Interview with my friend who saved my life

By Caitriona McMahon

I have spoken quite openly to date about my own history of suicidal thoughts but I still can’t help but feel there is a piece of the puzzle missing that may help others going through something similar or watching someone else going through it.

As many of you may know a few years ago I was saved from suicide by a girl called Kayla.

To this day, as she helps me fill in the blanks, it feels surreal as her recollection of what happened as the person finding me suicidal is so different to what I can even remember.

This is why I feel there may be a lot to learn from hearing the other side of the story involving finding someone in suicidal distress.

I was thrilled that Kayla agreed for me to interview her! I’m not sure if this has ever been done before having the suicidal person interviewing the rescuer but here goes.

Kayla can you tell our readers how you first noticed something was wrong with me?

“Everything changed from loads of emotion to no emotion all of a slap and I just knew something was seriously wrong.

“I can’t remember exactly the words but you said something that sounded very final and very hopeless. Nerves aside, I knew I had to ask the question and I knew regardless of the answer someone would know and someone could try and get proper help.”

Kayla what was it like for you hearing I was suicidal?

“It was a shock, because I don’t think I was really expecting it. I thought I knew everything.

“We are very close and I never assumed there would be something so big about your life that you couldn’t tell me. It made me question myself more than anything else wondering what I had or hadn’t done that could have made it easier for you to tell me.”

After listening did you understand it wasn’t you that had prevented me saying anything?

“Totally, because after the initial words were said and you spoke for a while and told me all about it, I could understand just how scared you were.

“While it was new for me, it was also new for you and you felt there was a shame associated with it. I got it totally after that.”

I notice as I ask you these questions your voice is shaking, can I ask why?

“Because I don’t like talking about it (body tenses).  I don’t like thinking of you in that pain and how upset you were.”

After that how did you go about getting me help?

“I knew your counsellor had to be working the next morning, that night there was nothing at all available and your biggest fear was the men in the white coats, so there was no way I was going to put you through that.

“That night I didn’t take my eyes off you and we stayed up talking, as I was terrified to leave you alone.

“The following day (Kayla laughs as she describes running up a bill of about €90 with all the people she had to ring, One of which was my counsellor) I rang your counsellor and I told her what had happened and she told me take you to the GP and to wait until you told the GP the exact words.”

What were the exact words?

“That you were suicidal, but didn’t have a plan in place.

“I then left you in private with the doctor and you came out some time later and absolutely f***ed me outta it.

“You said how the f**k could I do this to you? I should never have told?

“They’re all going to think you were a nut job and how you could not believe you I did this.”

What did you think hearing those words come out of my mouth?

“I knew you hated me but I knew professional help was needed and I couldn’t handle this alone.

“I didn’t know the proper way, it was between betraying you or not having you around anymore. It was the lesser of two evils.”

What would you say to someone that may be in your shoes now thinking another person is suicidal?

“Don’t hope for the best, dive straight into it and ask if the person is suicidal.

“Do not try and carry that weight yourself, you must get professionals involved.

“The person won’t want you to but you have to and always always, always look for help.”

As the interview comes to a close, I am overwhelmed with sadness to think of what she went through and what I said in moments of anger.

Now we are a few years on and as the person that was once feeling suicidal, I forgave her after some time, once I got help and now I am going to be forever grateful for what she did.

She put my wellbeing first regardless of the repercussions.

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