DO NOT HESITATE! YOU CAN PREVENT A SUICIDE!

I still regret that incident which literally shook me in the year 1994. I was a teenager then but I could have prevented someone from taking her own life. Sadly, I could not.

World Suicide Prevention Day is observed on the 10th of September every year. This day is organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention. IASP is “dedicated to preventing suicide and suicidal behaviour, alleviating its effects, and providing a forum for academics, mental health professionals, crisis workers, volunteers and suicide survivors”. 

WSPD is an opportunity to raise awareness among all that suicide can be prevented. Even I felt, I could have prevented it by being a little vigilant and attentive to her and her feelings.

When the thought came, how we can prevent a possible suicide, I asked my friends to share their thoughts and they were quick to respond with their views.

Aditi says,

I will just keep talking and checking on that person and ensure that he/she doesn’t feel alone or left out.

Kalpana says,

If ever I feel a person is depressed, finding it difficult to cope up with the stress of facing challenges life is throwing at him or her, my initiative would be to make them realise!! Realise what? “Look around, we are not alone. We are in a situation which in our perspective is very difficult and life not worthy of living. But there are others who are struggling to have your piece at least to survive. And then there are others who rose from these dark waters. The first case is motivation to cling on to life and the second case is an inspiration to fight back. Do everything except to give up.”

Preeta says,

Regularly be in touch with my near and dear ones.
Being observantnotice change in the behavior of my friend, i.e., could be a weird message.
Not ignoring social media posts of anyone on my friend list, I mean, the posts expressing negative feelings of a person or friend.

Aastha says,

Suicide is a transient thought and often the extreme step could be avoided. No one is born with suicidal thoughts. Some failure or pain would have caused that thought. The only way “we” – friends, family, and society can help is through empathy and compassion. I would choose empathy over everything else.

And finally, Rajnandini gave her counselor’s view summarising all of our views…

1. Be vigilant for suicidal tendencies in people
2. Give a patient, non-judgmental hearing to anyone in distress
3. Encourage people to seek professional help and counseling when required
4. Impress upon people how precious a gift life is
5. Pray for those battling with life stressors

We must be aware of and must be seeing much news about the suicides during this pandemic. It has affected mental health big time. Staying isolated at home, less physical activities, unexpected changes in life and lack of proper connection between humans have made things worse. So, preventing suicide has become all the more important during this gloomy pandemic situation.

In the end, for our encouragement, I want to quote what God says,

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Stay Alert & Stay Blessed!

ERADICATE SUICIDES

I do not understand suicides – I don’t understand how can somebody be so out of hope, how can somebody have no support system at all, how can somebody think of ending this gift of life.

I and my family have gone through this excruciating pain of losing somebody very close to this demon named Suicide and I know that pain and the feeling of guilt is unbearable. The feeling that why we couldn’t be there for him and how did we fail him so bad – kills us every single day.

It is usually said that when a person dies – s/he doesn’t die alone, s/he takes away a part of life of his/her loved ones too. This is very true. Losing a loved one kills a part of you.

All of us go through stress from time to time. That stress is sometimes just minor and at times major depression or frustration. All of us are equipped with resources to deal with this stress. When stress outgrows the resources, hope dies. And when hope dies – suicide is the only option. These resources are everything that gives person happiness – family, friends, hobbies, etc.

This entire week we spoke about this difficult topic. Our writers shared the experiences from their own lives where somebody close to them went through these traumatic suicidal tendencies. Chiradeep explained in quite a detail in the mega article what suicidal tendencies are that we need to keep a watch out for. Although this is not an exhaustive list, but it covers the most common symptoms that appear when somebody goes through this.

Spend that little time with your loved ones. Make sure you understand them. Be empathetic. No job, no amount of earned money, no meetings, no promotions or hikes are more important than a life of your loved one.  Don’t delay that call from somebody who is desperate for your help. Don’t hang up on somebody you feel needs you at that moment. That somebody could be going through that one weak moment and you could be the person who saves a life.

If you know of an acquaintance or a friend or a family member who has suicidal tendencies and you think you cannot deal with it – take professional help. There are numerous NGO’s working in this area and they can help you. There is also a helpline number available in most countries to deal with somebody who has such issues.

India helpline number is – 022 27546669. Save this number now and use it when you know somebody needs it.

Remember, it takes a lot to give birth to a life and bring that life up in this world. It is not worth wasting it.

MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT SUICIDE

I have heard some people saying, “I feel like committing suicide.” Even sometimes I had utter words like that, “Ufff… I really don’t want to live anymore…” And usually we think that whoever says like this will never do it in reality. But it is a wrong thinking. The statistics reveal that the people who have committed suicide had talked about it before committing it.

We should be then careful about this thinking and shouldn’t take it for granted.

Sometimes I have seen and heard people saying that, “We had no clue or haven’t seen any signs before her/his death.” That’s actually not true. Because there will be definitely signs or tendencies visible in a person who commits suicide.

We just need to be alert about it. That’s possible if we really care about our loved ones and attached to them.

Sometimes we think that people who are weak and could not tolerate the pain and suffering they commit suicide. But the fact is when the situation for them becomes intolerable they think of quitting. Who doesn’t want to live? It is very rare that a drunkard committed suicide. I have seen higher ranked government officials who used to be very strong in their personality had committed suicide.  

Let’s stop assessing people and what they go through because of our preconceptions about suicide.

Sometimes we might think that people who are suicidal doesn’t want to live anymore. They don’t understand the value of life. Actually most of them want to live but because of the pain they go through and for some chemical imbalances in the brain they commit suicide.

We need to realize considering our own feelings that everybody wants to live but nobody wants to be in pain.

There’s also a thinking that people who are suicidal doesn’t seek any help and they try to drag themselves to some kind of solitude before they attempt. The truth is usually they seek help but lose hope when they don’t see empathy around them.

We really need to be watchful around and within our friend or family circle to extend help as my co-author Aastha expressed her heart yesterday in her write up saying: This taught me the biggest lesson of my life, to be able to be there for a loved one, any time they need me, literally ANYTIME.”  

Are we ready to work on these facts and ready to EMPATHIZE ANYTIME?

Keep thinking and keep reading…

Stay Blessed!!!

RIPPLE EFFECT OF SUICIDE

It was 8th of April 2011. I was busy with my regular morning chores, when I received a call.

Siddhu is no more. He crashed his car into a parked container and is announced spot dead. Police are saying that his face is completely crushed and they can only handover a headless body .

I cried my eyes out. I could barely digest this. I have close acquaintance with his family. I chose not to fly to attend his last rituals, I knew, I wouldn’t be able handle myself and may end up hurting his family more.

Siddhu was my very good friend.  Each and every important event of our lives was known to each other. He was my buddy in all the mischievous acts I used to do and it was so much fun with him. Siddhu had a brilliant IQ. He always wanted to have his own company and he worked very hard for making it a success. At the same time, family and friends were equally important to him.  He beautifully managed to keep in touch with everyone , no matter how busy he was. He was extremely caring, loving. He was a very good son, a very good brother and a very good friend. People cannot help themselves from falling in love with him. He was very lively, always smiling.

While running through the memory lane, there was a sudden chill through my spine when I recollected what happened the day before Siddhu’s accident. He called me twice in the evening. As I was busy at office, I couldn’t answer his calls. Siddhu never rings me a second time if I don’t respond on the first, unless its an emergency. What is that he wanted to talk about ? This question has brought a lot of confusion and guilt for me. In a jiffy, I opened the laptop to check my email. There it was, the last email Siddhu had sent out for me.

Dear Aastha,

Anu has decided that she doesn’t want to get married to me. She was all in tears and I couldn’t handle her. I don’t want her to face our families with the bitter truth. I have to cancel this engagement, but I don’t have the courage to face my dad. At this point I really don’t think, I want to live. Thank you, you have always been there for me through thick’n’thin. I am sorry , I won’t be able to be there for you. Take care.

Good Bye !

After reading his note, one thing was very clear to me. For sure, Siddhu was very uncomfortable with his dad, I knew it,  but his mention that as the only reason wasn’t convincing at all. Anu was Siddhu’s first and only love. He was not able to handle the rejection. All of a sudden, he would have felt as if the whole world has come to an end. Handling rejection from a loved one is not easy but he absolutely haven’t considered love he was getting from others . He was very weak with love especially, it would have effected him in the worst way. He might have felt the entire weight of not being able to get her love, on his shoulders. I kept wondering the whole night if his family knew, he ended his life at his will. I made a call in the morning to his sister, they were not aware of this. That was a sigh of relief for me.

In a way or other, may be I could have eradicated him from taking the decision to end his precious life. I could have just attended his call, took 10 minutes out of my busy schedule, should have texted him, or called him back once I reached home. I could think of a 100 possibilities, but it was too late. I lost my friend. A family lost their loved one. An irreplaceable loss, the hardest to handle for anyone. I was under extreme guilt and was very unhappy with myself.  This taught me the biggest lesson of my life,  to be able to be there for a loved one, any time they need me , literally ANYTIME. 

