A CORK man has highlighted the lasting impact suicide attempts can have on families after an overdose left him on life support.
Graham Craig Ruth, who lives with his fiance in Jacob’s Island, bravely told of his regrets around a decision to take his own life a few years ago. While the 25-year-old was lucky enough to survive the attempt, he said the incident had a scarring effect on those close to him.
Graham who presents his own show on NSEW TV, is keen to inspire others with his important message.
“I was on a life support machine for eight days,” he said. “My mother was told to expect the worst. I remember the conversations going on around me when I was in a coma. Mostly, I remember how it affected my mother. Your mother is the one who brings you into the world. She saw me full of life and then had to look at me in a lifeless state. Even if I did make it, there was a chance I wouldn’t be the person I was before. I know that’s going to affect her until the day she dies.”
The harrowing incident had a significant effect on those around him.
“For a long time, mum couldn’t sleep. I feel guilty for the way it haunted her and continues to haunt her. Every time I don’t answer a call I know she assumes the worst and I don’t want that for anyone else.”
The years leading up to the suicide attempt had been painful for Graham.
“I was always trying to hide the fact that I was gay The other kids at school saw me as “camp” and a little out there.
I was attacked by around seven or eight of my peers in a toilet. The door was locked so I had no place to go. Unfortunately, back then there was a percentage who looked up to the cool kids and actually found these things funny. I took a year out from school after that.”
Graham also battled with bulimia before finally facing his demons. In the years that followed his suicide attempt, he managed to turn his life around.
“Doctors had told me I was morbidly obese,” he said. “I went from 20 stone to 11 stone through making better health choices.”
He said that his main priority now is his health.
“I’m at a point in my life now where I want to be healthy as opposed to skinny. You might be looking the best you’ve ever looked while feeling the most miserable you’ve ever felt. Just because it’s possible to survive on two or three shakes a day doesn’t mean it’s the best route.
“Social events revolve around food so much. There was a time when I found it really difficult and avoided going out with friends just so I wouldn’t be around food. When they’d ask me if I could go to the cinema with them I’d say I had something on. In reality, I was sitting alone on the couch with an apple!”
Graham hopes to influence his follower’s nutritional habits.
“If one of my followers contacts me looking for nutritional advice I’ll often meet them for coffee. People are often quite surprised by this but it’s like my way of giving back. Giving back is what I’m passionate about.”
The 25-year-old is glad to finally be happy and comfortable in his own skin.
“Being the truest version of yourself is extremely important for your mental health. When you tell one lie you have to tell so many more just to cover it up. During the time I was trying to hide who I really was I wasn’t a nice person. I tried to make out like my life was a bed of roses when it wasn’t. I didn’t want my mum to know what I was really going through.”
He urged people considering suicide to consider their families. “I recently attended the funerals of two people who had taken their own life. To see the friends and family left behind is very upsetting. You don’t think of these things when considering suicide.”
Those seeking support for depression can contact the Samaritans on http://www.corksamaritans.ie