adult life would be amazing.
Despite considering it many times, a few occasions more seriously than others, I’ve never actually succeeded in going that far, and I’m glad I haven’t, I am also not bouncing for joy with every passing second of every day, and yet I do like life, I think it’s worth living, or at least that is I’m willing to keep giving it a go.
I don’t really know the best way to solve the issue of suicide, I’m not going to pretend to have a solution that’ll help save lives, but at least I’m being honest, more honest that is than the many post I see on Facebook “raising awareness” of mental health as if none of us knew what it was, or offering to help anybody who’s feeling down, “just ring me, my door is always open” whilst possibly well intentioned, these seem a little virtuous, and I wonder how people would cope in reality if a person on the brink of taking their own lives turned up on their doorsteps at random one evening.
It’s not an easy thing to deal with, most of us aren’t trained professionals, we can inadvertently say the wrong thing, even when we mean well, we can confirm their beliefs and even re-enforce them if we’re not careful. If you have put yourself out there as someone who anybody can get in touch with if they’re feeling low and you genuinely mean it, you have my full and utmost respect, but should that ever happen I suggest you spend some time learning how to handle a situation like that, what listening skills you might need and how to avoid making the situation worse.
Meanwhile I have ten simple pieces of advice which I hope might be of use to people in a low place right now. None of this qualifies as professional advice from a trained mental health professional, but I’ve wanted to write this for a long time, and in researching content I’ve discovered that actually talking about suicide is a good step for a lot of people, it isn’t Voldemort, we shouldn’t give our darkest thoughts power by never letting them see the light of conversation..
1. The first and most important piece of advice, speak to a professional, if you really want to kill yourself afterwards you still can, but speak to a professional first, try voicing the grievances you’re facing. This takes a lot of courage, many people think they don’t need to take this step, things might be bad, but they aren’t that bad yet, we can convince ourselves that trained professionals are only for the most extreme cases.
Not everybody who feels suicidal has mental health problems, and whilst it may seem like a small distinction, not everyone who feels suicidal wants to die, they just don’t want to live this current life.
Try contacting a professional anyway, there is nothing to lose, and prevention is the best cure, avoid things escalating by getting help.
Contact your GP surgery and ask for an emergency appointment.
If you can’t contact your surgery because they’re fucking useless, try calling NHS 111 for out of hours help.
You can also call the Samaritans on 116 123
Calm (Campaign Against Living Miserably) has a helpline and webchat
The rest of what I have to say is a mixture of my own opinion, experience, and research, I hope it helps somebody.
2. This too shall pass, everything that begins, ends. Currently there are lots of people walking around and loving life who once felt suicidal, those feelings passed, and life continued, with its usual ups and downs. Everybody on this planet will die one day anyway, death is inevitable to us all, the fragility of life is in a perverse way what makes it worth living, the fact that it will all end one day is more reason to try and make whatever time we have left meaningful in whatever way we can, even if it’s just in the tiniest of triumphs of making it through this day.
3. Abandon hope. Seriously. Hoping is hanging on to the thought that things will get better, and that might not happen, I hope it does for you, but in case it doesn’t try to accept that this is just the way it is, and even though its often depressing in our own way we can learn to change not what is happening to us but how we handle it.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms- to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
- Victor E.Frankl, (Holocaust survivor) Man’s search for meaning
4. Create a list. Write down as many things as possible to do before you die, a kind of bucket list but more administerial. Try to come up with at least twenty things, for example you probably want to have a nice last chat with a loved relative or friend, tidy your room, walk in the park or among nature, go to a museum, watch a certain T.V program or series, eat at a certain restaurant. Go through all these things before you act, and if you change your mind before you get to the end you have to start again next time.
5. Nothing is too trivial. You may justify that you have no right to feel suicidal, things are much worse for other people after all, and things could probably be worse for you.
But feelings do not need justification, they do not need to be rationalised, suicide is often committed by people with seemingly perfect lives, they had loving families, a great marriage, they were successful in any way it’s possible to consider success and yet life became too much for them. It doesn’t matter if your concerns seem small compared to what other people are seemingly coping with no problem, you are entitled to feel the way you do and you are not wasting anybody’s time by speaking to someone to explore options on what to do next.
6. Suicide is often a male privilege. We can’t be sure exactly why, but more men than women commit suicide, at a ratio of three to one. Toxic masculinity is a phrase often used today, many men are unsure how to act or be in the modern world, there isn’t room for the old relic of misogynistic bravado, and yet few are fitting comfortably into the mould of new age metrosexual who ask permission from the opposite sex before any kind of social interaction. Simply put there are many lost male souls without a support group who still feel like they must fulfil traditional roles of provider or strong leader and have poor communication skills to adequately explain how they feel regarding a fast-paced change of political climate.
