I’m on holiday. So I was in two minds as to whether to add to the suicide conversation yesterday. But I will. My song ‘The Hero’ is my broader contribution – (see attached link). But I saw a lot of messages yesterday saying ‘reach out’ if you’re suicidal, and I think this advice falls a little short. It’s a good thing to do of course. But it is a little more complex in most cases. A lot of people have reached out already and struggled to find a therapeutic outcome. A lot of people are so ashamed of their symptoms, it gets in the way of communication. The fact is, the decision to end ones life is seldom spontaneous. It is the final chapter in a narrative that builds over a long period of time. This often comprises of,

Feelings of hopelessness
Feelings of no worth or reduced worth
Cyclical negative thinking
Questioning the goodness of humanity and the value of life itself
Feeling you wont be missed, or that others may be better without you
Persistent symptoms you struggle to find relief from (physical and mental)
Living in a state of paranoia around the opinions of others
Living with secrets that you don’t feel you could ever share

When you’ve been struggling for years with the above, suicide sits on the shelf like an ‘in case of emergency break glass’ option. Sometimes a trigger will cause a person to bring it down. Instead of waiting till we are out on the ledge, what we actually need to do is reach out when that ‘break glass’ option makes it’s way onto the shelf at all. In short, you don’t have to be suicidal to ask for help. I’d argue, if you are plagued by ANY of those above thoughts, it’s time to talk.

If you think that is you, here is my advice in the meantime…

Understand that depression as often a progressive illness that begins with milder issues. If you suspect you’re in the shallower end of this complaint the following may help. I tell you all of this as someone who has fought hard in the shadows and thankfully survived. I’ve come back from the edge! Thank God.

It helps to understand, depression is like an adversary with an agenda to immobilise you. It wants to bring you into submission. It is like a parasite that feeds on negative thinking and pain. Understand that. See it. Know it. Arm yourself. Fight tooth and nail to defeat it because you deserve life. You do.

Here are some thoughts that might help…

– Know that the condition is lying to you and affecting your outlook on things
– Know that it absolutely can get better, no matter how low you feel
– It is not your destiny to be the ‘troubled, disturbed and messed up one’.
– Catch thoughts about death in the bud, don’t entertain them. Dont imagine your funeral.
– Assess your environment. Are the people around you helping? Are you suffering abuse or oppression? Are you being neglected or bullied? These are all things that can be addressed and will certainly change your outlook.
– Do you need an outlet for your passion and ability? This could turn things around tremendously, providing you dont place your worth there.

Finally, medication and psychotherapies are not dirty words. There is no shame in them. And the same goes for prayer, faith and spirituality. My opinion is that the best strategy for mental health recovery is holistic and encompasses all/most of those things:

Mind –
Address your thinking. Have counselling. Work hard to tackle negative thought patterns and remove negative influences (watch what you watch, read and who you spend time around).

Body –
Get medicine if you need it. Get exercise and fresh air. Beware of the potential negative effects of depressants like drugs and alcohol. Get sleep and eat fresh produce.

Soul –
Pray, meditate, believe in miracles. Get others to pray for you. Read scripture. Go to worship meetings. Sing, dance, sit by the sea, play with animals.

In my opinion it’s a mixture of all the above that works best. But know that EVERY form of therapy needs your full commitment. You have to work very hard on that first thought, ‘I deserve to live.’ Start there. And don’t give up
All my love.