February 17, 2020

Mama Life || If Only People Had Been Kind.

After this week's sad news that another person has taken their life, I felt the need to talk about the aftermath a little and some of the stark realisations that come with someone mainstream commiting suicide. We've seen a lot of suicide in the news recently and of course when it's a big star we see a lot more coverage, but with that comes more and more people commenting, sharing, reporting and chucking their ten pence worth in to something they know nothing about. I've very nearly got to this point myself in the past and I know only too well that it can be just one small thing that just distracts you from the dark thoughts for long enough to reprogramme your mind and I really hope that from this tragedy we can all embrace a little more kindness and thoughtfulness when it comes to others, as well as looking after ourselves more. We never know what people are going through and although there will always be cruel trolls out there, there are far more of us normal folk that can far outweigh the bad with some good old fashioned kindness. Hearing about suicides and mental health breakdowns really strikes a chord with me as I've been to some very low points at times and it's scary how close to home some of the things mentioned are.

This week ITV's sweetheart and former Love island presenter Caroline Flack ended her life and just now nobody quite knows how or the exact reasons why, though it's been discussed that she has suffered from depression before and has posted a lot of subtle cries for help it seems, but also had an upcoming trial for the alleged assault of her boyfriend. We don't know the facts, we don't know why, but what we do know is that whatever she has or hasn't done, she's very sadly decided that death is less painful than living and I think the press and the online bullying has a lot to answer for that. As well as the constant hounding before her untimely death, there's been some incredibly insensitive comments made to her family and boyfriend in the time since. First up is the trolls which I won't waste much time on. Commenting from newly created zero follow accounts to cause a stir. Yeah those people are lowest of the low and really it says more about how shitty their lives must be that they find validation in that, and that's all the time I'll waste on those idiots apart from to say please keep scrolling past those people and never ever engage.

The press have no doubt played an enormous part in CF's decision to end her life, the constant hounding, the hideous headlines, comments, badly timed photos taken, everyone judging with magazines and newspapers full of non stories based on nothing but mostly gossip and assumptions. I think it's really important now that we don't feed these wolves, by clicking on articles and buying magazines that support this kind of bullying behaviour, this sort of thing will happen again and it's just such a waste of life. Of course now she has passed, these magazines are sites are now highlighting her positive points, writing lists of her success, sharing beautiful pictures and summing up her life in such a lovely way, but I can only think if somebody could have showed her all this beforehand it may just have been enough to pull her through whatever she was feeling. Buying magazines that support bullying by shaming and judging women, for scrutinising their every move in the public eye is beyond gross when you think about it and only lays a path of acceptance for the same judgement and bullying to be ok in every day life. It's not ok.

When all you're seeing is bad pictures, sad stories and abuse online and in the media about yourself, it's going to grind you down and they did achieve just that. Whatever Caroline has done, been through or was suffering from, the fact is she needed more support and as a country we are lacking in resources for people with mental health issues and it's a sad sad world when people feel death is an easier option than facing the day to day. I have no doubt that friends and family gave her so much love and support but I think she probably needed reassurance from her employers, as a TV star I feel they should be supporting her off screen and it seems she didn't have that which no doubt left her feeling it was all over, which in turn no doubt made her feel needlessly shamed and alone. I have no doubt that Caroline has always suffered mental health problems and was very much in the pit of depression, reignited in full force by all she had gone through in recent months. The fact that in all these weeks where she has no doubt considered ending her life and planned it to the letter, that she didn't feel there was anything or anyone that could make it better, it's very sad. I'm saying this as someone that cares deeply about mental health, that things really really have to change, there needs to be easier ways to reach out, better, quicker, cheaper support for those in need and some more life lines available so life feels a little less hopeless.

Another scary thing to come to light that is really upsetting is the domestic abuse issue and the comments surrounding it. There's clearly a distinct lack of education on this topic and it really needs to change. Now there's no doubt that this is all a horrific tragedy that could have so easily been prevented, but as a separate issue the domestic abuse accusations were there and whatever truth is in them, people have no right to now be speaking to her boyfriend about it, especially people telling him he should never have reported it, with comments like 'he should have manned up' and 'I'm sure she had a good reason'. This is not OK. Had this been the other way round, the response to this situation would have been entirely different, equally as wrong, but very different. If he had abused her, people would celebrate his passing, they'd say he must have felt very guilty and that it serves him right for beating up women. When it's played the other way round though, the man is insulted for getting help and in some cases this week even blamed for her death, being called a 'murderer' by online trolls. Do people seriously think it's 'unmanly' to report being abused? Domestic abuse of any kind is a huge issue regardless of gender and if something did happen then why shouldn't he have called the police? Caroline's death is so so tragic, but placing any blame on her boyfriend is cruel and is just further bullying that should not be allowed. My heart truly goes out to him and her family and friends this week and my only hope that the sharing of Samaritan numbers, help lines and advice out there will help anyone else that feels like there is only one way out of this life. I also feel that being a woman accused of such a crime, is less seen so for the sake of extra clicks and sales, the media really went to town on shaming her for this more than was necessary. At the end of the day it was a private matter being dealt with by the police, and by hounding her non stop it was only going to go one way.

If you or anyone you know is in a bad place right now, never give up, keep talking, look after yourself and those you love by checking in, showing people you're thinking of them and making small gestures to people you meet that may just be enough to save them. It's not right that anyone ever feels that low and I think we all need to try harder to be better. I also urge you in the nicest possible way to not share selfies to 'help' the cause but instead to share helpline numbers, support groups, your own stories and to reach out to anyone that may have gone quiet, that may be posting subtle cries for help even behind a smile. We all need to do our bit to show we aren't perfect, that there is good in the world and that however dark your world has become that there is always something or someone to live for.

CALM - 0800 585858
CHILDLINE - 0800 1111

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