Issues around mental health are such a puzzle. Especially with middle aged men.
84 men kill themselves each week in the UK. 12 every day. A 2017 Samaritans report revealed 6,639 suicides in the UK and the Republic of Ireland in 2015. 4,997 (75%) were men. The highest rates of suicide were in the 40 – 44 age band.
I was on anti depressants about 8 years ago when I was 42. For a day or two. Then I stopped. I decided to see how I’d do with just counselling because the medication caused me to have an immediate and dramatic dip. After a couple of months, the storm – and the issues (all my fault) that were the catalyst for the storm – passed.
Told You So
During that time however, I’d occasionally drive stupidly. So irresponsible and cowardly was I that I actually entertained the idea that dying in a car crash would be the most balanced and ‘right’ solution for me. ‘Right’ because, if it happened, it was fate playing a part. This allowed me to take no responsibility at all for my own life. Or anyone else’s.
So if I’d have died, my shitty view of myself would have been verified in no uncertain terms.
“‘Told you I was worthless. I’m dead.”
I have no idea what to do about the depression and suicide problem. Asking people how they are is too simple. It may be part of the solution but it’s not the full story.
When I was depressed I was highly skilled in radiating OK-ness when, behind my eyes, I was – from time to time – totally indifferent about being here at all. So much so that the gap between me smiling and saying I was OK, and not being here, could have been literally seconds. I could have been whistling as I exited.
This kind of thing seems impossible to fathom. I don’t know what to do about it. Trying to look closer – to see behind a person’s eyes to the truth – I don’t know how you do that.
But if I sense that anyone is troubled, I do intend to try.
The image at the top of this story is, I admit, rather dramatic. However it is a good indication of how quickly I and many others would swing from one extreme to another. Seconds.
In the time it takes you to spin it and read it upside down – I’d have changed.