Suicide Hotspots: The Tragedy of Putting a Price on Life

Me and suicide have a thing, it’s like an old friendship- you know, like the people you haven’t spoken to in years but can still strike up a conversation with when the occasion calls me it- we’re not afraid of each other or awkward in the other’s presence, we just get on.

I had my fourth attempt just over a year ago and since I recovered from that I’ve had a fascination with suicide hotspots- these are landmarks and/or public places that are commonly used by people to end their lives. Some famous examples are the Golden Gate Bridge, Beachy Head and the Humber Bridge.

There is a lot of argument and several contradicting studies looking into the effect of various suicide prevention measures such as fences or patrol teams in stopping people from ending their lives at these spots. For me it doesn’t really matter, speaking as someone who’s tried to take their life on several occasions I believe that things like barriers would generally be helpful- in fact, in my opinion, the best thing that could be done in places like these is to have dedicated patrol teams. I think that this would massively reduce the suicide rate in these places. Suicide generally happens when pain exceeds our ability to cope with pain, having someone around to offer support makes the world of difference. (To read a really heartwarming story click here.)

As a case study I’m going to look at the Golden Gate Bridge- which is the top suicide hotspot in the world with 1,500 suicides having been committed there, that’s roughly once every two weeks.

This bridge doesn’t have barriers… why? Because they’d be too expensive and too ugly.

This is the sort of thing that really riles me, the idea that we are essentially putting a price on life- or, even worse- letting our vanity stop us from empathising. This just should notbe happening, it just should not be a problem in our modern ‘advanced’ society.

It amazes me how our government here in the UK can plough millions into pointless pride contests like the Olympics (no disrespect to any athletes, I couldn’t do what they do so I’ll refrain from ragging them out) and yet not have enough money for barriers on notorious bridges in the UK or suicide patrols in hotspots. Fuck you! This modern world that we live in has truly screwed up priorities.

Some of you sat reading this may be thinking: but these people choose to end their lives- why should we even try to stop them?

The answer is very simple. I believe that 99% of people who kill themselves do not want to die. They just can’t think of anything else to do to end the unbearable pain that they’re feeling. They don’t want to die- they just don’t want to live.

Add into the mix people like me who suffer from delusions- I tried to jump off a bloody roof because there were ‘Angels’ surrounding me and telling me that they wanted me to fly with them. I didn’t want to die, not at all, I was confused and bewildered and I only tried to do what I believed was right.

If you live near and suicide hotspot please think about what you can do to help- whether that be donating to buy a barrier or joining a patrol as a volunteer, everyone can make a difference, it’s just about simple human compassion- something that seems sadly undervalued in our society.

If you’re feeling suicidal then please check out these numbers and websites:

Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90 in the UK and Northern Ireland or 1850 60 90 90 in the Republic of Ireland.

Internation Suicide Hotline

Befrienders Worldwide

If you’re still thinking of suicide then please read this or even email me at ‘wrensaille@gmail.com’ if you need to talk.

Thanks for reading,

Wren x

 

Conflicting Emotions: ‘Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow’

I’m going to start with some good news, do you remember a little while ago I said that I was auditioning for a part in a production of Romeo and Juliet for the Schools Shakespeare Festival? Well I had my audition… and I got Juliet! I’m kind of still in a daze about that- I was too terrified to go and look at the cast list so I was sat in a room chatting to my friends when I saw Michael come running down the corridor- I knew then that I’d got it- he burst into the room and said: “Wren, I’ve got some good news… you’re Juliet!” At which I point I promptly tackled him into a hug.

The only problem with this whole scene was the fact that there was an exam on in the next room so we had to be almost silent- my little celebration was apparently hilarious as it consisted of me spinning around and around in a circle punching the air, I’m still completely gobsmacked but apparently my audition was really good- I can’t wait to get my teeth into it, everybody keeps asking if I’m going to have to kiss Romeo… and I’m not sure, I don’t mind either way, I’m a professional, I’d just quite like to know!

So yeah, I’m going to be on stage at the West Yorkshire Playhouse on the 18th of October (I think) as Juliet! Say hi if you spot me 🙂

Anyway, I want to talk about something that’s been on my mind a little lately, it stems from something my best friend said in an email to me a few days ago, she said:

I can tell something’s bothering you but you always keep a smile in your face- you’re brilliant and strong, Wren! Don’t forget that!

Okay, so that seems like a nice thing for someone to say- and it is, but it’s the implication that bothers me, I know I’m tough- but I admitted to her that I was struggling and she told me that I could deal with it on my own… I only admit that things are bad when I can’t deal with them on my own.

I know this seems a little ramble-y, so I hope I’m making sense, but basically I feel kind of cut adrift and helpless- I can’t help myself at the moment, I need the support of other people but they don’t know how to give it.

*sigh*

All I can do at the moment is focus on the good stuff in life, thankfully I’ve just landed my dream role so that’s no too hard! I’m going to keep ploughing on and I’ll FINALLY see my psych nurse this friday.

