This is not a planned blog. This is happening right here and now. I’m away from home for a couple of days and I am staying in an Air B&B. Today is not a good day for me. The 16th and 17th of February are maybe the hardest days of the year for me. Anyway…. I got back to my Air B&B earlier than expected and I found that I had locked myself out. Instantly, because of the day it is, I just couldn’t cope. I texted the lady of where I was staying and she basically said there was no spare key, she wouldn’t be back until later and I would have to call and pay for a locksmith. I read the message and just could not cope. I was saying to myself “why is this happening today”. This lasted about 2 minutes.
Then I had a little talk with myself. I do that…talk to myself. If you have spent any manner of time with me, you will see that I do it a lot. I joke that its because I am mad but actually, it’s my way of self-soothing. It took me a long time to recognise it as that …but that’s what it is.
So, I basically told myself to calm down. To stop overreacting and stop getting angry. I was then arguing back with myself that this woman is rude, that if she doesn’t get my stuff out blah blah blah. I have that inner battle with myself constantly. Always have. However, these days, the sensible adult in me always wins. Well…. most of the time. I am able to think rationally after the initial flip out. I can self sooth and breath. I speak a lot about my “Inner child” but that is how I see it now. The scared little girl in me kicks off because that’s what she knows and it’s my job as older Kendra to sooth her. I still need her in me, but I am now able to calm her.
But there were times when I couldn’t. Lots of times when I was unable to think straight and made bad choices. And then there was the worst time.
I just picked up my phone and looked at it. About to text the one person I need to ask, “is it ok to post this”. But actually…I don’t need to ask. Because the fact I am able to speak like this means that its time to speak like this…if that makes sense.
This time a few years ago. This actual day. This actual time I lost control of my thoughts. Right now, a few years ago, I had written 5 letters. 5 goodbye letters. I was not OK. But every single person that had interacted with me the days leading up to that had no idea what was going on. I was operating (That is the correct word) on a level that I knew I needed too. The closet people to me had no idea what was going on in my head until it was almost too late. Imagine that …imagine how guilty they must have felt after…that they didn’t notice. That’s one of the things I may never forgive myself for. Making them feel like that.
The truth was, I was working double hard that they wouldn’t notice. I was doing all I could so they wouldn’t find out.
That I didn’t want to be here anymore.
I typed that and sat for a moment. I paused. Because I am not sure I have said that out loud for a long time. And it still brings a shattering silence to my ears. To know I felt like that. And to know the consequences of what would have been if I had completed what I started. But it’s the truth.
I was done. I was tired. Another battle in life had reared its head, triggers of past harm were every where I looked. And I felt like I had let them all down. All the people that I loved. I felt like I was about to let people down. I couldn’t eat or sleep.
But most importantly. And this is the bit that has always got me, I didn’t feel like I had gone mad. I didn’t feel scared (not for myself). I almost felt calm. Because it was going to be over.
Of course. Now with a rational mind, I can see that I was unwell. That things had gone too far. That the little girl in me had taken control. Literally.
I have spoken about this briefly before, and once again, I wound never go into detail because of the secondary trauma for the two people that were part of that.
However, when I had my mini breakdown about not being able to get into my room today, I had a word with myself and decided that actually, this was OK. That anger would not solve anything, and I needed to calm down. Worse case……I would have to pay for a lock smith. Done. And yes, she was there …little Blondy…reminding me of all the things that could go wrong with that plan. Of all the bad outcomes that could happen. She started panicking. Said we should look for other hotels. Should tell the lady we would not be paying for a lock smith!
And then, with some self-soothing…I remined myself that this time a few years ago…life was bad. Very bad. And that I need to put myself in check. So, I sat on the floor, got out my laptop and started my master’s dissertation. Been putting it off for weeks. But that’s where I sat for 3 hours. Doing my work and reminding myself how blessed I was that I was even in year 2 of my masters. When my inner Blondy (I like that…that is now my inner child’s name from her onwards) was nice and calm…I said that we must have faith that things would be OK.
When the lady arrived back, she was angry. She said that she didn’t have the money for a locksmith either. She said that she had a box of keys that came with the house but there was so many that it would be impossible! I smiled and said, its ok, we can try, and if not then I will call a lock smith. Her little girl was with her, so I said its like a game…find the missing key. The little girl smiled.
We spent the next half hour trying all these keys…about 30 keys…none fitted. Whilst we were trying them, we talked about life…about schools…. about cats. The lady become less irritated and you could see she wanted to help me, but she also was frustrated and stress with the situation. When we couldn’t find the key, I stood up and said well done to her daughter for trying them all, and she smiled and showed me her pet cat. Then the lady said that she would contact her friend who is a builder and see if he could help. I said thank you. I picked up the box of keys to hand to her and there, underneath, was one more key with a key ring that said, “Flat C”. My room had a number not a letter. The girl saw it…screeched …picked it up and said, “This one…I know it”. Her mum took the key and turned to me and the girl and said, “Come on …wish girls” and me and the little girl laughed and made our hands like we were praying. I said, “It won’t work, this is a bad day for me, always is” and as I said that the lady turned the key and the door opened. We all jumped up and down like kids. We laughed and started making jokes about all the keys we had tried. We had a chat and they went off happily.
