Thursday, 2 June 2016

Guest Blog: Things I Wish I Knew - In Loving Memory of Saagar Naresh, by Sangeeta Mahajan

This is a guest blog by consultant anaesthetist Dr Sangeeta Mahajan, mental health activist and blogger.

It was a tsunami that hit and took off chunks of my heart, my reality, sanity and future with it. I was utterly unprepared for the nightmare that was about to ensue.

One sunny autumn afternoon 18 months ago, two policemen showed up at my doorstep to tell me that my son’s body had been found nearby. Apparently Saagar had ended his own life. They handed me his belongings but I was convinced they had made a mistake. This was not within the realm of possibilities.

He is a handsome talented young man of 20 with a fabulous education and everything to live for. How could this be? He had a recent diagnosis of bipolar disorder but the doctors had me believe that he was getting better. No one ever mentioned the word ‘suicide’ to me.

I was numb but something in me had a strong desire to write. Having never written or read a blog before, we set up an account and I started writing kidsaregifts the same night and have written every day since. Its my way of spending time with Saagar, healing and sharing what I learn.

Things I wish I knew

I could write a book on the things I wish I had known.
I know a few of them now but he's already gone.
I wish I'd known that self-destructive, suicidal thoughts can come to anyone, at any time, irrespective of how good-looking, clever or wealthy they are or what race, religion, sex or profession they belong to.
I wish I knew that suicide claims the precious lives of many a young men every year.
I wish I knew how difficult it is for those having these treacherous thoughts to talk about them and ask for help.
I wish I knew the accompanying shame and guilt as though it was their own fault.
I wish I knew how unwell he was.
I wish I could see his soul invisibly bleeding to death.
I wish his doctor could see it.
I wish the medication he was put on had been the right one for him.
I wish someone had told me the warning signs to watch out for and recognise 'crisis' when it happened.
I wish I knew how to read into his desperation and help him open up, feeling safe.
I wish I knew how to break through the wall of silence that surrounded him.
I wish I knew that he meant 'suicidal thoughts' when he said 'random thoughts'.
I wish I understood his pain and confusion.
I wish I knew that despite having the world at his feet he secretly wanted to escape from it.
I wish that I knew that even though he was my darling son and was only 20, he could die.

Most of all I wish I knew how to think and talk about suicide.

Sagaar Naresh

To read other articles Sangeeta has written see below:

1. For Mental Health Awareness Week 2016:

2. Telegraph:

3.  Huffington post:

4. Blog in the memory of Saagar:

"I started writing it on the day he passed away and have been writing everyday since. It helps me and I think it helps others too. I was pretty blank when I started writing it but the intention must have been to stop this from happening to other parents. It starts from day 0 in October 2014 (in archives)."


If you or someone you love is in mental health crisis (UK), please contact the
Samaritans on 116 123.

Opening times: 24 hours, 7 days a week

Or see our Suicide Prevention Resources page on our website.

Or download the free #StayAlive Suicide Prevention App: find out more here.


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