Welcome to the blog for Free Your Mind mental health anti-stigma campaign

This is the blog for the Free Your Mind campaign which aims to battle stigma towards mental illness through the use of music, art, film, and culture.
The blog consists of informative and, hopefully, entertaining articles/posts.
Enjoy! :-)

Friday, 8 July 2011

Suicide and its Associated Stigma

I struggle with suicidal thoughts on a regular basis.

However, the factors stopping me from successfully killing myself are; firstly, I'm scared of messing it up - damaging my brain as one example, immobility as another -. or, I might at least (as has happened before) make myself extremely ill (vomiting, diarrhea, etc. ...not good..). And; secondly, with all the ongoing goals and projects I have personally set up for myself to complete in this lifetime - the thought of not completing these always pulls me back from the edge.

Don't get me wrong, I have so much love for all my close friends and family - and I genuinely couldn't live without them (And these people always pass through my mind both before and during an attempt!) - but the pain caused by suicidal feelings can often override any other thoughts, feelings, or emotions.

However; I wouldn't be writing this if I hadn't always come back from the edge.

Suicide causes pain for many people; whether you are the one with suicidal feelings or you are bereaved from the loss of a loved one due to suicide.

Losing someone close to you is always hard and will affect people in different ways. Losing someone through suicide is the same. And, it is important to remember, that even if a person kills themselves, this does not mean they didn't love or care about anyone.

But when people add stigma to an already painful event such as suicide, it only causes more pain. The stigma of suicide is dangerous and destructive, and, because people are afraid to speak their true feelings when stigma is attached to suicide, lives are ruined by stigma.

The pain caused by suicidal thoughts and feelings is literally unbearable, which is why people go to such extreme lengths to end that pain. And the stigma associated with suicide only adds to that pain and it stops people from speaking up about their feelings.

Suicide is not a cowardly escape route, it is not a "cry for attention" (sorry to be blunt, but what is the logic in thinking that someone would kill themselves as a way of being "noticed" -  surely, if someone wants to be noticed, then they would also want to be around to receive any attention and adulation due to their attention seeking act).

Neither, do I believe it is a lazy or selfish  act. Suicide is not lazy or selfish.

For all the people who say 'Suicide is selfish;' I'd say to them, that I am of the opinion that it is selfish to force a person to live everyday in the pain and agony caused by suicidal thoughts and feelings (because it truly is pain and agony).

I'm not an expert with  a degree, or anything like that - but, I do have a lot of personal experience with suicide, suicidal thoughts, mental illness and the issues surrounding mental health. So, I can only offer 'suicide prevention' advice based on my own personal experiences.

Personally, I find expressing myself creatively, in whichever way that may be - creative writing, art, music, dance, drama -, is the best way to not only "get it out of me," as they say, and calm my suicidal thoughts, but it also provides a way (should I wish to use it)  for me to communicate my feelings to myself and others.

It's true, we don't always have someone to talk to, although there are services set up to help us deal with these feelings (listed below). However, it is important to remember that feelings of suicide and/or of hurting yourself are absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, and I hope you don't feel you have to be silenced by how you feel and unable to talk to anyone about your feelings.

Suicide prevention help:
Samaritans (Open 24 hrs. a day, 7 days a week): UK: 08457 90 90 90 
ROI: 1850 60 90 90   
Email: jo@samaritans.org
Health NHS direct (mental health/suicide):
0845 46 47 (local rate) 
Website: http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/ > NHS Direct Mental Health FAQ

Worried someone is having thoughts of Suicide - Call PAPYRUS HOPEline:
0870 1704000

Suicidal thoughts by themselves cause extreme pain in the individual with these feelings and can also be painful for the people who love and care for that person. But these are not the sort of feelings that can just disappear over-night, even if a person seems perfectly happy, this may not be the reality. It is highly possible they could feel silenced by the stigma directed at suicide.

The way people add stigma to suicide is destructive. Stigma does not save lives - in fact, attaching stigma to suicide does quite the opposite - it ruins lives.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you!! This is so true. And I've spent the vast majority of my life in silence of my suffering. Suicidal ppl are not selfish. Quite the contrary... How selfish is it of me to remain silent and distraught at times just to keep the peace for my loved ones. Most times they're the only thing that holds me back. Am I suicidal...not right this minute. But I lose control over my thoughts, actions, and behaviors. I am at times afraid what a manic moment could cause. I am a mom
    And the last thing I want is to leave them behind in bewilderment of what I've done. And I wouldn't want anyone to think it had anything to do with them. Suicide is a personal act brought on by excessive pain or chemical imbalances in our minds. God didn't let me pick my own brain from a box when I was assembled. But this mind is ill. I just want support when suicidal ideation takes over. But then there is stigma to receiving help. And we loop back around to the beginning.