Thursday, 10 September 2015

Letter to My Future Self | World Suicide Prevention Day

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. It's a day where mental health charities issue statements and politicians make pledges.
Many of Ireland's famous buildings, like Croke Park, are lighting up orange today in solidarity with Cycle Against Suicide.

But to me, suicide is personal.

My depression brought with it suicidal thoughts.
There were times when I wished my life would end. There were times when I wanted to pick up that knife or those tablets or walk in front of that car. There were times when I tried to end it all.
I didn't think of suicide as a selfish act at the time. I couldn't think of anything other than how worthless I was. I tried to rationalise it, embed it with logic - No one will miss me. No one will notice. Now's exactly the right time. Don't wait any longer. They'll be better off without me. 

When I look at how suicide has affected me in the years since, I see how wrong I was. I've felt the loss of people I knew, people I barely knew, and some I didn't know at all to suicide. And every single one of them hurt me.

The theme of this World Suicide Prevention Day is reaching out and saving lives. So today I'm reaching out to myself. I'm making my own pledge. I'm pledging to live with a Letter to my Future Self.

Hey you,

I know things don't seem okay right now. I know you are down and feeling defeated, but I'm here to remind you that you are strong. That you have felt like this before, and you got through it. That you can get through it again.

Remember your first day of college. You had high hopes and ambitions. You walked into Theatre L Newman, UCD for your first ever class with 500 other people and neither of the two people you ended up sitting between were interested in being your friend? Do you also remember how you put on a brave face and tried again the next day? And the next? And for a whole 4 months you struggled to find your feet and feel like you belonged? But eventually you made some wonderful friends. You found a group where you felt like you belonged. And everything felt that little bit better.

Remember that you never have to feel how alone you felt then ever again. That people love you. That you have learned to love yourself. 

Remember when you were a 2nd year student and you wanted to join the Welfare Crew (a group of students who ran campaigns in areas such as mental health)? You turned up to a meeting but got freaked out when everyone else seemed to know each other so you just upped and left before it even began? And you sat outside and cried wishing you had the courage to walk back into that room and try again?

Remember how two months later you finally felt strong and brave enough to attend a meeting by yourself and you met some of the people who would later not only become the people you look up to and admire, but your friends?

Remember now how big a part in your life the Welfare Crew has had and how fondly you look back at it. You never remember the hurt and the tears that come with that first meeting, only the amazing people you now have in your life because of it?

Remember how your counsellor looked at you and smiled at the end of your very first session in almost two years? And he said that he could see how much has changed since you first walked into his doors over 4 years ago? 
He saw you become a strong, passionate, and ambitious person. A person with self-worth. And he said you should be proud at how far you've come?

And you should be proud.
You've come a long way from the girl trembling in the window seat opposite him.

Remember those nights when you wanted to end the pain and suffering? Remember how close you came? How you convinced yourself that it was the best decision; the right decision? Imagine if you had? You wouldn't have had the past 4 years. The past 4 years where you grew and fell in love with life, learned to like yourself. 

And you've done some pretty cool things in that time. Things you never thought were possible for you. Things you had never even considered before. You've gained a voice.
You proved yourself wrong. You are not worthless. You are not nothing.

Be strong again. You can and you will get through this.

You've hit the floor time and again, but time and again you've been brave enough to pull yourself up and try. Try again. Keep trying.

What would life be if we didn't have struggles? Could we appreciate the good times if there weren't times when everything hurt? Moments like these are not weakness. They are the forming of your strength.

You live and you learn and you continue to survive. Five years ago you never would have guessed you'd even be alive today, yet alone where you are now.

That one fact alone is a sign of how time heals. 

Those wounds you're nursing will heal with time. They may not even leave a scar; they could become distant memories you can barely recall.

So don't give up.

You've made it this far. And I'm so proud of you.

Love,

Zoe



** If you're affected by any of the issues in this post, visit my Getting Help page for a list of mental health and suicide prevention organisations and helplines in Ireland. 

34 comments:

  1. Hey,

    I've never had to deal with this. I know depression and dead-endness, but not this. To me, you're a hero. And this is a lovely thing you're doing, for yourself and for others.

