National Suicide Prevention Week 2015 - How can we make a difference?


I didn't choose to come into this world, but I can choose how I spend my time in it. I have the power to do what I want and be exactly who I want to be.  I am the master if my own destiny.

I started to write this post, then I deleted it. I started to write it again, then deleted that one. I then wrote this, this collection of paragraphs combining an abundance of thoughts and feelings, mixed with emotional torment, the importance of why we should never give up on ourselves, and why we should be more inclined to share the positives.

As you are reading this, I think it is already obvious that I didn't delete it, but I thought about it. I even went as far as not posting it, but then I took a moment, in fact, I took several moments, a bath, a Cheesestring, and three episodes of Friends before finally - five days later - deciding to post it.

I was thinking about how when I was fifteen, even though it was only eight years ago, mental health was still a very taboo subject to talk about. The only experience I had ever had been people going into all the gory details on Tumblr, and when I say gory I am using it for lack of a better word, but the images, in-depth posts and depressing quotes were not what I should have been reading. When you are a teenager, your hormones are all over the place, you are trying to figure yourself out, you are trying to figure other people out, and you don't always have the relevant life skills/experience to deal with these things in a rational ways - all of which can be made worse if you are struggling with depression, anxiety, (and/or any other mental difficulties) which can quite often lead to suicidal feelings.

I didn't want to see these negative things, but when so many people are sharing their thoughts and feelings with the rest of the world, thoughts and feelings that you share, it is kind of hard to not look. You can share all these things online, with strangers that understand you and no one knows who you really are, you will forever be (not my URL anymore, just FYI)  You can release your soul through your fingertips, setting free your most intimate feelings and know that they are no longer tied to you - It's a comfort.

HOWEVER! I'm going to mention fifteen-year-old Kirstie again and say that when she was scrolling through Tumblr for every twenty negative posts, she would have been absolutely lucky to have found one positive post! I'm not saying that positive posts weren't out there, but people were a lot quicker to share the negatives than they were anything else.  This brings me to my original point of what made me decided to post this; I wanted to talk about the importance of sharing with others, especially with the younger generations.  The once fifteen-year-olds that were posting about their troubles online, that didn't know what their futures looked like are now older, a little bit wiser, and know what it is like to be a scared and not knowing what to do with their emotions.

We were the first generation that had so much internet freedom. We were the first to break away from drawing patterns on paint and fall into chat rooms, We were the first to have broadband, we were the first to experience widespread social media, so it only makes sense that we were the first to complain about our lives on the internet! We had no internet safety when trawling through chat rooms, there was no safeguarding and images were scarcely blocked, it was a free for all.  We could not learn from previous generations because they never experienced the internet as we did, but the next generation can learn from us! We were exposed to these dangers, we were the guinea pigs, and although we didn't know it then our experiences have helped to shape what the internet has become.

As veteran members of this widespread community, I think it is vital that we share our experiences with the world. As I said before, fifteen-year-old Kirstie was exposed to a lot of negativity, which in turn affected her mentally and is highly likely to have played a part in who she is today; but as veterans we are aware of this greater knowledge, and whilst it doesn't make us superior it does make us responsible. We should learn from our past selves, we should  be more inclined to share the positive side of life and talk about how we got through those tough times in our lives. We should be more vigilant, more self-aware, and more cautious of how the words we write can affect people. We should be sharing that hope is real, and rescue is possible.

I am basing this on our generation helping the younger generation, but it doesn't have to be that way, and it doesn't have to be with the internet either. Anyone can talk to anyone, using any means of communication! It's not about how we communicate, but the importance that we do - the only way we can help ourselves is by helping others, and changing the negative stigmas attached to mental health.

Everyone is entitled to feel how they feel, and no one should be put down for sharing their emotions, but it is important to remember that not everyone knows what it is like to have a mental illness or to feel suicidal. But the more we share, the more others will understand, and the more others understand, (the) more can be done to help those that struggle.

Feeling suicidal doesn't just go away, but speaking out can make a difference.

If you are feeling suicidal, or know anyone that is and want to talk, please call the samaritans 24/7 on 0845 790 9090

Kirstie xoxo 

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