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By any means this isn’t a glamorous topic to talk about, however it’s a real topic and it affects a hell of a lot of us. Mental health is something that we need to talk about, we need the stigma to break down and we need to be brave and stand together and fight against it. Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, and it’s time for us to talk. Did you know an average of 18 people take their own lives every single day? And the worst part about the horrifying stat is that it can be mostly avoided, through talking, through support. I am telling you this from someone who has been on the edge and ready to jump on several occasions. Mental illness is a fucking lonely place, I’ll tell you that now. It’s scary, you feel like there is nobody in the entire world who actually cares about you, your own brain starts to convince you that you’re worthless, that nobody would notice if you weren’t here anymore, that life is too difficult to carry on. Some of us are ‘lucky’ and manage to talk ourselves down from ‘jumping’ or have others who make us realise, but what about those who don’t? What about those who are alone, or who don’t feel like they can turn to anyone? What about those who take their own lives?
Suicide doesn’t just affect one type of person, it can affect anyone. We wake up and take notice when celebrities take their own lives, take Chester Bennington for example, that man was a legend, he had a great career, a family and a lot of things most people dream of, yet it wasn’t enough; mental illness destroyed that man, and he felt like he had no other way out. He screamed out for help in a lot of his songs, but nobody seemed to take note until it was too late. The world was gutted – me included – that someone so amazing could take their own life. But what people don’t realise suicide isn’t just a choice you take lightly, your whole brain turns you upside down, convinces you not to fight and when even the voices in you are telling you enough is enough, of course we are going to want to give up. We took note of Chester, but what about all those other people who also took their lives that day? Do those people even cross your mind? So many people are struggling and nobody even bothers to reach out. Your friend starts acting different, disconnected, cancels plans and is avoiding you. Don’t be mad, check in. It’s a lot easier to be mad, don’t get me wrong, but what if they need you? What if this is their cry for help in disguise. As someone who has taken multiple overdoses, and self-harmed for the past 10 years, I am lucky to be here. I’ve taken so many tablets in the past that I don’t even know why I’ve survived, but I have. I am lucky.
Don’t get me wrong, there are days where I consider “what if, maybe it would be like ___” etc. However, I have my boyfriend and some supportive friends who are often able to help me out of that dark place. But what about those who don’t feel like they can talk to their friends? This mainly happens to males, due to the idea of being judged and not being manly enough, and to be honest that’s not okay. MEN have just as much right to talk about mental health as any other person on the planet. Men experience feelings the same way in which everyone else does, and being told to “man up”, or “get a grip” isn’t helping. Mental illness is not as simple as getting a grip. Trust me if it was, so many of us would have done so by now, am I right? But do you know what makes me really mad about the situation? We tell people to get over it, assume they’re okay because they seem happy, tell them everything will be fine and get on with it, but honestly this isn’t enough. You wouldn’t dare turn around tell people who have had a stroke to just get on with it. We already feel guilty enough, and that’s why we hide our struggles but your words stick with us forever.
I understand a lot of people are scared to admit they have a problem, because who wants to be branded as ‘mental’ and ‘unstable’, right? I am glad the stigma is moving in the right direction, but there shouldn’t be ANY. It’s an illness, just like any other. Needs medication, treatment, days off, support just like any other yet people don’t seem to understand until it’s too late. I am asking you – if you only do one thing today, reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, find out how they’re doing. Make their day. You can do this. Together we can do this. We can change the world. For anyone who feels alone, my inbox is always open to chat, I am happy to listen to whatever you need, I promise. Remember there are so many numbers to call including Samaritans who are open all year round, anytime you need on the free number of 116 123. You can talk to them without feeling judged and it’s nothing to be ashamed of!