For those who have contemplated taking their own lives, they will recognise that feeling – of standing on the edge of a cliff – with nothing but darkness behind you, and darkness all around you, and darkness in front of you – one more step – into that darkness and you hope the pain stops.
I know that feeling – five maybe six weeks ago I was standing on the edge of that cliff – it wasn’t the first time and probably won’t be the last – right now I have stepped back – slightly – from the edge of that cliff – but I can still see it from where I stand – metaphorically speaking – it beckons.
Many people who have never experienced this find it hard to understand, they will say things like “you have so much to live for” or “this is not the answer” when in fact, your reality tells you that what you have to live for isn’t enough to make the pain stop, and for you the choice is to either live with the pain or do the only thing you believe will make that pain stop.
You are in the world but not part of the world, breathing is a burden, being awake or being asleep doesn’t change anything – you wish you would just stop breathing, that you would fall asleep and never wake up. All around you the rest of world feels like you are viewing it through dark glass, you feel hollow inside – not just emotionally but physically.
Your emotions don’t feel like they belong to you, yes you still feel anger, even sometimes a form of “normal” someone says something funny and you laugh – but – none of them really feel like part of you – you watch yourself from the outside – playing “normal” or whatever is “normal” for you – it isn’t an act – more like the actions of a person playing the role of the person you used to be.
And all around you the darkness gathers – the edge of the cliff gets closer ond closer, you move towards it and it moves towards you.
Every person who stands on the edge of that cliff does so for different reasons, and each person’s reasons make sense only to them – it all depends on what it is you value – what it is you hold dear – and no two people value or hold dear the same things, in the same way or with the same intensity – but there is one thing that all people who stand on the edge of that cliff have in common – they don’t value or hold dear themselves.
They believe that it is them, they are the problem, their mere existence is what causes and creates “problems” for others – and inevitably – it is the actions and behaviours of those “others” that reinforces that belief.
But when I say “others” I don’t just mean random strangers who take umbrage with you – or persons unknown to you who try to strip away and dismantle that shield, that barrier that, emotional and psychological roadblock that stands between you and the edge of the cliff.
As human beings, we invest only certain people with that power, we give only certain people that power, we make ourselves vulnerable to only certain people, we hand only them the weapons they need to dismantle that roadblock. We do this gladly because we believe they will never use them. Against us.
In my case, it was my children, and for many men, it is also their children, all psychological and emotional barriers come down, you make yourself vulnerable, and you do it gladly, for your children.
When your children are born, a connection is made that defies description, a bond is created that exists on more than just an emotional plane – it transcends all that – it is comprised of a substance that if severed actually feels like your connection to life itself has been severed. This is not a female or male bond – it is a human bond.
My children launched a campaign against me about five or six weeks ago – a vicious hate campaign – along with their father and his girlfriend and to the best of my knowledge a number of other “anonymous” persons – I have been alienated from them for about six years – and yes I know it is unusual for a mother to be alienated from her children, it is almost always fathers who find themselves cast into that outer darkness, vilified and literally cast into the role of the “sum of all evil” every bad thing that has ever happened in the world is laid at your door – every cross word, mistake and flaw is magnified out of all proportion – till even you start to see yourself as that monster they have created.
What I do also know that as soon as I have posted this they will start again – they will sneer, they will up the ante – they will snigger and they will call me a liar, in fact all sorts of names – that or they will post comments and send me emails urging me to “just do it” “we will dance on your grave” they will demand proof – and the only “proof” that would satisfy them would be my death. Should I continue to live they will cite that as proof that I “was just looking for attention”
But, it is when you finally lose hope – as I did – that you become empty, hollow, when the darkness envelopes you – and when you find yourself standing on the edge of that cliff – because you see – you realise – it is your existence – the fact that you are breathing, that you are here – that is causing those who you love the most to be consumed with hatred for you – you can feel it – it actually feels like you are choking on it.
Many men find themselves in that position – not seeing your children is one thing – having those who have been instrumental in creating this is another thing – but having those children – embrace and then hurl back at you the hatred, the venom, the anger and the vileness that is Parental Alienation is when you know – when you know that – there is nothing more to live for.
That’s why you stand on the edge of that cliff – because this is a hatred that you cannot brush off, cannot shrug at, cannot ignore or live with – this is a hatred that reaches into your very soul and rips you apart – tears down that barrier as if it was tissue paper – this is a hatred that finds you standing on the edge of that cliff – because there is no other place left for you to go.
