“What a waste. He had the world at his feet, really… And a big dark cloud hanging over his head that none of us could see.”
That face… That face right there. That’s the face of someone who does not want to be here anymore. The face of someone who laughs, smiles, jokes when they’re around other people, but are SO exhausted by maintaining that visage – day, after day, after day. After day… It’s so exhausting. So exhausting. Listening to those around you witter away about nonsense, while your insides are filling with lead. You hear yourself respond to their questions, but can’t quite muster the energy to congratulate yourself for conveying the correct response. Your head is submerging. But there is always a way. Always.
He may have had the world at his feet, but that only served to alienate him more. He should’ve been happy. He got “everything he’s ever wanted” and yet, he still wasn’t happy. He probably thought, “I’ll never be happy.” But here’s the thing; the constant quest for happiness is overrated and puts so much unnecessary pressure on us as humans who – prior to the last century or so – have been happy enough with just surviving.
For those who didn’t see Aidan’s final heartbreaking scene…
The episode which ended in that scene saw Aidan visit Eva (his one-time fiance who’d given birth to his child before handing it over to her Toyah to pretend to Peter it’s the child their surrogate lost unbeknownst to him… Soaps, innit) at her postpartum hideaway to surreptitiously say his goodbyes. All he wanted to do was leave her with their engagement ring and dance with her one last time.
In the aftermath, viewers saw Aidan’s dad, Johnny, find him. It was handled with such sensitivity and well-rounded awareness.
Three years previous, when Ward rocked up to the cobbles in the tightest of white shirts, never in a million years could I have envisaged his final scenes. There I was, howling at the television in floods of tears, leading the husband to feel even more unnerved by me than usual. That face. That face has haunted me the last few days. It’s haunting many.
Thankfully, Shayne reminded us he was Shayne by donning a jaunty hat while imparting an important message.
Speaking with The Sun about the reaction to his storyline, Ward said:
“A lot of people who are considering attempting suicide have got in touch to say, ‘I’m calling somebody now. I was attempting it and you’ve helped me.’ The response has been truly overwhelming… I knew when I took it on that it was more than just a storyline. This is affecting millions of people around the world every single day, and when I read the stats I couldn’t believe it. So when I’m getting into that place, it’s a really, really dark place which again breaks my heart. You feel that there is no light at the end of the tunnel.”
There is, though. You just can’t see it quite yet. But there is always a way. Always. In a bid to get things moving, I’ll hold my hands aloft. I’ve been there a few times. I’ve seen that face staring back at me. Been to the precipice. But I spoke and – one day at a time – found a way. If only talking was that “easy” for everyone. Often, you don’t know where to start or – worse – you don’t know if/when it’ll end. That’s why male suicide is something that everyone needs to be a lot more aware of.
All too often, it’s the people you least expect to take their own lives that do, and kudos to Corrie for highlighting a heartbreaking issue which affects approximately 400 families in Ireland every year.
Please, if you do identify with any elements of Aidan’s story, talking really does help. It’s the only step you have to do today.
The contacts page of MentalHealthIreland.ie is a good place to start if you or someone you know needs help today.
For more alternatives, please visit our contacts page.