Good to be Alive: World Suicide Prevention Day 2015

With the person who saved my life

Every woman’s crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man

When you’ve been with someone for awhile, there are a lot of sorrys. But also a lot of thank yous.

I’m writing this in support of World Suicide Prevention Day, and the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP). And, with gratitude to and in support for such wonderful mental health bloggers as My Spanglish Familia, and the fabulous blahpolar, who among the many bloggers holding a Meds Cocktail party today, Thursday 10 September.

Most of all, this is for you. The person who saved my life.

For every suicide which is prevented, there is a person or persons who prevented it. Without them, the suicidal person would not have lived on, let alone to be able to say, as I am now:

I’m glad you were there, love. I’m glad I didn’t die.

The photo at the top was taken at a wedding, around a year after my first attempt. I’m not going to detail the how, except to say thanks also to an alert cleaner, and a compassionate policeman.

As to the why, less than two years after that first attempt, and subsequent hospitalisation, we found out I didn’t just have depression – not that depression isn’t absolute hell on a hellish stick.

A summer which began with what appeared to be an increase in self confidence turned into an autumn of mania. That was quickly followed by my second hospitalisation, where I received a new diagnosis: manic depression (bipolar).

Released from hospital, my mood quickly took a huge dip into depression. Result? Another suicide attempt, and a readmission to hospital.

Another picture of me and the person who saved my life

Another picture of me and the person who saved my life

The photo above was taken some months following that second attempt. If I look happy, it’s because I was.  Most of the time, I am. “Not too happy”, as I once told him over the phone, to reassure him I hadn’t gone hypomanic again.

You were with me, that time I visited our old GP, and talked about my suicidal feelings. Please don’t, she said. Then she said:

“Suicides impact families for generations, up to 70 years after the event, in children as young as five.”

Although it didn’t have the desired impact at the time, I’ve never forgotten that. I’ve since said it, to other people who were considering suicide.

If you, or I, prevent someone from killing themselves, and they hate us for it, so what? At least they’re alive to hate us.

Alive to hate, and – cross fingers – to get some help.

Because it is, and it isn’t, all about you. It’s also about them: those people who are still alive, up to 70 or more years later. Who didn’t have to cope with our suicide.

My name is Sheila. I have bipolar, and I have made several serious attempts on my life. And it’s good to be alive.

Ta, love.

Against the storm, we are uplifted: Doncaster, 2015

Still here: Doncaster, 2015

If you live in Doncaster, and need someone to talk to, ring the Rethink Mental Illness Helpline anytime 24/7 on 0808 801 0442. If you’re dealing with someone who is suicidal, please ring emergency services.

In Sheffield, the 24/7 helpline is 0808 801 0440.

Nationally, you can ring 08457 90 90 90 (Samaritans), 0300 5000 927 (Rethink), or 0300 123 3393 (Mind Infoline).


About Sheila North

I am an author and ex-journalist, who has written novels, short stories, and poems. I also help facilitate a writers' group. Check me out on Amazon:
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6 Responses to Good to be Alive: World Suicide Prevention Day 2015

  1. Leslie says:

    Very nice piece Sheila

  2. Nimue Brown says:

    There’s that persuasive little voice that says ‘they’d all be so much better off if I wasn’t here’ and countering that voice with things like the 70 year impact statement, has a lot of power. I’ll remember that, too.

    • Sheila North says:

      Thank you, Nimue, for that excellent point. My second attempt was almost entirely driven by such a voice. “Well, if I’m always going to be like this, always going to be this miserable …”

      But the voice was wrong – if terrifyingly persuasive.

  3. helen says:

    That voice is awful. It is important to tell people you feel like that so that they can tell you how wrong you are. The love of other people is so incredibly powerful. It has saved my life many times. Love to all going through this and their families. I am proud a slayed that monster and kept going the hardest thing I ever did. Love and respect to my fellow warriors xxxxxx

  4. helen says:

    Thank you Sheila for telling it like it is. I am so glad were are alive to tell the tale and help others. I always say ‘where has she gone, I have lost her I need her back,’ the well self that is me most of the time. I have writen a letter of support and love to the one that has to carry the burden. The manic self for me is not so dangerous, though still a problem. Keep fighting and being you sweetheart xxxxx

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