UPDATE: In light of International Mens Day today, we wanted to shed light on a very serious issue which affects nearly 5,000 people in the UK a year – male suicide. Here’s one womans personal account of what it was like hearing her boyfriend wanted to end his own life…
“I’d only been seeing Finn* for three months when he told me he had thought about killing himself. We were on a night out, he was drunk and made little sense. The next morning I asked him about it and he completely shut down – refusing to talk about it. I was sad but tried really hard not to feel scared, I just kept saying to myself it had to be something in his past, it couldn’t be what he was going through now.
But it soon became clear that it was. Small incidences began to add up – like the fact he’d sometimes drink quite heavily, saying it was a way to forget everything. Or how he would be quite withdrawn and would pick arguments for no reason.
After that night, I knew I had to somehow get him to open up. But our relationship was so new, I just didn’t know how to approach it in a way that he wouldn’t shut me out completely.
I suspected that he suffered from depression so ended up taking him to see a show about mental health. At the end of it he turned to me and said “I think I need to go to the doctors.” He said that this was the first time that he realized how he felt wasn’t normal. He’d never mentioned his feelings to anyone before – he’d been suffering silently for the past six years. He said his suicidal thoughts came and went, and were fleeting but terrifying – but that he now knew he didn’t need to feel this way, and that he wasn’t alone.
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I felt an enormous sense of relief and from that point on we spoke quite regularly about how he was feeling, as well as more practical steps, like arranging for him to see his GP about it.
But that didn’t make it easy. We went through a phase where I was constantly scared that he would hurt himself if we had an argument. I wanted to protect him – but he found that hard. Like Professor Green mentioned recently he has an idea of what a ‘man’ should be – and that didn’t involve being protected or talking about his feelings. I also have a tendency to over analyse and want to talk about every single little thing which he found to be too much. In the end we found a balance and came up with code words so that he could say how he was feeling without having to go into much detail. And his doctors recommended finding ways for him to release tension, like putting an elastic band on his wrist and pinging it. Now we have been together six months and actually get on better than ever – there’s no underlying tension that we are afraid to talk about. Finn’s depression is now just a part of our lives in the same way that a broken leg would be – we just adapt. I see the future as being a continuation of today – spending time a man who understand me and loves me – and us both taking care of each other as much as we can.
If you are worried about someone visit www.thecalmzone.net for more advice