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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 20 December, 2014

Column: I tried to take my own life – and this is what it taught me

Depressed and confused, Damian Martin attempted suicide. He writes about what led him to it, and what he learned.

Damian Martin

THERE WERE MANY contributing factors that led me to spiral into a deep depression.

It began in September 2007 when the relationship I was in broke down. There were a lot of issues arising from this relationship that led me to feel like I was institutionalised. All I knew was how to be controlled, not in control. My head was all over the place. I felt like I could not trust anybody. I felt for a very long time: ‘I don’t care who you are or how nice you are; I refuse to open up to you.’ I had a massive fear of being rejected and laughed at. I couldn’t talk to anyone.

My lifestyle was all over the place. I began to feel really down all of the time and completely isolated myself from everyone. My friends and family were in the distant background and I spent all of my time in my bedroom when I was not in work on the road, or in the office. It wasn’t long before I started to have suicidal thoughts and started to think about dying. I felt that everyone would be better off without me. I felt that if I was dead, I would be doing everyone a favour. This went on for about four months. My life was a mess and I didn’t have a social life.

Things went from bad to worse. I wanted to die. But how could I leave this world and leave my son without a daddy? Some people might say that that’s not a dilemma, it’s a no-brainer – you always choose your kids and your family. I consider myself a great dad but I was in a completely and utterly different frame of mind. I was not myself.

After a heated argument with somebody one Sunday evening, I decided to end my life. The details are not important, but it ended with my being arrested in Dublin city centre. When I was being charged in the station, something inside me snapped again when I began to crack my skull off the wall, needing five members of the gardaí to put me into my cell and onto suicide watch.

‘I was embarrassed and ashamed’

After a brief chat with a friend later that evening, I asked my mam to get me help the next morning. I was embarrassed and ashamed of myself but I knew if I didn’t talk and get help, I was going to die. I didn’t, and don’t, want my son to grow up without his daddy around.

For the whole year of 2008 I was in therapy dealing with my suicidal issues and my wish to die. As and from 2009, I was and am a new man. I have been doing courses and have been in and out of college since. I have obtained a Level 7 NUI accreditation in Addiction Studies, Level 6 accreditation from the IACP for Counselling & Psychotherapy, Certificates in Behaviour Therapy, Drug Awareness, Sexual Health, Child Protection & Welfare, Health Awareness including HIV Awareness and many more.

I have gone on to be heavily involved in suicide awareness and suicide prevention including counselling people over the internet, holding and participating in talks and conferences and conducting interviews telling my story. I am also currently writing a book about my life. I tell my story to encourage other people who may be feeling depressed and/or suicidal to talk.

If I had not talked that Monday morning, and if it wasn’t for the intervention services, I would be dead now. I am in a new loving relationship now and the proud father of two beautiful kids and I am living life to the fullest every day.

Talk, people. Help me to stamp out the stigma that it’s not OK to talk about your feelings, because it is. I am living and walking proof that it is OK.

The Console support helpline is 1800 201 890, or visit console.ie. You can also get help from the Samaritans on 1850 60 90 90, or visit samaritans.org. The 1Life Suicide Prevention Helpline, available 24/7 free of charge, is at 1800 247 100 and 1life.ie.

Damian Martin runs a suicide awareness page on Facebook. You can find him on Twitter: @DrDamianMartin


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