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Opinion: 'The anger and pain get hold of me too quickly – I feel trapped and afraid'

A young person experiencing mental health problems gives an honest and unflinching account of what it’s like to have suicidal thoughts, and the challenges to finding help.

Image: Prixel Creative via Shutterstock

Here, a young person experiencing mental health problems gives an honest and unflinching account of his daily experiences – and also explains the challenges faced by someone in Ireland trying to secure help for suicidal thoughts, including being forced to wait months to see a psychiatrist.

IT ALL STARTED last year. I just starting crying, and crying and crying. When I start it’s like I’m never going to stop crying and then I get afraid of how I’m feeling. I feel hopeless and helpless. I just want to die. I’m just finished school. I don’t know what I want to do. My parents are dead so I can’t ask them for help. I’m very angry over that too. Maybe that’s why I feel so bad now or maybe it’s not.

On Sunday I cut myself, I did it because I felt a lot of pain inside, like I was boiling up and needed a way out. I was hurt and upset and confused, I don’t know why. I just get like that sometimes. I’ve been cutting myself for the past year. It’s not as though I like doing it, but it’s better than punching someone in the face. So I cut myself.

Everyone knows my story, but no one knows how bad I feel. A few weeks ago, I tried to kill myself, it was probably the eighth time I’ve tried to do that in the last year. I don’t know what happened I can’t really remember, I just remember feeling trapped and afraid and I wanted to die. I told a friend of mine, she’s a neighbour, and we went to the hospital. I’ve had to wait nearly two months to see a psychiatrist.

Sometimes I don’t want to die, sometimes I’m great and I’m the life and soul of the gang, and then I snap and I’m back in that hole again, just like that, and I want to die again and be with my mam and dad.

If I died I’d want a peaceful death, not something violent. I think about dying a lot. I have been affected by suicide twice in my life, one way this year. I don’t’ think I’ll live to be an old man, I don’t know if I want to. Some days I want to be a successful man with a nice house and dogs and a car and a job. Other days I don’t think I’ll ever be anything.

When I’m cutting myself, it’s usually when I get really angry. It’s a 60 seconds of madness moment. I don’t know how else to describe it but I just want to lash out except I don’t, instead I just turn it all in on myself. I don’t know why I’m like this. I feel angry and then sorry for being angry. People say I should pick up the phone and ring someone when I feel that bad and to talk about it but it’s not like that – in that moment I just don’t think about asking for help, it’s like I can’t ask for it, the anger gets hold of me too quickly and I don’t think about ringing anyone. I just become someone else.

I’m very shy and quiet one minute then I snap and I’m angry the next. But my anger isn’t like everyone else’s anger – when you shout and it’s over. I want to go all the way, like ending my life or cutting myself and doing real damage. I don’t think I’m worth much. How can I ring someone and tell them about these feelings? Sure, what would I say? “Hello, how are you? I’m angry.” I don’t have the words to say how I feel because I don’t know what I’m feeling. All I think about is wanting to die, wanting to escape. To get out and get anywhere, anywhere away from here. I hate myself, but I don’t know why. I hate my life and I don’t know why. I’m not spoiled, I’m not looking for attention. I just don’t want to feel like this. I’m sick of myself.

People think teenagers should just ‘get on with it’. Well, I’m trying to get on with it, every day I try to get on with it. I try to laugh and hang out with my mates but deep down I feel very hurt. It’s not like I haven’t asked for help – I have but I’m still waiting. I’ve to wait another week for my appointment to see a psychiatrist. So what do you do while you’re waiting to see the psychiatrist? I’m in Pieta House. I like going and I like the counsellor. I think that’s what’s keeping me alive.

The author wishes to remain anonymous.

If you are experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts, please contact one of these helplines: 

  • Samaritans: 116 123 or email
  • Console: 1800 247 247 (Suicide prevention, self-harm, bereavement)
  • Aware: 1890 303 302 (Depression, anxiety)
  • Pieta House: 01 601 0000 or email (Suicide, self-harm, bereavement)
  • Teen-Line Ireland: 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)

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