It’s been a while blog readers and I apologise for my lack of affordable fashion content.
As many of you may follow my Instagram you’ll see I’ve had the pleasure of working with loads of amazing brands over the last few years and now share my love of fashion on the gram – http://www.instagram.com/cairooneill check it out 🙂 No fun fashion topics today so I apologise and feel free to tap out just now! I won’t be offended I promise.
Today I wanted to write about something different. I felt the urge to put down my feelings physically in black and white. I’ve no idea why. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been reading a load of amazing blogs, books and articles lately but I just felt the urge to talk.
I wanted to write about my big brother Adam. I lost my big brother to suicide 10 years ago. When thoughts fill my head daily about Adam I often feel very alone and as though I’m battling these feelings all by myself. Which I know is not true because unfortunately with the nature of life in itself it’s hard to come by someone in their 20’s who hasn’t lost someone dear to them. Also my family went through the exact same thing as I did, yet when I have days where I cannot get my beautiful big daft brother out my head I feel very alone. It’s difficult to talk about him to others without making people feel uncomfortable or interacting in a two way conversation as sadly some of the important people in my life right now never had the pleasure of meeting him.
So today I decided to talk to you – whoever you are reading (thanks btw). I feel this was triggered by Joaquin Phoenix winning speech at the Oscars last night. He quoted his late brother River “Run to the rescue with love, and peace will follow.” which really struck a cord with me. With the superficial world that we live in it’s so easy to forget the fundamental basics of life. The stuff that really matters. It also filled my brain with fond memories as Adam and I would watch River Phoenix in the film Stand by Me on repeat. The story of the young boys and their loyal friendship always reminded me of my siblings and I. We are siblings but first and foremost we are best friends.
I lost my brother on the 30th of December 2009. He was 21 years old. My only brother, my big brother and my super hero. I’m the baby of the family. I was blessed to have a big brother and 5 big sisters – my parents are loonballs,I know. With less than 5 years between me and Adam we had the typical sibling relationship. By typical I mean we fought like cat and dog. We verbally argued and often physically fought over the most stupidest of things. I once chased him down the hallway and kicked a hole in his bedroom door because he slagged my bang on trend steel toe cap CAT boots which ironically left him without privacy for a few weeks until it was fixed. Those steel toe caps were really not necessary for a 10 year old looking back hahaha! All in the name of FASHUN hun. But yeah we had your good old fashioned sibling love/hate connection. We got papped in the bath together as kids and carted about together to the grandparents as we were too young to be left in the house alone. We weren’t lovey dovey siblings however we had each others back. Adam was my bodyguard, if anyone hurt me especially boys he was there (usually threatening them to leave me alone or he would kick their head in) we grew up in the 90’s it was standard practice ok? don’t judge. I learned to tie shoelaces before Adam because I’m super smart that way. So when we were out playing British bulldogs he would slyly alert me his shoe was untied and I would discreetly tie it for him to save him any embarrassment. So you can paint the picture, we were homies, buds, family and muckers.
Grief is never going to be easy. Losing anyone you love is the worst pain imaginable. Losing your sibling to suicide is a life full of shoulda, woulda, coulda and self blame even though deep down you know that it was something you cannot hold yourself accountable for. Everyday I find myself blaming myself for not recognising the pain my big brother was going through. Too consumed in my own daft life at the time to recognise that the boy who taught me how to ride a bike was suffering in the worst way imaginable. But I know Adam does not blame me, nor my parents or the rest of my family.
It’s these feelings I find myself facing and battling with on a regular basis. The feeling of guilt and sheer frustration of what more could I have done consumes me. I don’t doubt there are people out there feeling the same way. I’ll literally be going about my normal daily life and I swear the thoughts hit me like an absolute tonne of bricks. It takes the air out of my lungs and honestly leaves me feeling emotionally and physically drained. I get so annoyed at myself, my family and annoyed at Adam for leaving me the way he did. Then when I cry and look incredibly ugly for an hour the anger slowly drains away from me and I don’t blame anyone. Which sometimes I think is harder, it’s easier to have something or someone to blame isn’t it? Well I can blame the horrible disease that is depression. A life altering chemical imbalance that can take a fun loving soul and rip them of their well deserved happiness. I can also blame the society we were brought up in at the time and the lack of understanding and services on offer for the taboo subject.
