I need to write about women and suicide. About women and the silent pain they can carry. Pain that can’t be expressed because well it can’t be real, it shouldnt be like this. They don’t want to upset anyone, they don’t want to cause any bother and they don’t want to confront this pain because they shouldn’t feel like this. The pressure not to feel like this. This doesn’t go with the image they try so hard to portray; the smiles, the togetherness, the selflessness, the goodness. The good girl persona.

Yet it happens. Yet the message from some of our mental health experts is that men and boys have a hard time opening up, men and boys struggle to communicate, women are better at sharing their problems, worries, better at opening up. Yet women take their own lives too so how can this be? Because not all women are the same. Because some girls were brought up not to make a scene, not to cause a fuss,. Be good, be nice, be seen but not heard. And so she’s smiling, she’s smiling through her darkness, her pain. She’s trying, she’s coping, she’s hoping it’ll stop, change, be better because this shouldn’t be happening to her. Even the ‘experts’ say so. She thinks she’s the only one but she isn’t.

She needs to know that some of us aren’t great at talking, trusting, opening up and that it’s ok. She needs to see and hear that she isn’t on her own. She’s not the only one before it’s too late, before she goes missing, before her car is abandoned close to the sea or she takes another option, something she imagines not as painful as the deep, agonising anguish she is in behind the smile. Behind the image of this lovely girl. She needs to know it’s ok and she just needs to take one step. One step to helping herself, one step to reaching out and there will be a shift, one she may not even notice but a little tiny step towards the light. Because lovely girls hurt too.