Life after near-death experience
Suicide survivor turns counsellor
FROM time to time, we all struggle with that little voice on our shoulder telling us we are not good enough.
But for Donna Thistlethwaite, that voice on her shoulder become so loud she could see no other option than to end it all.
In 2012, she drove to Brisbane's Story Bridge and fell from the iconic landmark.
Miraculously, Donna survived the fall and since then she has become a crisis counsellor and a motivational speaker helping others who are going through the same painful journey she did.
Let’s talk about the day you went up to the Story Bridge and made the decision to attempt to end your life.
Well, I hadn’t slept very well the night before and I had decided overnight that (jumping off the bridge) was what I was going to do. I remember I played with my son in the backyard and I was a bit withdrawn. I guess it looked like a normal day, but I had these thoughts.
MC: Did you attempt to communicate with anyone that day about what you had planned to do?
DT: I reached out to a psychiatrist that had treated me in the past. I sent them an email, but the email bounced back.
MC: Why would you send an email? Is it fair to say you didn’t really want their response?
DT: No, I think I did. I didn’t have his phone number and at the time he was the only person I felt I could speak to about it.
MC: Donna, do you know why you made that decision to jump off the bridge?
DT: I just couldn’t see any other way out of my situation. I had such thoughts of desperation. I thought I had made such a mess of everything and I couldn’t work out how to fix it. This is the only way I could think of to fix it. It was very surreal.
MC: Since recovering from your injuries you have a whole new lease on life these days. And you have done an Australian Story on your life. What sort of response did you get after that?
DT: Well, it was interesting, because the ABC contacted me and the producer said ‘look, we think your story is really powerful’ and would I be open to sharing it?
MC: Because before that point you had remained anonymous?
DT: Yeah, I had done some podcasts, but I didn’t use my name.
MC: Were you happy with the final result?
DT: Yeah, I thought they did an amazing job. I got so many messages from people.
MC: What sort of messages did you get?
DT: A lot of thank yous. One woman said her sister had watched the program and then was able to describe what was going on for her.
NEW ZEST FOR LIFE: Donna Thistlethwaite survived a suicide attempt, and now helps others.