Peace.

‘Hi mam, awful news about Chris Cornell, such a shame x’

I hit backspace on my iPhone and deleted the text. Both of my mothers siblings died due to suicide. As much as I want to talk about another inspiration dying from suicide, I fear it is something that is still too painful to talk about. I genuinely waited for my mother to text me about the breaking news, as I felt if she wanted to talk about it, she would.

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It has been on the news that the lead singer of the band Soundgarden had killed himself by hanging today. With every suicide by a well known artist, more awareness, more understanding. At least I hope this is the case. Too many people condemn suicide. I hate the fact that people have to resort to such measures for a cease in the pain, I could not imagine being a person that condemns the individual. Whether that person had a mental illness so horrific we cannot imagine or their feet were practically melting against steel in September 2001, who are we, in a completely different frame of mind, to judge how and why individuals go to the lengths they do to escape the pain.

It angers me, truly. I don’t mind admitting that things anger me, this is healthy and if I can open up about certain feelings, I will. According to the World Health Organisation, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 15-29 globally. We need to stop pretending we know how much pain people go through and that death is never the answer. Sometimes it is the answer for that person. We tell sufferers to ‘man up’. We weep at their funeral, crying to the church ceiling asking why they didn’t speak up about such problems. We create this vicious circle and we need to find alternative ways around addressing such problems without labeling suffers as weak or that they undervalue life.

Life isn’t a gift that we need to force upon people that want nothing but and end to their own consciousness. We need to make life that gift, by understanding how horrific mental illness can be and preventing such illnesses from manifesting. This won’t work by telling them how good life is because yours is more tolerable. Sadly, death provides the wings to leave this world for too many people, lets stop pretending that this world isn’t worth leaving.

Mental Illness vs Religion

OCD has been kicking my backside recently. Sometimes I laugh at how much I preach on my blog about religious rituals being illogical when I am finding it increasingly difficult to do things in multiples of three. Or why I fail to check electrical appliances just the once despite staring at them for so long before going to bed.
Why should I tell other people about the illogical nature of worship and religious ritual when I am easily the weirdest individual in my social circle? 

Well, it’s because I understand it’s illogical. I don’t go about my life reassuring myself that what I do on a day to day basis is normal. I’m seeking help to relieve me of such burden.

I see so many people daily practice religious beliefs, sport religious clothing blatantly affecting daily life and refraining from activities that are morally sound for no other reason than religion. 

This is why I am confident in my argument. From day one I have constantly battled with involuntary and incredibly strong, illogical urges to do things against my will. When I fight against them, with the help of therapy despite the immediate uncomfortable feeling, I have an overwhelmingly large weight lifted from my shoulders. This is the same experience I had leaving religion. You can spend your days living an irrational and uneccesarially fearful existence, or you can try to leave that behind.

I know what I would prefer.

“Would you like to help save lives today, sir?”

“That will be £18.05 please.”

As soon as I’m about to pop my card into the reader, “Would you like to pay one pound to Cancer Research today?”

Shit. Not that I do not want to give to charity, three funerals in recent years have been due to this horrible disease. I’m also not made of money, if I donated to every charity that approaches me on a daily basis I would end up pleading in the street, too. I hate to turn any down, I guess my experience of cancer was a big influence.

As I am about to make my split-second decision, I act out what it would sound like to decline. “Can I interest you in helping save lives today?”, “Erm, not today thanks”. That is how I imagine it sounds to the other person. It’s what it sounds like to me. It is not worth the hundred little pennies to feel like a monster or the rest of the afternoon.

Maybe this is why I went ahead and increased the amount due to £19.05. I could easily spend fifty times the amount asked of by the charity on tequila and beer alone, no doubt rapidly raising my chances of needing the charity I have just helped fund.

Swings and roundabouts. 

I walked past a ‘jumper’ today

I refrained from taking a picture on my phone of the fire engine and swarm of police making their way to the location, I don’t want to be one of those people. I was walking with a friend over the high level bridge in Newcastle, a very tall and beautiful bridge over the River Tyne, in fact the worlds oldest dual purpose bridge for rail and road transportation. 

As we were walking, two policemen were standing on the foot passenger side of the waist high railings, one on either side of the suicidal person, sitting on the ledge on the other side of the railings. We didn’t stop, we were on the opposite side of the narrow road but caugh a glimpse and paused mid conversation to confirm what we were watching unfolding. As we kept walking across the bridge we were continuously walking past oncoming officers on foot and could see the flashing lights of a fire engine and police cars at the entrance in the distance. The lights made more prominent as the footpath is underneath the railway and therefore more of a tunnel.

There have been two suicides in my family, so it is something I can relate to more than some. I cannot stand hecklers and members of the public that will shout abuse and complain at the delay a suicidal person causes. If someone is thinking of jumping off a bridge do you think they are in the right frame of mind to consider being a ‘time waster’?!

 My Auntie killed herself in the same fashion shortly after I was born. My uncle felt this was the only option two years ago. Both my mothers brother and sister ended their lives in my lifetime. So suicide isn’t something I disagree with, because I can comprehend that some people need it as a relief when life is simply too unbearable to experience any further. People that aren’t selfish, or unloving. Quite the opposite. To know that you will be leaving family behind must be heartbreaking.

As mental illness is losing it’s stigma and there is more and more awareness of the various conditions hopefully ‘jumpers’ will be shown more empathy and less anger.