i wanted to die …

my name is fragmentz … and as well as being fat (see a previous post) there was a time in my life when I wanted to die.

A few times in fact … but one very clear time that I will never forget about … when there was no other option than to die. That one time was more than ‘wishing’ or spending time planning or thinking about … this one time was about acting on that wish to go.

obviously … here i stand, by the grace of God if you believe in Him (which I do) or by sheer luck or fortune if you dont. So for me, it didnt work. And at the time … I was gutted. Devastated. Some people have the view that if you dont ‘successfully’ kill your self when you try then you didnt really mean to do it, and that you were just crying out for help. I disagree with that whilst acknowledging that for some people that may be the case. For me it wasnt. I had tried the call for help. Numerous times. I had tried many many things. I had gone beyond wanting help. I wanted release. The end.

Why am I writing about this? Again, some of you may say, as I have written one or two blogs over the last few years about my experience. The reason is because I can. And for that, now, I am thankful.

Why am i writing about this today/tonight? That would be because since Sunday all day and today I have been reading some very beautiful writings by some beautiful people about a beautiful person. Gary Speed. A former football player turned manager. Who sadly committed suicide so it would seem over the weekend. I dont know Gary, in fact I know very little about him, other than his job role and family status, oh and the fact it would seem there was something very dark going inside of his life that not many if any people knew about. This past week has also seen the apparent suicide of Angie Dowds, a celebrity fitness trainer, known for her role as a joint trainer on the UK version of ‘The Biggest Loser’ … a determined, strong and inspiring person to many. She also, for some reason, and who may ever know the real reasons why, felt there was no other option left to her other than to die.

So, the internet has been awash with tributes/tweets/blogs/reflections/thoughts. Its been over the news, over facebook, over the twittersphere. Famous people, celebrities, friends, family, fans and other folk have all come out to pay their respects. To give humbling and heartfelt reactions to the deaths of people who meant much to them.

And of course … the topic of mental health … depression / suicide has been bought to the front of peoples minds. Its been very interesting seeing it happen. Seeing the discussion, the empathy, support, the kind thoughts, and well meaning comments to the families effected by these two peoples passing, but also the whole on the topic of people wanting to kill themselves.

I whole heartedly advocate talking about it. And it feels uncomfortable to say but it has been heartwarming to see the responses of such tragedies. People not shoving it under the carpet.

I was touched hugely by the article Stan Colleymore released via his twitter … click here to read his thoughts . A very brave peice and I admire him greatly for putting it out there.

A few years ago, there was a documentary on the television about depression in the sporting industry and I remember writing at the time how indiscriminate mental health illness truly is. How indiscriminate depression truly is. How at any time it can surround any person. Rich, Famous, Poor, Not Famous, Fat, Think, Black, Green, White, Mothers, Daughters, Professionals, Sons, Fathers. Anyone. The list is endless. It could be anyone. It could be you.

It was me. And how life changing has it been. I am never going to be as poetic and eloquent in my words as some of the other blogs I have seen and read over the last 48 hours whatsoever, I am not even going to try. I dont think right now its needed particularly as so many other people are doing such a good job of describing their experiences.

I tweeted earlier on today this ‘Some really beautiful blogs and tributes bring written since the sad news of Gary speeds death … But please please don’t just move on from  The topic of depression/suicide/mental health as soon as it leaves the front pages coz his family/friends and anyone else effected by the Sadness and life changing/wrecking illnesses won’t. They don’t and won’t go away for the many millions out there who suffer daily’

And I suppose that is what is on my heart/in my mind this evening as I write this … depression is such a far wider thing that what we sometimes imagine it to be. It effects more than the person who has the illness. It effects so many different people, and even after maybe the final act is committed, for those people that isn’t the end. At I guess part of me feels that right now, this topic is being discussed hugely, probably because its effecting the famous the publicised, the people who make it into the papers (I am not intending this to offend whatsoever so apologies if it does to anyone) and that no doubt, as the headlines fade away so will the discussion … or the majority of the discussion, because for some of us there is always the discussion (there are some amazing mental health bloggers/writers out there).

But it doesn’t fade away for the millions of people who are out there struggling tonight. as I write this, it does not fade away for the people who go to sleep this evening wishing that they didn’t have to wake up in the morning.

It does not fade away for me. Yes, I am alive, yes I have come a long way from what is almost four years ago, from the time when I went to sleep having hurt my self significantly to not wake up again … (trust me, it was a shock when i did).

And I am glad I did. Wake up. I am glad that I have amazing people in my life who stand by my side as I walk this journey of learning to live again, learning how love, how to laugh, how to enjoy life. Some days are good. Some are not. The not days however are not as bad as they were. For now. But I live under the cloud .. all the time, as do many millions out there … the cloud of depression, of mental health illness. The cloud of being precariously balanced on a ledge of normality waiting for it to spike, to go into overdrive, or waiting for it to tilt the other way into a pit of despair that one can only claw to try and get out of … its my hope and prayer that I never have to experience how bad life was then again … but who knows? Because its so much more than just ‘being sad because …’ or ‘having a bad day …’.

