World Suicide Prevention Day 2021

As today is World Suicide Prevention Day, I am reposting my poem ‘Sorry Mate,’ which is included in the Indie Blu(e) Anthology Through The Looking Glass:Reflecting on Madness and Chaos Within.

Sorry Mate

As I sank into the depths of alcoholism
depression and despair 
not a soul around me seemed to care
except the man who stood next to me on the tube
whose angry eyes seemed to say ‘how dare
you stand so close to me?’
Perhaps I didn’t smell too good:

Sorry Mate, did I spoil your commute?

The Councilmen evicted me
because I couldn’t pay the rent:
nothing else for it then but to be
drunk on a park bench at 8am.
A cyclist whizzed past me,
in a hurry, still
he somehow found the time to spit
in my general direction

Sorry Mate, did I spoil your commute?

Traffic’s circulating on the M25 quite nicely
and it gives me a grim satisfaction 
as I climb the stairs and wait:
gotta pick my exit time just right.
I used to drive this route myself,
I had a company car like you
and like you I would get pissed off,
when some tosser would climb the bridge and throw himself off. 
So I bequeath to you my final thought: 

Sorry, Mate: did I spoil your commute?

© Experimentsinfiction 2020, All Rights Reserved

About suicide prevention

This is a subject close to my heart, because my mother committed suicide, and I can vouch for the fact that it is devastating for those left behind. I always wish I could prevent suicides before they happen. All I can do is try to listen, and help where I can.

When I lived in London, it seemed like every other day there would be a suicide on the Tube, the rail network, or on the motorway. And what always struck me was the heartlessness of commuters who said it was ‘selfish’ to take one’s own life in this way, causing an inconvenience to others.

In the U.K., men aged 45-49 are in the highest-risk group for suicide. Although I can only guess at the reasons for this, I imagined the narrator of this poem would fit into this category: someone who was formerly materially successful, but who lost everything, perhaps because he had internal trauma which he never got help to deal with.

On a personal note, I know that PMDD sufferers can also experience suicidal feelings and ideation. Some of those sufferers will attempt suicide, and some of those attempts will succeed. That’s why I am advocating for better awareness and understanding of this condition. I can experience these thoughts and feelings during PMDD, but I now recognise them for what they are, and can talk myself down from any emotional ledge I may find myself on. But it’s still important to talk about, because many sufferers will not even realise they have the condition. I wrote about the impact of PMDD on my mental health, in a publication which will be included in a forthcoming anthology from Indie Blu(e): But You Don’t Look Sick.

Talk to the people you love, and encourage them to talk if you think they might be suffering from depression, or at risk of suicide. If you are feeling that way yourself, reach out for help.

If you’re in the U.K., help is available from the following charities:

Samaritans
CALM
Mind

56 thoughts on “World Suicide Prevention Day 2021

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  1. I know your emotions are sorrifully felt on such traumatic day Ingrid … And sadly I too know sadly… “what happens to the heart” .. visiting Carole’s grave this afternoon, just beside her site … is her grandniece’s grave (she committed suicide, at 19) …

  2. I think we only ever speak of a part of the issue with suicide.
    Everybody says, “please don’t commit suicide”.
    But nobody says, “what the **** is so wrong with the world, that you feel it is your best option?”

      1. I think it must be a mix. Certainly the emergence of services like Dignitas indicates that apparently-rational people recognise that there might be sound reasons for suicide.
        I don’t think it is automatically irrational, for sure.

  3. Thankyou for this post I gid it speaks reams. It is a subject very close to my heart to, for reasons that only God knows. Thanyou Ingid 💞

  4. I remember this one. I’m so sorry–I know you feel this deeply.
    I didn’t realize that suicides on the Tube were that common. This past year someone my daughter’s age, a public school music teacher, committed suicide. She knew him from theater groups, and no one seemed to really know he was depressed or what exactly happened.

    1. Thank you Merril. Often people will hide what’s really going on and try to put a brave face on. That’s why we need to keep the conversation going!