Death of a loved one is very traumatic, but when the death is because of a suicide it would add additional emotional factors to it. The ripple effect for all suicides is enormous. Parents, children, siblings, friends, lovers, spouses  have terrible reactions to the death by suicide of someone they care about. Even if you are not related at all, you may still find that you are deeply affected by the suicide of a friend or colleague.If they were a close friend you will grieve for their loss and may wonder if you could have done something to prevent their death.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a
listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all
of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
Leo Buscaglia

FROM THE JAWS OF DEATH INTO THE GATEWAY OF LIFE

He walked into my room almost two years ago – confused, frustrated, depressed and determined to give up. He was in the Ninth grade – all of 14 years. He was a good student – well organized and strategic in whatever he did. And so, he had planned to end his life on the 14th of November which is celebrated as Children’s Day in India. What better day to do the liberating act!”, he said.

I had never interacted with him on a personal level. But, I knew him as a brilliant student with a lot of talents who participated in many competitions and won many prizes. His teachers knew him as a sweet talented boy.

What nobody knew was his inner struggles. Behind the awards and talents, lay hidden a youngster with a lot of heartache. It just happened that one of his teachers noticed him to be gloomy which he is usually not and started enquiring of him which ultimately led to the revelation that he had planned to commit suicide. With alarm bells ringing aloud in her ears, the teacher alerted the authorities. The authorities in turn sent me an SOS and so walked this boy into my room just four days before he was to end his life.

With a fervent plea to the Almighty to guide my words, I started conversing with him. So determined was he to take his own life, which nothing seemed to make sense to him at all. He didn’t want great examples to be quoted. He didn’t want to be told that suicide is self-murder. He didn’t want to be shown any hope for his situation. He didn’t want to be told of people who had overcome greater struggles in life. He was simply determined to put an end to his misery and escape into a world of peace and no-misery.

Committing each word that I spoke into God’s hands and earnestly seeking His intervention, I went on conversing with him. Finally, the breakthrough came after two grilling hours. There shone a faint ray of hope! And I desperately capitalized on it. It’s tough to break the determination of a strong-willed teenager! But, with God’s help it was possible!

Today he is very much alive and doing his Eleventh grade – aiming to be a doctor! His struggles aren’t over. But, he now knows for sure that suicide is not the solution to life’s problems. He has decided to fight and not flee!

HOW TO FIGHT AGAINST YOUR THOUGHT OF COMMITTING SUICIDE?

My friend Aastha challenged everybody to fight against our very thought of committing suicide. I have heard many people sharing their thoughts of quitting and putting and full stop to their lives. And I was troubled last night thinking about it deeply and trying to find out the ways to fight the thoughts of committing suicide. Because we all know that the person who’s struggling and having suicidal thoughts really can’t do the things which a normal person can do.

After lot of thinking and researching I thought of bringing out 3 MAJOR ways to FIGHT the very thought processes of Committing Suicide. These are the steps which a person who is having suicidal thoughts can possibly take at that state of her/his mind.

Let’s DWELL in them for sometime and understand. 

  1. DWELL with the RIGHT PEOPLE: Choosing the right kind of people as our friend who can create positive vibe within and around us is vital. It can be beneficial or fatal. We just need to remember that we need to simply avoid the creeps who can stab us from nowhere when we are at the lowest. Sometimes we are too hesitant to choose our friends correctly, with proper discretion. And that ultimately pulls us down towards a state where we start thinking about committing suicide. If you think or feel that being associated with some friends or a friend making you depress, sad, pushing you in to shame then please leave them at once.They do not have the authority of impacting our thought processes and making us think of pulling the string. Instead, dwell with the people who really care about us and us only. Dwell with the people who not only can understand us but  are also responsible by thinking about our physical, mental and emotional safety. 
  2. DWELL in the RIGHT ATMOSPHERE: Atmosphere can be your work environment, your neighbourhood, your family, even home etc. By family or home I mean those families or homes where the parents and the elders are abusive whether physically, mentally or emotionally. Anamika my friend who committed suicide used to come to my Mom and used to say that, “Auntie, I love to stay here in your home… I don’t want to go from here…” Unfortunately, she didn’t have the scope to take this step of choosing the right atmosphere. It is wise to talk to a person, a counselor, a psychologist or a person who can motivate our elders and help to change our atmosphere.  
  3. Do not DWELL ALONE: Mind it, this is the most dangerous thing to do to dwell alone when we are having suicidal thoughts. It is wise to RUN right away to the place of safety and to the people who care about us. We are vulnerable at these moments and we loose the capacity to think right at this time. 