Therefore, discussions on social media sites often resort to name calling and threats and deeper isolation for all parties involved.
If you happen to be male and would like to make a positive change in your life, try getting in touch with Andys man club or Men in sheds. .
7. Look out for your health, bullet point no.1 is the first place anybody considering suicide should go to when reading this article, having done that I would also suggest that certain lifestyle adjustments can go a long way to helping you manage your outlook long term. There is no need to challenge yourself to run hundreds of miles in one go, or deadlift twice your bodyweight, fitness can really help, but it doesn’t have to be intensive.
Simple things such as regular walks, challenging your body with some basic exercises (press ups, sit ups, squats etc) and trying to learn new exercises are all ways to help focus on the physical, which gives your mind a break from repetitive cycles of thought which can often escalate and intensify.
I've worked in Hull as a Personal Trainer for sixteen years, and I've seen time and time again the benefits of improving fitness on mental wellbeing and improving positive outlook.
Certain activities can worsen a dark mood, alcohol is often linked to suicide, and any external source of comfort, be it pizza, chips, cigarettes, or a bottle of whisky are only ever temporary measures of escapism on the hedonic treadmill of fleeting joy.
I don’t for a moment demonise these things, sometimes watching a good comedy with friends or loved ones whilst munching through a month’s worth of calories can do a lot of good for your mental health, but it can also become a crux which never really satiates the existential drudgery of daily existence.
I suppose all I’m saying on this point is that healthy and unhealthy activities can both be good for your mental being long term, a Yin Yang balance of these things is important.
8. Thinking could makes it worse. People commit suicide for all sorts of reasons, sometimes they are feeling low, sometimes they wish to get revenge on someone who hurt them, others feel like they have become a burden and the world is better off without them.
All of these feelings and thoughts are perfectly normal, and if more people where honest we’d all realise that most, if perhaps not all people feel and think like this at some point in their life. When people try to think through these reasons, they often deepen them further, of course they are a burden, of course they have been unjustly treated, of course life is pointless and there is just no point in continuing.
Our minds are capable of amplifying believes the more times we mull them over, and when do this enough times, we move further and further towards an action which is most likely based on a false story we have created and are now blindly following in spite of any evidence to the contrary.
Which brings me back to bullet point no.1, speak to someone else, get an outside view, it’s hard to see things clearly on the inside looking out, get a more complete picture from someone on the outside looking in.
9. Break the mental thought cycle with 5,4,3,2,1 game. When thinking through why you feel this way and possibly amplifying it further and looking for evidence to back it up, try and break this cycle with a simple technique.
Name five things you can see.
Four things you can hear.
Three things you can smell.
Two things you can touch.
One thing you can taste.
10. Stop searching for meaning. There are people on this planet with a destiny and a purpose to their daily existence, society has collectively fallen for the con that this is all of us.
Not everybody has to develop a long-lasting legacy to make a dent on this planet, not everybody has to get a “get a job they love so that they’ll never have to work again”.
Being motivated and discovering a passion and purpose is amazing, I’m sure it is, it must be, but for the rest of us just enjoying life whenever we can if only in a seemingly small way is enough, or at least it should be, joy can be found given enough time in what appear to be dull and unsatisfactory lifestyles, I’ve known people who spent a dozen hours a day five days a week on minimum wage in a factory assembly line pressing a button, who were more cheerful and happy than some of the millionaires I’ve met.
Perhaps one day we will all find a purpose and fulfilling reason to wake up each day and brutally anal fuck every waking hour for every milligram of joy and satisfaction available, but until then we can try and learn to be content with what we have and just being here.
Life is a smorgasbord of emotions, we can feel happy, joyful, delighted, proud, embarrassed, ashamed, sad, depressed, angry, envious, furious, nervous and even a few of these things at the same time.
Some of most successful people in life have often come from backgrounds where they’ve had to put on wellies and jump through the puddles of despair and bleak abandonment. This isn’t the end of the journey, it’s just part of it, and at some point it does get better, for everybody, we just have to stick at it long enough, and it’s easier to do that with some support.
So please, if you are reading this, and you are considering suicide, don’t do what some of my friends have done, or what I once attempted to do, or what many people I’ve known over the years have done.
Just go back to point one and consider your options with some outside help..
Enjoy the journey.
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