This subject is one I know very well. Too well, in fact.
Suicide has been around me for a very long time. Suicide is part of who I am today. I have lost many friends to it. I have also come dangerously close to losing myself to it.
Suicide isn’t limited to a certain type of person. Take the death of the DJ Avicii. He was successful. He had an amazing talent for making music and he was getting better and better at it. He had the world at his feet, but none of that was enough to calm the war he had going on inside him. None of that gave him the hope and the strength to keep going.
Sometimes suicide feels like it is the easiest way out. The easiest way to make the pain stop. To make everything that is going on around you and inside you stop.
It is a quick and simple solution to a very overwhelming issue, but the thing is, there are other ways. They aren’t always easy, but they are worthwhile.
I want to share what I’ve been through and how I’ve managed to fight my own demons and not take my own life. It has been a long and hard battle, but it is one that has been worth fighting.
I have tried to take my life 20-30 times, the first time being when I was in primary school. When I hit my teen years and things at home got worse, I tried many times. Sometimes I tried slashing my wrists, but mostly I took tablets.
I don’t have many clear memories of what happened at those times to make me want to take my life, but I do remember clearly how I felt each time.
I felt unloved – but more than that, I felt unlovable.
I felt like there was nothing about me that anyone would ever be able to love, and with that being the case, I couldn’t see any reason to alive. I thought, “why bother, when I am such an awful person and no-one will ever love or want me”.
I lived with the pain of feeling unlovable for many, many years, and even today, at different times, those thoughts pop back into my head and I feel those same feelings. The good thing is I now know how to deal with them.
Everyone who feels suicide is an option for them has their own battles and their own things going on that have led to them that place. I can only talk about the things I know and have experienced, but I hope that in sharing my experiences, someone will be able to use what I have learned to help them deal positively with their own situation.
For me, suicide actually became a coping mechanism. It was my automatic ‘go to’ thought.
Some people get angry and lash out. Others drink. Others exercise. Others hide away from the world. My way of dealing with things was thinking about ending my life. Yeah, I know – it’s a pretty messed up response.
My response came from feeling so unlovable. I didn’t want to feel that way, and I didn’t think I would ever not feel that way.
I truly believed that no-one could or would ever love me.
I didn’t feel like I mattered. I didn’t feel like I had a place is this world. I just felt completely lost and alone.
After I made a suicide attempt, a little bit of light always crept in. There was always a little something that made me want to keep going, which I couldn’t seem to find leading up the attempt, and that something was my defiance.
I never wanted those who told me I was nothing to win. At the time though, I didn’t know how I was going to pull it off. I didn’t have a plan or an idea. The thing is, it’s hard to maintain the stubborn and defiant attitude when you feel so beaten by the reality of what is going on around you.
The way to prove these people wrong more often than not seemed so far out of reach.
I realise now the very act of just getting through the day was giving these people the middle finger. I think my family, especially, wanted me to give up my fight and stop being the person I am but when I kept getting back up and trying to get through each day, I was proving I was not who they said I was. Back then, I felt completely unlovable but I still had the ability to give people the middle finger and I got particular pleasure in giving it.
I believe this attitude can help you, too. You don’t need to have a plan of how you’re going to keep going. You just need to get up and put one foot in front of the other and give people the middle finger as you do it.
The feeling of being unlovable didn’t just go away. It was there day in and day out. For the most part, I just tried to block it out and get on with things.
Some days, I was able to block it out really well and on other days, it was really hard because of that under-riding feeling of being unlovable and unwanted.
When I felt that, I didn’t feel there was much hope for me.
I had youth workers and other people who were telling me my life wouldn’t always be the way that it was. They were telling me I wasn’t unlovable and there was so much ahead for me.
I was stubborn and defiant and didn’t listen. When they told me these things my attitude was ‘How the hell do you know?! You haven’t lived through this!. You are just saying it. Where is the proof?’
I will say it again – how you feel today isn’t the end of your story. There is hope for you!
You are important. You do matter. The world is a much better place because you are in it.
There are people around each of you right now who can and will show you that you are lovable. Please know that. Please know there are people who do love and care for you.
Sometimes getting through the day seems too hard. There were many times that were like that for me. In those times, every minute I got through was a huge achievement. Every minute that I got through was massive.
All you have to do is take things minute by minute. Or hour by hour. Or day by day.
Sometimes, I used to set my goal as meal or snack times. I would give myself a reward of something nice to eat when I got to the time that I had set. I love food so this was a brilliant way to keep me motivated.
Suicide is an option I could’ve taken. It would have stopped the pain and heartache. It would’ve been easy for me to take my own life but I am so glad I didn’t. I would have missed out on so much!
You can do this. There is hope. You won’t always feel this pain. You will have moments where you are able to do something you never thought you would be able to. Moments where you experience something you never thought you would.
When you do, you will really see how far you have come.
All you need to do right now though is to keep going. Just get through the next minute. The next hour. Until lunchtime. Until afternoon tea. Until dinner.
I guarantee you that before you know it, you will be able to look back and see how many minutes, hours and days you have gotten through and you will see how truly amazing you are for achieving it.
You will see you are strong.
You will see you are capable.
You will see you are lovable.
You will see just how special you are!
When you are able to see those things, you will start to see yourself a little differently. You will start to see you aren’t unlovable. Those traits make you very lovable.
Let people show you how and why they love you. Why they believe in you. You might not believe it when they tell you but it will help you start to see you aren’t who you have been led to believe you are.
Please know I believe in you, too. I don’t know you but I love you. I see you. I see how much you are hurting and I know how crippling it is to feel that way.
Suicide isn’t the only option for you. You are lovable. You are incredibly lovable.
You can do this.
You just have to keep going.
All my love, Gretel. x
If you, or someone you care about, is having suicidal thoughts and you think immediate action is needed, call emergency services (triple zero – 000), contact your doctor or mental health crisis service, or go to your local hospital emergency department. Do not leave the person alone, unless you are concerned for your own safety.
If you are having suicidal thoughts and need to talk to someone, please call one of the following numbers here in Australia or click on the organisation name to visit their website for other options of what to do to get help: