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'It wasn't about anything that happened in my life, it was about the black hole'

Darkness Into Light volunteer and suicide survivor Rebecca McInerney shares her journey to recovery.

THIS YEAR’S DARKNESS Into Light walk takes place on Saturday May 12th in aid of Pieta House, proudly supported by Electric Ireland. Participants in more than 170 locations, on four continents, will walk the 5km route to raise funds and awareness.

In the weeks leading up to it, people around Ireland will be sharing their own journeys from Darkness Into Light. For the second part of the series, Darkness Into Light Bray volunteer Rebecca McInerney shares her story of recovery from suicide and discovering hope through Darkness Into Light.

The black hole

I attempted suicide about 17 years ago. I’m lucky to be alive and healthy – I was in a coma and they didn’t know whether I was going to survive. At the time in Bray there was nowhere to talk, no centres and the nearest places were in Dublin so you’d just feel so alone sometimes.

It wasn’t about anything that happened in my life, it was about the black hole. One day I came home from the pub and I just wasn’t happy with myself. It wasn’t the first time I had thought about suicide, I had considered it when I was 10 or 11. I was thinking I don’t fit in and that people would be better off without me.

I didn’t plan it, I didn’t leave a note. I just wanted to go to sleep. From what my family told me, I was in ICU for about two or three days and had to be brought back to life twice. I died twice and was put in a coma. My family tipped wood that there would be no brain damage – that was the hardest part of it for them.

Sometimes I have a good day, sometimes I have a bad day and a black cloud just comes down and your world just falls apart and you think I just need to get out of here. There are a lot of people in Bray who have died by suicide – it’s a community that really needs things like Darkness Into Light and Pieta House.

The turning point

My cousin was 26 years of age and he died on Father’s Day. That made me realise that life was worth living. I saw his family fall apart and all I could remember is this is what I would have put my family through.

Seeing the aftermath of what you leave behind, it destroys a family. That happened 14 years ago so he would be 40 now. When you have family get togethers it hurts because he’s not around.

They miss him so much and they’d bring him back tomorrow if they could. It’s like a member of your family is just gone – you have a chair missing at Christmas-time and it’s times like that when you really miss him.

As someone who did it, I want to remind people that there’s nothing that a person did wrong – if you had an argument it wasn’t your fault. They just wanted to get out of their head and it felt right at the time. I do hear people saying “I wish I did this” but it wouldn’t have changed anything. I feel sorry for those who feel guilty about it, it isn’t their fault.

The most peaceful walk

shutterstock_150528767 Shutterstock Shutterstock

During my first Darkness Into Light, there were teenagers there who maybe had lost a family member like a mother or a father, it was heartbreaking. I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t know someone who has passed away from suicide. There are people out there who feel and know your pain and know what you’re going through.

The only way I can explain it is it’s the most peaceful walk you’ll ever do. You could be walking beside strangers and opening up about your loved one. You see everyone with all the t-shirts and posters, you realise they’re walking with you. There are people out there who feel and know your pain and know what you’re going through.

The first year we had 1,000 people take part, last year we had 3,000. It’s so nice to have a big crowd because that’s where you can feel the support. The first year that we did it, the sun started to rise and it was just the most beautiful setting ever. People were sitting out on the rocks looking out on the sunrise or holding hands walking along watching it.

The strength in numbers

I’ve spoken to a lot of people who didn’t realise that they were depressed. A lot of people want to talk, especially teenagers. Adults have their getaways but when your head is spinning at 13 or 14, where do you turn? Sometimes you have a waiting list of three to six months – some people don’t have that time. You’re at a point where you think you can’t go any further and it takes a lot to say that.

Darkness Into Light really is the nicest walk I’ve ever done. There’s so much love around. Even if you’re walking by yourself, no one ignores anyone. We say to chat to whoever you are beside but you don’t have to tell people – it’s automatic. You could be walking alone but it feels like you’re walking with a hundred people. It really does make you realise that you’re never really alone.

Electric Ireland / YouTube

Wake up and walk from Darkness in Light on May 12th at 4.15am in aid of Pieta House, proudly Supported by Electric Ireland. Register at or follow the conversation on social media using #DIL2018.

If you need to talk, contact for free:

  • Pieta House 1800 247247 or email – (available 24/7)
  • Samaritans 116 123 or email (available 24/7)
  • Aware 1800 804848 (depression, anxiety)
  • Childline 1800 666666 (for under 18s, available 24/7)

Rebecca McInerney
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