The elephant in the room
Suicide! That's right, suicide! I invite you to allow that word to sit with you for a moment. Now say it... and again... such a powerful word, such a taboo word, but the more we say it, the more we talk about it, the more aware people will become and the more people will feel they can talk about it. Let's drop the stigma and reduce the statistics.
So what is suicide?
In short, suicide is the act of one taking their own life in order to end their pain and suffering. Suicide is a subject that is discussed in hushed silence, behind closed doors because of the negative opinions on suicide.
I want you to think about your opinions of someone who completes or attempts suicide...
I now ask you to put yourself in that person's shoes, see through their eyes without judgement and consider the following -
- Someone who attempts or completes suicide likely feels that they are a problem or a burden, therefore they see their act as freeing loved ones from this burden.
- Their pain is so intense that this is likely the only way they believe they can be free of this pain.
- They are in the darkest place that they have ever been. This feeling has quite literally been described as the world being dark and the colour being drained from life. That may be difficult to imagine but to someone feeling this way it is how the world looks through their eyes.
- Even if you have been depressed and got better that does not mean you were in the same place or experienced the same pain. Everyone is an individual.
- Sometimes an attempt is not an attempt to die but rather to temporarily numb the pain.
- They likely want help; perhaps they don't know how to verbally express how they feel but give subtle signals.
- Would you help?
- If it were you would you want help?
What not to say
- Snap out of it.
- Everyone has bad days.
- You're weak.
- You're selfish.
- You're beyond help.
- I'm sick of you being miserable.
- Cheer up.
- Smile, it might never happen.
- People have it worse.
- You're just attention seeking.
Instead, take a moment to listen, I mean really listen. Help them to find help or to remove risks. Let them know they are not alone and are not a burden. Even if something may seem insignificant to you, remember that it may be huge to them. One kind act could save a life.
Suicide has always been a subject that has been widely avoided, mainly because many do not know what to say to someone feeling this way or because there are a lot of negative stigmas attached. We need to drop this stigma so that more people who are contemplating suicide feel that it is safe for them to ask for help without being judged. Change is needed and we need to be that change. If we all were to reach out to just one person, imagine the change we could make.
If you or anyone you know are having thoughts of suicide, know that you are not alone. Reach out. Talk to a trusted friend or family member, your doctor or a counsellor. You can also contact Samaritans on 116 123 or NHS 111.
If you feel you need urgent care call 999 or visit A&E.
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