This is a guest blog from a PAPYRUS supporter and volunteer
Mental illness and suicidal thoughts can be described in so many ways. Some sufferers of depression and suicidal despair might talk of their distress as climbing icy mountains, clawing through dark valleys, spiritual imprisonment, or perhaps just a dread of the unknown.
It can get to the point that you have fallen low enough to feel disconnected from the grins on the faces of people around you…Your sense of humour has been ripped away, and in its place, there is an acid-like feeling of wretchedness inside your soul. What point is there in doing anything, now you are unshakeably convinced that you will never smile, or laugh out loud again?
PAPYRUS wasn’t around when I first started to endure chronic episodes of depression as a student. I had a comfortable and settled upbringing as a child, but what I was going to discover about myself was that I was seriously bipolar.
I would often have suicidal thoughts, and the feelings this would produce in me led to a lifestyle centred around horrible self-doubt. Suicide was certainly not an appropriate topic for conversation when I was a young man, and I would often find it impossible to overcome the frequent onslaught of my mood swings, sometimes for months and months.
I would feel alone amongst friends, and envious of others who appeared to be sailing through their lives. Why was I experiencing this grey, cold melancholy, where hope was impossible to find, amidst what seemed like a catalogue of failures and unfulfilled dreams lying strewn throughout the timeline of my past?
Such a depressing and suicidal outlook was extremely frightening and uncomfortable. But eventually I began to learn that all of my feelings during these bad times were in fact completely natural.
PAPYRUS’s suicide prevention helpline – HOPELINEUK – sets out to speak openly about suicide and shatter its stigma, and encourages people to call, if they’re experiencing thoughts of suicide.
A PAPYRUS suicide prevention adviser is trained to adopt a careful and empathic approach to every caller. From the outset, through systematically following a tried and tested intervention program, a caller’s attachment to the world can steadily be re-established, and the question as to whether you should live or die can gradually start to recede, and preoccupy you less and less.
By seeking the help that is around you, it is possible to share some of the heavy weight of mental ill health. Your own reflections of sadness and gloom originate from within you. The times you feel depressed are times when you can develop a self-help plan around being kind to yourself, as opposed to being always critical of yourself.
Such a recovery attempt naturally becomes more urgent, however, if you sink deeper into a suicidal despair. During these times, HOPELINEUK is just a phone call away. It might only be one simple sentence, that an experienced and trained listener on the other end of the telephone might say to you, which might give you the first sparks of renewed hope. It could be the moment you have been wanting for so long, when – without warning – you feel a kickstart to your emotions that inspires you to look forwards instead of backwards, to a future so much brighter.
If you’re aged 35 or under, and experiencing thought of suicide, call HOPELINEUK on 0800 068 4141, text 07860 039967 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Our suicide prevention advisers are available from 9am to midnight, every day of the year. We are also here for anybody concerned for a young person who might be experiencing thoughts of suicide.