This topic is one that is VERY close to me, as myself personally and some people close to me have dealt with it on occasions. This particular one has been brought back to the forefront of my mind by news of a few events from friends of mine this week. What am I talking about? Suicide.
In my opinion, suicide in today’s society seems to be getting more common, especially with our youth. One of the things it carries with it seems to be a stereotype, or certain negative connotation, about why without us really talking or taking a look at the underlying issue(s) that caused it.
Life treats and affects everyone differently. Some of us are stronger or weaker than others. Meaning that something may not affect you much, if at all, yet that same thing could effect me very deeply and significantly. When talking about ANY mental health issue we need to keep this in mind. We are all different. With suicide, what also adds fuel to the ones left behind are a multitude of questions as to “Why” this happened. Even if a note is left(not always the case), there are questions about what led up to this tragic event. I believe that our youth are under a lot more pressure than we think these days. Not just from the parents and normal peer pressure but, also with the heightened presence of social media adding fuel to that fire. Today’s children are under a lot more pressure to “fit in” or keep up with so and so because they see someone else’s life, that they may present in an exaggerated light, plastered all over social media. It could be that they feel that their life is not good because it doesn’t “seem” to be as amazing as one of their friend’s might “appear to be” online, cyber bullying, a bad home life, or that they may just feel like they don’t measure up just to name a few. It could be any number of things that we don’t know or understand because we either choose to ignore it, or because we are so wrapped up in our hectic lives these days. I don’t think any of us can disagree that our society has changed dramatically in the past few decades after the introduction of more advanced technology and the ease of access to “stay connected” while also disconnecting with each other as a society.
As I said before, everyone is different and handles things differently. Along with that, successful and unsuccessful suicide attempts both usually are results to situations that, in many cases, are temporary and could be different. It is often hard for our younger people to see and understand that. Many things that are trivial to us are a big deal to them at this point in their lives. We need to try to remember that. Especially when dealing with younger people regarding this issue. As far as older people battling situations that may push them to suicidal thoughts, it is usually not a trivial issue but, more of a more significant situation. It too is usually just a temporary situation that gets to a point that they think it is too much for them to continue to deal with. Many of us left behind may not understand why one chooses to end a temporary situation with such a permanent result. To be honest, when someone gets to that point, they often are so deep into whatever it is that nothing else matters or weighs too heavily in deterring them from what they are contemplating. Family, friends, or even spouses are often not enough of a factor to stop them. This is not because they do not love us or care, they do. They are just so far into a place that they feel they don’t have a choice or that everyone would be better off with them gone. Their rational thought process is usually compromised by whatever they are dealing with at the time. It is one of those things that unless you have been there, it is very hard to comprehend. I say this not as total speculation but, from experience. I have several failed attempts in my past ranging from my late teens to as recent as the end of 2008/early 2009 with my most recent and last attempt. That was a span of almost 30 years to that point. In my cases, family, friends, my kids, etc. were not huge factors in stopping me. I loved them VERY much but was in such a dark place that their light wasn’t bright enough to shine through the darkness that I was facing. They were also each different but, took me to the same dark place. So, I partially speak from my own experiences. I would like to also add that I chose myself to seek help. I will never let myself get to that place again because of changes that I have made personally. I am not the same person that I was then, nor am I in the same place. I grew immensely from it. There is no “cure” for the battles and demons that some of us face. However, with the right tools and people around us, we can manage them in a much better way.
With that being said, to anyone out there that is in, or may be headed to, that dark place, I beg you to talk to someone. Anyone. Seek help and talk to anyone and everyone that will listen. Get whatever is weighing on you out in the open so that you can get the help you need to get through it. It will get better. I promise you that. I know that you may not see it now but, it will. Whether you are young or old, whatever it is, it will pass. So please seek help somewhere. You may think that you are doing people around you a favor but, you are not. You leave behind pain, hurt, tears, and many questions that we will not have the answers for. I know that you don’t want that anymore than we do.
I leave all of you with a few messages to carry forward…
We need to be more understanding and compassionate for each other. We do not know or understand what someone may be going through. The smallest thing or gesture can carry an enormous weight for someone else. Good or bad, it could change a life forever. To those battling something that may be getting you down, get help. Talk to someone. We love you and want you here. Whatever it is, it is guaranteed to be temporary. No matter how difficult it may be, it is temporary. Don’t quit!!