It Takes Hard Work to Stop Feeling Suicidal…
So tomorrow is #WorldSuicidePreventionDayand because the majority of Scotland will be focusing on the football tomorrow, I thought I would use today to share my message and thoughts on this event.
It’s amazing that in 2016 we live in a world where there are events and occasions like World Suicide Prevention Day and people around the world do their bit to raise awareness of this issue.
There is a lot of amazing work being done, with lots of new organisations, activists and campaigns starting that actively fight stigma and help to raise awareness of mental health issues.
But today I don’t want to talk about raising awareness of mental health.
I don’t want to talk about removing the stigma.
I don’t want to talk about removing the discrimination that people with mental health issues face.
I want to talk directly to those who are suffering with a mental health issue or specifically for this occasion those who are feeling suicidal or have experienced suicidal thoughts.
I want to speak to you today and I have 2 clear messages for you.
On the face of it one of them seems really nice and loving and the other one may come across a bit blunt.
But I promise you that both of these messages come from a deep desire to really help you and sometimes in life the things that will help us most are the hardest to face.
The first message is that there is hope.
There is definitely hope that things will get better and you can overcome your depression or suicidal feelings.
The picture on the left is me in May 2015, after my failed suicide attempt.
Yesterday on my world cycle attempt, I just achieved my own personal best of cycling over 7 hours in one day pedalling over 147km. My longest and furthest days on a bike.
The reason I tell you this is because just 6 months I wasn’t a cyclist.
6 months ago I was majorly depressed and felt suicidal at least once every single day.
6 months ago I hadn’t cycled a bike in more than 5 or 6 years.
And that was only cycling around my neighbourhood as a kid, pedalling no more than 1 or 2 miles.
But 6 months ago I knew something had to change and I made a personal commitment to myself that I was going to do everything within my power to overcome my depression and stop feeling suicidal.
It took me completely changing my lifestyle and setting a goal so huge that I had to focus all my energy and attention on it.
6 months on I’ve beaten depression and stopped feeling suicidal.
I’ve just pedalled over 3,000 miles and I’m now in my 9th country about to achieve my biggest goal yet.
Again I tell you all of this to show you what’s possible and that no matter how low you feel right now. Things can get better.
I’m not saying everyone has to take on huge goals and challenges.
The message is that I managed to overcome depression and stop feeling suicidal and so can you.
I’m taking on such a huge challenge to show what’s possible when we choose to remove our limited beliefs and follow our dreams.
Here’s the 2nd message and the one that may sound a bit harsh or blunt.
It takes hard work.
It takes a lot of hard work to stop feeling suicidal.
I didn’t just go to bed one night feeling depressed and suicidal, then wake up the next day in a foreign country on a world cycle, following my dreams feeling incredibly happy.
It took hard work.
It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears. (literally)
I started working on this Tartan Explorer challenge in September 2015, I’ve been working for a whole year to do this and to improve my mental health.
It was exactly a year ago in September 2015, where I gave up everything I had to focus on making my Tartan Explorer dream a reality.
In that time I’ve had to make some huge lifestyle and behaviour changes.
I had to spent a lot of time reading and learning about mental health and how the human mind works.
I had to put in a lot of effort to change my attitude and mindset.
I had to eat healthily and exercise.
I had to start focusing on the positive in every situation no matter how bad it seemed.
I recognised that alcohol and my social life was having a massive negative impact on my mental health, so I had to give it up and walk away for a while.
Do you know how hard it’s been losing contact and not being as close with certain friends of mine?
Do you know hard it was staying in at the weekend and not going out?
Do you know how hard it was to go out running and eat chicken and rice for dinner instead of sitting in front of the TV eating a takeaway.
These are all sacrifices and decisions I made because I knew that they would benefit my mental health and I made a commitment to myself I would do everything in my power to feel good again.
And although not speaking to friends for a while and not going out was hard.
It was what I had to do.
Because I knew that I couldn’t keep living my life that way.
If I did I would have been dead within the year.
My mental health and happiness became my absolute number 1 priority over everything.
In the short term that meant losing out on some of the things and people that I love most.
The great thing is that now after spending so much time and effort on my own personal development.
I’m in a really good place in my life where I am starting to slowly incorporate some of these things back into my life.
But with balance.
And because I’ve dealt with all my mental shit I can now go back to being my old self again and enjoy all the things I used to.
Sometimes you have to just take a step back for a bit, audit your life and behaviour, make some sacrifices, work hard to change and then you will start to notice huge improvements in how you think, feel and enjoy life.
I’m really here to help anyone who wants it. For anyone who has ever private messaged or mailed me you will know I’m very responsive and will take as much time to speak to anyone who reaches out to me about these issues.
I’ve struggled far too much in the past with this stuff to not want to do my bit to help others.
I don’t want anyone else to feel like I did because it’s the worst thing ever.
But too often I get too many messages from people who want the help but don’t want to put in the work.
They message me with their story, asking how I done it and telling me they want help to feel better.
I tell them how much learning and education helped me and recommend certain books that changed my life.
I send the Amazon link and tell them it’s only £6, they can download it to their phone and can read it in 4 or 5 hours.
I tell them if they have any questions about it or want to discuss the knowledge or content then just text me as I love the books and would love to chat with others about it to see what they thought and what their opinions are.
To this day I’ve still never had 1 single person come back and read any of the books I’ve suggested.
And I literally have had thousands of messages now since I begun my work in mental health.
And that’s my point.
Everyone wants to be better but from what I’ve seen no one wants to put in the hard work that is required.
And that’s where this rant has came from.
And trust me I say this because I want to help and believe this is the advice that can help you most.
Because when something is out of your control, your powerless to change it.
But I personally believe our reactions to these illnesses are well within our control and there is plenty we can do ourselves to change our situations.
So there is hope for everyone, but you need to put in the work in my opinion.
No one should ever have to feel suicidal or depressed.
No one chooses to suffer with these illnesses.
But we do have the power to change.
When you realise you have that power it’s a special moment.
Rather than having an illness you are stuck with, or thoughts and feeling you can’t change.
You suddenly have the power to overcome everything.
So if you do feel suicidal.
Please don’t suffer in silence.
Confide in a friend or family member and start the process of getting help.
I’m here to help anyone who wants it.
No matter who you are I’m only a message away and will always take the time to help.
At first I will show you kindness and compassion, to sympathise with the illness I once suffered with.
I’ll listen to you and try to understand as best as I can.
Then after sharing all of the tools, tips and knowledge that helped me.
It’s time to get the sleeves rolled up and start working on changing the way you feel.
I promise you won’t look back and if you are determined to put in the work I’ll be with you every step of the way
If not I’m afraid there isn’t much I can do to help.
The Tartan Explorer