It is by complete coincidence that I’m posting this on World Suicide Prevention Day.
I drafted this post last week because I was looking at my google analytics, and saw that among the top searches that led to my blog was ‘Fibromyalgia and wanting to die.’
It’s not uncommon that people living with chronic health problems want to die. Certainly not in fibromyalgia.
There are lots of reasons I wanted to answer this. I want to tell you you’re not alone. You’re never alone.
I too have wanted to die and I even tried. Twice.
While it wasn’t the primary reason, fibromyalgia did certainly contribute to the pervasive feelings of hopelessness dogging me.
In 2013 I wrote a post on the suicide risk in fibromyalgia. To date, this is still one of the most popular posts on my blog. A study showed a significant number of fibromyalgia patients, mainly women, tend to die from suicide. There are different contributing factors, including that depression is also often experienced by those of us who live with fibromyalgia.
A person dies by suicide every 40 seconds
Studies show that one in 10 suicides are linked to chronic illness. In the UK that’s about 400 people dying every year.Overall, 800,000 people die from suicide. That’s a stark one person, human being, sister, brother, mother, father, friend, every 40 seconds.
Living with chronic illness is tough. We feel the impact of that daily. And I certainly felt more hopeless years ago when I was too ill to have any social life or walk a few steps without being out of breath and in excruciating pain.
But I’m writing this to tell you that in 2013 when I tried to end my life, I didn’t think I would still be here today. Yet, I am glad that the NHS saved me, because if it hadn’t survived I wouldn’t have known that things could get better. I always say, you could have told me but I’d never have believed it. I had to see for myself that things can get better. And it has.
It was a long road to getting here but most of us, unless you’re terminally ill, have opportunities to improve the quality of our lives. For me it started with changing my diet, returning to fresh foods and veg, losing weight, therapy, meeting others also living with chronic pain and trying when I could, to make a difference to the lives of others. I still struggle yes. I’m still often very ill, but it’s not like before. During those times I made most of my calls ever to the Samaritans. And it helped.
Tomorrow is a new day and it can get better, but you have to be around in order to find out.
I still struggle with frequent thoughts of suicide, and it is a battle daily that I have faced since childhood. But the truth is, life is precious, even when we’re getting the rough end of the stick. Everytime I feel like ending it, I resist, by thinking of all the people who have ever told me that my life matters. I often think that I wish I could give someone else my chance at life. And I feel guilty. Ashamed. For all those terminally ill who don’t have choice in the matter. Like my aunty, who died suddenly of cancer this year. Or my great aunty who also died suddenly, too young. Or my friend Cath, who I miss so so very much. My existence matters, even when I can’t see it. And so does yours. By simply being here, whether we realise it or not, our lives touch other lives. Your story is not over. Please, please, hold on. You’re not alone.
If you feel like throwing in the towel talk to someone.
You can email the Samaritans on firstname.lastname@example.org or call them in the UK on 116 123.
And of course, I’m here.
Gentle hugs x