I have never really shared my story before. The only people who know it are my Mum and my girlfriend. They know that I’m writing this letter. But I want to protect their privacy as much as mine. So, I won’t use my real name or tell you anything about them. But I do want to tell you about my struggle with suicide because I think it’s really important that you understand.
If I didn’t call the Pieta Crisis Helpline that night - I wouldn't be here now. I really believe that.
I remember writing a note for my Mum to say goodbye. I wanted to tell her I was sorry. And that it wasn’t her fault. I remember I left it beside the kettle before I left.
That was just before I rang Pieta. That’s how close I came. If I didn’t call the Pieta Crisis Helpline that night – if there wasn’t a qualified therapist there to take that call – I wouldn’t be here now. I really believe that.
I’ve been a Pieta supporter for years, ever since a friend of mine lost someone they loved to suicide. I always thought the work Pieta did was amazing, I’d done Darkness Into Light 3 or 4 times. I was really proud to be part of that. But I never thought I would ever need Pieta.
I never thought I’d ever consider suicide. I never thought I’d end up clinging to that phone call, standing in the dark, crying my eyes out to a stranger on the phone.
But suicide can affect anyone. I know that now.
I’ll never forget the woman who answered. She was so calm.
I had a very ordinary life growing up. I had friends, I was happy, and my family loved me. Then, when I moved away to college, I just started to lose contact with things. I didn’t really make new friends. I thought things would get easier when I started working. But they didn’t. I hated the job I had. It was really stressful. So, I moved back home for a while.
That wasn’t easy. And then Covid happened. That made things worse. We were all stuck on top of each other. That’s when I started to really struggle. But everybody was going through the same. I knew loads of people who were in more stressful situations than I was. They seemed to be able to cope.
Some days I couldn’t even get out of bed. I felt so ashamed. I started to wonder what was wrong with me. Things started to spiral. I had no idea what was happening to me or what I was supposed to do to stop it. And I was exhausted. And then, about a year ago, the thought came into my head that I could end my life. It was just a thought. But it kept coming back. Then it got to the stage where it was the only thought in my head. That’s what happened the night I called Pieta.
I’ll never forget the woman who answered. She was so calm. I said I didn’t know why I had called or something like that. And then she asked me. “Are you thinking about suicide? Have you thought about it before? Are you thinking about it now?”
When she asked me that, I couldn’t even breathe. I just heard myself saying, “Yes.” And then I started crying. You see, I had never told anyone how I felt. I don’t think I ever really even admitted it to myself. But to hear myself saying those words out loud –to have someone else hear me say it and not talk to me like I was going mad – I can’t tell you what a relief that was.
Hope is what Pieta is all about.
It was like somebody had seen me for the first time. Like somebody actually understood. That phone call changed everything for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a really difficult road. But I had an amazing Pieta therapist who worked with me for weeks and weeks afterwards. And the great thing about Pieta is that they give you these really practical tools that you can use to help yourself cope and keep yourself safe.
Every Christmas, my Mum does that thing of putting a candle in the window. It used to be just a tradition. Now she says she does it for Pieta. She says it’s a sign of hope. I really believe in that.
Hope is what Pieta is all about.