Two stories have emerged in the last couple of days of attempted suicide and it’s striking how much of a contrast their lives are from each other. The first is the 15 year old daughter of Michael Jackson – somebody who has already had an abnormal and pressure-filled life because of her upbringing and then losing her father at such an early age. His children are never going to live a normal life and I hope for their sake the media can learn to leave them alone to deal with any problems that might have affected their young lives.
The other is Stephen Fry who attempted suicide in the USA in 2012 after filming a documentary about so-called “gay cure” programs. Fry is a life-long depressive who has diagnosed bipolar disorder. He comments that he takes medication every day to prevent his severe mood swings (in the article he mentions going from hyper to depression)
You may say, ‘How can anybody who’s got it all be so stupid as to want to end it all?’ That’s the point, there is no ‘why?’ That’s not the right question. There is no reason. If there was reason for it, you could reason someone out of it.”
The point of depression, true depression, is that you don’t need a reason to feel suicidal. My own brief consideration of taking my own life last September would not doubt have ended in my death. I stood on the edge of a 200ft cliff. I felt I had lost everything. I felt I had no future. I felt that nobody cared and consequentially, nothing left to live for. There was a catalyst, there was a motivation for what was for me a serious consideration. But I know it doesn’t always work that way because I too in my younger years woke up feeling in a pit of despair and understanding I had no reason to be feeling that way. Yet my ever-loving father told me whenever I felt this way “stop being such a girl” and “you’re so full of self-pity”. Lovely, hey?
“If unmedicated there are times when I am so exuberant, so hyper, that I can go three or four nights without sleep and I’m writing and I’m doing stuff and I’m so grandiose and I’m so full of self-belief it’s almost impossible to deal with me.”
I never knew what that felt like until last summer when I experienced several days of the most amazing high that was followed by an almighty crash in my mental state. It is horrific and I hope I never feel that way again.
I hope that people like Stephen Fry continue to be open and frank about their mental health issues so that sufferers no longer need to do so in silence. I have told only a handful of my closest friends about my thoughts of suicide last summer and I think it would hurt my family to tell them. There is still a great taboo but luckily there are charities out there who are doing all they can to break down barriers.
Will you do me a small favour and Sign the Pledge to talk about mental health more and break down those barriers? Thank you.