Many peoples perception of suicide is that someones life has got to be pretty damn grim to want to end it all which is simply not true. It was this attitude that had me embarrassed and ashamed to tell people when I was younger of how my brother passed. I was embarrassed to say that he took his own life as many people assumed that it meant his life must have been crap. Which I just felt wasn’t fair to even let that cross peoples minds for even as little as 2 seconds. It wasn’t fair on us, his family or my parents who done a great job. Adam was a beautiful soul with the most genuine smile you would ever encounter. He grew up with a family that worshiped the ground he walked on and parents that adored their one and only bonnie boy. His life was not grim, his life was what he made it, It was a life overflowing with laughter, family and love. He also had the added bonus of being incredibly handsome growing up with no lack of female attention. My pals used to giggle at sleepovers and constantly try and sneak into his room to my absolute horror – yuck.
Adam had the BEST sense of humour. I swear he could literally make me buckle over with laughter. He did make me pee myself once when he shot my neighbour with a spud gun from afar and we watched him trying to work out where it had came from. I’m sitting here gutting myself even thinking about it. He was smart and witty and often made such thought provoking points my dad would be like “woaaah Adam your a deep insightful guy where the hell did that come from?”. He was great, He was just fucking great. No other way to put it.
I realise I’m blabbering on here. I guess I’m writing these feelings down for the first time ever because I feel I can. I feel I’m at a stage that I want to share my experience if it helps just one person out their that has went through something similar. I’m guilty myself of painting a perfect picture life on Social Media however I battle with the pain of grief every single bloody day. Losing someone is heartache in itself however the grief you will encounter for the rest of your life is something that isn’t spoken about often enough.
Yeah time is a healer in the sense that you will pick yourself up and you will get on with your life. However no amount of time will ever heal the massive gaping hole in your heart that person left behind. There’s a saying along the lines of “Suicide isn’t a cure it just passes the pain onto someone else” which I’ve never fully grasped. Yeah I understand the saying and yeah I get that it has passed on a certain type of pain to everyone around him however I know that the pain he was enduring was different and that he unfortunately did not have the strength to deal with it like I do. If I could have taken his pain away and inserted it into myself I would but life is just not as simple as that.
Addressing male mental health has slightly changed in the last 10 years. The government are addressing the issue more seriously and young males are encouraged to speak up. I look at my 14 year old nephew and I can see see the difference in society in the last decade, Taylor (my nephew) and his mates open up to each other and talk things out unlike the past when boys/men were told to man up and get on with it. However the male suicide rate between the age of 18-25 is still rising in Scotland. We are still not providing the much needed support and avenues for the people that need it the most.
I like and share the posts doing their rounds on social media encouraging people to speak up. I often reiterate that my ears, heart and home are always open to anyone I know that needs to talk. But I can’t help but feel I’m letting my brother down with so many young people still losing their battle with depression. I feel like this is something I will never be able to come to terms with. I try to live a normal life however I feel I owe it to my brother to physically help more people in the situation he was in.
So here I am telling my personal story. If any of this has affected you and you feel like you need to talk. Please do not hesitate to drop me a message. Or contact your Doctor and please please PLEASE do not let them palm you off or make light of your situation. Make people listen and make them hear your voice.
If grief has affected you and you sometimes don’t know who you can turn to please speak with anyone. A friend, family member or even a colleague. If your In need of someone to speak to at an unsocial hour wake someone up!!! Believe me I would do anything to turn back the time and have Adam wake me up out of bed that night.
If you feel you cannot speak to someone you know then there are other outlets you can open up to. Samartans being one.
Samartans Contact Number : 115123
Samartans Email : jo@Samartans.org
Life’s too freaking short. Love indefinitely, cuddle your loved ones and let people know that you fucking care. We get too consumed in the bullshit that is keeping appearances that we forget the only things that matter in life is health, love and happiness. Family is everything, whether it’s blood or one you’ve built yourself. My big brother will be forever 21 but he will always be my BIG brother and I know he will always be looking down on me. Probably cringing and laughing at some of the mental life choices I’ve made but hey fucking ho.
I hope I’m making you proud and I’ll be up to tie your laces soon Adam x