I am still here because of two people – they literally saved my life – or – have allowed me to step back from that cliff edge – yes I can still see it – yes it is still there – just over the horizon – is the pain gone? No – pain like that doesn’t just go away – its sleeps – it curls up inside you – and every now and then it stretches and unfolds its claws – every now and then it expands and envelopes you – you start learning to share your life with it – you accommodate it – you make room for it – and you hope and pray that you and it can co-exist. Because you have no choice – because you see – that kind of pain holds all the cards.
You don’t control it – its controls you – it lies in wait – and strikes when the mood takes it – there are people who understand this, who know that right now, you simply do not have the emotional or psychological tools to excise this pain – to rebuild that barrier – to step far enough away so that it becomes unimportant – until it is so far away and you have rebuilt a strong enough barrier so that it would take a lot (you hope) to tear it down again.
They understand your reality, and accept it – they don’t try to impose their reality on to you and expect you to embrace it – they teach you to live within your reality. Because as human beings that is all we can ever do – live within our own realities and learn slowly and gradually to accommodate all aspects of that reality, including learning to live with a part of yourself missing and with the pain that this brings.
You don’t heal – you start learning to live with wounds.
I wrote an article excoriating MHRI (Men’s Human Rights Ireland) and calling bullshit on their cynical Save Our Sons, and dissemination of a completely false picture of suicide and suicide prevention services in Ireland (which I will publish later) campaign because – suicide is not a game – it is not a PR opportunity – it isn’t a political or rhetorical weapon to beat feminists over the head with – the fact that a human being has taken their own life successfully is not a matter of numbers, of statistics – of comparisons.
The issue isn’t numbers, the issue is REASONS. Suicide is not an agenda – it is a human tragedy. Human life is and can be fragile – we have all at some time or another stood either at the edge of that cliff or close to it – suicide prevention is more than just a skill one can learn, it requires a level of dedication and humanity that very few possess or have a gift for – those people who do are – worthy of our thanks, and our acknowledgment – which they rarely if ever ask for or expect. They do their work quietly, without fanfare, they do it without a thought for themselves – they do it because they must do it.
The issue is that a human being was in such despair, such pain and anguish that for that human being the only escape was in death – THAT is the issue – does it really matter if that human being is male or female – or are we now in the business of applying different standards of value to human beings, within the MHRM – only this time the other way round – more men take their lives than women – more boys than girls – does THAT really matter when one way or another – a human being lies dead at his/her own hand? We address the REASONS – we address the causes – and pay due respect – give due credit to all those selfless and dedicated people who wait on the end of a phone line – to try a save a human life. Any life.
The reality of people standing on the edge of that cliff – with only one more step to go – is quite another thing – and is an issue of their reality – of the life they are forced to live – of the limitations imposed upon them by external forces, by the actions or inactions of others – by the creation of a reality that is made up of many factors – by the deliberate and focused enveloping of a darkness of the soul – and for many many men and boys it is mostly women who create and concoct and manufacture that darkness.
But, in spite of the greater numbers of men and boys who find themselves in that darkness – standing on the edge of a cliff – women and girls too find themselves there – what matters is NOT that the person standing in the darkness, on the edge of that cliff is male or female – not at that point – what matters is that a human being is standing there – a human being that see’s and feels nothing but pain – nothing but darkness.
That darkness is made up of hatred, of vitriol, of revenge, of a desire to inflict pain, of lies, of distortions and of malice – and it is endorsed, encouraged and applauded by those who refuse to acknowledge its existence, who refuse to open their eyes and see – because no-one wants to believe that human beings would do that to one another. What propels a human being on that journey to the edge of that cliff is where we must focus our attention – is what we must address – and it is invariably the actions or inactions of other human beings that fuel this journey. Do the numbers matter? Not really. The REASONS matter.
But no-one wants their illusions shattered, their false perceptions corrected, their comfortable lies and myths exposed – to do so would mean acknowledging their complicity – recognising the part they have played – sometimes unconsciously, carelessly, human beings do not want to accept that they have within themselves the capacity to inflict such pain, such grief, such soul destroying injury on another human being – because that would mean they would have to look at a part of themselves that is dark, is malign, is vicious, is hateful.
You don’t heal – you learn to live with wounds – wounds that have been inflicted by those who you believed were incapable of such things – that is why you stand on the edge of that cliff.
