Suicide survivor urges people to ask for help at loneliest time of the year

It’s billed as ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ – but for many the holiday season can be isolating, lonely and a struggle to get through.

Jody Betty attempted suicide on New Year’s Eve in 2011 after finding herself in a ‘hard spot’ over the festive period.

The 47-year-old, who now works in trauma recovery coaching and mental health peer support, has battled borderline personality disorder, major depressive order, anxiety and compound PTSD for most of her life.

Jody Betty tried to kill herself on New Year’s Eve in 2010  (Picture: Jody Betty)

‘I was done. I guess that day I just couldn’t see any hope,’ Jody told about her suicide attempt.

‘I find that depression sucks your ability to feel joy.  I just felt so dark that there was no return.’

Jody’s mother died when she was 19 and she doesn’t have a close relationship with her father, leaving her with no family members to spend the holidays with.

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‘New Year comes with especially heavy expectations about what the next year is going to bring and the resolutions you will make,’ she said.

‘Sometimes I think people just put that much pressure on that they can’t imagine another day.

‘It becomes scarier to face another day then it is to die.’

Jody, from Mississauga, Canada, first tried to kill herself when she was just eight years old.

The 47-year-old is urging people to reach out if they are feeling suicidal (Picture: Getty Images)

Her early life had been spent moving from foster home to foster home, four of which was sexually abused in, all before the age of two.

She starting seeing a therapist when her mother died but found the treatment didn’t work for her, eventually giving it up.

But in 2015, five years after her New Year’s Eve suicide attempt, she broke down and restarted therapy, of which she continues still to do this day.

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Her work in suicide prevention has since led her to pen an open letter to anyone contemplating ending their life entitled ‘I want you to want to live’.

‘If I could say something to myself before my suicide attempt, I would just say keep going,’ Jody said.

‘To anyone out there struggling – I’m not going to tell you everything is going to be ok. Instead I say hang on because you don’t know.

‘Tomorrow is another day and there is a chance you might feel better. If you don’t stick around you will never know.’

She added: ‘Depression is like a dark veil or a blindfold being put across your face.

She is urging anyone who feels low to reach out for help (Picture: Getty Images)

‘In your head, it has convinced you that nobody cares about you, that everyone would be better off if you weren’t around. It gets repeated so many times in your head that it almost becomes a belief.

‘You need to separate that belief from reality. You’re being attacked by your own mind.’

Jody says the best thing a suicidal person can do is try and take themselves out of the situation – and then urgently reach out for help.

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‘Even if you distract yourself for five minutes, it can be enough,’ she said.

‘I have the stupidest little tricks like trying to do the alphabet backwards or picking a random number and subtracting three all the way until you get close enough to zero.

‘The next thing is to reach out. Even if it is a complete stranger, someone online, just tell them: “I am not feeling well. I am feeling unsafe.”

‘Who cares what anyone thinks, your life is worth more than that.

‘I want people to know that reaching out is the hardest part, but after you’ve taken that first step the other ones will follow.’

Christmas can be a difficult time for anyone struggling with their mental health (Picture: Getty Images)

Jody added that family members and friends need to ‘f**k suicide being taboo’ and contact anyone they feel could be a risk to themselves over the holidays.

She said people should not to hesitate when it comes to reaching out, as worrying about your relationship with someone could be stopping you from saving their life.

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‘The important thing is to ask are you in danger and are you safe, because it is not as direct as are you going to kill yourself,’ she said.

‘It’s just asking how can I help you. What can I do.

‘There are lot of people who are suicidal but really they just need someone to listen to what they’re saying and validate their feelings.

‘Say to them, “I am not going to judge you, you’re safe”. Reinforce things like that. Don’t stigmatise them. It’s not their fault.’


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