We discussed with people what it is at the point of wanting to die that has become so unbearable that the desire to die becomes stronger than the desire to live, and then what can bring hope back again?
People said that they experienced feelings of worthlessness, uselessness, overwhelmed and that life feels pointless. Other feelings people experienced at that point were of failure, shame, tiredness, being weary and exhausted. People get to a point where they feel that they just can’t do this anymore and feel they don’t have the fight to keep on going. People experience feelings of frustration and sometimes anger towards others. So people can be experiencing all of these things…and then…something happens, a tipping point. This may be a bad phone call, being let down, or a stupid comment, this becomes the final straw when action is taken towards ending life.
What has helped people when they have been at this point is having a safe place to rest, some support and not having to fight on their own; to have a rest from the fight which rages between the desire to live or die. It is helpful when the people around you rally to give you support and try to help. Talking to someone can really help, as verbalising things can make it smaller when you say it out loud than it seems in your head. It was said in the group that the experience of speaking to an understanding doctor was particularly helpful, and for some literally a life saver. This is refreshing to hear as people have spoken previously of experiencing a lack of understanding about mental health from their doctor. People also said that when they can understand themselves a bit more this helps and it is also helpful when those around you have more understanding as they are more able to support you. People expressed that having struggled with mental health issues and suicidal feelings they now have a greater knowledge and understanding to support others as they can identify with the feelings when people have a low mood.
We talked then about the subject of how to respond to stigma. There are many reasons why people say things that can feel unhelpful. We all talked about how we, when seeing someone in a difficult situation, can feel we don’t know what the right thing to do or say is. So sometimes we maybe say something which we later realise is unhelpful, or we say nothing at all because we are afraid of upsetting someone, but actually they can then feel rejected or abandoned. We have all done this at some point in our lives whether knowingly or unknowingly. So, often the reality is that when people say things like “Its’s a sunny day are you better yet?” It may be that there is ignorance, fear and a lack of understanding. People may have their own issues, and may fear that someone is different and they just don’t know what to say. This is why we feel it is important to educate and encourage people to be able to talk about mental health and suicide as a better understanding, from all sides helps everyone, and ultimately may help to prevent suicide.