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'I refuse to see a suicide attempt as something to be ashamed of' - How my mental health survived the pandemic

by Lewis Jefferies 2 years ago in coping
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My friends checking in on me daily is how my mental health survived the pandemic. Without them, I wouldn’t have written this piece because I wouldn’t be here.

“In a world where you can be anything, be kind” as Caroline Flack so rightly put; being kind to others is important to secure a happier world, being kind to yourself is just as crucial. Many people out there, I included, like to put others before themselves and it’s at that point where you don’t realise how much you’re actually falling apart inside. Slowly, piece by piece, everything you have built up begins to crumble before your eyes, but it’s too late to recover from that.

My past and what I went through is no secret, but I refuse to see a suicide attempt as something to be ashamed of. The day I tried to end my life was the biggest learning day I have ever gone through. No mistakes made, just self-belief and the thought of knowing that I am surrounded by love, care and the most thoughtful people I could possibly ask for.

With a global pandemic still in our present day, as you can expect, people’s mental health has somewhat deteriorated, some more than others, but it only takes for one “bad day” to spiral into something much worse. This is how I felt back in March 2020, but I was able to quickly act on this, here’s how.

Back in March 2020 when the pandemic began, I had to shield from coronavirus, despite being ill with the virus itself at the time. You can imagine how that felt. Being asked to shield from a virus that you’ve already caught is soul destroying because at that point there’s not a lot else you can do. Being asthmatic doesn’t help, especially when the virus lingers on the lungs. But I had to keep going despite knowing that mentally I was falling apart.

I’ve spoken about my past before and what I did in the lockdowns to help me stay positive, but it’s the rigorous measures I went to ensure that I beat the pandemic and not the other way around.

I first had to ensure that I kept in close contact with people I knew that had my back, and still do. Being in a small flat on your own with limited contact to the outdoors during a pandemic was a struggle in itself, but Sophie and Oli were my main backbone to reaching the light at the end of the tunnel. A weekly FaceTime session together helped us connect and feel together again. Some calls would last hours because we’d watch a film or hunt for buildings on Google Maps, others not as long. It’s not the length of time that mattered, it was the fact that we all knew and still know that we have each other’s back and stand by one another no matter what. A flurry of support can go a long way to ensure that smile doesn’t turn into a frown.

Keeping in contact with people is what kept me going in this pandemic. Without my closest friends, I would’ve fallen down that hole again and potentially never find the way out. There are people out there struggling today, but they might not seem like it. This is where you play your part. Check in on your mates, your family. Even if they say they’re alright or they’re fine, chances are deep down they’re not. Saying “I’m fine” or “I’m okay” is the default for “I need a shoulder to cry on but I’m too scared to say anything”.

Speaking up about mental health not only helps you but can also inspire other people to speak out. The more people that speak out, the more lives we can potentially save. My friends checking in on me daily is how my mental health survived the pandemic. Without them, I wouldn’t have written this piece because I wouldn’t be here.

coping

About the author

Lewis Jefferies

MA Media and Communication graduate from the University of Portsmouth - Massive Doctor Who Fan.

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