I watched a terrific programme last night The Stranger on The Bridge
This programme told the story of how in January 2014 Jonny Benjamin set out to find the man who 6 years before had talked him out of committing suicide on Waterloo Bridge. Sadly one things is that this programme exposed my woeful lack of getting to grips with Twitter. I’ve just never got it – I sometimes go on there and shout something profound, dumb, stupid, inane or all at once into the cyberspace ether and then wonder what on earth that is all about. If I had been more clued in I’d probably have known more about this story already, like my daughter did, since it apparently was followed by over 300million folks worldwide. That’s phenomenal!
If you can get to watch it I recommend you do. This really resonated after my recent reflections on suicide. … honesty time…. I used to often have thoughts of suicide in my drinking days, they were mild in that I never really did anything to progress them but I did regularly think that people and the world would be better off without me. There was one time I did get closer. In April 2004 I’d had the year of manic drinking where I’d continually tried to control it, cut back, stay stopped etc. I found myself back drinking insanely again. I left a pub with an intention to end it all. I went to a cliff I knew that looked out over the channel. Some weeks before someone had been killed there by jumping, falling, being pushed off. So I went there knowing if you leapt over the aluminium railing I’d probably die. I stood there but couldn’t do it – I wasn’t even strong enough to commit suicide I thought. An elderly lady came passed walking some little yappy dog, a terrier of some type I think. She remarked what a lovely day it was, which is was. I smiled and said “Yes” and headed back to the car. In my head I was thinking “Go away bitch I want to die here”… I got in the car and drove off… to another bar and another drink. Although that was only a few days/weeks before I stopped. Now I can’t claim this lady stopped me as I hadn’t had the courage to do it already but her speaking to me did at least snap me out of it as it were.
Since stopping drinking and all the work on myself that I’ve done as part of my recovery I rarely have any thoughts about suicide – I can’t say I never have them as every now and then it may flicker across the screen in my head but I really don’t entertain it at all. I suppose what all this is about for me is realising that 11 years ago I could have been one of those men in his 40s who did just take his life one day. If say I had walked straight to that cliff and jumped straight away rather than thinking about it. As the stranger on the bridge said to Jonny “Your life can get better”… mine did