Dear People who didn’t know what to do.

At 10yo, my family splintered. I was lonely; isolated. The perfect target for a paedophilic man. I was 12yo when my inner world exploded. Feelings of self-disgust, worthlessness, loneliness, guilt, shame, abandonment, betrayal, and self-hatred became my new inner world.

I was 16yo when the cracks appeared; before my inner world began to leak out. I started self-harming at 16. On my 18th birthday I tried to end my life for the first time. I could see no other way to end the pain that engulfed me. Over the next 30 years I encountered people who turned away from me because I had attempted suicide. I encountered health professionals who spoke to me in unhelpful ways – “Are you going to try something stupid like this again” (following a suicide attempt, in an effort to determine if he needed to do more than patch me up and send me on my way).

I encountered people who mocked me, ridiculed me, told me to “pull myself together”, walked away from me, looked down on me, treated me like I was intellectually impaired, used my suicidal behaviour against me. And I continued to self-harm and attempt suicide over those 30 years.

What I needed, Dear People, was for someone to look at me and speak to me like I was a human being who was in excruciating pain. What I needed, Dear People, was for someone to ask me if I was okay. What I needed, Dear People, was for someone to hold out their hand and let me know I wasn’t alone. What I needed, Dear People, was to feel safe and cared for. Not ostracism, or experts, or drugs, or hospital. Just some human compassion. It is as simple as that.