Conversations about suicide - Shane's story

S1: It starts pretty earlier in high school. I suppose I had the... There's a few times I remember being on a phone call to a friend and something wasn't going well. I got really emotional over little things. Just didn't know why.

Over time, three or four years, it built up and built up, and just letting people down constantly and not understanding why I was feeling like this. It was just a very big low feeling and I suppose over time that kept building up and building up.

A trigger point I had was... I was seeing a girl and she was planning to go overseas for a year. That was very hard to take. I actually found myself not sleeping and just sitting on my computer for 24 hours a day waiting for her to Skype me, or waiting to hear from her. I wasn't sleeping at all.

I probably didn't have much money at the time. That was probably another stress on my mind. I was looking for ways to deal with the little things thinking she could help while she was leading a life of her own.

It's hard to describe the space I was in. Purely because there was no thinking. There were no thoughts whatsoever in my mind apart from how I was gonna attempt suicide.

This particular morning there was not a thought of anything but how I was gonna do it. I remember waking up at a mate's house and the first... I woke up and I was ready to do it. There was no thought about any family, friends, what it was going to do to anyone. It was just, "How am I going to do this without people knowing?" So I hopped in my car and that was pretty much it. There was no feeling. No thought in my mind.

I remember, probably for 15 minutes I was driving around and trying to think of reasons not to do it. But, it was just empty. It's probably the toughest 15, probably half an hour of my life. Not being able to think clearly at all. You can always see some sense to things even if it's just a glimmer, but there was just no sense to what was going on.

I obviously, regained consciousness, I remember it was to a random guy who had come out from a house and he put his hand on my shoulder. He opened up the door and he put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Are you okay?" I said. "If this is real life then I'm probably not okay." Because what I had intended to do didn't come true. He was actually in tears. He'd realised what was going on and saying that for him was probably really difficult.

I think that's when it started to kick in that I had a bigger fight on my hands than I thought. Just seeing a stranger upset at another stranger trying to harm himself, it was very hard for me but at the same time I was a bit dazed.

S2: Shane, I'm wondering if you can share what that experience was like for you? Going into the hospital after your suicide attempt? The kind of help that you got. What was good for you in all that? 

S1: Obviously the first couple of days are probably a little bit blurry. I had an amazing nurse who I thanked later down the track, who went out of her way to make sure I was alright, every day and make sure I was fed and sleeping well. That was a massive thing. She obviously clearly knew why I was in there, but was very caring and compassionate towards me. She was really good and treated me like everyone else, which was very important for me to get through.

I had a mate come in, which will stick with me forever. He said, "It's just one girl. There'll be plenty more." I turned around and said, he was in tears. I said, "You know that's just the trigger point. There was a deep build up to why its occurred." But it will always stick with me because there's a lot of people that just thought it was about that one incident. That was just the trigger point for me.

I suppose the psychiatrist and psychologist that I was speaking to were really good as well. They were pretty quick to delve into the deepest details of it all make me speak about it because they didn't want to leave anything unspoken about, and then I had to go home and worry about it all myself.

S2: Shane, you've spoken about seeing the GP and seeing a psychiatrist and seeing a number of psychologists? 

S1: I probably had five psychologists over time. Probably over the last three or four years. The first one probably lasted two sessions and I thought, "This isn't going to help me" and that was it. So I didn't find this psychologist until, probably 12 months ago when I thought, "I'm really going to nut this out." I think this was a big part of it, me actually wanting the help and realising I'd pushed too many people away. So, I thought, "I want this. I need this for a better life for me."

S2: Shane, I'm wondering if you can tell us about how your friends were and there might have been some different responses.

S1: I think, I've been pretty lucky how my friends have been with me. Like sometimes it's just being there. Just an offer of, "Do you wanna go kick the footy ". It doesn't matter whether you wanna kick the footy or not, the offer is a big deal.

Well, I had one mate, messaging me, just random, just saying, "How you going, mate?" Nothing to do with the depression and suicide. It was just a genuine, "how are you going?"