Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Life is too short

This post is in honour of my friend and fellow medical student Jemimah, and her cousin Hannah. Hannah was such a clever and amazing girl, and also studied medicine - until she started suffering with very severe depression a couple of years ago and literally could not get herself out of bed. She fought the darkness as much as she could and her family fought along with her, but unfortunately it was just too strong for her. Hannah lost her battle on 29th August 2015.

Jemimah made sure that she text Hannah every day to show her that she was there for her, no matter what happened, and those texts would have been one of the last things she read before she passed away. I have always said on my blog that one of the best, and sometimes only, things you can do for someone suffering with depression is to just be there for them, to show them you love them, and will help them in any way possible. A little text in the morning can make the world of difference to someone's mental health, and Hannah will have passed away knowing that she was loved, which is the best she could have asked for.

Hearing Jemimah's terrible news made me feel so awful and extremely sad. I know what Hannah was going through. Maybe not exactly, but I too have had really dark periods and extreme suicidal thoughts. She must have been in such a bad place, and seemed like such a lovely girl - how is it fair that someone so talented should feel so utterly hopeless?

This is the third suicide that has personally touched me during the past three months, and that is just awful. Each time I have felt shocked and so sorry for the sufferer and their families. A lot of people believe that suicide is selfish, but it is not. A person has to be in such a bad place to want to kill themselves, and they will most likely truly believe that the world will be better off without them. I've written a little more about that in my post about suicidal thoughts here.

One thing that recent events, and my own depression, has made me realise is that life is too short, and we should all make the most of now. We don't know what is going to happen in the next hour, let alone the next year. Especially for me; I am fortunately having a good period with my mental health at the moment, but who knows what the future will bring? I have been trying to live in the moment and take each day as it comes, and that has really made me feel much more positive and happy about my life. Spend as much time as possible with loved ones; do the things you enjoy doing the most; get out there and experience things - don't hesitate to say 'yes' to opportunities that come along.

I truly believe that there need to be better services for those suffering with their mental health. Often people will be on waiting lists of 6 months or longer just to access counselling, when they need help now. 1 in 4 of us will suffer with a mental illness in our lifetime - something needs to shift.

That's why I wanted to mention that Jemimah is running the Bristol half-marathon on Sunday 13th September, and is raising money for Mind, the mental health charity - a cause that is obviously very close to her heart. Her cousin Hannah managed to raise around £1000 for Mind as it was a charity that helped her out in the past, and Jemimah wants to carry on that fundraising to help as many people with mental illnesses as possible. I think she is an amazing girl and is raising money for such a good cause, so please please donate, even if it's only £1. You can donate via her JustGiving page here, or text MIMA94 £1 to 70070.

Rest in peace Hannah, and know that you were loved dearly right to the very end.
Never give up on someone with a mental illness. When "I" is replaced by "we", illness becomes wellness.
                               - Shannon L. Alder


  1. Very honest post Hannah. And you are completely right. Suicide is not selfish. The things we convince ourselves of when we are in dark places make suicide feel like the only way out. xx

  2. Lovely post, I follow your blog and they are all very inspirational and well writen. I 100% agree suicide is not a selfish act and its not something that is easy to the person who completes it, there is a huge tabboo around suicide and I think like you just did it needs to be discussed. Life is too short and we need to tell our loved ones how much they mean to us, just a couple of words can brighten somones day xxx