  5. Thi is such an important topic, and you have written it so well. I understand that when the pain gets too great to bear, some people seek that exit. So sad that it happens as often as it does. I am so sorry you lost your mother that way. So very hard to lose someone in that way.

  6. My comment disappeared. I am so sorry you lost your mother to suicide. That leaves behind such a devastating grief. It is sad that, when pain gets too great to bear, some people find it impossible to hang on. This is an important topic, and I am glad you are shedding light on it.

    1. Thank you Sherry. It’s hard for the person going through it and hard for the people left behind. But still it seems almost impossible to talk about!

  7. I couldn’t comment earlier it wouldn’t let me for some reason. What a great poem that is Ingrid and sorry to hear about your mother. Must have been and probably still is very difficult for you. In Hull we have the Humber Bridge and hundreds of people have jumped off it. Mainly men funnily enough. They have a mental health team there now to help if anybody is in need there.

  8. A very powerful write! So sorry you lost your mother through suicide Ingrid. Cheers to you for writing about this as it is so needed.

  9. Ingrid,
    The poem makes its point well: we’re either blind or callous to the pain around us. While we have the chance, let’s open our eyes and our hearts. And make a difference. May God comfort you in the tragedy you have borne in this regard.
    pax,
    dora

  10. sorry for your loss Ingrid, and very wise to address this with links for help.

    Here is Oz our highest suicide rate was 35-64 years but over a decade it has now become the 18-24 year age group. So sad when that many of our young ppl see no point in living. But the good news, other than anxiety, etc which have increased during our 18 month dance with covid, suicide rates have dropped significantly … we can only speculate why but we all need some good news!

    1. Thank you so much Kate. That is an interesting statistic: I wonder if people managed to make more connections online so they felt less isolated?

      1. or that they felt supported with so many others feeling hopeless and helpless … I looked up the research but they don’t have the capacity to go any deeper.

  11. I remember reading this , heartfelt, powerful write. I am so sorry for your loss. We are often dismissive about it which is awfully callous. All we need to do is be there for our loved ones.

  12. I loved hearing this again Ingrid and darn there were those I wanted to reach out to yesterday. Thanks for the reminder. As always I’m so sorry for the loss of your mom and that devil PMDD. If you ever need help being talked off the ledge please call me at any time. 💖💖💖
    Take good care. 💖

      1. You’re so welcome my friend! Yes, you better be Or I’ll send the troupes out after you.. 💖💖💖 I’m only 16 hrs away.. I’ll drag you to jail and that would be worse. 💖🙏🙏🙏🥰

  13. Ingrid, this is a brave and powerful poem about subjects that need more open and honest discussion. I was always frustrated by the lack of attention given to suicide awareness and addiction in various schools I worked in. There are many reasons behind the decisions to not initiate engaging dialogue surrounding these issues, but I believe some of this stemmed from administrators not wanting to highlight “problems” at their school. Of course no school, community, or family is immune to these real issues.

    1. That’s an interesting point. I don’t think schools and communities in general provide enough support. But just because we ignore these problems doesn’t mean they will go away: it in fact makes things worse.

      1. Lack of helpful resources and support is a sad truth, across most communities, it seems. More resources should be allocated toward treatment instead of punishment, in my opinion. I agree with you, of course, that ignoring these problems doesn’t make them disappear. In my experience in school settings, those with the authority to orchestrate these meaningful discussions, led by properly trained facilitators, did not happen.

  14. Suicide still evokes shame, and is not talked about enough. And we are so unforgiving of those in the depths of despair. Having someone to talk to is important, but also becoming more aware of what might lead one to suicidal thoughts. Powerful and important words. (K)

  15. When I was in high school a girl that I shared a few classes with had been absent. When she came back she was wearing bandages around her wrists. There were hushed whispers in the classroom, and everyone avoided talking to her, me included. I didn’t know what to do, how to react. It was never talked about. This culture of silence around mental health and suicide is incredibly damaging to everyone. You learn to be ashamed. You learn to isolate yourself when you’re struggling. That is why I love this poem. It’s brutal, and honest, and very much in your face <3

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