Adrienne, 24, from North Lanarkshire, called Samaritans when she was struggling to cope. Now she is encouraging others to do the same.
“I’d struggled with suicidal thoughts and feelings for some time, since my late teens. I knew about Samaritans; I’d seen their posters. But the thought of calling them felt alien. I worried about what calling Samaritans would mean. Most of all I worried about admitting out loud that I was thinking about suicide.
I had thought about calling before; I’d even got as far as typing the number into my phone but I would always delete it. I was at university at the time and going through a difficult time, struggling to cope with bullying and with my mental health. When I eventually did call, it was 3am and I’d been crying for what felt like hours. My finger hovered over the green call button and I knew I couldn’t turn away this time. I had to speak to someone about how I was feeling.
I really didn’t know what to expect when I called. I was nervous about how I would sound and what they would say. Everything was so jumbled in my head and I desperately needed to air it out. At that moment I had no one to turn to and I knew that Samaritans could be a place that would listen. So I pressed the call button.
Calling Samaritans gave me back my voice. It gave me the space I needed to talk.
The woman who picked up was very patient; I didn’t feel rushed to put my feelings into words. She just let me talk, even though I felt like I was repeating myself and worried what I was saying didn’t make sense. She didn’t rush to interrupt or jump in with advice, which sometimes happened when I talked to well-meaning friends of family members. She recognised what I needed most was just to talk. I never knew how refreshing it was just to be listened to - to know that you won’t be dismissed and to have the freedom to say what’s on your mind without judgement.
There was an event the following day that I was really anxious about and it was a recurring theme in our conversation. So the volunteer I spoke to asked if I would like someone to call me back the following day and check in. Another Samaritan called the next day and asked how I was doing. Was I feeling worried? Was I with someone I trusted, who’d be there to support me? Just the knowledge that someone cared, that a total stranger was willing to call and check how I was doing, really struck me.
Call up, and stay on the line. Someone will answer, someone will listen.
When you’re at a point where you feel suicidal you don’t believe you deserve a voice. You don’t feel like you deserve to be here full stop. But calling Samaritans gave me back my voice. It gave me the space I needed to talk.
I’ve had ups and downs following that night. But looking back I see my call to Samaritans as the start of a conversation and an important stepping stone in my recovery.
It is a very scary thing to speak about your suicidal thoughts and mental health difficulties; there’s no denying it. But there’s also no denying how important and vital it is to talk.
So if you find yourself in a similar position, reach out. Make that call. Don’t hang up. You’ve already been so brave to even consider phoning, so take it that step further, call up, and stay on the line. Someone will answer, someone will listen.”