Depression, suicide and seeking help

I’ve been staring at this page for so long that I no longer know where to begin. No, that’s not true. I’ve never known where to start, hence all the staring.

World Suicide Prevention Day and World Mental Health Day have been and gone. Both of which would have been good times to write about this, but I couldn’t find the words because it’s not my story to tell. Except it is. At least parts of it anyway.

The disturbed sleep, the dreams about organising a funeral, the fear and panic whenever the phone rings and it takes a couple of seconds for the caller ID to register who is calling. Those are all my stories to tell. They’re not the beginning, but they’re what I’ve been left with.

The beginning probably isn’t the beginning either, it was just the night the wall came down and the person realised that they needed help. Serious help and quickly. That was the night I sat at the top of the stairs with someone I love dearly and listened to them talk for over eight hours. The following morning they told me I’d saved their life.

Preventing suicide isn’t the end of story, in fact, it’s just the beginning. I know that. The beginning of the road to recovery. Be that recovery from depression, trauma, other mental illnesses or addiction. There could be more than one of these things at play in any given case. And that road isn’t always an easy one. It takes time, effort and the right supports.

Finding the right supports can take time, and time isn’t always something that people in crisis have, especially when breakdowns happen at weekends instead of during office hours Monday to Friday.

Presenting to A&E, being assessed, and then sent home with a prescription and a follow up appointment a week later due to the lack of psychiatric beds isn’t easy to cope with. It makes a scary situation all the more chaotic.

The waiting game begins, although it’s not much of a game. It is days of uncertainty, sleeplessness, fear, talking, worrying and stress. And trying to find the best way of helping someone while keeping your own mental health intact.

In this case events escalated and the need for hospital admission became an immediate concern. We were lucky that a bed was found.

I’ve written about some of my own struggles, so I know that asking for help isn’t always the easiest thing. When you’re in the thick of it you may not even realise that you need help. That’s where family and friends come in. If you’re worried about someone ask them how they are doing. If you haven’t spoken to someone in a while give them a call just to check in. They may not answer, but they’ll know you were thinking of them. Hopefully, they’ll know they’ve someone they can turn to if/when they’re ready to talk.

As for the road to recovery, I read this post about accepting all the supports that are offered to you both inside and outside of hospital and Ciaran says it better than I could. Treatment doesn’t and shouldn’t end at the hospital door. Your Care Plan is there for a reason. Use it. Accept all the help that is offered, you’ll need it.

Yes, these things sound obvious and dare I say simplistic when you’re not in crisis or trying to support someone through a crisis. They sound obvious because they make a difference and in some cases that difference is lifesaving.

The Samaritans – 1850 60 90 90 (Irish number)/08457 90 90 90 (UK number)

Helpful information from the National Office for Suicide Prevention

Pieta House


Suicide or Survive

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