The theme for today’s World Mental Health Day is suicide prevention.
I was incredibly blessed to survive my suicide attempt in 1997. My overdose caused stomach ulcers and internal bleeding but I awoke from my deep slumber on many levels.
As I was recovering at my family home, I received the news that one of my closest friends had thrown herself under a train.
Zoe was a beautiful, intelligent, creative, hilarious, rebellious, talented young woman who in her short life had already campaigned courageously on behalf of vulnerable women.
She, like me, had been a victim of childhood sexual abuse and her ensuing mental health difficulties eventually killed her.
Over twenty years later, I still think of her often. She is the raven in my novel The Serpent’s Tale for those of you who know my character Isabetta’s story.
Having experienced suicidal thoughts and ideation at various points in my life, I know what a narrow tight-rope lies between death and survival.
I also know how miraculous and life-saving the seemingly smallest of gestures can be in that moment, often from a complete stranger.
So my advice, (in addition to getting professional advice), would be this:
In each of our everyday encounters with people, be they loved ones, friends, acquaintances or strangers, let’s SMILE, BE KIND, TAKE TIME TO ENGAGE, LOOK THEM IN THE EYE, HONOUR THEM, THANK THEM, MAKE THEM FEEL SPECIAL, LET THEM KNOW THAT THEY ARE VALUABLE AND LOVED.
It’s a gift my father has. It’s one that I sometimes allow the pressures of life to undermine. And so my commitment this World Mental Health Day is to prioritise my everyday interactions with each person I meet.
To honour each moment with that person as if it’s their last.
To TAKE TIME TO BE TRULY PRESENT.
With my deepest prayers to all those who are suffering with mental health difficulties, to their loved ones and to those who grieve for those who lost their fight.
In loving memory of Zoe
Annabel Du Boulay ♥️