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If you haven’t experienced suicidal thoughts yourself, it can be difficult to understand what it is like to be in such intense pain that you consider ending your own life. 

It’s crucial, effexor et risperdal however, that we all try to understand what people are going through.

Feeling misunderstood by everyone around you is incredibly isolating, which makes it difficult to ask for help. 

Trigger warning: the following article contains references to suicide, suicidal thoughts and depression. There are no methods discussed.

If people do manage to ask for help, they may still be placed on a long waiting list for services, risking a return to a dark place where suicide feels like the only option. 

While it may feel like it is in the moment, it isn’t. Suicide is preventable. Every loss to suicide is a tragedy, but there are so many more who survive attempts and go on to live full, happy lives.

In fact, nine out of ten people who survive a suicide attempt do not go on to die by suicide at a later date. 

‘This relatively good long-term survival rate is consistent with the observation that suicidal crises are often short-lived, even if there may be underlying, more chronic risk factors present that give rise to these crises,’ reads an analysis from the Harvard School of Public Health. 

Essentially, it is not only possible to survive but to find happiness. This doesn’t mean it is easy, however. Learning how to navigate life following a suicide attempt can be incredibly difficult, especially as survivors may feel guilt or anger about being alive, and face stigma from people who don’t get it.

We can help by talking to survivors and asking what they would like people to know. So, we did just that.

The following people decided to share their stories to show others there is a way through the all-encompassing darkness of suicidal thoughts.

Here are their stories, in their own words. 

John Junior, mental health activist

John made a BAFTA nominated film about how a Hollyoaks storyline saved their life.

‘I planned suicide at the end of May 2020, a few weeks after Boris put us in lockdown,’ John tells Metro.co.uk. ‘I was 30 at the time. 

‘I felt suffocated and trapped, like I was in a box and had no way out, no matter what I tried to do. 

‘I was battling with the final symptom of depression. I was not motivated, had no energy, didn’t find things interesting. My dad died in 2018 and that was hitting me in waves too.

‘I felt numb, lonely, and exhausted. I couldn’t see beyond the current pain at the time, no matter what I read, or tried to do.

‘All I had on my mind was “this pain is never going away”. It’s like my mind corrupted and confused me, [telling me] that the only way forward is to end the pain and take my own life. 

‘It felt like I was all alone. It felt like I had chains on my arms and feet, every step stuck down with glue.

‘I had one thing on my mind, and I was going to end that feeling by taking my own life.

‘When I watched a suicide storyline on Hollyoaks, that’s when I came back to reality.

‘It felt like I was released from the hands of a big-handed animal and the way I was feeling went instantly.

‘It felt like I had a spell on me and I just managed to reverse the spell.

‘What I want people to know is this: “We don’t want to die, we just want the feeling to go”. 

‘After watching Hollyoaks, specifically the scene when Kyle’s friends and family react to the news that he had ended his life, I had this feeling that it could have been my mum being told her son had gone through with suicide.

‘If I didn’t see that on TV, I wouldn’t be here now. 

‘Adjusting to life again was hard, I was very anxious and found it weird going into shops and seeing people, as I had planned my suicide and was 30 minutes away from doing it.

You are not alone. There is a way out, and it’s not suicide.

‘I also felt brand new, like a human getting a new life again, free of the manipulation of depression. I beat it and I was strong. A burden was lifted.

‘I didn’t tell anyone. I rang Samaritans and told them straight away what I had planned and that I am safe.

‘I also rang BBC Radio 5 live and told them what happened, I shared my suicide story live on 5 Drive-In in December 2020.

‘People with depression and any mental health are professional actors because we can hide it well.

‘If someone comes to you and says they are depressed, please approach this as though the worst possible outcome is possible – because it is.

‘People who say they are suicidal are not attention-seeking, they genuinely want your help.

‘Charities are great to speak to you and offer support.

‘But honestly, the best people to speak to are people who suffer with depression. Find them on Instagram, come to me if you wish – I don’t mind giving you support.

‘The thing is when you speak to someone who understands, and they tell you they felt the same, you feel you are not alone, there is a way out and it’s not suicide. 

‘You are loved, wanted, and needed. The mood is temporary. I made that up in lockdown when I was struggling – now people use it and it helps them. It’s the reminders that help us.’

Jem Henderson, 36, community manager 

‘I attempted suicide when I was 22, so 14 years ago,’ Jem tells us. ‘I was in an unstable relationship with a narcissistic man and had been signed off sick with mental health issues for three years.

‘I was drunk, had an argument and went home where I attempted to end my life. 

