The world has been in lockdown since what feels like an eternity. It has given every one more time to introspect which has brought up their mental struggles to the forefront. A lot many times, people who might be at unrest mentally occupy themselves with chores/ socializing and neglect these issues. But with the inability to go out, the lack of physical contact has definitely added to the feelings of loneliness, depression, confinement. It’s thus important to understand that most people who attempt suicide or die by suicide don’t want to die – they just want their pain to end or can’t see another way out of their situation. Mental Health issues/challenges don’t occur overnight but unfortunately, we do not talk about mental health aspect of living beings at all. An individual usually goes through a long struggle with themselves but when persistently everything seems helpless, they attempt suicide. The sad part however is that instead of talking about mental health and addressing related issues so that we can help someone, the society is more intrigued about discussions about hypothetical shady reasons behind such attempt. Someone who attempts suicide or dies by suicide doesn’t mean that they were not resilient but it only means that they couldn’t take it anymore and decided to end their life. Being someone who in the past has tried to end it all herself two times, I know I didn’t want to die but I wanted my pain to stop and I saw no other way. Fortunately, I didn’t die, and today here I am, in my designated role as a mental health counsellor, helping people with their mental health challenges. The things that I have realised from my own experience and after helping my clients who had a tendency to self-harm is that dying is not a solution. Rather it’s important to realize that if we work on our emotions, strengthen our mind, take all the possible help we can and determine ourselves to face the challenges that come our way- Life is actually worthy of being celebrated. Giving up is not an option.
A person who has fatal thoughts might not ask for help directly owing to the fact that most of the time they themselves don’t know what is triggering them or is spiralling them down. But that doesn’t mean that help isn’t wanted. We need to realize that mourning someone’s death can be prevented by just being there for when they actually need. The entire world is a big family and only if we all decide to come together can we make a difference. I’ll share some ways to help identify if someone around you needs help, so that we can, in time, help them by being aware of unusual behavioral patterns (warning signs) like:
Experiencing mood swings – depressed, angry or enraged
Feeling hopelessness, helplessness, worthless, guilty, or ashamed or
read or write about dying
Suddenly seem calm after they have been depressed or suicidal
Access to harmful things like rope, gun
Turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with difficult feelings or thoughts
Lose or gain a lot of weight and unusual eating patterns
Uncertain and unusual sleep cycles, unusual eating patterns
I understand, being at the receiving end of an emotionally loaded conversation especially with someone who is majorly depressed or might have suicidal thoughts could be challenging and overwhelming.
Ask them if they would like to talk about what’s going on with them. They might not want to open up straight away, but letting them know you are there for them is a big help. If they don’t feel comfortable opening up to you ask them if you could help them connect with someone they would feel more comfortable with.
Accept their feelings and acknowledge that their feelings is real and possible. Listen and don’t judge. Take them seriously. Let them know you care.
Offer to help them make an appointment, and go with them if you can. Don’t leave them alone – make sure someone stays till they are better.
Seek support from professionals, and from other people, they trust including family or friends.
People with mental illnesses or the ones who have had painful and majorly life-changing events are more likely to commit suicide. So, if you know someone going through any of the above mentioned points-reach out to them check up on them and be conscious of their feelings and behaviour. Having said that you never know what someone is going through, so be kind, be compassionate no matter what. You don’t need to have all the answers, or to offer advice. The best thing you can do is be there and listen.
(The author is a freelancer. Views are her own) [email protected]