All in all I’m in a weird mood at the moment- both really down but then blindingly happy about the Juliet thing, so I don’t know where I am at the moment, but hopefully happiness will win out 🙂

’til next time,

Wren x

Pagan Blog Project: Intolerance

I know this weeks post seems obscure, but I thought it would probably be relevant to Pagans in general.

Intolerance adj unwilling to tolerate differences in opinions, practises or beliefs

I think ‘intolerance’ is an important word to think about as Pagans as it’s something that’s generally low lying- it’s not as big as ‘discrimination’ or ‘humiliation’ it’s not slander or libel, it’s that little niggling feeling that you can get with some people.

I find that intolerance towards my faith or other things generally comes out in the form of someone listening to what I have to say but then reacting as though I’ve just thrown water in their face- they won’t attack me or get angry, they’ll just sort of bristle and back away from me, either verbally or physically.

So, how should we deal with intolerance? Should we even deal with it all?

On one hand I would say to just let intolerant people be, if they can’t accept your views then you just have to take the high road and move on away from them.

However, the definition of ‘intolerance’ implies that someone is unwilling to tolerate anything different to their own opinion- so surely that should be challenged?

Intolerance is difficult to deal with because it’s so underhand- it’s pretty easy to tell from body language and general knowledge of a person whether or not they’re rattled by what you’re saying, they can pull all the faces they want but you can’t do anything or you’ll end up unleashing a hornet’s nest.

But what if intolerance leads to something more? Don’t we have a duty to step in and stop it reaching that point?

I don’t believe that intolerance alone leads to violent action, I think that there needs to be something else to provoke that. So intolerance alone isn’t dangerous.

At the end of the day you have to use your own judgement when dealing with an intolerant person- most of the time I would advise taking the high road and gritting your teeth, calling someone out on their intolerance can often be that something else that provokes a strong reaction.

Being different is a difficult path to walk- but always remember why you walk it. You will meet people who will have a problem with you, I promise that you will, but it’s really not the end of the world.

Blessed be,

Wren x

Spiers & Boden At Harrogate Theatre; In Which Wren Dies and goes to Folk Heaven

It’s Tuesday and I’m still writing about the weekend… *sigh*

Anyway, on Sunday night I went to the theatre to see Spiers and Boden! I know, major excitement all round… I bought my ticket about a month ago after walking past the theatre and seeing the ad and had been counting down the days ever since.

For the non musically educated amongst you Spiers and Boden are a pair of amazing folk musicians who founded Bellowhead and have done amazing wonderful musical things.

Yeah I know, very descriptive.

It was a fabulous evening, I enjoyed every minute- I was almost crying when they started playing, it was so brilliant! Everyone was stomping and clapping along to each song and generally having a small rave (well, it was about the most excited I’ve ever seen the people of Harrogate.)

When they’d finished and left the stage everyone was still shouting for more so they came back on and announced that they were going to play a Bellowhead song- at this point I was keeping my fingers crossed that it would be my favourite one (New York Girls)… and guess what? Ahaha, I think I must have used up my decade’s quota of luck this weekend because good stuff never usually happens to me 🙂

Being a true folk geek I sang and stomped and clapped all the way through, everyone was so enthusiastic I could feel the theatre shaking I was quite smug that I was one of the few singing all the verses… yeah, small victories and all that.

Overall it was an amazing, exciting evening- I could ramble on forever showcasing how much of a fan I am but seeing my musical heroes in the flesh was (evidently) quite overwhelming!

’til next time,

Wren x

 

Pagan Federation Conference 2012: Good (Pagan) Times

So I casually hopped on a train on Saturday morning at the ridiculous time of 9am (it was a Saturday and I’m a teenager… anything before midday is too early!) and headed off to York with a post-it note with scribbled directions and my ticket for the Pagan Federation North East Conference (and my purse, umbrella, hat, leggings, spray, camera, batteries, socks, phone, keys, make-up… you get the picture.)

Anyway, after a brisk walk across York and almost being let into an Art Convention (the beautiful moment where I get asked if I’m an ‘art person or a Pagan person’ and get to reply ‘Pagan person!’ with gusto) I entered the PFNE Conference 2012! I got a sexy stamp on my hand (it’s a sideways cat):

I spun in a little circle with my programme until I decided what I wanted to go and listen to and then went and sat down in the appropriate place. The first talk that I listened to was ‘The Transformative Power of Archetypes & the Bardic Arts’ which was utterly amazing, especially for a mythology geek like me. I though my interest in mythology had hit a wall but this opened up a load of new directions for me.  http://www.awenpublications.co.uk/karola_renard.html

Next we had a talk by Chris Crowley on ‘The Pagan Federation- Past, Present and Future’ which was really great, it made me feel really enthusiastic and passionate about the Pagan community, and it drove home the fact that people like me are the ones who are going to be carrying the Pagan flame forwards.

