Marathon for suicide prevention

By Elle James

My Activity Tracking

42
kms

My target 42 kms

Over the month of September I will be running a marathon to fund raise for Lifeline Australia and here is why:

3 years ago we lost my father to suicide, our kids lost their Poppy Mick, our mother lost her husband and so many people lost their friend and family member. It breaks my heart every day that he felt he couldn’t speak to anyone, but unfortunately that is the case for most males.

Only a very small amount of people are aware, many years ago I too had suicide attempts and mental health issues. I am forever grateful to the support network and professionals that helped me in my time of need and want that same support for everyone in that situation. 

My sister is the wordsmith of our family, so I have borrowed segments from her blog below.

Losing someone to suicide

I have so many words in my head that I don't even know how to write them write down. Did You know in NSW alone, an average of 700 people commit suicide each year. That is 700 more families that have to hear the news that their loved ones have left too soon, 700 more people that have the heart wrenching moment of finding someone who has taken their own life. Over 700 police officers, paramedics, doctors, nurses, emergency call takers, and neighbours/bystanders who will be affected by suicide. The psychologists, social workers and councillors that are there to help support the remaining family and friends back to normality. 

Over 700 friends, family members, colleagues, acquaintances that will ask themselves time and time again what they could have done differently. 

And that's in NSW alone! PER YEAR! That's over 700 TOO MANY! Even 1 suicide would be 1 too many. 

I know that the services in regional areas are hard to find. I know that it's hard to find good help because there really is a quietness when it comes to local mental health assistance. I have attached below some links to help.

The thoughts that the people who are left have will vary, their reactions and their grief will be completely different. But there will be things that they will never understand that will be very similar in nature. 

Was there something else I could have done?

Why didn't I know?

How did I not see the signs?

Why didn't I believe them? 

What could have I had done differently? 

Why didn't I go and see them one more time? 

What was going on that made it get that far?

Could someone else could have helped? 

Why did they do this to themselves?

Why did they do this to us?

What we need to start to understand and what I've learnt that I, myself have to come to terms with, is that once a person has fallen that far into depression, sometimes there is nothing that could have been done. Nothing that could have helped them. 

But what I want to try and help people understand is that there is things we can do before it ever gets that far. To start with, be there for them. Let them know you will always be around no matter how hard it gets. Call them, visit them, and when you can't get there, they will at least know that they can count on you to answer their call. Be supportive. Even when someone might be moaning about how crappy their day has been, again, for the 10th day in a row and you might be over hearing it. Show them that you support them, be that listening ear, that shoulder to cry on. Stay calm & always remember to be kind. You really don't know what battle somebody is fighting in their own mind.

If you know someone who might need some help, but you aren't sure how to approach the situation, you don't know how to ask them if they would like you to help them, call the lifeline hot line below. Someone is always willing to assist you to get them back to health.

If you are someone who is suffering and you don't know where to turn. Please know that you are not weak, you are so strong to have gotten to where you are and you can get better. Life will get better. If you want to talk to someone anonymously, please call the helpline below.

Please don't ever be afraid to speak up. I don't want to see another family suffer through losing someone through suicide. And if you are struggling, I don't want you to have to suffer alone anymore. You are important, you are loved and we do want you here, more than you could ever know. ❤️

LifeLine Australia;13 11 14.

Learning about Grief from a 5 year old

I remember standing at the top of the altar at my sisters wedding, tears running down my face. Partly because I was so proud of her and her very soon to be husband but partly because I was so upset that dad wasn’t there to see this moment. I couldn’t stop the tears flowing. The following day I cried to Dillon and when he asked what was wrong, I explained I just felt so mad. I didn’t want to be mad, but I was just so angry that Dad wasn’t there for it. I was angry that on the happiest days of our lives, there was and probably always will be this dark cloud of pain lingering. I’ve never wanted to be mad for Dad taking his own life, but I’m also not one to not let myself feel emotions that come in waves. 

After getting some Bride & Groom photos done, we were walking back to the venue and I was carrying my niece. In this beautiful green dress, symbolising Dads favourite colour (and because he was born on Saint Patrick’s Day) and she looked me straight in the eyes and said “Aunty Kaiti, I miss my Poppy Mick”. I didn’t know what to say so I just held her while we both cried. Taking into consideration this little girl is only 5 years old at the time. It’s taken me almost a year to write this, because it’s taken me almost a year to process it and understand this as a lesson. My Niece has taught me to keep sharing my story, my emotions and to never be afraid to let people in. This little five year old girl doesn’t really understand the pain she is feeling, but she knows she’s hurting because she misses her Poppy. I feel honoured that she trusts me enough to tell me that. 

