So I’m about to water down the worst 6 months of my life for you.
From the day I saw my Dad cry for the first time, to the day he took his own life… I hope me sharing this story might help you in some way.
My Dad (Neil McGregor) was my role model.
He kept himself in great physical shape, he was hard working, caring, and loved by many.
But on the 4th of March 2009, he left home, walked to a busy road, and stepped in front of a lorry.
That day changed my life forever.
Why did he do it?
I battled with this question for so long, falling into depression myself and battling with my own suicidal thoughts as well. But 8 years later, as I write this today, I feel stronger than I’ve ever felt.
But what happened?
How did my Dad go from a happy man with what seemed like a happy life (on paper) to feeling so low that he saw suicide as the only option to deal with his mental health.
I try to answer that question in todays article.
Above is a video of me sharing the story. I also flick through some old photos (don’t laugh!)
Why Did He Do It?
I’ve already shared my answers to this question in the popular post ‘Why Men Kill Themselves‘… but I want to dive deeper today.
For years I buried the pain of my Dads death, I didn’t grieve and I simply decided to ignore that it happened.
I brushed it off, replacing that pain with short term pleasure.
I went out most evenings, I drunk too much, I worked harder and I bought needless (but expensive) things. I constantly chased short term pleasure, looking to my next fix of ‘happy feelings’ to distract myself from my Dad’s suicide.
But one day, that pain caught up with me.
I hit a hole of depression that made it hard to get out of bed and get changed most mornings.
Those buried emotions, that buried pain of my Dad’s suicide resurfaced causing me to break down. At that moment in my life I had two options…
1. I could keep doing what I was doing (which obviously wasn’t working) or…
2. I could answer that question I’d been ignoring.
“Why did my Dad do it?”
Why did my Dad decide that living, that spending time with me, that seeing me grow up into a man wasn’t worth it? Why was ending his life was the ‘better’ option.
It was a painful question to answer, one that saw me try to get as low as possible in my own depression, almost trying to replicate my Dad to see if suicide was in fact the only solution he had.
But after seeking help, speaking to someone, and going on a journey of questioning myself and learning about how I felt… things became clearer.
The answers to that question that haunted me started to arise.
Can suicide really be a choice if it’s the only choice available?
I’m sure that’s what my Dad felt at the time, he had so many ‘reasons’ on paper why he shouldn’t do it but the pain he was going through at the time (mentally) was far greater than any reason to stay alive.
It was a quick fall, he went from the role model I’d always looked up to to attempting to kill himself two weeks later after I saw him cry for the first time. His breakdown meant that his perception of life had collapsed, darkened, and to him he’d lost all choice in life.
In fact the only choice he had was to battle the pain he was going through or to end his life. And in all honesty, he’d left it too late to continue the battle, so the only choice he felt he had at that particular time was to end the pain through suicide.
I struggled to understand why he did it for so long…
But the pain he was going through must’ve been unbearable, it’s a pain no one will understand until they’ve been there.
My Dad stepped in front of a 40 tonne lorry driving at around 50mph. The physical pain is unimaginable when an accident like that happens, but to my Dad… that physical pain was nothing in comparison to the mental pain he was going through.
He saw no future in living.
Dealing With Suicide
Having someone close to you take their own life is hard to deal with. The grief from losing someone close to you is hard enough to handle, but knowing it was their decision to die for me makes it harder to grieve.
You might also be reading this feeling depressed yourself, currently struggling to see any future.
But for you to be reading this sentence right here, towards the end of the article… shows you’re hoping for help.
Now I’m no psychologist or trained counsellor, but I hope the following lessons from my own personal experience can help.
The lessons that I found helped me deal with my Dad’s suicide, but also deal with my own depression.
1. Talk About It
Opening up and talking about how you feel is strength, burying it and chasing short term pleasure is weakness. Honestly, it’s ok to talk. I tried counsellors, I tried looking for solutions via the Doctor who wanted to hand me anti-depressants, I tried writing it down…
But what worked for me was a 70 odd year old woman who was labelled to me as ‘weird’. I booked an appointment, spent 3 or 4 sessions going for massage for back pain and all of a sudden she had me opening up to her about everything.
That release, that pain being lifted from talking and also the understanding that I was ok to feel how I did is a big factor behind me being able to share this with you today.
Whether you feel depressed or whether you’re struggling to deal with a suicide close to you, don’t be afraid to talk.
I share more about my story of being open in the video below.
2. Everyone Is Battling
Everyone you meet, everyone you make eye contact with today, everyone you already know is fighting a battle you know nothing about.
You are not alone.
Suicide is frowned upon, mental health is still surrounded by a stigma, so feeling like we’re alone is natural.
When my Dad took his own life I didn’t know how to tell people. Do I say he died? Do I make up an illness? Or can I just tell people he killed himself?
Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 50 right now. Mental health affects everyone, 1 in 4 people have admitted and are dealing with depression. So why shouldn’t we talk about it?
Mental health for me is as important (if not more important) than your physical health. We talk openly about weight loss, about going to the gym, and even about 95% of physical illnesses we’re going through… but we feel embarrassed if we have to talk about seeing a counsellor, reading a self help book or meditating.
Fuck that stigma.
Fuck what used to make us ‘normal’.
Burying painful emotions and being afraid to talk in todays modern society doesn’t work.
Don’t be afraid of talking about how you feel.
3. The Best Investment You Will Ever Make Is In You
Where do you place yourself in your personal list of people you care for?
I’m guessing your kids might come first? Or your parents? Or your girlfriend/wife/partner?
But in all honesty, we should always put ourselves first.
How do you expect to help others around you if you don’t help yourself?
There’s a good reason why you’re told to put your own Oxygen mask on before putting them on your children in the case of your aeroplane crashing. You’d be no good to them if you couldn’t breathe…
Look after yourself.
When I lost my Dad I neglected my own personal wellbeing. I went into complete self sabotage mode looking for approval from others. But as soon as I started investing in myself, as soon as I started getting help and discovering what made me happy I managed to deal with my Dad’s suicide better and I also managed to deal with my own depression.
Do more of what you love. Do more of what makes you feel good.
Because the best investment you will ever make in life is in yourself.
Share Your Story
I’d love to hear your story in the comments below (if you’re happy sharing).
I hope my story, my experiences and me being as open and vulnerable as possible has helped you in some way.
Don’t hesitate to reach out by email, on Instagram, Facebook or YouTube.
I’d love to hear from you 🙂