I SPENT an hour on the phone yesterday evening to a friend of mine. She was distraught because someone she knew had taken the decision to end his own life, writes psychotherapist Jody Merelle.
Even sadder is the fact that conversations like these are also not uncommon. For what seems to be a growing number of people, the mental distress they are experiencing becomes so unbearable that suicide seems like the only way to end the pain.
Although as a society we are becoming gradually better at talking about wellbeing and mental health, the subject of suicidal feelings remains a taboo for many.
It is a topic that most of us don’t ever want to talk about. It can feel embarrassing and exposing to admit to someone else that thoughts like this have even crossed your mind.
Yet at the same time we know from research that the vast majority of people have experienced suicidal thoughts at some time in their lives. I also know what it feels like to be in that place where it feels as though there is no hope at all.
If there is one message I could give in this column this week it is that no matter how bad things feel at any particular moment, there is always hope for a better tomorrow.
Even the very worst pain is only ever temporary. It will always subside. If you can just hang on – then the pain will eventually become more bearable and you will get to a place where you are once again able to make changes for the better.
To my mind, the biggest tragedy is that decisions to end a life are often made on impulse. If only the person had just been able hang on through the worst of the pain, the light on the other side would have revealed itself soon afterwards. Sometimes within hours.
I spoke to someone who had survived an attempt to take his own life just recently.
He was very relieved he had not succeeded and was able to look ahead hopefully again within a very short time.
So please, if I can leave you with one thought, it is to remember that even the most difficult and painful feelings will not be there permanently.
They will pass. However difficult it might feel, please have the courage to reach out and talk to someone.
Suicidal feelings are much more common that you might think, so find someone who is not scared of the topic, won’t be judgemental and can help you understand you are very much not alone.
However painful life may feel at any particular moment – keep in mind that these feelings are never permanent. They will pass and you will not always feel this way. So if you can hold on to that thought it can be really helpful in getting you through to place where you are feeling hopeful once more.
So many people who have once felt suicidal then go on to a life which feels fulfilling and worth living again.
So please, don’t give up even when the pain is at its worst. I know first-hand how real the temptation can feel to just put an end to it all and I also know how grateful I am to still be around.
There is always hope – I promise you that.