I have been contemplating my bad luck with this situation where I am right now. I haven’t been feeling very mentally active since I have been on this resit year. It is very stagnating and hard to remain positive. All I can think about is the things that I could be doing now if I had done things differently. At one point I started to feel suicidal as I clung onto resilience hoping to weather through the storm.
Christmas is just a short while away and I have been watching the Christmas films on TV. Normally I don’t watch festive films of this kind around this time of year. They are not really my kind of taste in cinema but on this occasion I decided to try one that is lampooned in popular culture. This one is called It’s a Wonderful Life from 1946 staring James Stewart as George Bailey. A man who had so much that he aspired to achieve in his life but he has found that he never got to. One Christmas Eve Bailey finds that his bank has lost money by accident and he becomes suicidal. A guardian angel drops in just as Bailey is about to jump from a bridge. Telling his angel that he wished he’d never been born George Bailey discovers what his life would be like if he had never been born.
It is very strong for a film to tackle an issue like suicide in this way. In the autism community there is a strong undercurrent of mental health problems causing suicide. We experience negative emotions, burnouts, meltdowns and anxiety brought on by the stresses of living with our conditions. There are times when I have found it hard to cope with rejection and have to put up no support that I have gone into hiding from the world.
Like George Bailey I have even thought about the things that I could have done with my life when I was younger. I have been told by friends to let go of the things that I can’t control. A friend of mine said that I have many talents that not that many people possess. Somethings that make me unique. It’s not a good idea to judge yourself too harshly so don’t drown in the sea of despair. In that sea you shouldn’t drown in it, but swim in it. Penguins are a good example of resilience in a dark cold sea. They are the fastest and most persistent creatures in a dark cold sea.
Now take a look back on your life and think about what you have done with your life. Can you think of the people and the places you’ve been to? If so then contemplate what you did there and then. Write down what you did with your life and see what impact you made that would not have happened if you’ve never lived. George discovered that his hometown would have been taken over by a greedy banker and his brother Harry was a war hero who died because he wasn’t there to save him.
I have been thinking about the time when I took up archery. I became interested in it inspired by London 2012 Olympics. I had been interested in archery many years before but only started to take it up as a sport late in life. When I started to become an advocate for archery and a Commonwealth Games volunteer I then started to push for archery to become a core sport in the Commonwealth Games. There have been other campaigners for it but none quite as remarkable as mine. I have a petition and network connections to push it through. So I have made a wonderful mark on archery for myself and for the Commonwealth.
It is an accomplishment like this that has made me able to realise that I have a sense of purpose and value. Things like that can hold back suicidal thoughts. Another thing that has also made me think of the better of myself is the people I have met. In 2011 I could have left the Open University altogether and gone straight into full time education again a year later. But I kept putting it off and I regret missing an opportunity to complete my degree early on.
But in the time since then I have met some really nice people who I am glad to call my friends. They are glad to know me and without me being born I wouldn’t have made their lives fulfilling. Those are the kinds of things that can hold back suicidal thoughts. You have to live through things that will toughen you up, you have to surround yourself with worthwhile people, you have to realise that what you’ve got has value and share it with other people.
You might be created unequal or never have lived up to the expectations of you personal desires, but your existence is respected and valued.