Content Warning: Suicide
When you're sitting in a taxi getting home from a night out and the phone rings you expect it to be one of two things. The first being someone asking when you're going to be home. The second your friend announcing that they're hammered and they love you. The one thing you never expect to hear is your partner ringing you in tears to announce their best friend has been found hung up from the ceiling of their room. This was the reality for me almost 2 years ago and until now I've never really spoken about it. But I feel I'm finally ready and just want to try and help others who may find themselves in the same position as mine.
My first feeling was absolute shock and emptiness. I had met him a few times and it really didn't make sense to me at all what was happening. The second feeling was worry about my partner. Something I imagine would be most people's concern. My main worry was how was I going to help him through this. I loved him and he would need me but at the same time I had just lost someone as well and it just wouldn't register in my brain what had happened. Should I grieve with him? Give him space? Be a shoulder to cry on? This for the first 3 days was the only thing I could think of. I couldn't face him because I didn't know how to.
Then came the next call. The 'I need you call'. It was in that split second that I had to decide how to go about this. I decided to go down the last route of shoulder to cry on. Where I decided that in an attempt to cheer my partner up I would hide my emotions from him to make sure he was okay. I confided in friends but the one person I was used to looking after me wasn't there any more. So I bottled it up instead, which didn't help me at all. In fact it made things worse. I also become quite distant from what I needed to be doing and developed dependencies on other coping methods which were not advisable.
However, after a while things started to get better. My partner attended the funeral and seemed to start healing. He visited our friend regularly at the cemetery and would sit at his side and listen to new music from bands our friend had liked before he passed, he would also always make an effort to make sure it was tidy and respectable and lay new flowers. It was almost like they were connecting through songs and nature. That's when I realised a key thing that just hadn't occurred to me before. Things do get better and wounds however deep do start to heal. It was at this point I also decided to attend counselling again and it really helped speaking to someone about my concerns and helped me be the boyfriend I wanted to be.
I guess the point of this article is to help others look after someone who's grieving whilst protecting their own mental health. So I guess I want to give anyone reading this who needs some advice just that. The main thing you always have to remember is to stay healthy however much someone else needs you, you always have to come first. This is because if you're not thinking straight and healthy then how can you properly look after someone else. The second thing is do not bottle things up. For me hiding my grief turned me into a volcano ready to erupt and eventually I did with serious consequences I started making stupid decisions and doing things that were really unhealthy so as to attempt to cope. Finally help is always on hand. The university offers a great advice and counselling service that is open to all students and will always be there to look after us. There are also the Samaritans who do so much great work and are always just a phone call away.
So I guess I want to end this with two messages:
Look after yourself.
And to my friend. Our love lies with you and our souls fly with you. Sleep Tight.
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