Serina blogs about how she is raising money for Mind in memory of her brother who she lost to suicide 11 years ago.
As I stood in the door frame time slowed and everything began to move in slow motion. I don't think I blinked as the news was given to me. That moment the world began to spin. I felt a black pit opening inside me and swallowed me whole. My ribs felt like they were breaking, my lungs ached and I struggled to inhale. It was as if my lungs had shrunk to the size of kidney beans. I didn't speak. I turned around and I ran.....
"Losing my eldest brother 11 years ago in 2008 to mental health has to be the biggest pain I bear."
At the age of 16 we received a phone call that changed my life for ever. I have lost many relatives in the past but this was different. This wasn’t expected, predicted or even understood. This was utter shock mixed with grief and devastation.
Losing my eldest brother 11 years ago in 2008 to mental health has to be the biggest pain I bear − so many questions that will never be answered and so much pain inflicted on us all that will never fully heal. I still miss him singing Build Me Up Buttercup and dancing whenever I was sad. I even miss him winding me up to the point that I would scream!
I first met Phil when I was only six years old. He walked into my life and instantly became my brother. We do not share blood but that has never mattered for the word “step” doesn’t come into account. He was a wind up merchant extraordinaire and would come up with numerous ways to make me snap! He would run up the stairs after me saying “nee-nah nee-nah the fire engines coming “whenever I was in a mood with him.
But one thing is for certain − he would always be the one who would stop our tears and make us laugh. I remember watching him mixing music on his decks with his vinyl records and his headphones half on and half off. He would always let me have ago and taught me what to do. Beyond the wind-ups, he was caring and loving and really was− an amazing brother, son, father, partner, nephew and so much more.
"After his death my head was a mess. I became homeless, sofa surfing and staying between family and friends."
As the weeks grew into months and then years the questions that have spiralled in my head have not been answered and I’m starting to slowly accept that they never will be. Before our loss my childhood seemed perfectly normal and I lived everyday trying to fulfil my dreams. After his death my head was a mess. I became homeless, sofa surfing and staying between family and friends.
The day after the news I walked into college and I didn’t breath a word to a single soul. I pretended I was fine. I think I did this to feel normal and to block out reality. I know now that this was a mistake because months later my grief began to creep up and eat away at my sanity. I eventually got a flat of my own, but at such a young age baring the responsibilities of an adult created its own obstacles.
Mental health destroys lives, and people who suffer in silence deserve to be heard. My advice to anyone struggling or knows someone who is, is to stay strong. The shadows do pass, and your strength is stronger than your mind is telling you. Reach out and seek help. It’s easier having someone beside you than facing the world alone.
"I am not going to lie I’m petrified, but so very excited to be doing this for an amazing cause."
This year, on what would of been my brother’s birthday I announced I'd be doing a 10,000 – foot skydive in his honour in aid of Mind. The only person I’ll be doing this with is the instructor who I’ve never met before. I am not going to lie I’m petrified, but so very excited to be doing this for an amazing cause.
My target was set at £325. But I have already £380 and there’s still time to go. With each penny raised I become more determined to face my fear of jumping from that plane. I’m overwhelmed with the support and sponsors I’ve received as I never believed for one moment I’d be able to reach my target let alone smash it. When I’m sat in that plane all suited to go doubtless I’m sure I’ll be thinking I’ve lost my mind! But once I’m falling through the clouds I know I’ll be proud.
I truly believe that Mind is a charity that can save lives.
Together we can fight mental health. Let’s help Mind help others. If anybody wants to contribute or see how well the fundraiser is doing please feel free to click here.
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Blogs and stories can show that people with mental health problems are cared about, understood and listened to. We can use it to challenge the status quo and change attitudes.