How often do you take things at face value? Take me, Josh Quigley. Rising star of the Scottish business community, recently awarded young entrepreneur of the year by a Scottish Chamber of Commerce, brimming with confidence and charisma. Is that all you see? Look a little deeper. Do you see the cracks?
The suicidal thoughts? The crippling battle with depression? Perception isn’t always reality, and in my case it certainly wasn‘t.
How many of us paper up the cracks on a daily basis in order to survive? In order to protect ourselves. In order to avoid the social stigma surrounding our mental health. Today I know I am not alone, but there was a time when I thought I was. I felt isolated and was completely unaware of the many others who felt exactly the same as me. On 26 May 2015 I decided to end my life - the only desperate option I felt I had.
At 80mph I intentionally crashed my car into a concrete barrier and anticipated the end. Miraculously, I survived. I walked away from my suicide attempt with no physical injuries. Instead what hit me months later was a sudden realisation - I had been given a second chance to show others on the brink that suicide is not the only option. A new vision was born. A global movement designed to prevent others from taking the most final and absolute of life’s exits. Armed with the honest truth and a burning drive I will raise mental health awareness, break down the social stigma, help to prevent suicide, and inspire people to choose life, all by sharing my story and achieving the most incredible challenge this year.
Now what do you see ? Josh Quigley, Suicide survivor. Social entrepreneur. Global ambassador. The Tartan Explorer! Determined to use my experience to help others and show how you can get through the darkness and live a meaningful life where you can choose to follow your dreams and achieve everything you’ve ever dreamed of. So on 26 May 2016, I start a new journey - cycling around the world to 75 countries on six continents to take my story around the world and raise awareness of mental health - a year to the day after a suicide attempt changed my life. Since launching, our movement’s has reached over 250,000 people online. Thousands of individuals from all over the world have been in touch, and this is only the beginning.
The more honest conversations we have about our mental health, the less power its stigmatising grip has on society. Each of us knows someone who has battled with mental health problems. Who do you know that may be struggling? Are you struggling? Open up, share the pain, and break down the stigma - it will be one less burden for those suffering. Tragically in Scotland, 696 people died from suicide in 2014, and it remains the biggest cause of death in males under 35. I need to change that. We need to change that, and together we can. Every Monday I will bring you the latest instalment of my story. Next week I will describe in greater detail the lead up to my suicide attempt and try to convey how I felt as I lost all hope for future happiness. Join the The Tartan Explorer conversation on Facebook and follow me as I continue my global mission.