Lessons of lives lost

A few years ago if someone had asked me what was most likely to kill me before the age of 45, I would never have guessed it would be myself.

After losing a close friend to suicide, it plagued my mind that I didn’t know anything about the pain he must have been in. It made me feel powerless and I wished that I could have done something to prevent it from happening. I had spent a lot of time with him before the event and I was actually with him the night before. I felt like I could still feel his warmth. I couldn’t understand how I didn’t know. All of our friends were so messy and being intoxicated the majority of the time, it made us all oblivious to what was right in front of our faces. I see that whilst there was nothing that I could do to change what happened, I felt I had a duty to educate myself so that I can detect these signs in advance and help. He was very outgoing and we would hang out a few times a week. We attended every gig and would go to every festival together. Someone asked me that if I could be sat on a bench chilling out and chatting with one person who would it be. That was him hands down. He didn’t need to say a word, his presence was enough.

He had experienced an extremely traumatic experience the year before and had been trying everything to get through it. He became more outgoing, I think he was trying to avoid his problems. He seemed fine for a while but as time went on he started to get really messy. He had started using valium (a prescription drug often prescribed for anxiety). Valium is an incredibly strong drug that he had not been prescribed. He told someone this eased his pain initially.

He never mentioned his struggles to me, when we were together it was just fun and mayhem, I wish that he had said something.

One day I went to his house and he had pulled things out of all of his drawers and cupboards. There was stuff everywhere, he was just sitting in the middle looking confused. I didn’t understand it at the time but since suffering from anxiety, I can see the reflection of his internal struggle. He started to forget about meetings that we made and when we went out he would get into such state that he often had to be taken home. This was not his typical behaviour. He was intelligent and organised. A positive and relaxing force that was an absolute pleasure to spend time with. When I look at this transformation there were some clear warning signs. I have taken great interest in what these were and what they are saying even if it is not being said.

You hear a lot of people threaten to commit suicide and it can be tricky because it is an effective tool in gaining attention. Often it is used by narcissists to gain emotional control of someone and it will be used when things are not going their way. Sometimes it is hard to differentiate between someone who is serious and someone who is not. Whilst every case should be taken seriously it is important that you assess their character. In the cases of the ones that did take their life, I had no idea. They didn’t say anything. They put on a fake smile when they were out and appeared to enjoy life until the end. They were all characters of legendary status. It truly does only seem to happen to the best ones.

If you are in that space now and you don’t think that anyone is there for you or cares and people would be better off without you. Please know that you are wrong. In fact, you are actually one of their most valued human beings and their life will never be the same without you. If I know someone is depressed and they start to look like they are putting a lot of effort into having a great time and becoming reckless that it a huge alarm for me. In every case of someone who has said something to me, they are all still here today. I hope that these people will share with me what helped them and next time I will be addressing what can be done to help someone who is in this situation now.

There is hope, There is help

Here is a list of some suicide warning signs provided by www.psychcentral.com

Have you ever heard someone say two or more of the following?

  • Life isn’t worth living
  • My family (or friends or girlfriend/boyfriend) would be better off without me
  • Next time I’ll take enough pills to do the job right
  • Take my valuables — I don’t need this stuff anymore
  • Don’t worry, I won’t be around to deal with that
  • You’ll be sorry when I’m gone
  • I won’t be in your way much longer
  • I just can’t deal with everything — life’s too hard
  • I won’t be a burden much longer
  • Nobody understands me — nobody feels the way I do
  • There’s nothing I can do to make it better
  • I’d be better off dead
  • I feel like there is no way out
  • You’d be better off without me

Have you noticed them doing one or more of the following activities?

  • Getting affairs in order (paying off debts, changing a will)
  • Giving away articles of either personal or monetary value
  • Signs of planning a suicide such as obtaining a weapon or writing a suicide note

Suicide is one of the most serious symptoms of someone who is suffering from severe depression. Common signs of depression include:

  • Depressed or sad mood (e.g., feeling “blue” or “down in the dumps”)
  • A change in the person’s sleeping patterns (e.g., sleeping too much or too little, or having difficulty sleeping the night through)
  • A significant change in the person’s weight or appetite
  • Speaking and/or moving with unusual speed or slowness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities (e.g., hobbies, outdoor activities, hanging around with friends)
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, slowed thinking or indecisiveness
  • Feelings of worthlessness, self-reproach, or guilt
  • Thoughts of death, suicide, or wishes to be dead

Thank you for making it this far. If you enjoyed reading this or anything resonated with you please like and share. I would love to read about your own experiences and thoughts in the comments.

Strength and love

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