"I am hurting, I need it to stop and whether that's by ending my life or getting help, I don't know. If the help is not there then I am going to go for the first option... I don't want to be here any more." The heart-wrenching words of a 21-year-old man from Maguiresbridge who researched ways to die then tried to take his own life last month for the third time. Three weeks on he says he feels the same way.
"I am in the same position I was in then; I just feel like I don't want to be here any more. I am tired of feeling the way I am feeling." John (not his real name) has spoken to The Impartial Reporter just weeks after his mother made an emotional appeal through his newspaper for help with her suicidal son. The interview that follows really opens up the issue of suicide and depression here.
"I am speaking out because of my mum. I love her to bits, I love my family to bits, and I don't want to hurt them," he said.
His reason for speaking out is simple: he wants, he hopes, to show people what it is like to "never have a clear head", though he admits: "I didn't plan on being around to even tell this story." For John, a grey Saturday night three weeks ago was to be the third time he would attempt to end his life and while his family holidayed in Antrim he made the decision after meticulous preparation and research to take a cocktail of alcohol and tablets in his home.
"I was down but I didn't want the family to worry, or they would have returned from their break. I pretended I was okay. The one good thing about whenever I am depressed is that I sleep a lot and sleep is my release; I go into my own world and it takes me away from reality. At that stage I didn't want to be here any more... I knew what I was doing." He texted a friend with a message: "I told him I was sorry and to tell my mum I was sorry" and then drank three bottles of alcohol while continuously taking a mixture of tablets prescribed to him by his doctor for his bipolar disease and depression. Remarkably, his friend raised the alarm and John was rushed to the South West Acute Hospital where he was placed on a life-support machine.
"I don't know how the ambulance was able to find my house, I wasn't planning on going out of there alive. The way I feel at the minute I wish I could just switch off, I wish there was a way of me doing it without anybody stopping me. I can't do this any more. I know that's not easy for people to listen to but this is how I feel," he admits.
Depression, he says, is a difficult and complex problem to deal with. He says he wakes up every day, not knowing how to feel, citing a mixture of confusion and scrambled emotions. "I never have a clear head," he says.
John turned to drugs to make himself "feel better" and soon developed an addiction, taking things like cocaine, ecstasy, speed and MDMA to "ease the pain" in the hope it would "take me out of the low".
He added: "I go through stages where I am depressed for no reason and then I'll go through a stage where I am high and in a very good mood; I'll spend money I don't have and make decisions I haven't thought enough about." John says his depression spells usually last anything from two to three months; it is during these times that he will occasionally think about ways to end his own life, something he referred to a number of times during the course of this interview. When questioned on this and the impact such a move would have on his family and friends, he said: "I have heard people say that whenever people end their lives it is a very selfish thing to do, my mother has said this to me too, but I wasn't thinking that at the time. I was thinking that people would be better off without me instead of trying to figure out what is wrong with me, or being around me when I am in a bad mood or snapping at them." Asked if he thought suicide was a 'selfish thing to do' he replied: "Not really, I feel people would be better off. I know it is causing my family pain, but I wish someone could have my brain for five minutes so they could understand what I am feeling." Whenever John was first sectioned in England following a previous suicide attempt during his stint at University doctors suggested he had symptoms of bipolar-ism. He says he doesn't want to be sectioned again.
"I have been sectioned before, it's not a nice thing to do. I know I need help, I just don't know what way to do it. I don't want to feel this way any more. If I got help, proper help, when I was first diagnosed I don't think I would be feeling this way," he said.
Following this interview, John assured us he would seek help "if it was available".