Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. I have thought about writing a post about this many times before and I think I am ready to do it now.
In December 2009 I lost a very dear friend. She killed herself, in a very lethal way, there was a clear intent to die and that she did. I had known her since I moved here 10 years ago - she was one of the first people I became friends with as we had both moved up from Sydney at about the same time and both our blokes lived on the same property for a while- later we ended up working together. She was loud and gregarious and really loved by everyone who met her. I know people often describe someone like this after they have died but in this case she really was. Friends of mine who had met her once briefly when they came to stay asked about her for years after. She was friendly and loving and thoughtful. She was loud- she was so loud when I got to work I could hear hear voice through two wooden doors- she was one of those people that squeals and claps and moves around when she talked and just made you giggle when you were looking at her. She had a big mane of brown hair but she was physically quite small- I always forget that about her... she was a loving friend.
In the months leading up to her death she had a psychotic episode/ psychosis and was admitted to a psychiatric inpatient facility which, being a nurse, she talked herself out of a few days later- knowing exactly what to say in order to assure them she was fine- she was not fine. She had no known to us history of this at all. She was not fine at all. And so began the battle to keep her safe but not keep her locked up... another close friend and work colleague and myself spent literally hours on the phone talking to different people, (all three of us work in a field very closely linked to mental health and we have all worked in mental health at some point) talking to her, visiting her, monitoring, assessing, worrying about her, worrying about what she wasn't telling us, laying in bed at night worrying if she was ok. It absolutely consumed me for 4 months - it consumed all of us. I saw moods from her that I had never seen before- I saw her really angry and stressed and I also saw her knowing that she was becoming depressed and trying to battle it - trying to do everything to not sink into that hole, we now know she had been in before. I was watching her running from it but we didn't know what to do. She went to stay with family a few hours away to have some space.
I remember so clearly the last time I saw her. She wasn't sure how long she was going to be away for and I was off to New Zealand for 2 weeks but she hugged me so tightly and kissed Busy so many times but she was always a bit like that I didn't really think much about it. Part of me was relieved that she was going to be with family for a while as I needed some time away from the whole nightmare. I still feel bad about that.
She took her own life 3 weeks later.
My friend had spoken to her a few days before and she had said she was having thoughts of wanting to hurt herself but we just thought the idea of her doing it was just so utterly unlikely I really didn't give it a second thought. We all should have known better. But , even with all our combined mental health experience no one thought she would do it.
When Chef called to tell me I was at work and I knew as soon as I saw it was him on the phone- I just knew something bad had happened to her. The pain and shock I felt, and having to go back inside and tell my work colleagues and friends - my heart just broke in two.
All this time later, I still cannot believe she killed herself. I know she is gone and I will never see her again, but I cannot believe that is how she died...
The reason I am writing all of this because if someone is talking about suicide it is serious. When people say it is just attention seeking you need to ask yourself if that is the way they are asking to get attention then that is what they need- attention. It is serious, it happens. It happens all to frequently.
If you are worried about someone who is suicidal you can get more information on how to help here. For more inforamtion about mental health go to sane
Thanks for reading all the way to the very end.