Thursday, 27 December 2012

The Gap

Yesterday we got the ferry over to Watson's Bay to watch the Sydney to Hobart yacht race
Afterwards we walked to an area called The Gap
Dramatic cliffs overlooking rough sea
The Gap is a notorious haunt for people who want to commit suicide
So much so that CCTV has been installed
And also signs with helpline numbers like this one

Yesterday it was hard to imagine this place as a last resort for people
When I was there it was heaving with tourists, bustling with people
I thought of someone coming up there to take their own life and I felt overwhelming sadness
I couldn't stop thinking about it

Some of you may have heard of Don Ritchie
He lived near The Gap and over 5 decades he helped and talked people out of committing suicide
He saved the lives of over 160 people
He was known as the 'angel of The Gap'

He died in May of this year
He was quoted as saying

'Never be afraid to talk to those who you feel are in need. Always remember the power of a simple smile, a helping hand, a listening ear and a kind word'

I remember reading about him back in May and thinking what an amazing man he was
He approached people in their darkest moments
He offered a cup of tea and kind words
Most importantly he listened
I'm sure people don't want to commit suicide, they just can't see any other way out
I'm sure they were delighted to see Don coming
And often it's easier to talk to a stranger
We don't have to worry about worrying them or letting them down
He truly was such a beautiful soul
I myself have been at that low place
When the only option I could see was death
You're not thinking straight when you are suicidal
You begin to believe that you are a burden and that people would be better off with out you
You can't see how life could get better
Suicide ha loomed heavily over me for a long time
It's my get out of jail free card
My opt out clause
I would do it only I don't want to break my families heart
If people didn't care so much it would be much easier
If people didn't love me so much I could do it no problem
This is true I think
If we are at rock bottom then things can only get better
If we are in the gutter at least we are staring at the stars
People say that suicide is selfish but I would think that the person who commits suicide do so as a selfless act
The people who met Don Ritchie were blessed
I just wish there were more Don Ritchies out there

I've also experienced suicide from the other side
I remember being at an NA meeting a couple of years ago
I was opening the meeting and there were just 2 other girls there
After the meeting one of the girls told me that she was in  a very low place and wanted to die
I didn't know what to do
She was staying in a B&B on her own and I feared for her safety
So I did something that is not encouraged in NA
I asked her if she wanted to come out to my house to stay the night
It's really not something that's done because we are taught to protect ourselves first
I barely knew this girl and she had a very chequered past
Her ex fiance was doing time for murdering a 15 year old girl
Her own family situation was very rough
I suppose I felt sorry for her
I used to give her lifts to meetings and I gave her a little angel to keep in her room
So I brought her out to my house
She went to bed straight away and I spent the whole night worrying that she would harm herself
To be honest I felt very uncomfortable with her in the house\
I just couldn't relax
The next morning I was anxious to get her home
As soon as I could I dropped her at the drop in centre where she could get support
Afterwards over NA members gave me a stern talking to and told me that I had done the wrong thing bringing her home
They said anything could have happened
And I guess they were right
In the weeks after she did in fact take an overdose and ended up in the psychiatric hospital
She was very unwell for quite a while
Then all of a sudden she seemed to snap out of her depression
She started seeing a guy and they quickly got engaged
Then she got pregnant
I haven't seen her in over a year
The last time I saw her she didn't mention the night she spent at my house
And she never returned the coat I lent her
Would I do it again?
I'm not sure
Maybe not for someone I don't know very well
It's taking on a huge responsibility
But at the same time I would hope someone would do it for me if I were in that position

What's your experience of suicide?


  1. when i was younger i used to practise jumping bkwards on my bed, there was a cliff at the bk of my old sch in a nature reserve and i dreamt of jumping off it, i got obsessed with doing it perfectly, so i had to jump backwards to make it graceful. how ridiculous! never did jump but comtemplated a lot. then i started my chain of overdosing. most werent to die, just to hurt myself enough to distract myself from it all. once was more sinister, the time i was in hospital for a week. i took half the tablets when my housemates came back unexpectedly and i panicked and fled without the rest, which is how i ended up in hosptal for a week with only my housekeys and a pencil case, which i grabbed for some unknown panicked reason. told a&e mental health team that it was the same as previous ods to avoid section and it was easy to make them believe me.

    1. I've done this too Nina, fantasized about my own death
      For me it was always an overdose, I wouldn't have the courage to do it any other way
      As I said though, I couldn't bear the thought of one of my family finding me and I know my death would literally break them so that's what stops me
      I am the youngest in my family so sometimes I imagine that I will kill myself after they are all dead
      It's a bit sick and twisted x

  2. Since I have only taken pills and alcohol a few months ago it was just a cry for help, but not the help you want to get. My husband is almost scared of me know this is something he has never had to deal with. I wish I could take it back because he looks at me differently now. it hurts so bad. I feel so unworthy of life because I tried to throw mine away. Depression is such a horrible disease I hate it. Love your pics from christmas and I hope you enjoy your visit.

