‘Meeting the stranger who saved my life’ – BBC News


I think a lot of people think
when you’re thinking about suicide
that you don’t think about
the impact on other people.
It was the 24th of March 2017,
that I,
decided was going to be my last day alive.
In all honesty it had been a decision I’d been thinking about for quite a long time,
because I ultimately lost work
as a result of my mental health.
and spent some time in hospital,
and I came to the conclusion
that I had no future,
because if I couldn’t work,
then I wasn’t useful to anyone.
So that day,
I’d actually tried to get help that day,
I’d actually been to the doctor.
I was open about all the thoughts that had gone into my head about doing it.
And I think when you go home
feeling like nothing’s changed,
then it sort of takes away that last bit of hope.
I was working an evening shift that day.
That was my second day
driving as a qualified driver.
So I was let loose after a year and a bit of training, out on the big wide world,
doing my thing on my own.
And I think I took a train
from Bedford down to Brighton,
which is our longest route that we do,
and had a break and was turning
round and coming back
from Brighton, up north.
No, I didn’t have dinner, because that was actually a massive factor,
in that when I don’t eat
my head goes completely.
And that makes suicidal thoughts
incredibly more strong for me.
So I was just absolutely exhausted.
I was just drained by the thought of life,
I just didn’t want to fight it anymore.
I wanted to explain to my family.
So, I think I wrote two letters,
I wrote one to my dad,
I just wanted to tell him that I loved him,
and how wonderful he is.
And then I wrote one to
apologise to the train driver.
I didn’t think they’d be affected
in the sense of being traumatised,
I thought they’d be angry.
And I didn’t want them to hate me for doing it.
So I wrote a letter to explain that,
which I kept in my pocket
when I left my house.
When you think about someone
who is feeling suicidal,
you tend to think of it as quite dramatic.
but it’s the little things that hit you hardest.
It’s just walking down the street and just thinking, ‘I’m not going to be here anymore’.
You know, ‘I’m not going to see my dad again, I’m not going to see my brother again’.
I was going through my normal procedures,
I’d applied the brake.
I could just see the lights coming.
And I just stood there and I just waited, and I just watched it, like I was just fixated on it.
Driving along and looking down,
looking out the window,
and just thought, ‘That’s not right’.
I just remember being so cold.
And I was just stood there like, just so cold,
just watching it, coming closer, obviously.
Literally in an instant I saw a face appear.
It must have been that split second.
Hit my horn, quickly.
And I think that’s what probably what hit my brain enough that I didn’t take that final step.
And then I saw the face sort of disappear.
So I pulled into the station
and stopped as normal and
obviously was a bit worried.
I didn’t think I’d hit the person
but you don’t know,
so I was waiting to see if
I could see what had happened,
and fortunately, Liv was making her way
up along the platform.
I think at that point,
when you realise that you haven’t done it,
that’s the point where you go,
‘OK, I don’t know what to do now’,
because he’s seen me.
Well, obviously I made an
announcement to the passengers,
and stepped off the train,
and in the distance I could see a figure,
I could see Liv.
She was in total shock.
I said, ‘Are you…’,
I called after her, ‘Are you OK?’
She turned around
and we started having a conversation.
I just remember him trying to reassure me because I was so scared.
And then he was just asking me,
you know, he was just trying to find out a bit about what was going on,
about what I was trying to do.
Erm, and why.
He asked me a lot about
my family and my dad.
And he told me that he had a son.
And he explained about his
previous job as a firefighter,
and how he’d seen it from the other side,
and the impact that it has.
We must have spoke for five, 10 minutes,
and I was happy I could help her in that respect and,
Liv was facing, being quite open
and facing something,
you know, talking to
a complete stranger about,
reasons that maybe she’s not vocalised,
with her friends or family.
You know, at the time I thought,
‘Hopefully that helps’.
He was so calm,
and he was just so caring.
And that’s the thing that makes the biggest difference when you’re
with anyone in crisis.
And just having someone
that kind and that genuine,
it kind of gives you that bit of hope again.
On that night, he obviously saved my life.
So, we’re going to Bedford today,
to meet the driver who helped me
the night that I tried to end my life.
To be able to say thank you to him
and that it did make difference.
And hopefully for him to see
or for him to know he did help,
because I don’t know how
he feels about it either.
It’s going to be nice to meet her,
it would be nice to see
what’s happened since that point
from her point of view.
I know from my point of view obviously,
I think about it quite regularly,
especially when I’m in the area,
the place where we did meet.
So I’m kind of here today to meet her,
and see how her life’s changed and,
what positive things she’s done with it.
Liv?
You ok?
Yeah, I’m alright thank you.
How’ve you been?
Yeah.
Yeah, pretty good at the moment.
Good.
Have a seat. So what have you
been up to since we met?
Things are pretty all right
in the last few months.
I’m doing a lot with the police at the moment.
I’ve been doing some training with them on how to help in a mental health crisis.
Ah that’s excellent.
That’s an element that I’m not used to, you know, and I had to be really subjective.
I had to listen, you know, we had to talk,
and I wanted to…
It worked really well,
because I think once you’ve got someone to just stop and engage,
then you’re kind of there really.
Yeah.
I was like, ‘You’re going to be angry, everyone’s going to hate me.
‘Everyone’s going to be like, judging me.’
When you’re in that situation I can imagine that’s what you’d think,
but there’s so many more people out there.
We were talking about your family,
and there’s people out there that
even if you don’t, at that time, you may not be ready to speak to each other.
Like for me, family is a big thing because I lost my mum, and I was like,
‘I would never put my brother through that,
I would never put my dad through that’,
but sometimes I just need a bit of help to remember that.
Yeah, but now you’ve got,
now you’re doing the right things,
and you’ve got that focus.
Every time I go into that station I do look out for you, in a positive way,
I do look out for you.
What I always find weird, like in crisis, like you see someone at the worst point of your life,
and you don’t know
anything about each other,
but they just happen to be seeing the most private and personal…
Seeing all of you almost.
Then you never see them again normally.
I’m really glad that I did get
that help that night, so…
Me too.
It is something that you carry with you,
when you’re at work every minute.
But it’s a dramatic change
in fortunes for Liv definitely,
and that’s really great to know.
And that’s really pleasing that she’s
really putting positive energy into
helping herself and helping others.
I was in crisis that night, but he was the one who saved somebody’s life.
And they kind of get forgotten a little bit.
But he’s such a good human.
He deserves all the credit in the world so it was nice to just get a hug from him.
Well, it was lovely to meet you.
I’m so glad that you’ve…
Thank you.
got somewhere…
It did really, really help.
Good.
A lot.
Good, that’s amazing.

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