As we approach remembrance and the festive season, the darker evenings and colder nights it makes me think of those less fortunate.
The ones who are forced to live on the streets and of course those who "choose" to live on the streets because it's better than their actual reality. It makes me think of those unemployed, worried about keeping a roof over their heads and food on the table It makes me think of those who have felt it better to leave paid employment rather than being made to feel like scum, unappreciated and undervalued, experiencing mental abuse and bullying at the hand of their manager. It makes me think of all those less fortunate than myself for whatever reason that may be, but this is about those who wish to die but yet walk this earth for others, this is about the walking dead and letting them know that they are not alone.
It's a sad fact that many of us have contemplated suicide at some point in our lives, especially between 45 and 54 years old (Statistically), however if you are reading this then thankfully you're still with us, but are you alive or are you one of the walking dead? According to the latest suicide statistics there was 5219 suicides in England registered in 2021, that's just England, that's not the entire country, but that still may not sound like a big enough figure for you but to me and as a counsellor often working with clients struggling with grief and having a professional and personal insight on how suicide affects those left behind, I would estimate that for each life lost by suicide that the ripple effect would reach out to at least 10 other lives, so for easy quick maths that figure of a mere 5219 is of course suddenly 52190 now let that figure sit with you for a second or two and remember that its not just a figure, it's an actual human being, now how does that feel, shit isn't it?
I don't judge those who have committed suicide but I do feel so sorry for those left behind.
I myself have been suicidal a number of times over the years, and still today I can have times where I feel "what's the point"? but I soldier on and always will do no matter my own pain, quite simply because I would never do it to my kids, a view that in my dark days I didn't really think, as then I thought as many suicidal people do, that they would be better off without me....but they won't.
Sometimes we can just go through the process of living, or is it surviving? We get up, got to work, go to bed, and repeat the next day, and the next, and the next, simply working towards the weekend but when that comes you can't even do much with your time as everything just costs so damn much nowadays, especially in this financial crisis, which is ironic considering they call it "free time", so we sit about doing nothing, feeling......well, feeling like nothing and it's these times you can so easily think, what's the point in living, just to survive?
I empathise and even relate with many a suicidal client, but I can say without question that I am so pleased I am here today. Now before you go thinking that my life is perfect, trust me its not, but its still life and life is precious and not to be just thrown away.
I listen to people saying how they are hurting, how they are in torment, how they don't see the point in living, how they feel like they can't go on, how they just want the pain to stop and so on, and it breaks my heart to see them suffering in this way but I'm always reminded of a book by Viktor Frankl called "Man's search of Meaning".
I have made many a sacrifice in my lifetime but none more important than living for my kids sake (and NO they are not better off without you). Our self beliefs and religious beliefs may have us believe that ending our lives will stop the pain and suffering, and what's the point in suffering if it has no meaning, right? Well do we actually know without any doubt what actually waits for us beyond our current life? Regardless of our beliefs, do we actually have any hard FACTS at all? and what's to say that even if our religion tells us there will be a heaven beyond life, does that still apply if we cheat the system and jump to the front of the queue?
I can't speak about what awaits us, none of us can but I can speak for those left behind, I also work with many clients struggling with losing a loved one through suicide, I also live in a house with my wife and her four sons whose father committed suicide, and for the past 3 years I have witnessed every single day just how that has affected those boys, and my wife.
When I met my wife, she had been separated from her then husband and father of her sons for 3 years, in which time both had moved on and had other partners, but the fighting between them was still very apparent, mainly arguing over money and their kids. As much as I tried to stay out of their situation, it did of course affect me and my relationship with my partner (now wife), and it's fair to say that I had a couple of run ins with him myself, which is understandable as I had been "there" myself when I left my kids mother 10 years before, it's not easy seeing another man around your kids and with your wife (even when you have been separated for years). Now it's also fair to say there's no love lost between me and this guy, I'm not going to be a hypocrite and suggest otherwise, however he did end up teaching me an invaluable life lesson and for that I will always be forever grateful, he taught me to live no matter what.
I'm not going to get into the sordid details, but unfortunately this guy obviously took his own life and committed suicide. Now this was whilst being under the influence of illegal drugs of which I am sure played a big part of him taking his own life, and it troubles me just how many clients I have struggling with Ketamine or cocaine addiction.
For all this guys faults and for all the clashes him and I had, I actually understood how he became the way he ended up being, as I had lived a very similar experience, but thankfully for me I didn't fall to drink or drugs, but so very easily could have.
This guy certainly loved his kids, that I have no doubt and in the time I knew him we actually had quite a few extremely long conversations, and if circumstances were different, than maybe we could have been good mates but that clearly wasn't meant to be. He had a good job, a partner, friends and family, so from the outside looking in, his life was good, but he still ended up taking his own life, leaving his 4 boys behind to suffer for the rest of their lives, and it's that I live with, every single day. Everytime one of his boys has a life event, a birthday, Xmas, passing exams, passing a driving test, scoring a hat trick in a football match, literally anything a child would look to their father for praise, acceptance, understanding and love for, he wouldn't be there, and I see the pain and suffering deep rooted in their eyes, it's like looking into the eyes of a battle hardened war veteran, or like looking into demon eyes, and everytime they look for their Father he won't be there and they will ask for the rest of their lives why? why wasn't he there for them, why wasn't they enough, why didn't he get help, why did he do it, why, why, why and never to truly be given a definitive answer as truth is we simply don't know why, anyone can guess, speculate and presume but there is only one person who ever truly knows why and he isn't here to say.
I can also relate to my own suicidal thoughts and failed attempts, I remember thinking and even telling others that my own kids would be better off without me and that they don't want or need me, but somehow I managed to take a step back, away from death's door and live to fight another day (Side note: I've danced with the devil many times and when I knock on his door he opens it wide, that door for me is exactly the same red door as it is on the film "Insidious" - random I know).
Whatever our own many reasons for wanting to commit suicide (what's the point in living right?) it only takes ONE reason to live, and that reason at first for me was to live for my kids, but over time and when I come out of the darkness and away from that red door, I also begun to live for myself, right here and now I cannot be more pleased that I failed at something and if there is ever going to be something you fail at, let it be suicide because that's not failing, that's winning, thats certainly one thing living in this house has taught me, that no matter how shit my life gets, and it will from time to time because that's life, I will NEVER tap out. I will never put my own kids through what these 4 young men have had to go through and continue to go through and will always continue to go through and as I sit and type this I'm thinking of what positive changes I can make myself to make their lives just a bit easier (stop nagging them for one, would be a good start, I'm sure they would say).
Equally; I am a former Desert Rat of the Iraq war, a front line War Veteran, a label I have earnt and am proud of, and if I was to commit suicide then that would give no meaning to those less fortunate than myself, those who didn't make it back home, so I stay alive for them also.
Now let's also flip this on its arse for a second... I haven't spoken to my entire family (other than my kids) for about 18 yrs now, this is for various reasons, one of which being; when I reached out to them feeling suicidal they just left me to die,
so I stay alive quite simply to piss them off.
I can honestly say right here and now that no matter how shit life can be at times and no matter how long those dark times can be, I am so fucking pleased I am alive today, able to fight and keep on fighting to live another day, and I owe my life to my wife's ex for showing me what is left behind, to my kids for loving me even when I have not been the best father in the world (but I try to be), my dogs for always being happy to see me and for the many various other reasons, main one being myself.
Sometimes we might feel like the walking dead, but we take each day as it comes and we fight each day to live, for others and for hopefully for ourselves, and the good days do come but they won't if you're dead.
Just Talk...Just Saying