I know this is just one set of circumstances that can propel a person to stand on the edge of that cliff – there are others – many others – but the motivating factor is loss – loss of something precious to you – of something you value – of something that gives your life meaning.
The choice facing those who stand there – looking into that darkness isn’t whether you will or you won’t take your own life – the choice is – can you or can you not live with the pain of what you have lost
Can you share that life with that pain – is there enough for you to hang onto to – will you be able to wake up the next day, and the next day, and the next day – knowing that the pain, the loss is waiting for you – will be your constant companion?
It isn’t about wanting to die – it is about being afraid to live.
To those who are now or are edging closer to the edge of that cliff – please – I beg you – pause – just for a moment and make one last call – take out your mobile phone – and just make one last call. It will only take a minute.
I know it doesn’t matter to you – I know you can’t see the point – and I know you think it’s a waste of time – but there are some people who want you to waste their time – who have nothing else to do right now except wait for you to call.
That’s all they do – wait for you to call – one last call – what can it matter – you can always hang up – but just make that one last call – please. A few more minutes is all it will take.
Put these numbers into your phone now – even if you know you will never phone them – just put them in – even just one into your phone now. Don’t leave without saying goodbye to just one person, without hearing for the last time the voice of another human being.
Samaritans – 116 123
1Life – 1 800 24 7 100
Text – HELP – 51 444
Console – 1 800 247 247
If you believe that you are nearing closer to the edge of that cliff then, contact;
SOSAD (Save Our Sons and Daughters)
6A Parnell Street, Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan
24 hour emergency: 042-9668992, 086-0459168 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
3 Tower Hamlets (beside Garda station) Farnham Street, Cavan, Co. Cavan
24 hour emergency: 049 4326339, 0834339090 Email: email@example.com
30 Magdalene St, Drogheda, Co. Louth
24 hour emergency: 041 9848754 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
31 Williamson’s place, Dundalk, Co. Louth
24 hour emergency: 042 9327311, 083 4244182 Email: email@example.com
4 O’Growney Tce, Navan, Co. Meath
24 hour emergency: 046 9031855, 083 3712622 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bow House, O Moore St, Tullamore, Co. Offaly
24 hour emergency: 057 9346704, 083 1711238 Email: email@example.com
Or: Find your nearest Pieta House:
Pieta House Ballyfermot
Mount La Salle Ballyfermot Road Dublin 10 Phone: 01-6200020 Centre Manager: Noeleen Devlin
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 10am to 8pm Saturday: 10am to 3pm
Pieta House Cork
Highfield Lawn, Model Farm Road Bishopstown Cork Phone: 021-4341400 Centre Manager: Sylvia O’Driscoll Wong
Opening Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 9am to 5pm Wednesday: 9am to 8pm Saturday: 10am to 2pm
Pieta House Finglas
47 Mellowes Court Finglas Dublin 11 Phone: 01-8648899 Centre Manager: Linda Murray
Opening Hours: Monday: 5.30pm to 9.30pm Tuesday: 10am to 2pm Wednesday: 2pm to 6pm Thursday: 9am to 2pm Saturday: 10am to 2pm
Pieta House Kerry
Crageens Castleisland County Kerry Phone: 066-7163660 Centre Manager: To be confirmed
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 9am to 5pm
Pieta House Lucan
Lucan Road Lucan Dublin Phone: 01-6010000 Centre Manager: Avril Mansouri
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 9am to 9pm Saturday and Sunday: 10am to 2pm
Pieta House Midwest
Ardaulin Mungret Limerick Phone: 061-484444 Centre Manager: Nora Conway
Opening Hours: Monday, Wednesday & Friday: 9am to 5pm Tuesday and Thursday: 9am to 8pm Saturday: 10am to 2pm
Pieta House Roscrea
The Glebe, Ballyhall, Roscrea Tipperary Phone: 0505-22568 Centre Manager: Martina Leamy
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday: 10am to 2pm Wednesday: 4pm to 8pm
Pieta House Tallaght
Mount La Salle Ballyfermot Road Dublin 10 Phone: 087-9368633 Centre Manager: Enda Dowling
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 9am to 6pm Saturday: 10am to 2pm
Pieta House West
Bishop Street Tuam Galway Phone: 093-25586 Centre Manager: To be confirmed
Opening Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 9am to 5pm Wednesday: 9am to 8pm Saturday: 10am to 2pm
For additional information on our services email:firstname.lastname@example.org