I really want to encourage people who have been moved by the death of a sports personality, or anyone and RIP dear Gary to have the courage to continue the thinking of mental health, and how you see it. How you are affected by it. How you engage with it?

Keep the conversation going … because it needs to be talked about. It needs to become less of a stigma and the only way that can happen is through awareness and people continuing to speak out, write about it, be honest/open and make it the very real thing that it is.

Please.

 

If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression/mental health illness or thoguhts of suicide, please please get help. 
The Samaritans are a 24 hour talk line for people in distress, and a service I have used and been very grateful. You can find them at http://www.samaritans.org or phone UK 0845 90 90 90 ROI 1850 60 90 90 (check out the link on the site for interntaional ‘befrienders’ information’ 
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Remember, Remember … the 11th of November.

Remember remember … remember remember … the 5 th of November. Such popular saying. Regarding the day when we set off an obscene amount of fireworks and stand in the freezing cold going oooh, ahhh, eee, or maybe even oww if your lighting them or the bonfires and get it wrong …

However, I think we should change the Remember Remember saying to Remember Remember the 11th of November.

The 11th of November is Armistice Day. Remembrance Day. And the Sunday nearest to that is Remembrance Sunday. And as I sit writing this blog, it is the end of the day that has been Remembrance Sunday. The 11th has been and gone, and now has the Sunday too.

Every year I write a blog around this time, mostly on the day, or very soon after. Obviously this year its shortly after. Why do I feel so compelled always to try and put some words into a post, and attempt to pretend I know what I am talking about?

I am a huge advocate in Remembrance Day. A huge advocate of poppy wearing. A huge advocate of red poppies. A huge advocate of people taking time to think about and remember the cost the people who have gone before have paid.

As I have written before  and always write and say … this is not about politics. Politics are for another day. The other 364 days that there are in a year, and which are used very well by al sorts of people to debate/discuss/agree and disagree with war. Politics are for those days. Not for the 11th of November. Regardless of what religion you are, regardless of what culture you come from, what your identity is, who you are, and what you believe in.

you can find my previous blogs on this topics at  please remember them and thank you which talk a little bit more about why this is important to me, and some of my experiences of working with the elderly around this time.

You dont have to agree with someone or something to show some respect for the loss of something very important. And to me, in this case, on Remembrance Day that loss is the loss of life. All loss of life that has happened due to war.

The past few years I have had the privilige of being able to go and mark the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in town, by the local memorial with local people and local men and woman who have fought in past past wars and men and woman who are currently in services and spend their lives in conflict now. Its always very emotional, and poignant.

This year I had to work, however had the huge honour of ensuring all the people I care for who were unable to get a Poppy had one if they wished. It was an honour to lead staff into gathering all together with some of the people we look after, and observe the 2 minute silence. Let me tell you, it was humbling to stand in the midst of a very busy unit, with 20 or so members of staff, nurses, carers, domestic staff, chefs/cooks and of course our elderly patients and see/hear it fall silent as the chimes of Big Ben (we used the TV as our guide) chimed.

I always get teary eyed.

Why? Because to me, loss of life is sad. The loss of soldiers lives is sad. The loss of children caught up in zones they didnt want be caught up in is sad. The every day man and woman going about their business when their God calls them home. That is sad. It is sad that children are growing up without their parents, and that could have easily been me (both my parents served in the forces). Children are growing up without a mother, a father, a brother, a sister. It is sad that a father and mother bury their own children. It sad that wives lose the person they thought they would grow old with. It is sad that healthy, normal everyday people with a job to do, go and do that job and take huge risk and pay the ultimate price. It is sad that someone can kiss their beloveds goodbye in the morning, and never again return to their home. It is sad that all of the above applies to people/families in the military, but also to the civilians in their villages/towns and cities.

To me , whether or not I agree with war or not it is all sad.

And those people who have died, solder or not deserve our thoughts. Our respect.

I could write and write on the effects these tragic events have had on our history. And how it effects each and every one of us right now. And that in many ways, especially previous wars their loss has been to our advantage. For those people who have died gave their todays for our tomorrows. And personally I am thankful for that.

That is why I proudly wear a poppy. A red one.In memory of those dead, those who are dying and those who are still caught up in the midst. In memory of the people I have known and not known.

Because the poppy is a symbol, of the blood that has been shed. Then, and now.

It is not and should not be a political statement. Wearing a red poppy is not saying I agree with war. It isnt saying I dont.

It is saying that I am remembering and going to remember those lives lost and the cost they paid.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.