Firstly, thanks to John for coming up with the #ILiveItIBlogIt series and both Han and Lauren for getting me involved by nominating me. The idea is to share a personal story, then nominate a further two people to take part. I’ve chosen to nominate Beth and Fran.
So now I’ve got the introductions out of the way, I guess I’ve got to talk about something personal. To be honest, I’ve touched on a lot of personal things over the (almost) year that The Life of Lilly has existed. I’ve talked about mental health once or twice, I’ve talked about toxic friendships and I’ve talked about regaining control in my life.
So instead of talking about all of the things I’ve touched on before (though I’m sure they’ll come up naturally because they’re obviously all close to my heart), I’m going to talk about a recent experience which opened my eyes. In the interest of privacy, I’m going to be a bit vague, so apologies for that.
Not long ago, someone very close to me decided they didn’t want to live anymore. This is something I had a hard time getting my head around because even in my ~darkest moments~, I’ve never felt like ending my life. I’ve always had the concept of hope, the idea that things will get better. Telling this to someone who wants to die is pretty fruitless (not that it meant I’d stop trying).
Without going into the finer details (because honestly, I don’t even want to think about it, let alone make anyone else think about it), I watched this person dying in front of me. I heard the note of panic in the voices of the paramedics. Thankfully, we were incredibly lucky that day and I didn’t have to face what would have been a crippling loss.
The weirdest thing was how dramatic it was. One moment, I was celebrating an occasion and the next, I was dialling 999, crying and panicking down the phone (I was put on hold for an extraordinary amount of time considering it was 999), driving a lot faster than I should have been to get to them. I spent the entire drive saying out loud that they would be fine, when the reality was I had no clue if they were even alive. It was, without a doubt, the worst feeling I’ve ever experienced.
And I started thinking about my relationship with this person too. You know how they say your life flashes before your eyes? It’s kind of like that, except it’s your entire collection of memories with them. The good ones and the bad ones. The things you’ve said that you wish you hadn’t. The things you wish you’d done differently.
This is the kind of experience that changes you. I mean, obviously it does… but I suddenly realised that nothing mattered more to me than this person’s life and all of the (unrelated) depressive emotions I had been feeling prior to the event were totally trivial. I gained perspective and I found strength I hadn’t known before.
It also taught me a lot about recognising when someone is having suicidal thoughts and about how easy it is for someone to end up in that place. It woke me up to the reality that I didn’t do enough to prevent it happening, but also that it’s not a decision that I will ever have control over when it comes to other people.
The reason I’ve chosen to talk about this particular event is the inspiration behind the blog post. The idea that you live it, you blog it. At the time, I wasn’t willing or ready to write about this in such a black and white way (and I’m still not entirely sure I am actually going to click ‘publish’ when I’m finished) – but if there’s one thing I want my blog to be, it’s honest. I’ve never really shied away from telling the truth, which can be quite detrimental at times. We all know there’s a stigma about mental health and by avoiding writing about it, I’m only feeding that negativity.
I’m really glad to say that things are getting better and while I’d never choose to relive that day, it was a real turning point for everyone involved.
And a final note for anyone feeling suicidal: no matter what you think, people love you. People want there to be a future for you. Sometimes, people are entirely wrapped up in their own lives and they can seem flippant or unconcerned about yours, which isn’t necessarily ok, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care. Talk to someone.