Suicide is the biggest cause of death in young men in the UK. I was so shocked when I heard that for the first time. In 2017 suicide is the number one cause of death of our young males in this country. That’s incredible. It’s a modern endemic.
We live in a very privileged part of the world here in the UK. Infant mortality due to infectious disease is low in comparison to other countries. We live in a relatively safe place too, on a bigger picture scale but also in our everyday, we have health and safety down to an art. No longer are children and young men sent down the mine to work or at the rock face in the quarry and infections that once tore through our populous can now easily be treated. I get that as a group, young men in the UK are relatively untouchable. But they’re not, they’re suffering. Often alone, often in silence and it’s terrifying.
It’s terrifying because we are being robbed. It’s terrifying because it feels unbeatable. It’s terrifying because it could be any of us. Having suffered with depression and self harm I know how cruel and calculating it is. It convinces you that your feelings are not worth anything, that you as a human being are not worth anything. So when I see campaigns that shout ‘talk about it! Tell someone!’ I know it falls on deaf ears. That is such an important message and I’m not saying we shouldn’t encourage talking about mental health I just know that a person in the depths of depression doesn’t even think it matters that they feel like that. They don’t think they matter enough to tell someone.
It could happen to any of us. It’s almost like we feel protected from it because that was someone’s own actions and well our people just would never have any reason to choose to do that would they. But poor mental health can affect anyone at any time.
We need to be adamant about separating the illness of depression from the person. Why are we still using the phrase ‘committed suicide’? I suffered with depression as an adolescent and I say suffered because it was horrendous. I self harmed for a long time. When I went to hospital after a suicide attempt, the paramedic asked me if I’d been having boy trouble. 2 of the nurses told me I was such a pretty girl. I wished it was that. I wished it was as simple as that. What it was, was depression, an illness too big for me at that time. “Hey why would you ever want to kill yourself, you’re so pretty!”
We had news of a young boy from our local high school taking his life this week. The community is in shock and grief is in the air. I feel so sad about it.
If you are struggling with dark feelings just know that you are not your depression. You can’t see it but it’s a leech. A parasite you have to carry that nobody else can fully see, and when you manage to burn that thing off I promise you will see it for what it is.
There is hope. Don’t ever forget there is always hope even when it doesn’t seem like it. I know people say that all the time but you opened your eyes this morning there is hope. I am not depressed anymore and I can say how much I actually love life but you won’t believe me because you can’t understand that. Just keep opening your eyes everyday and know that there will be a day when you won’t feel like this anymore. You just have to stay round long enough to see it come.
God loves you, and He sees you.