Nicky is 54 and lives near Brentwood. She is backing the Trust’s suicide awareness and prevention campaign, particularly its efforts to encourage people to download the Stay Alive app, a free suicide prevention self-help tool.
“I support the app because we are in a very technical age and anything that can help in any way is a huge benefit and a good thing,” she says.
“I think people should know it's a good thing to use the app and not a sign of weakness."
“If it helps someone it can't be bad. I think it probably will be more of a help to the younger generation, mostly."
“I don't know if I would have had the confidence to use it during the state of mind that I was in when I was feeling suicidal."
“People need to know it’s there, i.e. in schools, places of work, doctors’ surgeries, hospitals and the people who work in the services.”
The following is Nicky’s story in her own words.
"Being adopted at a young age, I grew up in a happy adoptive family but always wondered about my birth family. I eventually traced my birth mother and we met and kept in touch.
I only met her twice in 12 years but we kept in touch by letter at first, then phone calls and eventually email. I learned that I had six other siblings, although I never met them.
I planned to go and meet my birth mother and asked to meet any of the siblings who wanted to meet me. This was something I had been thinking about for a long time. Contact wasn't always easy for both of us.
Two days after I returned from a holiday, I got letter from one of my siblings. I was happy because I thought it was a letter from them wanting to make contact with me.
The letter started off talking about how my mother had talked about me over the years since I'd first made contact. The next paragraph told me that sadly my birth mother had died of a massive heart attack and gave me details of when the funeral would take place and said I would be welcome.
This was a very big shock and it was hard to go to the funeral not knowing anybody and meeting my siblings for the first time.
After that I kept in touch with one of my sisters and two of my brothers. I had most contact with my sister and we met up and spoke to each other daily. She wrote letters to me explaining her life and her family life and also telling little stories about other relatives. I found the letters very interesting and was happy to receive them.
But I found it very hard to talk to anyone in my family or among my friends because most of them didn't know of the contact I had had with my birth mother.
I had no one to talk to about my grief and the loss of someone I had already lost over 40 years ago. I didn't realise I was struggling with grief and loss but everything seemed to get harder and harder. I felt like I was becoming worthless because no one seemed to acknowledge I had suffered a loss.
Five months later it was coming up to Christmas and I was about to go to do some Christmas shopping. I got ready to go but suddenly it was all too much for me and I couldn't cope. I thought nobody cared about how I felt and that I was invisible and worthless.
I was unable to do anything constructive so I lay down and cried and shouted, ‘I don't want to be me and want to be dead’. [It was then that Nicky tried to take her own life.]
My husband found me lying on the floor and he called the doctor and my friend. The doctor helped me and I got a leaflet from the doctor’s about someone I could talk to and about making appointments to see someone in Brentwood.
My friend asked if they could get someone to come and see me straight away and the doctor said ‘no’. I went to see someone in Brentwood just before Christmas.
Just over a week after New Year my friend encouraged me to ring the place in Brentwood as I hadn't heard anything from them. A couple of days later I did this and the lady l spoke to said it was a bit too early and that I should give it a couple more weeks before I could expect to hear anything. In my head what I actually thought she said was, ‘there's many more people who need help than you. You're not that important, you’re worthless’.
I was doing some cleaning in my friend's house that morning and I realised that I was not getting anything done. I had taken too much time to do nothing. I started hitting myself in the face and when my nose began to bleed I knew I had to get out of my friend's house as quickly as possible. I managed to get home.
I don't really know what I did but I knew I was running around shouting ‘I hate myself’ and ‘I want to be dead, I want to die, I want to be dead’. [It was then that Nicky tried once again to take her own life.] This time I ended up in Broomfield Hospital for three days and at Basildon Mental Health Unit for a day and a night.
I did art therapy for two hours a week at Basildon Hospital but unfortunately that was cut short. I also did talking therapy but the last lady I spoke to said she wasn't qualified to talk about adoption issues because that involved a specialist form of counselling and I would be better to look for a private counsellor.
I also joined Fitness in Mind in Brentwood which helped me very much. I am still going to sports activities and also have a very good friend who got me involved in things. She knows how much I can do and when I'm unable to do something because of my anxiety.
I have found a private counsellor who I get on with very well. She is a godsend. I have been seeing her for more than two years and she completely understands where I'm coming from and helps me by giving me information that I would not be able to get anywhere else.
She is private and in the past it has been quite difficult to find the money to pay for her. I have now got funding from my personal health budget for the next six months for me to see her every two weeks. I am really pleased and thankful for this.
To anyone considering suicide I would say, ‘whatever it is that's making you feel this way, there is help you can get and even if you don't know how to put into words what or why you feel the way you do, you can get help. You don't have to explain anything. Start with just telling someone you need help. You are important and you do matter’.
If the person insisted that they wanted to take their own life I would try to tell them their life was important and that they could get help no matter what. If it was a family member or friend I would be there to help them every step I could to make sure that someone was on their side if they couldn't get the help they needed straight away.
Having someone to support you and regularly talk to you about the stages of your care or how things are going and when things are going to happen is important.
If you ring for help and a week or two passes but no one gets back to you to tell you what is going on and asking how you're getting on and when to expect the next meeting etc., that's when you think you're not important enough to be helped. You get into that big dark hole and you can't get out. You think there is only one option.
Stick with it if the care you are receiving is helping. You are going to get somewhere. If the care isn’t helping, try some other means of help, whatever is offered. Question things and make sure you are happy with what is happening with your care, but to stick with it as it will work out for you and help you see a way forward. Also, many doors may open for you that you hadn’t yet realised were there."