A couple of months ago something came to my attention via a hard-hitting documentary on BBC Three called Professor Green: Suicide and Me, and I'd strongly urge you to watch it. I never knew that suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in Britain, and that was only one of many shocking facts that came to light and left me crushed. A few weeks later on International Men's Day, I noticed that the hashtag #BiggerIssues was trending on Twitter - statistics were being shared like '41% of men who contemplated suicide felt they couldn't talk about their feelings', and it reminded me of how affected I'd been by Suicide and Me. I wanted to help, but again I wasn't yet sure how I could.
Then, my friend Harry got in touch. His message explained that he'd seen how people with M.E had been helped by me talking about my illness, and he wanted to do the same for others suffering with depression. I can't tell you how brave and selfless I think this is, and in the same way that I applauded Professor Green for being so resolute in his bid to bring awareness to the fact that men struggling to talk about their emotions can end in devastation, I'm applauding Harry. It's something we don't talk about enough, clearly, and I'm really proud of Harry for helping to end the stigma. Here he is to tell you his story.
I'm a typical boy in that I don't like talking about my feelings, but I'll do my best and just try to be straightforward. I tried to kill myself again last Friday. I won't go into details why here, but I had a broken bottle and walked onto the beach and cut long ways down my arm. A few friends found me and got the police and they took me to the hospital. I got blood all over my jeans and shirt. If I think completely selfishly, I wish I had killed myself. But I can't think like that, because I have to believe there's a little bit of good left in me, a bit of selflessness that doesn't want my friend to have wasted her time sitting with me in A&E for hours until a doctor could see me. I got a glimpse of what it would do to my family if I had bled out like I intended. I was drunk and on my own. At one point I asked one of the police officers who picked me up why they wouldn't just let me die, and they told me they'd probably lose their jobs if they did that. That probably sounds a little cold, but I wrote this for Meg's blog to try to show other people who maybe have been through something like this, are going through something like this, or know someone who is, to show them that it is in no one's interest that you kill yourself. Even though the words of that police officer might seem cold, it shows that even when there's no reason to care, people still will look after you. You might feel isolated and alone, but the only thing you are isolated in is wishing harm on yourself. No one wants you to die. Someone is always ready to talk to you if that is what you need. Someone loves you and cares about you. I love you if you need me to, and I'll listen to you if you need me to. There are good people in this world. Maybe if I help people like me, I won't want to kill myself anymore. Maybe I'll always want to kill myself. It feels like that some days. Some days you don't want to get out of bed, and I'll be honest, I probably wouldn't if it wasn't for my family nearly dragging me out sometimes. I normally don't write this poorly, so I'll finish with some words from someone who is endlessly more eloquent than me, and has done his best to help people like us.
“I’ve found that it’s of some help to think of one’s moods and feelings about the world as being similar to weather.
Here are some obvious things about the weather:
You can’t change it by wishing it away.
If it’s dark and rainy it really is dark and rainy and you can’t alter it.
It might be dark and rainy for two weeks in a row.
It will be sunny one day.
It isn’t under one’s control as to when the sun comes out, but come out it will.
- Stephen Fry
I'm going to leave an email address at the bottom of this post that people can contact me personally if they have any questions, and I'll do my best to respond to anything I get sent. I just want to say thanks to Meg for letting me do a guest post here, even if it is scatter brained and poorly written, and to anyone reading this who feels similarly to me, it's worth it, stay alive, even if it's just for me.
Thank you so much to Harry for this, and for reminding us all that we're never alone and that somebody cares. He's also been kind enough to create an email for you to contact him on, which is firstname.lastname@example.org - and here's The Samaritans and Suicide Watch.