You Matter.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. It’s something that I talk about on this blog every year because it is so important. Depression can happen to any one of us and suicidal feelings can be a part of that. I know for a fact that it can feel like you don’t matter, to anyone at all. Your brain lies to you because of an illness you can’t help. I’m here to remind you that you matter.

I’m not going to try and tell you everything is magical and everyone in the world is lovely. People can absolutely suck. When you’re already feeling down other people’s opinions can weigh so heavily on everything you feel. But you know what? While some people can make you feel like absolute shit – there are people in life who you matter to.

There are friends or family members, work colleagues or perhaps even teachers who care and would be upset if you weren’t here. That would feel your absence like a hole in the heart. You’re important to someone – even if you feel like they would be better off without you.

Living with depression is hard. Sometimes, even the smallest of things can feel like a mountain. There are either too many feelings, each and everyone one bubbling to the surface, or none at all and it’s hard to know which one is worse. I’ve lived through both and when I was younger, of course, there were times when I wished it would all just end. Just for everything to stop. BUT I’m glad now that it didn’t.

Slowly, bit by bit you can get better and the road to recovery is different for everyone. For me – talking to someone was key but so was being creative. I wrote a lot of poetry, I wrote songs, I wrote anything I could. For me, I needed to get those feelings out. I took medication, got some 1-1 counselling and eventually those feelings calmed down.

Your feelings and emotions are valid. Your worries, anxieties and pain are valid. But the world is better with you in it! I can’t tell you what to do – I can’t reach through this screen and give you a hug, believe me, I want to. There are people you can talk to when you’re low if there isn’t anyone close to you that you can talk to.

You matter, I promise.

 

If you’re feeling suicidal please talk to someone, book an appointment with your doctor, talk to a friend or family member. In the UK you can call these numbers:

 

Samaritans – for everyone
Call 116 123

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – for men
Call 0800 58 58 58 – 5pm to midnight every day
Visit the webchat page

 

Papyrus – for people under 35
Call 0800 068 41 41 – Monday to Friday 10am to 10pm, weekends 2pm to 10pm, bank holidays 2pm to 5pm
Text 07786 209697
Email pat@papyrus-uk.org

 

Childline – for children and young people under 19
Call 0800 1111 – the number won’t show up on your phone bill

 

The Silver Line – for older people
Call 0800 4 70 80 90

Talking About Suicide

Talking About Suicide

In the past week we have seen two very public celebrity deaths by suicide and, of course, there has been a lot of posts, tweets and more about mental health, about suicide. It would be stupid to say that these are easy conversations, that they are pleasant to think about, but they are important.

Within hours of Kate Spade’s death being announced, those closest to her were said to comment on the ‘obsession’ she had over Robin Williams’ death, a picture of her body being removed in a body bag appeared. What seemed to be missing, was how we talk about suicide.

I’ve noticed, and I’m sure others have too, that time and time again there is a narrative of, oh we can’t believe it, this is so unexpected. But, why is it? Whether you are rich or poor, depression is an illness that doesn’t discriminate. Suicidal thoughts can and do happen to millions across the globe.

Instead of focusing on the details of those who have passed, why not look at what can be done to prevent deaths in future. Why don’t we look around us and understand it? I know, for a fact, that mental health services in my own country are at breaking point. That waiting lists are of a year or more. That people of all ages cannot get the help that they desperately need because of budget cuts.

Talking about suicide shouldn’t be taboo, it is sad, it is upsetting but it shouldn’t be hidden. What good will it do? I’d go as far as to say that it does a disservice to those who died this way. We should learn and support those still living so that they don’t feel the loneliness that leads them to view death as their only option.

 

World Suicide Prevention Day 2017 – Tips for Tough Days

It’s World Suicide Prevention Day 2017, each year it’s something that I dedicate a post to because it’s important. The fact that we need a day for suicide prevention shows something. We live incredibly busy lives, we’re constantly going, going, going, looking at the world around us and having 24-hour news and updates on the good, and bad in the world. It can all get a little too much. When you’re at your lowest ebb, and suicide seems like an option, it’s hard to know what to do to help, if there is any help at all when you’re slowed down struggling to cope while the world seems so fast. So, for this year I wanted to share some tips, for the days when everything seems too much.

Know that it’s ok to unplug

I love social media and growing my following BUT, sometimes it’s too much. To see other people seemingly having a great time when you’re not feeling great it’s ok to switch off for a while and turn off your internet and just be.

Speak to, or be around, people that love you 

This is so important. It doesn’t matter who these people are, but it can help to be cared for in the smallest of ways.

