By Jimmy Rhatigan
Pic: Donal Foley
A LOCAL woman who tried to take her life as a younger girl has positive words for anyone who may consider or even think about suicide.
“There is everything to live for,” she stressed. “It’s okay to cry, in fact its a sign of courage when you shed a tear.
“Why should you take your life because of a problem you will be laughing at down the road. Don’t be the one who is missed at your family function. Your life is precious, hang on to it dearly.
“All the problems in my head were solvable. Talk to someone, Teach Tom or the Rape Crisis Centre. Life is for living. No one is a burden to anyone in a time of need.
“I have great faith in the young people of today. If they believe in themselves they will be unstoppable.
“It is up to us all to show them the way and to give them words of encouragement.”
City woman, Gillian Kavanagh, now aged 38, was in what she termed a dark place.
She had been molested as a young girl and found it difficult to discover a will to win when her mother and father died.
She was struggling in her younger years. Any help she got from our health service was cut off when she reached age 18, when, she said she needed it most.
“When I sought help at 18 I was confronted by a two-year waiting list. Private help was too costly so where could I turn to?
“I was overweight. I was the sickness of my own world. Now I am a cure.
“Following an attempt on my life, I woke up in hospital. I was lucky, very lucky, I had an opportunity to realise that in hospital I had won the golden ticket that told me that my problems were but a blip on a radar screen.
“When I tried to take my own life, I didn’t want to kill myself but to do away with the life I was living.
“Had I not overcome my personal crisis I would have missed my brother’s engagement, my aunt’s 60th birthday, my brother’s party.”
Gillian told The Reporter that she believed that drugs and alcohol were a big part of the suicide epidemic that is gripping our country.
She recalled that long before the days of Teach Tom and Taxiwatch, she collapsed, was bundled into an ambulance and woke up in a hospital ward.
“I had a lot of drink taken. I was lucky to survive. I am absolutely thrilled that I came through. I am now a hospital volunteer helping people who need advice. It is great to be able to give something back.
“I got help from the Rape Crisis Centre and Teac Tom. I would advise young people to go to Teac Tom to clear their heads, to talk and to relax and to get a more positive view on life.
“Life is a phenomenal gift,” said Gillian. “You must enjoy it, appreciate it, share your good times with others, particularly your loving family.
“I have a boyfriend, there is someone nice on the scene. I would have missed all that had I passed on. I would have missed travelling, going to my friend’s house for afternoon tea.
“Life is fantastic and I am enjoying every minute of it. So can all of our young and not so young people who may go through a crisis that is always solvable. The latter is something they should keep in their minds.”
Gillian recalled that when she was suicidal, she was in a dark place, with not a pinhole of light.
“Now I am a completely different person, full of cheer, in good health and with a bright outlook on life.”
She sent her condolences to the parents and families of precious young people who had, sadly, taken their own lives.
“To parents, I say, I understand where their child was. You have to suffer from bad health to be able to understand and explain it.
“It is such a dark hole where no light shines in. That’s how low you feel. You are in a state of panic, the problems in your head mean that your heart is struggling to beat.
“For a time I felt the world would be better off without me. But when I realised I could get help, a weight was removed from my shoulders.”