    1. Thanks Linny
      I think your husband is so very worried and you're right depression is like a black dog that haunts us
      I hope you are doing better no though

      Stay strong x

  3. I have OD'd on pills a couple of times in the attempt to die. This last Saturday, I was there again. I wanted nothing more than to just escape from my life and ED. I've lost so many friends to suicide, and I don't think I could do that to my family.

    1. I'm the same Katie, I just couldn't do it to them
      And I think that's as good a reason as any not to do it
      You have a beautiful family that love you very much, they would be devastated if you were gone

      Don't give up Katie, you are doing so well

      Love to you x

  4. I never heard of that place, very sad. I was very depressed at one point and did contemplate suicide. It's been years now but I still fear I will one day become depressed again. It was a very dark place. BUT things can get better. I am now a " productive member of society", who has good and bad days, but is overall content with their life. Things *can* get better.

    1. I believe that too or more like I have to believe it
      That's great that you have come through depression, you are a survivor. I hope to be a 'productive member of society' someday too. You are doing great sweetie x

  5. i don't have a family.

    Thank you so much for telling don ritchies story. what an amazing person!

    1. Your welcome Loulou, he really was such an amazing spirit and helped save the lives of so many people

      How are you?

      I hope you're ok x

  6. There is a guy in Japan who does a similar thing to Mr. Ritchie. They are awesome blokes.

    Omg that to-do list picture made me laugh so hard I started coughing. It's fucking PERFECT. If I ever get a sword, a staff or a bow, I'll call it Kindness.

    I think you did a good thing, keeping her alive that little bit longer. It is easier to talk to strangers and it's really hard to say thank you to someone who saw you at your most vulnerable and kept you alive. It's fucking awkward to say the least!

    Suicide is a fact of life to me. I've attempted many times and probably fucked my brain up with it (Paracetamol OD can cause fluid on the brain as well as liver failure, and I never got flushed/detoxed. I just stayed at home when I woke up and realised I'd failed AGAIN)

    I figure it's how I'll die eventually. I'm doing OK for now but every time I get that far down it's less likely I'll come back from it. When you're at rock bottom the only place things can go is up, but once you're past the event horizon of a black hole, there is no escape. I feel like I'm playing chicken with that event horizon, every time I come closer and it's harder to pull away from it.

    Lol, fucking good thing I'm getting therapised now, isn't it? About bloody time!

    I hope you're enjoying Oz and managing to make some good memories. Waving a glass of cold, caffinated beverage in your general direction :p

    LOVE YOU RUBY!!! *hugs*

    1. Yes Peri, I think I would do it again
      Whatever NA says sometimes you have to bend the rules a little
      I remember one night a few years ago I was standing on a bridge contemplating jumping off when 2 lads asked me if I was ok, they brought me home and made me tea and probably saved my life

      I am enjoying Oz although my sister is a bit pissed off with me because I keep falling asleep in random places
      It's a combination of the heat and my meds so there's not a lot I can do about it

      Hope you're ok Peri

      Love you always x

  7. My husband has had a few suicide attempts. One was very tramatic, I came home from work in the middle of the day and found him covered in blood and very out of it from taking a bunch of meds. I ended up calling 911 and having him committed involuntarily. The whole process was a nightmare to begin with but to make matters worse the staff was horrible at th ER and he was handled so horribly. State laws have changed since that day and the hospital was cited for the incident. I never want to call 911 again, police in this area have shot and killed people wo they were called to transport o the hospital and although I know its unlikely it scares me. It only takes one officer to feel in danger from the patient and things can go bad. So like you did I now take more risks and "babysit" more than I should out of fear.

  8. Gosh Josie, I am so sorry to read this
    That must have been so difficult for you and your husband
    I hope things are better now
    That is shocking how he was treated
    You would hope these cases would be treated with sensitivity and care

    Stay well Josie x

  9. I just want to thank you for that lovely comment on my post. And what you have said about suicide is so true, you've really nailed the feeling. I actually live near The Gap, and even though I never knew Don personally, I think he is a wonderful person and I wish there were more people like him out there. All the best x

  10. Your so welcome Juniper

    It's so true, he was an amazing person
    There is nothing more worthwhile than helping another person

    Take care x

  11. I am going here to scope and consider it as my final resolution. It looks beautiful.

    1. I'm really sorry to have read this. I found this site when I heard about Richie and he did something so beautiful at a place that is beautiful. This world is filled with so much beauty and good but one bad thing can blind people from this. It's the little happy moments that matter, that's what you always need to think about. Think about a mother with her little boy and how much they love each other (I know everyone has seen that in their life) it's so pure and innocent. Life is full of beauty, think of the things that make you happy that you won't be able to do anymore if you end your life. Life is such a beautiful thing, enjoy it love it live it to the fullest. Carpe diem: living in each and every moment, recognizing both the good and the bad because they'll never be another moment like that in your life again, appreciate it.

      Remember there is always someone who loves you


Thank you for leaving some love x