One day a bright blue sign appeared. The happy colour if it chirruped at me, calling me to attention. Carefully secured to the humble wire fence at the train crossing, it read “Need support in a crisis?” Call Lifeline now 13 11 14”
My stomach dropped and horror swelled up to engulf me. I felt sick.
I knew without a doubt that someone had lost their life – someone who had been a mother, sister, daughter, niece – someone who had been a father, brother, son or nephew – someone who was missed and mourned, or someone that no one mourned. Someone was dead and I hadn’t even noticed.
In the merry chiming of the crossing gates and the confident toots of the train coming into the station, I had missed the despair of someone ending it all. I had missed the final moments of a human being less that 100m from my door – me – who specializes in trauma, grief, stress and sexual abuse support. How did that happen? HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?
I have helped so many people. I have sat with people as they were battered by their emotional storms. I have thrown them a rope, helped them find their lifeboat and row for the shore. I have stood in their way when they have talked of taking their lives and said with authority “Not this way! Not this way! We will find the way forward together.” And so, we found a way… mostly.
I have failed so few times, but I have failed. And when I failed, all I could do was pray that they would be alive tomorrow. Knowing for certain that life would get better if they just held on through the dark days, but unable to inspire them with the sureness that I felt for them.
And for everyone I helped, I knew there were more who never reached out for help and others who never found the help they were seeking. How do WE let this happen?
I raged at the way people are turned into statistics and labeled with depression and society goes on as before. I am personally affronted that young people have electricity put through their brains because it is the only way we know to keep them alive. There has to be a better way. There has to be a solution… because dead is not dead.