    Good luck and just know that everything is going to be fine :)

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  2. Powerful, honest, courageous....just a few of the words that spring to mind. You are amazing, be so proud of who you are, what you do, how far you've come...you rock!
    Nicola xx

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    1. Oh thank you Nicola, it means a lot! x

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  3. Zoe this is beautifully written. It is so hard to go through stuff like this, especially when you feel so alone, and that fear of talking to someone makes it so much more isolating. But well done for finding your feet and realising your self-worth, your family and friends must be so proud of you. I think this post could give many, many people hope. Thank you so much for sharing xx

    owlsandantlers.org || facebook

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    1. Thank you Clare for reading and being so kind :) x

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  4. I can totally relate to this. I really struggled to make friends in Uni and find 'my group' - I never did. In three years there I made a handful of loose friends, and there's only one who I still see maybe once a year. I really struggled with loneliness and was on anti-depressants for a couple of years. It was horrible, so I started making friends outside Uni in my final year and had a blast! Leaving Uni was the best thing for me, and I feel like I've really shone since.

    Well done for sharing something like this, it's so important to end the stigma!

    C x | Lux Life

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    1. I definitely relate and feel like I've shone since college too! Thank you for reading and sharing your story too x

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  5. This reall pulled at my heartstrings, my eyes watered up a bit because I totally relate to so many things you said, especially about college! Youre so brave, and thoughtful, to share this with everyone! Thank you & im happy to have read this. Beautifully written! Xx

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    1. Oh thank you Aisling! Your comment is so sweet and has really brightened up my day xx

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  6. I think the awareness week is a fabulous idea - opening up discussion in this often covered up, and not talked about area. Good luck with the future - sounds like you have come a long long way :)

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  7. This is a wonderful idea, and something I very much relate to. I experienced similar feelings, but a suicide in my own family certainly pulled me back and made me realise the devastation it leaves and how that never ever leaves the people left behind. Its such an awful thing for everybody involved. I struggle to call it selfish because at the time the person who acts isn't thinking clearly enough for it to be a selfish act. It seems the only way, which is just so awful :( xx

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    1. Completely agree Hayley. For me, suicide felt like the most unselfish thing I could do at the time. It's devastating to know that I once felt like that, but it's a sure sign of how far I've come that I know now it wasn't the right option. x

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  8. I brave piece. I have a lot of personal thoughts on suicide and strong feelings due to my line of work but its always interesting to read about it from a different perspective

    Cat x

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  9. I was reading this and I found myself crying! I related so much with your post... I suffer from severe anxiety since I can remember and with my teenage years the depression kicked in. Now I'm 25 and I'm still battling against depression which got worst due to the death of my stepfather which was the my best friend and father figure!

    There's not much to say in moments like this, but I would say this, I applaud your courage because exposing yourself takes courage but it also might inspire people to fight for themselves and you are an inspiration to me!

    Thank you!

    The Vintage Owl | Bloglovin

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    1. Anna, I would completely applaud you too. You have come so far and I'm so sorry that things are really tough right now. Do take care, and keep fighting. xx

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  10. A very brave piece of writing here. Hope writing your blog makes it easier to let things out. I have never suffered like this so have no idea what your going through but I hope soon you can see the light at the end. x

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  11. This is so beautiful. Well done Zoe x

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  12. Well done to you for putting this piece together. Hopefully it will help others who have felt the same in the past.

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  13. This is a beautiful post Zoe, and what a super letter. I suffer with depression and it really is a life long battle but this letter shows how you are looking on the positives of some scary situations and how important those situations were to get you were you today

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    1. Thank you Sandra. Absolutely, I would not be me without those struggles. I hope you're out the other side of the worst of it now xx

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  14. This is really moving and incredibly brave to share. You really should be proud of your achievements xx

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  15. Well done, this is beautifully write and SO brave of you! Really great post! xx

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    1. Thank you Sarah, it means a lot :) x

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  16. Aww Zoe, this just made me cry. I hate that you ever felt like this :( You are an amazing person and to regain control like you have shows such courage and bravery.Xx

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    1. Oh thank you Louise that's so sweet :) xx

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  17. Such a brave honest you have written here. Very inspiring and will hopefully help others in the same situation x

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  18. Your letter was awe-inspiring and tragically beautiful, I have never seriously contemplated suicide but I have been depressed due to my poor self-esteem issues. It takes a lot of courage to speak out and show the world the real you but you were brave enough to fight for justice.
    http://www.fadedspring.co.uk

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