Would I ask you why you couldn’t stay
When your darkest thoughts wouldn’t go away?
Berate you because I felt such shame
And wrongly thought that I was to blame
Would I make you feel that you’d let me down
For holding in your fears and frown?
Would I let you see the tears I cry
Would I shout at you “Why Dad, why?”
Why think the world’s a better place,
Where your daughter doesn’t see your face?
Did I do enough, could I have done more?
Did you know my heart would feel so raw?
That the hole you left would be so immense?
And that nothing after would make any sense?
No. There’d be no angry words today
But a hug to say that it’s ok
To show you just how much I cared
And cherish the moments that we shared
There are conversations we never had
Like why at times you felt so sad
But I understand now why you never said
About the darkness that was in your head
I’ve finally let the anger fade away
And although I’m not great, I am OK
I miss you often, but you need to know
That I love you Dad, and I’ve let you go.
Growing up I was tough cookie. I let negative attitudes and hurtful comments brush off me without giving them a second thought. But when my Dad died from an overdose, it opened up a flood of emotions from a huge gaping wound, and I lost my armoured-plating super power. It became apparent quite quickly that grief is an awkward subject and nobody really knows what to say. But added to that, I became aware of the awful language people commonly use to describe how my father had died, and the unintentional yet dreadfully negative connotations of those phrases.
Enormous work has been done in recent years to raise awareness of mental illness, and I am thrilled that it is now being spoken about more openly, and that the stigma surrounding it is being challenged, but there is an urgent need now to break down the silence about suicide and a big step towards that is changing the way we talk about it, and the terms that are used to describe it.
Even as recent as ten years ago suicide was a hushed spoken word cloaked in shame and stigma. Attitudes are changing, but there is still an old residue of silence, embarrassment and ignorance hanging around.
I’m not ashamed of how my father died, but I am made to feel ashamed sometimes talking about it publicly. I appreciate that suicide is a difficult and horrific subject matter, but for that reason alone, and the fact that it is responsible for almost 7000 deaths each year in the UK, it needs to be talked about. The first definition in the OE dictionary for ‘commit’ is ‘do something wrong or illegal’. My Dad didn’t break
the law, he didn’t ‘commit’ a crime, and he did nothing morally wrong. By saying that someone has attempted to commit suicide infers that they have done something criminal, which may explain why so many don’t seek help when having suicidal thoughts. If someone survives a suicide attempt it should never be described as ‘unsuccessful’ just as a subsequent resulting death from suicide should never be described as a successful attempt.
Rightly or wrongly, I’m assuming that many people reading this may think I should just try and toughen up and let any comments that upset me go uncontested, but that’s my whole point. I shouldn’t have to forever ignore language that is offensive and prejudicial. These comments and terms so commonly used can upset those that have lost someone close to them by suicide or those who have felt suicidal themselves. They are insensitive and outdated and hurtful.
Let keep the conversation going about mental illness and suicide but with dignity, sensitivity and a little more empathy.
Found this video raising awareness of bullying and suicide amongst teenagers, promoting the fact that life is hard being a teen… but it gets better. Downloading the song from iTunes raises funds for Papyrus, Ditch the label and Ronald McDonald house, Alderhey.
The Financial Conduct Authority produced a report in March 2015, and my new video lists some of the findings from the report and discusses the regulations that came into effect on Jan 2nd 2015. It’s not good news…
I found this link online from 2009 when Martin Lewis went to speak to parliament about the unfair APR’s advertised for loans, customers credit scores and how applications leave a footprint on your credit score. He tried as loudly and eloquently as possible to get across how unfair the whole system is for those with the lowest credit score. Now, 6 years later we still have what is called ‘typical APR’ which basically mean companies only have to give 51% of customers the advertised rate and the rest? Well, they can make that whatever they like. Watch the link and see how he tries to get the point across to the brick wall of politicians…