Get some natural light 

Hear me out. I’ve been in those times where my mind tells me to just lie in the darkness and just sleep, mainly when I was living alone at uni. When you get up, open the curtains or try to go outside for 10-15 minutes. Natural light can really do you good. If not you can get a lamp to replicate light, which also helps with SAD (Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder).

Try and do something you enjoy 

I know it can be really hard when you’re in the darkest parts of depression but even a little something can make you feel a little better. Maybe listen to an album you like, do something creative, cook? Whatever you feel up to doing. I, personally, try to listen to some music or write.

Allow yourself to cry 

My boyfriend is on tour right now, it’s tough. For the past week I’ve been trying to keep myself busy all the time, every evening pushing my mind and my body to distract myself. Yesterday I finally let myself acknowledge that I was missing him and had a good old ‘ugly cry’, didn’t set my alarm and just slept for as long as my body needed.

Know it’s ok not to be ok 

I wrote a whole post on this a while back, it’s ok not to feel ok. It’s part of life and if you have a mental illness it’s a part of life you know all too well. We have down days, sometimes we relapse, it’s all part of recovery.

Know that someone loves you

It can be so hard to remember this. Someone in the world loves you, so much. You’re worth this life. I promise.

If you need any help or are feeling suicidal please, please talk to someone. In the UK you can contact the Samaritans, they can talk things over with you on 116 123. If you feel like you’re in immediate danger of harming yourself please call an ambulance.

Rest in Peace, Chester

I had a whole other blog planned tonight, but as I switched on my laptop I saw the news and posting a happy and fun book review just seemed wrong. Chester Bennington, singer of Linkin Park has killed himself. It’s genuinely shocked me. Even though I haven’t listened to Linkin Park in a really long time, it was such an integral part of my teenage years and getting me through some of the darkest periods. The fact that he’s gone, someone who’s voice and work has helped so many to be gone.

How can a voice that helped me get through my darkest days have died in such an awful way?  I’m not claiming I was a huge fan but Minutes to Midnight was an album I listened to on repeat because it just reflected how I felt. It was a time where I was lonely, depressed and just had this darkness inside me. When I couldn’t sleep I’d listen to it, along with others, when my mind was going at 100 miles per hour. It was more than just an album to me.

I’m listening to Minutes to Midnight as I write this, feeling so damn emotional. Hell, I don’t even know if this post will make sense. There are so many of us out there with physical, emotional and mental scars. Music was one of the things that saved me, I listen to this album and remember the strength I got from it and the thought that Chester was so low when he helped so many of us just breaks my heart. For his family, his band mates, his fans and the rock community it’s a terrible day.

When things like this happen we need to reach out to those who are struggling or who have struggled in the past. We need to listen to each other, love each other and make it ok for anyone to talk when they’re struggling. I’m not talking about waiting lists and doctors, I’m talking about and every one of us having empathy and openness for those around us.

If you’re reading this and struggling, it’s ok. You’re allowed to feel that way. If this news has knocked you for six, that’s okay too. There’s no clear guidelines or way to have a mental illness, you never know what is going to bring you to your knees. You’re allowed to feel and hurt. Remember you are valuable, you are loved and you are worth it. Reach out to people who love you, practice self-care and speak to someone.

Rest in Peace Chester, thank you so much. 

 

If you need to speak to someone please contact the Samaritans, don’t suffer in silence.

World Suicide Prevention Day 2016: Breaking the Taboo

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Suicide is something that people are too scared to talk about. Often the conversation can become difficult because people don’t know what to say, or don’t want to offend the person speaking. Of course it is a difficult topic, unless you’ve been at that point in your life where you can’t cope anymore it’s hard to understand why someone would choose to end their life, particularly if it all looks good from the outside. We focus so much on making sure that people stay alive but often we’re too scared to hear their reason why they wanted to die.

Recently the Basingstoke music community lost an incredibly talented DJ. She took her own life and a lot of us were shocked. I knew her from our college class, while we weren’t close I counted her as a friend, she came to a house party of ours and sat playing guitar and impressing people she’d never met before. That’s how I’ll always remember her. We parted ways after our final music performance 3 years ago and didn’t see each other after that. I followed some of her music stuff online and she was picking up speed in the industry. Unfortunately she passed away in what I can only imagine was a point of total and utter darkness.