Then came lunch, which was a chance to have a browse around the stalls. I bought myself a lovely pentacle necklace which I’m wearing at the moment and a set of rune stones which I will take an arty picture of and post on here sometime soon. I had a sandwich and went to watch the Daughters of Gaia who were providing the entertainment- they were completely awesome, everyone was dancing around the centre and generally having a good time. We all held hands at one point and sang and danced around a bit. It was really fantastic, I felt so involved and loved by everyone there, we were all joined equally in a circle and I could feel the spirit of the community and the Gods racing through the room. http://www.daughtersofgaia.com/

After lunch I sat in on ‘Fortuna- A Goddess for our Time’ by Vivianne Crowley, she deserves serious credit as she managed to get me to sit through a talk on the Romans, a group of people I have a serious problem against. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vivianne_Crowley

Next I went to a workshop on ‘Invoking the Morgana’ which was completely brilliant, everything that was said resonated so deeply with me, I was almost crying when we did the meditation/visualisation. Walking out of that room I felt so incredibly strong, I realised a lot of things in there, I realised that I could be whole without all my crap- that I could peel it away and walk on; by that I don’t mean ‘get rid of it’ I mean separate it from me. I am a whole person without all my grief and fear and violation. http://www.angel-lights.co.uk/

The last workshop I went to had the most profound effect on me, it was ‘Connecting with the Ancestors through Drumming, Song and Old Chants of the Land.’ We did a kind of intense meditation- I can’t actually remember much of it, but I distinctly remember being a bird, well, it was me, naked with feathers coming out from my arms. I was flying around the world and the whole thing was very ‘The Snowman’-esque which was weird when it then merged into reality. http://www.spiritvisions.co.uk/

Overall I met loads of incredibly friendly people, picked up lots of flyers and had my mind blown countless times.

For years I’ve been struggling to reconcile the vulnerable, violated, mentally ill Wren with the strong, passionate Pagan Wren. It was only on Saturday when I realised more than anything that they weren’t different people at all. It just hit me so suddenly, I’ve been pushing things down and down and ignoring them- but at the same time I’ve been ignoring my faith.

Part of Paganism and developing as a Pagan is looking into your heart, I wasn’t looking into my heart, I was looking into my mind, and because I was so scared of what I would find there I stopped looking, and therefore I stopped meditating and exploring divination and working with the Gods because I thought they were in my mind too- but they’re not, they’re in my heart.

When I was meditating on Saturday I realised that I was like a sausage skin filled with water (the water being sadness/anger) and that I needed to face that and let it drain away.

For the first time in my life I feel like I have the strength and the courage to do that.

Blessed be,

Wren x

Pagan Blog Project: The Celtic Hero

This friday we’re going to be looking at an old friend of mine, Cu Chulainn, this might be a short article as I’m having a very hectic night.

Me and Cu Chulainn are old friends, I did half a GCSE on ‘What Celtic Mythology tells us about the Relationship Between the Ancient Celts and their Gods’ it was one of the best things I’ve ever done and I’m very proud of it. My essay focussed heavily on Cu Chulainn as he’s one of the most well known figures in Celtic Mythology.

So, what I’m looking at today is Cu Chulainn and what he can tell us about the (ancient) Celtic idea of a ‘hero.’

STRONG

Strength is a large part of Cu Chulainn and many other Celtic heroes, they have to be strong in life and strong in battle. Strength was a marker of masculinity with the Celts just as it is in our society today.

MERCILESS

Cu Chulainn does many fairly despicable things, such as killing twenty-four of Forgall’s (the father of his future bride, Emer) men just when trying to prove a point- though this can be explained by looking at the Celtic attitude towards death.

CHALLENGES THE GODS

This is a quality I find really perplexing and striking in Cu Chulainn and many Celtic heroes and heroines; it’s something that took me a while to get my head around. Cu Chulainn ends up refusing the advances of the Morrigan and openly fighting with her (The Cattle Raid of Cooley)- something that will horrify anyone familiar with Morrigan! I looked quite deeply into this story for my essay and fairly quickly realised that Morrigan was in control the whole time and does come out on top. I think that this quality speaks more about the exalted status of Celtic heroes and the Celts’ familiarity with their gods than anything else.

EMOTIONAL

Cu Chulainn is not a man afraid of his emotions- nor are many other Celtic men. He grieves deeply after accidentally killing his son and is shown to be incredibly compassionate by doing things like carrying his foster-brother across a river. Emotion was clearly not a weakness to the Ancient Celts like it is to us today, maybe we could learn a valuable lesson from them.

FERTILE

Cu Chulainn sleeps with many women, both before and during his marriage to Emer; this could perhaps speak of the polyamorous nature of the Celts but clearly shows that they value sex and fertility highly.

So there you have it, a quick run down of Cu Chulainn’s many qualities and what they tel us about Celtic heroes 🙂

Blessed be,

Wren x