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.

 

 

 

 

 

How we can use International Mens day to spread awareness

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What do you think the biggest killer of men under 45 is? Road Accidents? Cancer? Addiction? Any of these are possible but the result may shock you, it’s suicide. Thousands of men every day will attempt to take their own lives and unfortunately a lot will succeed.

A lot people would have seen the title and gone what in the name of hell is she talking about? International men’s day? What kind of feminist is she? The answer isthe one who contributes to equality and the rate of male suicide is something that needs to be tackled by both genders together, because that is how we will save people. Men are under a lot of pressure, there is a pressure to get a six pack and love the gym, a pressure to be masculine, worries if you are not straight and how other men will react (especially for teenage boys), pressure to be a breadwinner for your family. Society puts a lot of pressure on men and it’s no wonder that a lot of them feel overwhelmed!

When searching for an image those associated with depression were almost all women. I searched for a long time to find an image of a man. We refuse to acknowledge that men, half of the population, are not immune from mental health. This comes with the stupid notion that mental illness is associated with the weak (ha!). As a society we need to accept that firstly, mental illness is not a weakness, it is an illness and secondly men need just as much support.

I have a lot of male friends who have different conditions and the statistics both scare me and make me angry. I’m scared because I don’t want any of my friends to find it too much and kill themselves. I’m angry because for something that’s the biggest killer of young men there isn’t a lot that’s being done about it.

We can help them though, we can keep talking, keep reaching out. The way to beat this stigma and save the men in our lives is to be open and honest, I cannot stress enough have important talking is in all of this. You never know how much just talking to someone will could save a life.

If anyone reading this is suicidal and don’t feel they can call someone they are close to there are numbers you can call or please seek urgent medical advice. Remember you are worth it, you really are.

  • Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org.
  • Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
  • PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
  • Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information.
  • Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
  • Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.

 

 

 

image from imagesofnation.com

Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher

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‘You can’t stop the future. 

You can’t rewind the past.

The only way to learn the secret…is to press play’

Clay is an ordinary guy, like a lot of other people in the school when he hears about Hannah Baker’s death he feels something, but what he doesn’t know is that Hannah has plans for him. After a box of tapes arrive addressed to him he can’t quite believe it when Hannah’s voice comes through the speakers, explaining that if he listens long enough he’ll know why he is one of the thirteen reasons.

This book has been on my to read list for a really long time, I finally got around to picking it up and was told after I wouldn’t regret reading it. I don’t, but I also don’t think it deserves all the hype. It’s an intriguing read and a great idea but there were some holes in the plot that just didn’t make it believable. As for the characters, I thought that Clay was just, a bit boring really, we don’t really know anything about him other than he’s a ‘nice guy’, there could have been more background about him and who he was. Hannah was different, while at first I couldn’t really understand her character, she grew on me and got a place in my heart. When I got to the end I wanted to cry, because at some points I knew how she felt, school can be a heartless place.

I think it did highlight the sheer loneliness that can be caused by rumors. Hannah, like Margo from Paper Towns, is a kind of enigma. Nobody really knows her, they just know the idea of her. These tapes, recorded before she killed herself, are the only way to know anything about Hannah, because there was no other way after everything that had happened. It also seemed to me like she could have been saved and maybe that’s the tragedy in all of it, that I’m sure if the right person had noticed she could have lived. That said, it’s easier said than done and I fully appreciate that.

To review this book is to have to make my way through a minefield of potential spoilers and connections that I don’t want to spoil for you, I do think you could have seen some of them coming though just because of the nature of the book.

I’ve given this novel three stars ***, it’s not because it’s bad, it’s a perfectly ok read but for it it really was just ok. I feel like there are better and much deeper stories that can explain what can lead a person to suicide. On the other hand I really appreciate the way Hannah’s loneliness is expressed, she’s a complex character and I definitely think that the book could have been longer. It’s that little bit more detail that I think is lacking in this to make it a great story rather than just a good one.

Review by Chloe Metzger

I just need to say if you are at a low point and considering suicide, please, please speak to someone. Your life is worth it, I promise ❤

Remembering Robin Williams, one year on

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One year ago today, the world sadly lost Robin Williams. While some people are talking about him ‘passing away’ it’s not the truth, there was nothing graceful in Williams’ suicide. There were obviously a lot of problems that he didn’t want the world to see, but would we have wanted to? Would we have wanted to hear this man who made us laugh so much tell us that he wasn’t ok, that he was trapped in a darkness that eventually took his life. I grew up, like many others, watching Robin and laughing, Mrs Doubtfire was one of my ultimate favourites as a kid I could happily watch it over and over again.

When I heard that he had killed himself this horrible dark wave came over me. I just didn’t want to believe it, Robin Williams, depression, suicide? It couldn’t be true. I wanted to break down and cry, not because Robin was famous, because it was another bright and incredible person lost to suicide. It’s something that is so misunderstood. I personally felt so low, if he couldn’t make it, if it got him what hope was there for the rest of us. That was a bad thought but a year on I’m still sad, like many others but I can still watch Robin’s work and hope that he knows how loved he was by thousands.

Suicide is something that needs to be spoken about. Is it nice? Of course not and no one likes talking about death, especially someone wanting to take their own life. But we need to take away the taboo because that could save someone’s life. I can’t guess or assume what could have saved Robin, no one can, but we need to make sure that he and the millions of others who have killed themselves haven’t died in vain.

I’m not going to leave you with sadness, instead I will leave you with laughter, what Robin did best.

Sleep well Robin, we miss you.

Image rights go to ABC