Just be on the end of the phone for me. Just to be on the end of the phone for me. And I’m getting upset doing this recording because, not because I’m at that position at the moment. I’m not. I haven’t been there for a long time. But I can feel when I was in those positions. I can feel when I was and it’s a real hard place to be. Taking your life is not a weakness. That’s something that takes such brevity that so many people haven’t got. I didn’t have the, I wasn’t brave enough to do it.
Hey, I’m Steven Webb and welcome to my podcast. I recorded this podcast a couple of days ago and when I finished it, I didn’t edit it. I left it on the, I was going to say back burner. I left it on the computer. I did not look at it for a couple of days. Because it was more so that I wanted to get something out. I wanted to share my thoughts and I didn’t know whether it was going to make a podcast or not. And when I finished recording it, I was, nah, no one’s going to want to listen to that. It’s like really. But it helped me in the moment. Then I came to it a little earlier and I started editing it and I thought, this is a story people need to hear. People need to know about these things and maybe it’ll save a life. Maybe my story will save somebody out there, one of your friends. Maybe it will even save you one day when things take a turn for the worst, or perhaps they have at the moment. I think enjoy is the wrong word.
Now then I know that asking for help is one of the most difficult things we can do. We feel so bad and we feel such shame, guilt loop that asking for help we feel like we’re a failure or we feel like we should be able to cope with this. We feel like our problems are nothing compared to other people’s. Well, that’s all the bullshit we tell ourselves. Let me tell you something, whatever you’re going through right now, whatever your friends are going through, what you’ve been through in the past or what you may go through in the future, it’s relative to you and don’t compare your troubles to somebody else. There’s always someone worse off, there’s always someone better off, but what you don’t know is what muscles they’ve grown to deal with those things in their lives.
I want this podcast to really reach those people out there that just sometimes feel like giving up and sometimes feel like the pain is way too much to bear any longer. And even reaching out for help that the shame is then too much to bear. Shame is the lowest of low feelings. When we get that low that we feel shame, we don’t see any way out. The last thing we want to do when we’re feeling that low is to ask for help. And I want to share a couple of stories of when I attempted suicide and the next time when I wrote the letter and left home to kill myself. I’m going to share with you what stopped me doing it.
But before that, I’m Steven Webb and I’m your host and this podcast may be of a somber mood but it’s really important and it needs saying. I’m not even going to do my normal introduction. Let’s just get on with the podcast.
We suffer. To be a human means to feel things and the more pain we go through, the deeper we feel with things. If we go through problems as a child, we grow empathy. Growing empathy means we feel our pain, we feel other people’s pain. The more we wake up spiritually, the deeper we feel hurt. We really do. The most difficult thing I’ve found with being paralyzed, is asking for help. Yeah, just, hey, I need help. And one of the really important lessons I’ve learned is people want to help, but we have our own lives. We’re doing our own thing. We don’t always see when somebody else is suffering. I’m sorry to all my friends out there that are suffering at the moment. I’m sorry. I don’t overly know you are suffering. If you are and you don’t say, “I need help,” I don’t know what to do. Unless you tell me, I cannot sit with you, I cannot be there because I don’t know.
It’s not because your friends don’t care. It’s not because we’re wrapped up in our own lives so much that you’re irrelevant to us. It’s the fact that sometimes we don’t know. If its not on our awareness, if we’re not, if you don’t bring it to our attention, we’re not going to know you are suffering. And people want to help.
And this is on a slightly different subject now, but I remember being at, it was one of the very first times I was out in a wheelchair, about 12 months after I broke my neck. It was the summer of 1992. And I was an air day in Farnborough and it was a really hot day. It’s crazy hot. And there was a big queue for people queuing up to get to sit on a fighter jet and I was really envious. I was like, I’d to go and sit in that fighter jet. And someone was pushing me around because I wasn’t an electric wheelchair at that point so someone was pushing me around. And I watched them for a while, watched a few photographs taken and all. And one of the RAF guys come over and said, “Would you like to sit in it?” I said, “No, no, no, not at all. I’m absolutely fine.” He said, “Are you sure? We don’t mind.” “No, no, nope. No problem. No, I really don’t want to.” But of course I lied. I did want to.
And at that point I think, well I just disappointed myself. I didn’t. I disappointed them as well. They wanted to help. They reached out to help. How do I know? They might have put 200 people sitting in that cockpit that day, but them putting me in that cockpit, lifting me up and placing me in there, that might’ve made their day. And I deprived them of that feeling because of my stubbornness, my shame. That’s what it was, my vulnerability and shame that I didn’t want to put anybody out. Well, bullshit. Put people out. If you’re suffering, put people out. Make a phone call, turn around and get hold of someone and say, “Look, I’m suffering here. I don’t need you to fix it. I don’t need you to be a psychiatrist. I don’t need anything other than just be on the end of the phone for me. Just be on the end of the phone for me.”
And I’m getting upset doing this recording because, not because I’m at that position at the moment. I’m not. I haven’t been there for a long time. But I can feel when I was in those positions. I can feel when I was. And it’s a real hard place to be. Taking your life is not a weakness. That’s something that takes such brevity that so many people haven’t got. And I didn’t have, I wasn’t brave enough to do it. I don’t want to say when, but I did write a letter at some point in recent years and I left it on the printer. I printed out. It was a suicide letter. And I left my home and I planned where it was going to happen and I knew that if I drove my chair off the edge, I would be rolling down the bank and I would end up in a river at the bottom. I knew that unless anybody seen me go over the edge, I would have been there long enough that the chances of survival would have been virtually zero.