I spoke in an interview with my university’s paper about being at a point where I didn’t think anything could get better. I was in my teens and just felt like school was never going to end. There was a part of me that feared I would ever feel better again, I would ever be the person I was before. When the piece was released some member of my family were shocked and upset to find that I felt that bad, that I hadn’t spoken about feeling that low. The thing is I wish I could have, I wish that I could have told my family, but I didn’t want to hurt anyone. When you’re at that point the depression is heavy and can muffle you wanting to speak out. I feel like I summed it up in the interview pretty well from the worst points to now;

“The doctor’s defined it as low mood, even though I had moments at school when I was suicidal. When you’re that poorly it’s very hard to talk to anyone else. I never want to get to that point again, it’s the most terrifying thing,” Metzger said. “If I can stop someone from getting to that point, or not feeling alone when they’re getting to that point I think I’ve made the best out of a really bad situation that I was in.”

I want to point out that I worked hard but was lucky to have the support around me, because not everyone has that. We need to work together to end the stigma, to make the fear around ‘saying the wrong thing’ lessen. If someone you care about seems low let them talk, be there for them. Sometimes talking to someone can make all the difference to how someone perceives the world. Let them know that what their feeling isn’t ‘selfish’ or ‘weak’, words that shouldn’t be associated with suicidal thoughts and feelings because mental illness can happen to ANYONE.

I didn’t want people to worry about me after writing this post. I know I have wonderful friends and family I can talk to now, I have coping strategies. I’m doing ok and I haven’t felt like that in a long time but I’ll use that experience to educate and help others and much as possible. This isn’t a post needed help, it’s sharing a story of my past and I encourage others to do the same.

Let’s break down the stigma.

And remember, someone loves you, someone needs and wants you around. You are not alone.

Book Review:My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

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“Depression is like a heaviness that you can’t ever escape. It crushes down on you, making even the smallest things like tying your shoes or chewing on toast seem like a twenty-mile hike uphill. Depression is a part of you; it’s in your bones and your blood.”

Because it’s Mental Health Awareness week I wanted to carry on the theme on my blog by writing a review of a book about what it’s like to live with depression. I’ve read a lot of these but there was something about Warga’s novel that really got to me, so much so I’ve recommended it to a lot of friends of mine.

Aysel isn’t a typical teenage girl, nor does she have a normal past. After her father committed a truly violent act that send shockwaves through her town she pulled away, her mother can barely look at her without being reminded of her father, the town stares and so Aysel finds comfort in the only thing can can, physics, but soon even that isn’t enough. She soon decides that this is where it all ends but she can’t do it alone. After searching for someone who won’t flake on a suicide pact she finds Roman, whose perfect life isn’t all it seems.

What I liked about this book is that suicide is not romanticised at all. Both characters really are at a point where they can’t see a way out of the misery of their situations and they don’t instantly like each other either. The thing with depression is when you meet someone else who is living through it there is a sense of understanding and that really comes through between the characters. They have nothing in common apart from their depression and that they want to die. It sounds incredibly sad, and it is, but there is also something incredible in the way they progress as friends.

I also found the situations that Warga put the characters in really interesting. Aysel’s father has committed a terrible crime and when we hear about such events in real life we instantly think of the victim and their family (and rightly so), but this made me wonder about the children of criminals. How the actions of their parents influences their lives. It’s not something I’ve encountered in YA literature before and I’d definitely love to read more on it.

This would be perfect for fans of John Green, those who liked All the Bright Places (I liked this more) and It’s Kind of a Funny Story it is a sad book but I think it’s a really important one in understanding why people want to commit suicide as I mentioned yesterday.

I gave this book four stars ****. This is an incredibly well written YA novel and deals with some incredibly tough issues in an amazing way. Warga has a true talent for YA literature and I can’t wait to read and review her next novel which according to Goodreads will be released next year!

Review by Chloe Metzger

Mental Health Awareness Week

 

This week is Mental Health awareness week. Initially I was going to write about my own life and struggles with mental health but I got to the point where I didn’t feel like that was something I could do in a healthy way, especially as I’ve not been feeling very vulnerable recently, I might end up writing it later. That said I came across this video, it’s heartbreaking but at the same time it’s so damn important.

Suicide is something that happens every day, for a variety of reasons people are pulled into the darkest depression and feel this is the only way out. This is not selfish. I’ve heard people throw that around a lot, particularly London commuters. If someone has gotten to the point where the only way they feel they can escape is suicide they’re not selfish, they are extremely ill. I wanted to share this video because of all the times I’ve heard people mention ‘suicide’ and ‘selfish’, maybe if they’d seen this video they wouldn’t say that anymore.

Also to anyone who’s struggling, hold on, you’re worth it and you’re not alone.