Louise from Wakefield

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I survived a suicide attempt and the training resonated with me. Especially about the honesty of not dodging the subject, but talking about it openly which enables the person suffering to talk openly too.

Ten years ago I was under an enormous amount of work-related stress in the NHS as well as going through a very difficult divorce an dhad to move out of the family home. 

I thought I was coping until suddenly it became evident that something was wrong. I became paranoid and anxious which soon turned into depression. 

My partner insisted I see my GP who signed me off work and started me on anti-depressants. I was so embarrassed of my diagnosis and didn't feel like I could tell my family or friends as it made me look weak. I find this hard to believe now as I would never judge someone on a diagnosis and I know neither would my friends or family, but I think that was a symptom of my depression and how little I thought of myself back then. 

I was hit and miss with my medication and put myself under an enourmous amount of pressure which I now think was a kind of self-punishment. I went on to make some very poor decisions which earned me a criminal record and prison time. I thought there was no coming back and had completely destroyed my future as well as sullied my past. 

Prison is what ultimately saved me. I went from being a busy professional trying to juggle a busy and demanding life to a situation where the only decision I could make was what I wanted for my meals for the next week. Obviously I was in a dark, dark place but that space and isolation and time spent with women from all sorts of backgrounds and situations and the camaraderie and support we showed each other was extremely healing. I learned to forgive myself and think about a brighter future. 

I was lucky; I had the ongoing love and support of friends and family throughout my darkest times, even though I didn't always want them there as they reminded me of who I Used to be and who I had turned into. The shame was so unbearable that it often left me physically unable to speak. They stuck around and I will never be able to repay them for that. 

When I left prison, I moved away for a year but realised I needed to be near the people I love and moved home to Yorkshire. I now work as a community co-ordinator for a large business. This involves working with charities and community groups, large and small, to see how we can support and promote them and link them with other groups. This means that on a daily basis I am speaking to new people and discovering what help is available in my community. 

Pledge: I pledge to share the training and talk to my friends, colleagues and family about the suicide prevention training. I pledge to see, say and signpost.