So I guess I’ve been in auto-pilot for the last couple of weeks, trying to figure out:
- What I actually want to do with my life
- Why I’ve decided to put myself through the pain of dissertation writing and creating a documentary that really hits home for me.
When deciding what I wanted to base my short TV documentary on, there was only ever one choice for me.
Losing someone is the worst feeling in the entire world, losing someone to suicide is just a completely different type of grief. Talking about my fathers death has always been something I shied away from in regular conversations (unless you get a couple of drinks down me or chuck a pen and paper in-front of me. In this case chuck me a keyboard and computer screen and I become the ultimate keyboard warrior).
I lost my father to suicide in 2004 when I was 11 years old. Always difficult to talk about, I never thought it would be this hard. Chipping at my family history, set-up and just generally thinking about that very dark morning of September, everything just comes flooding back. It’s like every little thing you’ve worked on, every little bit of your brain you’ve trained with coping mechanisms has hit the reset button. I’ve never felt more 11 than I have now but I’ve never felt more content with losing him.(That sounds incredibly horrible but I have my reasoning.. let me explain).
I used to think my fathers death was something to be ashamed of. I felt like people would blame me, blame me for being such a shit daughter that he didn’t want to be here anymore. Well, that’s what the 11 year old Sammy used to think. There’s always been this taboo and stigma against suicide that makes people that have suffered under the hands of it feel like they shouldn’t talk about it. Judgement is a massive issue. Classroom discussions in regards to fathers occupations were the worst conversations for me. Although I had the closest knit of friends in my school days, it was something I couldn’t really grasp to them. Instead people would feel sorry for me, cry and then never speak about it ever again. That’s the issue here.
I decided to base my documentary on my own journey because its time, after nearly 12 years, that I talk about it. Maybe if my father and I had spoken about his issues he’d still be here to see me graduate in the summer, he’d still be here to take me up the Black Mountains and he would have celebrated his 49th birthday this week.
There’s currently over 6000 suicidal deaths in the UK a year, with men amounting for 76% of that total. Why’s that you ask?
because people feel that they can’t speak out. Talking is the best healer, coping mechanism and treatment.
Making this documentary is incredibly hard for me but by talking about things, I don’t think I’ve ever felt closer to my Dad since his passing. It’s giving me a new understanding of his issues and more so, to that very troubled decision he made one morning. I used to look at my fathers decision as weakness, like he was a weak link. Yet, now, looking back he was the strongest, most courageous man that I’ve ever met. His issue? He didn’t speak out, he didn’t speak out to seek help and instead he felt like he’d be better off dead. He valued his pride. I wish he knew that you can find pride in seeking help.
I don’t condone suicide at all. I’m going to forever suffer under the hands of my fathers actions.That hurts so much but I must remember to not be selfish when it comes to losing him. I used to hate him for what he did to me, what he put me through and for leaving me to explain his actions. I used to think I was the victim and that he’d done the worst ever thing to me, most of all that he was incredibly selfish. I miss him everyday and I forever will do, but surely it would be selfish of me to want him to live a life he obviously wasn’t happy with? He was the victim in this sad story. He was the sufferer. He was the one hurting. I must remember that.
My findings so far in relation to his passing scare the hell out of me. The nature/nurture question relating to suicide is one that scares the life out of me but, unlike my Dad, if things ever got that bad, I’ve learnt that speaking out is the key to getting better.
Suicide is the biggest killer in men under 45 in the UK, tell people about it. Shout it from the bloody rooftops if you really want to. Suicide is real, suicide is not something that should play a back-seat in conversations. Just remember, the smallest conversation about it could save someone, it could save people just like my Dad.