By Davie R, 25 July 2022
I watched the UFC fight on Saturday night and whilst Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett may divide opinion with his showboat and cocksureness, his speech at the end of the fight was raw, emotional and very, very important.
He told us how a friend of his had taken his own life a few days prior and how we need to ditch the stigma around mental health and suicidal thoughts, especially amongst men.
And he’s right. It is getting better but like a lot of things like this, they become all to easy to say with little substance. We need to continue to get the message out.
3 years ago around this time, (I don’t recall the exact date, but it was mid July), I had my last, and hopefully final encounter with suicide. In the early hours of the morning I walked out the house I was staying in at the time and hooked my hood onto the garage door and kicked my legs out.
Truth is, I shat it when I felt it tighten round my neck and I was able to get my feet back under me.
I didnt talk to anyone prior to this. My mental health got worse. Suicidal ideation was constantly on my mind. In the months that followed I’d visit my GP numerous times. I’d be given different tablets and have input from psychology.
I felt alone. Felt no one would really understand. I wont go into great detail but there were other factors in makin me feel alone and isolated.
I felt when I did open up no one listened. I knew they heard but they didn’t listen cos all they wanted to do was give me advice, pay lip service or fix me.
Its not what I wanted. Or needed.
See, here’s the thing, it’s our human instinct to want to help people, but sometimes, the best help is trying not to help, trying not to play the fixer, the sorter. The best help we can be is just to listen, to be there.
I’m not a doctor, a counsellor or any sort of professional in mental health. This is just personal experience.
See when someone tells you they’re feeling suicidal, or they’re feelin low, here’s a few do’s and don’ts;
Don’t tell them to man up
Don’t tell them other folk are worse off
Don’t tell them it’s a drink or a good night out they need
Don’t tell them you know just the thing to make them feel better
Don’t joke that it’s their “time of the month”
Don’t tell them it’ll all be better when they get a job, girlfriend, boyfriend, car, lottery win etc
Do tell them yer there for them
Do tell them you’ll just listen whilst they talk.
Do offer to go to the GP with them
Do tell them you might not understand or identify what they’re goin through or feeling but you’ll listen.
Do validate their feelings.
We also need to keep looking out for each other. We need to get comfortable about broaching difficult subjects.
“Are you thinking of killing yourself?”
Say that out loud.
Its uncomfortable isn’t it. It gives you a wee knot in your stomach and you’re probably thinking, “fvck that, im not asking anyone that. It sounds cheeky, too forward”
Guess what, tough, cos see that question, that could save a life.
So, get comfortable with the uncomfortable. When you ask that question the worst thing that’d going to happen is the person looking at you and telling you “NO”.
I’d rather have that look from a pal that thinks I’m daft than sit and wonder if the question could’ve saved them when I’m mourning them.
Get talking. Talk to your partners, your kids, your pals, even sometimes that stranger thats sitting looking like the weight of the world is on their back.
A kind word can save a life.
We have some great organisations out there, large and small and we have some wonderful people doing there bit.
Folk like Paul at Max Kolbe, the walk n talk group run by Andy Pingu, Dave with Kickin On are just a few.
Let’s get talking, let’s get saving lives.