‘After only a few minutes, I realised how stupid I was being and called my best friend Anna to explain what happened. She immediately rushed over and took me to the hospital.

‘I didn’t want to go and figured I’d sleep it off, but she insisted. Thank God she did because by the time we reached A&E I was nearly unconscious.

‘I woke up two days later in a completely different hospital. I looked out of the window and didn’t recognise the rooftops. For a few minutes, I worried that I was in purgatory until a nurse told me that we were in Leeds.

‘I had to tell my psychologist. We had one more session of 10 left. She was shocked and seemed hurt, because we’d made such good progress. 

‘It was one last flirt with suicidal behaviour. I never tried again. I was grateful to be alive.

‘I’m in such a different place now. I’ve been married, I have a six-year-old, a good job, three degrees, a poetry career.

‘It’s not that the thought [of suicide] never occurs. It’s like a reflex. The words “I hate myself and I want to die” pop up when I’m embarrassed, when I feel sad, when I’ve drunk alcohol for more than three days in a row… but it’s just that – a reflex, like kicking out your leg when you tap your knee.

‘I’ve got a lot of new coping methods. Poetry is one of the main ones. I have a strong friend circle and despite my marriage being over, we’re still best friends. 

‘When I think about surviving, my heart hurts for that young, afraid, hurting person.

‘I was so sure that my life was going to be nothing but pain and suffering. It’s what I knew.

‘But that was rock bottom and I still don’t think I’ve bounced all the way up to the heights I’ll reach.’

Emily Sterne, 26, community key worker

Emily tells us: ‘I was 16 when I first attempted to end my life, and there were around nine more attempts until the age of 24.  

‘It has been three years since my last attempt. I have been very lucky that my family could pay for private therapy and I got into a relationship, which initially helped. I had not self-harmed or attempted suicide for around a year and a half at that point. 

‘Then, my partner at the time left me very suddenly. I didn’t know where I was going to live, or whether I could keep my job. I got very drunk and tried to end my life. 

‘It was horrific and I still feel really bad about putting him through that, as no one should worry about someone dying just because they broke up with them.

‘Being back in the hospital after being better for quite a while showed me that I didn’t want to do these things anymore.

‘I found a sense of myself outside of him and wanted to do it for me. I didn’t want to be putting people through that anymore. 

‘A lot of the time with my suicide attempts it wasn’t necessarily a death wish, it was very much a case of “I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know why I feel so bad, I’m having these thoughts of suicide and attempting it because I literally don’t know what else to do”.

‘I wasn’t thinking “I’m definitely going to die”, but I didn’t really care if I did.  

‘Surviving stuff like that was always hard, as the first time I tried to kill myself people reacted well but people got kind of frustrated as it kept happening. 

‘It is so scary when you are not 100% intent on killing yourself but those thoughts are just at the forefront of your mind all the time.

‘Trying to navigate life like that when you’re just really preoccupied with thoughts of killing yourself but feeling very conflicted, never knowing if you are going to be tipped over the edge, is really terrifying. 

‘It’s not like you try to kill yourself, someone finds you and you get saved and then it is over, especially when you are trying to get help and you can’t – it can feel like continual terror. 

‘I remember the first time really thought about suicide I was about eight, so it always felt like something I was going to do. I always thought I was going to kill myself before I reached adulthood. 

‘The most transformative thing was going through these experiences and becoming passionate about psychology, understanding my mental health and being able to use that to help other people via training and working with people far more disadvantaged than me. 

‘I can see now how my suffering can help other people, which has given my life a whole other meaning. 

‘I now experience contentment in the fact that I have chosen to be here and that my life impacts other people.

‘I feel a calmness and satisfaction I never thought I would be able to achieve.’

Nicholas Fearne, content/comms at Films United and freelance journalist

‘I’ve struggled with suicidal thoughts all my life, and I’ve attempted suicide a few times,’ says Nichloas.

‘After attempting suicide, I’ve always felt ashamed of myself and guilty – like I’m an inconvenience to others.

‘I was diagnosed with autism at the age of fourteen and experienced severe bullying, which definitely contributed to suicidal thoughts. As an adult, depression has definitely made me consider suicide. 

‘When I think about surviving now, I’m grateful that I’m still alive and have family and friends who support me daily. 

‘Don’t judge people who consider taking their own lives. Sometimes they’re so absorbed in their own minds that they can’t see a way out.’

To chat about mental health in an open, non-judgmental space, join our Mentally Yours Facebook group.

Follow us on Twitter at @MentallyYrs.

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