And of course when I left the house, that’s why I wanted. I wanted the pain, the guilt, everything else, I just wanted it all to go. I could not cope any more. I was alone in a world of seven billion people. I had friends around me, but I felt so alone. And I didn’t feel alone because my friends didn’t care about me. I felt alone because I did not tell my friends I was suffering. Then if I had done that that day, I know how my friends would have felt. They would have been so mad with me for not reaching out to them. Well, I left here and of course you know how the story ends. You don’t know why.
I left here, I headed down to the place and I sat there and I sat there for a good couple hours. My phone was getting quite flat and I thought that, well perhaps when my phone goes flat I would do it. Perhaps when the sun goes down I would do it. And I kept checking my phone to see whether anybody was messaging me or calling me. And of course nobody knew that, where I was to or what I was doing. Or what I was planning on doing. And yeah, I was there waiting for people to call.
And then I started to get a bit cold and I made the decision that right, I would do it in 10 minutes. I’m going to spend 10 minutes thinking about all the good things in my life and what I’ve enjoyed in my life and then I would do it because at least I will have a good memory. That’s what I did. And after a few minutes, I kept going back to one vision and that was the vision of my daughter, right at the front, in front of everybody else at the funeral. And her face and the tears down her eyes. And I realized in that moment, that I could not do that to her. It wasn’t about being selfish, it wasn’t about all that. It was about that I loved her and that meant, and then it flipped around suddenly because that meant I had something to live for. I wasn’t alone in this world. Someone was going to miss me. And then I realized lots of people were going to miss me. And I realized my life wasn’t that bad that week.
And I decided that, well, if things don’t improve, maybe I’ll come back next week. I came home and I come through the door. Nothing had changed. It was okay, but everything had changed for me. There was this sudden change in, I wanted to hug my daughter. I wanted to suddenly live. I wanted to see more days. The problem is with death, it’s final. It really is final and there’s no coming back from it. There’s no second try. And nothing is permanent either. Not your pain, not the hard times, not the good times either. Nothing is permanent. Everything is in a state of fluid flux. The good times will come and go. The bad times will come and go. Just hang in there. Ask for help. Phone your friend. And don’t phone your friend and say, “I need you to help fix my life.” You know how to fix your life. You know what you got to do. It’s not about that. It’s really about having a friend to just sit there with you and listen. Not to fix you, not to fix, not to come up with any suggestions, not to go, “Oh well, let’s go and do this. Let’s go on holiday.”
Stop. Stop. Just be there. Just phone a friend and say, “I don’t even need you to talk. Can you just be there for me?” And then sit in silence if that suits. But allow your friend the space. There’s nothing more lonely on earth than when you’re in such deep shame that you cannot open up to vulnerability because you think you’re going to be ridiculed from, well, just completely.
Yeah, this is a bit of a different podcast, a little bit of a different downer. I make no apologies for it because I want people to know. I want people to know this. If you’re suffering, reach out. Just reach out to that friend and say, “Can you just be with me? I’m suffering here.”
Thank you for bearing with me on this podcast. And I do know it’s different and I do know it’s not so upbeat. But I think it’s really important to let people know that they’re not alone in this world. And you’re not alone. You don’t have to suffer alone. And even if you don’t think you’re going through problems now, one day you’ll have problems. I’m sorry. That’s the reality of life. If you’ve gone through life so far and you’ve never had any problems, really good luck when you get problems because you will really struggle. If you’ve been through life and you’ve got through your problems, congratulations, you’ve built the muscles to help you deal with it later.
And remember, not every problem needs to be solved. Not every problem is there to be got rid of. Suffering is part of the course. Suffering is no worse than any other kind of pain. I should rephrase this really. Pain and hurt is part of the course. Suffering is optional. We can get out of suffering. If you listen to some of my other podcasts, you’ll see I talk about that quite a bit. But pain will happen again and again. It’s okay. Pain is part of what makes us brilliantly awesome, amazing humans.
Please share this podcast with anybody you think may be suffering. Or even if you don’t share it with them directly, let them know subtly in some way that you’re there. The simple message of, “Hey, how are you doing today? Hey, I’m here. I know you suffering.” It means the world to people. And I think this subject really falls heavy on my heart because my granddad committed suicide when I was 12. He had a full breakfast one morning and he said goodbye to my nan and went up into the fields and he shot himself. And I didn’t know how final that was. And I still don’t realize today. I’m nearly, well 47 years old and every time I lose someone in my life, holy crap, I’m never going to see them again. And it keeps coming back every now and again, doesn’t it?
Do you ever think that about someone you’ve lost? It just suddenly it comes into your subconscious mind every now and again that they’re gone forever. Man, this isn’t a podcast of miserable and suffering. This is a podcast of love because this is what love is. Love is not this wonderful, blissful thing that gives you these wonderful orgasmic feelings. Love is an open heart. Love is about being alive. Love is about feeding each other’s pain, being there for each other, helping each other and recognizing that suffering is a human condition. And the best antidote for is anecdote, antidote, whatever it is, whatever the word is, the best help for it is for someone to be there. And allowing that person to know that you are there.
Take care. Have a good week, and I’m Steven Webb and you can go to stillnessinthestorms.com. You can download a book, Finding your Inner Peace, five simple steps to more freedom, love, and happiness. And if you can support me in the work I do, that would be awesome, by sharing this. And if you go to Stillness in the Storm, you could treat me to a coffee. You’re awesome. Stay you. Enjoy life. Live every aspect of it. Take care. Bye.