Medicine : medical humanities : creativity : coffee

I wasn’t expecting that – more encounters with suicide.

I wasn’t expecting that – more encounters with suicide.

I wasn’t expecting this.

I wrote about my next encounter with suicide because I needed to think through how I was feeling. It had come up with some colleagues recently and I boldly claimed that we needed to be able to talk about it more. I shouted nice and loud…. We NEED to able to talk more about suicide!

I never ever said though, that it was going to be easy.

It all started out as a simple personal reflection on being able to recognise and cope with personal biases, especially as a medic. Suddenly I found myself with a huge number of readers, many of whom shared my post so more readers came.

They didn’t come for any horrific photos, they didn’t come to hear about the gruesome or to be peeping-Toms to the misery of others. It seemed to strike a chord in another way.

The bit that seemed to hit home was when I described how I felt about my personal encounters with suicide and how I dealt with it all. Or didn’t deal with it, as it turns out. I had a lot of private messages, some saying thanks for sharing and one or two being very long and heartfelt. I haven’t yet replied  to them individually because well, I wanted to take time, to get it right. Silly me, that is the very problem!  If we wait to say what we should say, if we wait to get it right, then too much time will pass and we end up not saying anything at all. Then the next time we see those people, we feel it is too late and we still don’t say anything. That’s craziness.

I am glad people felt that they could write to me. I am glad that they shared the same feelings and I am glad that we started a conversation. It has been hard though. A couple of friends have written to me telling me their stories, things I never knew about them, or that they had gone through. I hope it helped. I feel closer to them. I think about them differently now. Strangers too felt compelled to share with me how they felt about it all. I feel differently about it all now.

This is why we need to talk about it more.

However hard it may be.

Thanks too to all those who messaged simply to ask if I was OK and to let me know that they were there even though it was never about me. That was wonderful and shows that yes, we are looking out for each other. The world of medicine/nursing/paramedicine needs more of that stuff.

I am off to make some individual replies.


What is mildly amusing is that since I wrote that post I did actually end up in a bed on my ward via ED … Didn’t jump out the window though, don’t worry!

Stuff that may help:

From EMS1:  How to save a medics life

NYTimes: Why do Doctors commit suicide?

From PHARM: Are you OK?

From Mind : Suicidal feelings

From Samaritans: Suicide


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