My plan to self-disrupt was scunnered by a squish
Don’t underestimate the little things you do for your friend, family, or loved one who needs support.
Those gestures are like rays of light in a dark, dark room. I can tell you this as I have been in that room many times.
What do you think of when someone mentions hope? It’s not something we can purchase, not something we can earn, but ‘hope’ exists, even if we can’t see it or touch it. I know this because I hear stories of recovery fueled by hope every day. I see the flicker in the eyes of someone who feels it – for the first time, perhaps, the shiny, sparkly moment when hope finds its place within them, and they can see a way forward, they can see a future. When someone is suicidal, visualising their future often feels impossible. They fixate on ending the suffering and often believe the only option to end the suffering is to end their life; their focus is a laser beam in a dark, dark space. This is when hope can work its magic; even a tiny bit is like a candle, torch, or ray of sunlight. It brakes through the darkness. It offers the chance to see, even the next day or the evening, further than before. That’s where hope gets its beautiful glimmer in, piece by piece, slowly seeping until the person in pain can see a way out.
As it is suicide prevention week, I want to share a story where hope found its way in and saved a life, mine. Because of this support, this seemingly small gesture, I am still here to write this blog, which is hopeful in itself.
Don’t underestimate the little things you do for your friend, family, or loved one who needs support
Tip one: Squishes
My little sister came to check on me. The family did this on rotation; I hadn’t moved for the whole day. I was in the dark space. I had given up. My sister – who at six foot tall and marathon ready is hardly little – recognised the familiar signs. She sat with me as I struggled to piece words together through inhales that never seemed to give me enough air. When the darkness blinds you, you believe the best option is not to exist anymore. The inner monologue is also dark, and it lies.
‘Everyone would want me gone.’
‘I would be doing everyone a huge favour; they would thank me.’
Cue her big long skinny arm wrapping around my back as my body bounced upwards with the collision of her jumping starfished right on top of me. The other arm quickly followed, wrapping me tightly in a big warm squish. I’m pinned down, not that I was going anywhere, but shes laughing and her belly and chest squishes into mine with every giggle and she shouts triumphantly –
‘You can’t leave me, or I will squish you forever.’
I made it through that day; My farewell letter explaining my pain and apologising for hers was never read, and my plan to self-disrupt was scunnered by a squish. The life-saving squish stopped me for long enough to catch the air I needed to keep going. Never easy, but easier.
Thank you for sharing your powerful insight so generously, Harriet.
Harriet is a Senior Practitioner with our national self-harm network.