I came in my room and juts sat. I could hear all the texts coming through on my phone from all the people I had texted telling them that I was locked out. And I smiled. Because I was OK. This day hadn’t got the better of me. Not this time and never again. Because I am now able to recognise when I need to self sooth. I am able to reach out to people and tell them if my day is rubbish or I have a problem. I had that option on this day a few years ago…but I felt unable to do so. Now…. well…. I tell everyone everything. That lady and her daughter didn’t deserve for me to be angry. That little girl didn’t need to see an argument or anxiety. So…even on your darkest day….be kind. To others…but also to yourself. I then spent ages talking to a friend who needed me, texted my daughter and soothed some of her worries and had a laugh and a joke with my son and my friends. Who would have thought it…me…laughing…on today of all days. But life is funny like that….things turn out OK…even when you cant find a door key in a box of 30. Have faith….in yourself.
I can’t say I know what was going on in Caroline Flacks head that day. I know nothing about her. I do know what its like to want to take your own life though. And I do know, just like Caroline, if I had been left alone for even 30 mins on the 16th and 17th of February that year I would have done it. No question of a doubt.
I also know that lots of people are feeling like this right now. Right this very second. And as a wise lady just told me…no one deserves to feel like that.
I can’t speak for them. I can only speak for me. But I promise you, when you have got to that level…when you want to take your own life…. you can’t self sooth. Nothing makes sense. It feels like nothing will ever feel Ok ever again and that this is the only way out. But I promise you …thats not the case. I promise.
I respect that everyone is outraged about what Caroline went through and what it resulted in. But …there are so many of us going through or have been through the same thing. And all the friend and families that have watched their loved ones feel this way.
Please, speak out. Tell someone how you are feeling. Call someone. Text someone. You do not deserve to feel like this…What’s that…. I don’t know what you have done? What they will find out? What people will think? Stop. Its all bullshit. You being alive is more important than all of that. I didn’t save myself. I was saved, accidently, by two people who I love very much. I couldn’t talk myself down. And I wanted my loved ones to be far away from me as possible, so they didn’t have to be part of it. Luckily for me, my plan went wrong. Unfortunately for Caroline and her family, hers didn’t.
You don’t deserve to die. People will hurt if you are gone. You are loved. I have added helplines to the bottom of this blog if you feel like this or know someone who does. You need to reach out…trust me…it will make things better.
And as everyone has been saying…You can be anything ….be kind. Because kindness saved me….love and kindness is why I am here writing this blog today.
Suicide prevention helplines
Comprehensive help and information from NHS Choices with links to external websites.
Tel: 116 123
Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year. We provide a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them. Please call 116 123 email email@example.com, or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of the nearest branch.
Text Shout to 85258
Shout is the UK’s first free 24/7 text service for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help.
MindInfoline: 0300 123 3393
Elefriends – online support community
The MindinfoLine offers thousands of callers confidential help on a range of mental health issues. Mind helps people take control of their mental health. We do this by providing high-quality information and advice, and campaigning to promote and protect good mental health for everyone. They also provide a special legal service to the public, lawyers and mental health workers.
CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably)
Helpline: 0800 58 58 58
The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) works to prevent male suicide and offers support services for any man who is struggling or in crisis. CALM’s helpline 0800 58 58 58 and web-chat are for men in the UK who need to talk or find information and support. The services are open 5pm–midnight daily and are free, anonymous and confidential. For access or to find more information visit thecalmzone.net
HOPELINEUK – 0800 068 4141
Worried about someone?Support for anyone under 35 experiencing thoughts of suicide, or anyone concerned that a young person may be experiencing thoughts of suicide.
Kooth.com is an online counselling service that provides vulnerable young people, between the ages of 11 and 25, with advice and support for emotional or mental health problems. Kooth.com offers users a free, confidential, safe and anonymous way to access help.
Helpline: 0800 11 11
ChildLine is a counselling service for children and young people. You can contact ChildLine in these ways: You can phone on 0800 1111, send us an email, have a 1-2-1 chat with us, send a message to Ask Sam and you can post messages to the ChildLine message boards. You can contact ChildLine about anything – no problem is too big or too small. If you are feeling scared or out of control or just want to talk to someone you can contact ChildLine.
Helpline: 0808 802 5544
Parents’ Information Service gives advice to parents or carers who may be concerned about the mental health or emotional wellbeing of a child or young person.
Helpline: 0808 808 4994
Life’s tough, we know that. It can throw a lot your way and make it hard to know what the hell to do with it all. So, welcome to The Mix. Whether you’re 13, 25, or any age in between, we’re here to take on the embarrassing problems, weird questions, and please-don’t-make-me-say-it-out-loud thoughts you have. We give you the information and support you need to deal with it all. Because you can. Because you’re awesome. We’ll connect you to experts and your peers who’ll give you the support and tools you need to take on any challenge you’re facing – for everything from homelessness to finding a job, from money to mental health, from break-ups to drugs. We’re a free and confidential multi-channel service. That means that you choose how you access our support, without the worry of anyone else finding out. Whether it be through our articles and video content online or our phone, email, peer to peer and counselling services – we put the control in your hands. You can even volunteer with us too.
Students Against Depression
Students Against Depression is a website offering advice, information, guidance and resources to those affected by low mood, depression and suicidal thinking. Alongside clinically-validated information and resources it presents the experiences, strategies and advice of students themselves – after all, who are better placed to speak to their peers about how depression can be overcome.
Tel: 020 7263 7070
At Maytree, we provide people in the midst of a suicidal crisis with the opportunity for rest and reflection, and give them the opportunity to stay in a calm, safe and relaxed environment. We can support four “guests” at a time. The service runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our warm and friendly volunteers and staff team spend up to 77 hours with each guest over their stay, giving them the opportunity to talk through their fears, thoughts and troubles. On leaving, each guest receives a goodbye letter. This is a personal record written by a member of Maytree’s staff team which reflects their stay, validates their struggles and honours their achievements.