One Step

I‘ve been struggling over the last few weeks to get the words I want to say to come out. Normally I find it easier to write them in a blog but this experience I want to share comes with stigma attached to it that I’ve been uneasy about saying out loud. Literally no one else in the world knew this one until I shared it with my wife yesterday before I posted it on here. So here goes…

I was once one step away from dying.

I don’t want to call it suicide as I don’t think that’s what it would have been. However that’s probably how it would have been labelled. Maybe I’m still in a little bit of denial. But here’s the story about how I came within a step of no longer being here.

I was on a skiing trip with the RAF seemingly enjoying life and the few perks there is to being in the Armed Forces. Having never been skiing before I was obviously terrible to start with but was starting to pick it up by the 3-4 day. Every day up for breakfast and out on the peaks before coming back some good food and drinks in the evening. What wasn’t there to like. One evening the drinks were flowing a little more than usual. I was one of the last ones up with a couple of other individuals. One of them was definitely worse for wear so me and the other decided it was time to put them to bed. They took offence and started swinging a bottle around and hit me over the head. It was quite a heavy bottle that didn’t break but hurt like hell. Then they said the words that have stuck in my brain ever since “You’re a nobody. Nobody will miss you if you just disappeared”. That cut deep. I walked out of the building and stood on the edge of the rushing stream outside. I didn’t think about it at the time, but this was almost the straw that broke the camels back. In the previous 12 months I watched the demise of a grandparent from a distance as I couldn’t afford to travel back from my then unit on a regular basis. I had a long-term relationship break down because of the nature of my job. I was going from month to month relying on pay day loans. I was not in a good place and looking to find a way out. Maybe this was it. Maybe they were right. Maybe if I did take that extra step then it would all disappear. I wouldn’t have to worry anymore. It would be all gone. Thankfully the cold night air sobered me up long enough to realise something else. What about my Mum? Dad? brother? They will be miss me. They care. They love me. I can’t do this. I turned around and went straight to bed. The next day I woke up went down to breakfast. The other person was sat there and apologised for hitting me with the bottle. Not for what they had said. Everything carried on as normal. I thought it better to keep what happened bottled up. I don’t think it would’ve played out well if I had admitted to doing what I did, and it was for the best that that person didn’t find out either. However looking back if I had opened up about how I was struggling then maybe I could have found the support I needed at the time instead of struggling on for years after that. The picture attached to the post is me less than 12 hours after the incident. Sore head and not really wanting to smile. I just wanted to go away and hide for a while.

Thankfully that incident turned out like it did and not tragically as it might have done. I am now married with two wonderful sons. We’ve had good and extremely difficult times, but not once have I ever thought that the solution was for me to commit suicide. Unfortunately I’ve had friends that have not been able to see the light for the darkness. They’ve not been able to take that step back and find a way out. The question that most people ask themselves when this happens to someone they know is “Could I have done more to stop this from happening?”. I know I’ve asked it. Recently I came across the Zero Suicide Alliance. As their title suggests their main aim is to stop suicides from happening. The main way they do this is by offering free training in suicide awareness and what you can do to help prevent it. I took the course and found it helpful in being able to ask the right questions. Not to hide back from asking someone if they’re suicidal. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask this as you’re not going to plant the seed. Through our courses link you can find out more the training and what you can do to provide the support someone might need from you. So if you’re struggling, or think that someone else is, then please think about taking these courses. They might just help save a life.

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