Suicidal Siblings


The thought of life without a sibling gives me chills, equally the thought of them suffering long term with a mental health problems is just as heart-breaking.

This brave list from Carly Moosah  is a tough read. There is compassion, tenderness, but also most notably a uncomfortable acceptance that the shadows of potential suicide can become ‘part of the fabric’ of a family.

  • I have lived with suicide attempts around me since I was 18 years old.

  • Suicide became a topic in my family as normal to talk about as the laundry.

  • At 18 I was sat watching Green Mile in the kitchen when my younger brother sat opposite me and had an expression similar to a smirk on him.

  • He was 17 at the time and for the previous few months had been experiencing some hallucinations, had found Hare Krishna & had shown signs of severe depression too.

  • The brother I had known and loved had changed drastically and we were all trying to make sense of these changes.

  • My mum noticed first that his behaviour was peculiar and despite having broken ribs at the time jumped out of her seat quicker than anything demanding to know what he had taken. The question should have been what hadn’t he taken.

  • That was the day my childhood ended.

  • By some miracle my little brother survived.

  • What followed was an attempt on his life so ferocious it beggars belief that he survived.

  • When someone so close to you tries to take their own life you enter a quagmire of fear.

  • Fear for what could have been and fear for what will be.

  • Panic attacks and anxiety became frequent.

  • A diagnosis of bipolar was given and physically all my brother was left with to remind us of this horrific time was no hearing in his right ear and some scars that tell their story.

  • Fast forward a decade and we have lost our mum, the family rock, and grief has come to reside in our hearts and homes.

  • But more shocking than this loss was to be… 

  • More sibling suicide attempts but now with my baby sister.

  • The shocking first call that she had overdosed as I sat in a nail salon in Piccadilly.

  • Immediately dragged back to the anxiety of a decade ago and not knowing how we had reached this point again.

  • And then another ferocious attempt with broken bones and physical rehabilitation.

  • This time became one of utter fear – each time the phone rung expecting to be told my baby sister had succeeded.

  • Suicide is still so taboo. As a family we have witnessed attempts that they hoped to be successful. Not cries for help.

  • Any attempt need to be taken seriously. Referring to them as cries for help is so unhelpful. Of course help is needed if you are lucky enough to be given that chance to help because more often than not you are not.

  • It has been 5 years of relative calm with my family.

  • As calm as it can be with the mania that accompanies my brothers bipolar. I no longer fear every phone call is to tell me someone has died.

  • My anxiety does not alter my state of my mind most of the time.

  • However triggers can transport me to these times in an instant.

  • Living in fear of losing a loved one is hard regardless but when you risk losing them to their own hands and wondering forever what you could have done differently it is unbearable to bear.

  • I sought therapy to help me deal with the fear of uncertainty around mental illness and suicidal tendencies. With the help of CBT I tried to develop coping mechanisms to lower the anxiety levels with my brothers attempts.

  • With my baby sister I became pregnant during this tumultuous time. Again a mixture of counselling, family therapy and CBT helped to me cope with such heightened emotional times.

  • Despite coming up close and personal with suicide so many times it still scares me.

  • Its so final and feels so unfair.

  • To be so deep into depression that you can’t see your way out.

  • This was my baby sister, truly it was. And she came out the other side with time.

  • If you are having these thoughts know that you are not alone. There is help out there. Please talk to someone.

  • Because the pain of suicide is forever felt, unbearably so.

  • I was lucky to have the chance again with my siblings, others are not so lucky.

** If you have been affected by this list here are some resources who can provide help: CALM , SAMARITIANS , MIND.**

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1 Comment

  • Reply Pru July 8, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    Amazing piece of writing!! Goosebumps, choking back tears and yet so happy that people are opening up about this unspoken matter. My childhood friends son took his own life in May aged 21, another friends daughter took her own life nearly 3 years ago, 2 days after her 15th birthday.. The covers need to be removed more on this subject and I see the taboo is slowly lifting !! Thank you for this list xx

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