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Monday, 28 November 2011

In the Dark 2
Just one word
I would apologise for blogging more thoughts about Gary Speed's death but you should know me better than that by now. I'll blog whatever the frig I like, ta very much. 
Today the former Wales player Dean Saunders said, amongst other things, "I just wish I could have spoken to him before...maybe I could've just said something". He won't be the only one of Speed's friends n family who are thinking exactly the same thing today.
That's one of the cruel ironies of depression and suicide. The person who is depressed feels so worthless, trapped and desolate that to them it is unimaginable that anyone could care about them. Meanwhile they can be surrounded by those very carers, who love them and want, more than anything, for them to be well again. And the line between a depressive succumbing or surviving can be marked by just a few words.
When I've suffered from depression the one subject that everyone has studiously avoided is suicide, as if the mere mention of the word will have me jumping off the nearest cliff. Yet I'd have thought of that particular way out long before anyone else has dared to mention it. Problem is that whenever the subject of suicide has been avoided it has simply added to my loneliness and isolation and general feeling of freakery. Believe me, I've felt utterly fucking bananas as it is without feeling as if I'm the single person on the planet who is harbouring such a thought. 
In fact when I was referred to the local psych unit last year it was a revelation. It was like living in a parallel universe where suicide was as openly discussed as Katie Price's latest tit job. My counsellor would ask me if I was feeling suicidal, I would say yay or nay and then we would just, well, chat about it. No raised eyebrows, no judgement, nothing. And no it didn't push me over the edge or give me ideas about ending it all. In fact all it did was help. Just telling someone that I was suicidal was enough to help lift the terrible weight that I carried alone.
So now I wander about the place like the grim reaper, openly bantering about death and suicide. My honesty has led to a few people telling me about their own depressive feelings and the first thing I ask them is: are you suicidal? They either stumble backward in horror and say "Christ, I'm not that bad!" or they grasp at me with the relief that they aren't the freaks they thought they were.
Course, the first step in helping someone is even realising that they are depressed and that's why Gary Speed's suicide is such a shock to those who knew him. They simply had no idea that he even felt that way. What, in that case, could they have done? 
If there's one cruel lesson from this event it is that Speed's friends and family will be more likely to spot depression in someone, and more likely to talk about it, than ever before. That lesson has come too late for Gary Speed but perhaps it is just in time for the many other depressives who walk among us feeling lonely and unloved. 
Dean Saunders is right. Maybe you could just say something and save someone's life while you're at it.

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