I have only ever spoken the words ‘I just miss my Dad’ to my husband whilst sobbing into his shoulder and those words are so hard to say out loud. The moment I say them out loud, it makes the emotion so much louder. 

It’s just so incredibly humbling to be taught such a big lesson from such a small human. I write this as I have tears running down my face from watching a video of my Niece at around 2 years old saying “goodnight Poppy Mick, I love you! See you tomorrow!”. My heart breaks for her watching that. I know how much my heart is broken and the amount of emotions that have taken over my life after my fathers suicide, I just want to protect her from that and take away her pain.

That day was a big reminder that even though they may be little humans, they still have big emotions and you can never underestimate the lessons they can teach us.

The aftermath of losing a parent to suicide

Losing a parent to suicide is like throwing a part your heart into the ocean and expecting a person you love to find it. You hope that one day they will understand the grief and the loss that you have felt since your parent voluntarily walked out of their lives. But let’s be honest, they never will. No matter how hard their desire is to be loved and appreciated, there is always a part of yourself that will never be for filled by someone else. It is a heart ache that I wish would never exist, but it it does. 

I wish that my Dad could see how well I am doing and how well as a parent he did. I became everything he wished for in a child and I grew to the women we both knew I could be. There isn’t a day that I don’t question what it is I do that makes people happy. There isn’t a day where I don’t wonder if I was never enough or there isn’t something else I could have done that would keep you on this earth. There isn’t a day that I’m not petrified that I’m not enough to stop it from happening again with someone else I love. 

A few days ago, we were notified in a work meeting that someone who worked at a site we deal with took his own life. I never expected to feel the heartache I felt when I heard news like this. Not only does it being up so many memories and the PTSD from losing Dad, but my chest physically hurts thinking about another family having to deal with the pain and suffering that comes with losing a loved one to suicide.

It’s like a part of your life stops, but the rest of your life keeps on moving and you’re constantly trying to drag the part that’s stopped and broken back. It’s exhausting, heartbreaking and terrifying all at once. After two years, I can’t say that it’s gotten easier, I’ve just learnt how to deal with it differently but it has taken me two years to finally start to realise how much it effected my metal health and how much anxiety I had around losing someone else, not just to suicide, but just in general. I attempted to keep friendships that I should have opted out of long ago, scared of having another person walk out of my life. Every time the phone would ring and I didn’t know the number, I would worry what the call would be about, had something bad happened? When a family member would leave more than one missed call on my phone, I would call them back in a fright, waiting for the next shoe to drop. 

I wish that I could say that I don’t deal with those fears anymore. Although I’ve learnt to filter them and deal with the fear, some days it hits me like a ton of bricks... and sometimes those bricks feel like they are sitting on my chest causing a panic attack. My mind runs wild a lot of the time, Wishing I could bring him back, wishing there was something that I could have done, being upset and frustrated that this has happened to us and how could he have done this. Then my mind turns to “how didn’t I see it”and the self blame, to then move to the realisation that my father, the most selfless, beautiful, helpful and kind human being felt that his life no longer had a purpose, that we were and he was better off not being here. That thought alone terrifies me.

I would give anything, anything in my life to have him back and to have him happy, really & truly happy. I will continue to tell my stories and struggles, to share them with whoever will listen... because maybe, just maybe, my voice will stop someone else from having to feel this way.

If you or someone you know needs help or someone to talk to, please call lifeline on 13 11 14. 

Thank you to my Supporters

$104.40

Andrina And Mal Tiedeman

Good on you, Elle!

$52.20

Steven Lazanas

Make sure you do all 42km!!! 😀

$52.20

Glenys Van Poelvoorde

💖🧚🏻‍♀️💖

$50

Caitlin Melmeth

Top job Elle! A great cause to raise funds and awareness for. All the best.

$26.10

Christine Sheedy

$26.10

Susan James

$26.10

David Wherrett

$25

Kimberley Crawford

Thinking of you Elle and wishing you the best for the ride xx

$10.44

Guv

<3