The below was originally posted to the Causeway Living Facebook page, but due to including a link to another article, it meant it that when people shared it, they lost my written post. After receiving such overwhelming feedback, I’ve now also added it here. The Causeway Living journal is something I’d set to one side (as most of my thoughts are logged on social media instead) but this can stand as a more permanent link for anyone who found the post helpful or wants to share with anyone else. Thanks for reading.
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and while suicide has never directly impacted my life, suicidal thoughts definitely have. One of the things that really helped me with that, was hearing Scottish comedian Limmy talk honestly about his mental health struggles, that even with a popular TV Show and a young son with his partner and everything looking great from the outside, he still in his words felt like, “I really need to top myself because I just don't like this any more. I just don't like the whole thing, I'll wake up every day and I won't enjoy it, and then I'll go to sleep.”
I looked up this article to find a quote similar to the way I’d feel at times and noticed it was from May 2014 - it was literally the next month, June 2014 I started the juice fast that was the first step amongst many to improving my life circumstances and feeling a lot better, both physically and mentally. You can read the article above for yourself although it’s more oriented around anti-depressants (something I’d been on and off since my teens too) but for me, the most important thing in reading it was knowing someone else went through the same thing, which really reduced my shame of having similar thoughts.
However when thoughts like that have arisen, I don’t honestly believe I’d ever have acted upon them or done anything about it. Even within those moments I did always feel like ‘life is short, I can suffer through this, I’d never put my family through that pain’, but I’m certainly not saying that in judgement of anyone who has taken their own life and if my circumstances had become worse, who's to say I wouldn't have as well. I felt more like how Limmy put it, “I wanted to chuck everything away”. But here’s the kicker, I’ve still had those thoughts right the way through my journey whilst things have continued to get better.
I remember almost 6 months into the dramatic life shift that began with my 2 month juice fast and dropping close to 100lb and no longer suffering the symptoms of the Rheumatoid Arthritis which had been part of my life the 4 years prior, on a flight to Peru to go to the Amazon Jungle, all incredible things beyond most people’s wildest dreams, and still looking out the window of the plane feeling like “if this went down into the ocean at least it’d all be over and I’d have some peace”, that the work just wasn't worth it.
It was made worse by the instant guilt I’d feel for having a thought like that and followed by, “you should be more grateful, what about the billions of people who have it worse than you” etc. etc. Guilt that was alleviated thanks to knowing there’s other people out there like Limmy who from the outside seemed to have an amazing life, living his dream on TV in a successful relationship with a beautiful partner and healthy wee boy together, but still had those thoughts like ‘it’s not worth it’ too.
Thankfully he got to see those thoughts for what they really are - not a judgment on his life or a lack of gratitude to feel guilty over: it’s just being unwell.. mental illness. In the article I posted you can read how he managed to alleviate that through anti-depressants, which gave him enough breathing space to get through, perhaps similarly to how when I’ve had similar thoughts, I’d used different tools like getting into the cold water as an example. Maybe even like The Iceman (Wim Hof) in the time of the passing of his wife who died through suicide also, leaving Wim with 4 kids.
And while I’m endlessly blessed with a roof over my head, enough food, great people around me, loving family, my health back, living my dream of getting to help others, I’m not immune from getting those dark thoughts from time to time as well. I’ve discovered a lot of tools that help mitigate it and I share those through Causeway Living and life is always still on an upward trend but there are definitely still dips in the roller-coaster. If you have those dips too, it’s nothing to be ashamed of and better to speak about it.
Life’s really complicated and it's going to #*$%ing hard at times but it’s also really beautiful beyond imagining at others. It’s good to be honest about all of it and surround yourself with good people who you can express yourself to authentically, without fearing judgement. I’m stepping closer to something like this on a wider scale online by rebuilding my Causeway Academy group, but local folks benefit from that already through friendships made at Team Dash & Splash, and I’m sure people get the same from other things like jiu jitsu or yoga or other community.
That's a hard thing to put out there, but if people like Limmy didn’t speak up before me then who knows where I’d be, and maybe someone reading this down the line will feel the same and pass that on too. Much of Causeway Living has been inspired by the stories of others - if I hadn’t learnt of Joe Cross overcoming his chronic illness and coming off medication then maybe I’d never have pushed to achieve the same, and grateful now to come full circle to share my story too - thanks for being part of that and supporting.