TWO decades ago Ian, a 55-year-old resident was having the last rites administered in a hospital bed having tried to take his own life.
Here, in a strikingly candid and brave account, he hopes sharing his experiences can help others who find themselves in desperate situations to seek help.
Tell somebody as early as possible that you’re having these feelingsIan, a 55-year-old who attempted suicide
I would like to say afterwards that I was glad to be alive. But I can’t.
That took time. Thankfully, for me, it took days as opposed to weeks and I had the support of my wife. Getting to that point would have been impossible without her.
After an event like that, your friends are there but they soon disappear. My wife was always there for me and got me through that darkest of times.
It was my wife who told me a little bit more about what had happened. I had taken the tablets on the Friday night inside the car. On the Saturday morning, the police had found me unconscious outside the car. I was taken to hospital and woke up on the Monday with my family around me. I wasn’t expected to pull through.
I had tried to kill myself. I had gone around the house, got my hands on as many tablets as I could, I got in my car and drove somewhere where I thought no one could find me, I piped up the exhaust as well to make sure. Without hesitating, I took all the tablets washed down with booze and waited to die.
As soon as I woke up I was full of hate. Hatred at myself, hatred for it not working. So I did a runner. I felt like a fool and I wanted to make myself scarce.
I can now look back at that time with relatively clear prospective. I now see that I didn’t just wake up that day suicidal, it had been a path over a number of weeks and I had slowly arrived at the point of being absolutely determined to die. At the time, friends told me to pull myself together, stop being daft, cheer up.
None of this means anything when you have reached that stage. The worst thing was feeling so alone, even though I wasn’t, thanks to my lovely wife.
I felt that I wasn’t getting anywhere and that I was insignificant in this world, so I felt I should just shut up and get on with it. I am now 55, very happy and still being told off by my wife for not cleaning up enough.
I have been asked what I would have said to myself back then and it would be “tell somebody as early as possible that you’re having these feelings”.
The reason I have agreed to talk about my experience is that someone reading this might recognise what I am saying. They might recognise the feelings, the fear, the wish to get away from everything, and the feeling of being trapped.
I hope by doing this it will encourage anyone who is struggling to tell someone how they are feeling, whether that be a GP, a partner, or Mental Health Services. The sooner we recognise and address these feelings which we all have, the less likely it is that you will end up being another suicide statistic.
If you leave it too late it can be just that – too late.
When people are suicidal they can often struggle to see the world around them. They might not see how much people care for them. They might not see any happiness or hope for the future and you need to remind them.
When you are in that dark place, your ability to reach out diminishes. That’s when you need someone to reach out to you. If you are worried about somebody, ask them “are you okay?”
• The 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Trust is running an awareness campaign and has launched a number of initiatives to help those who find themselves at the point of crisis.
Anyone struggling, or concerned about a relative, can contact The Sanctuary – a 24-hour advice line supported by the Trust – on 0300 003 7029.