To my amazement, I found a site called ‘HelpGuide.Org‘ that explains the DOs & DON’Ts when the suicidal thought comes to a person’s mind beautifully in an article, ‘Suicide Help‘ published in that site. And this article explains my above 3 points in little detail. The matter is given as under:

Things to do

  • Talk with someone every day, preferably face to face. Though you feel like withdrawing, ask trusted friends and acquaintances to spend time with you. Or continue to call a crisis helpline and talk about your feelings.
  • Make a safety plan. Develop a set of steps that you can follow during a suicidal crisis. It should include contact numbers for your doctor or therapist, as well as friends and family members who will help in an emergency.
  • Make a written schedule for yourself every day and stick to it, no matter what. Keep a regular routine as much as possible, even when your feelings seem out of control.
  • Get out in the sun or into nature for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Exercise as vigorously as is safe for you. To get the most benefit, aim for 30 minutes of exercise per day. But you can start small. Three 10-minute bursts of activity can have a positive effect on mood.
  • Make time for things that bring you joy. Even if very few things bring you pleasure at the moment, force yourself to do the things you used to enjoy.
  • Remember your personal goals. You may have always wanted to travel to a particular place, read a specific book, own a pet, move to another place, learn a new hobby, volunteer, go back to school, or start a family. Write your personal goals down.

Things to avoid:

  • Being alone. Solitude can make suicidal thoughts even worse. Visit a friend, or family member, or pick up the phone and call a crisis helpline.
  • Alcohol and drugs. Drugs and alcohol can increase depression, hamper your problem-solving ability, and can make you act impulsively.
  • Doing things that make you feel worse. Listening to sad music, looking at certain photographs, reading old letters, or visiting a loved one’s grave can all increase negative feelings.
  • Thinking about suicide and other negative thoughts. Try not to become preoccupied with suicidal thoughts as this can make them even stronger. Don’t think and rethink negative thoughts. Find a distraction. Giving yourself a break from suicidal thoughts can help, even if it’s for a short time.

Are you having suicidal thoughts? Then please follow the above points and check with some one who’s compassionate and close to you always.

Stay safe and keep reading…

God bless you!!!

FIGHT AGAINST YOUR THOUGHT OF COMMITTING SUICIDE

In life, we often feel low, desperate, unloved, guilty or poorly treated by others. We might be facing a failure or feeling lost in the race of life. Several illusive voices might be saying that suicide is the best way out. Do we think committing suicide solves the problem or relieves us from the pain associated with the problem? Majority of us do. For some people, suicide may be a way of getting back at others, or showing them how much pain they’re in.

Suicide is usually that MOMENT’s act, when we think we cannot handle the pressure anymore or we think, there are more problems than solutions. The problem might even has been created by us which makes us feel miserable that we are responsible for the pain other people related to the problem are going through. We may sometimes end up blaming ourselves for something we are not even responsible for. Self blame is one of the biggest reasons why we end up in such situations.  This may lead to severe depression and we end up thinking that the problem is un-fixable. Having an unstable mind doesn’t let us see things around us clearly

A site called Medical News Today describes:

“Suicidal thoughts, also known as suicidal ideation, are thoughts about how to kill oneself, which can range from a detailed plan to a fleeting consideration and does not include the final act of killing oneself.” 

It further explains, 

“The majority of people who experience suicidal ideation do not carry it through. Some may, however, make suicide attempts. Some suicidal ideations can be deliberately planned to fail or be discovered, while others might be carefully planned to succeed.”

All human beings at one point or the other, go through suicidal thoughts. When I go through such a thought I do this…

I recollect the saddest moment I had been through before this. How do I feel about it now? Definitely, not the same amount of pain I experienced earlier. Why? Probably I found a way to deal with the problem or I solved it altogether. So, I have a fair chance that I may be able to come out of this situation. Many times, we end up seeing the problem and its effects through a magnifying glass, this adds up more pressure to an already strenuous situation.

If we hold our-self back for that very moment and give it a thought, then dealing with it becomes easy. It is very important that we talk about the problem with someone. They may have a fresh view about the problem and may lead us in the right direction. We should never be ashamed of sharing with our friends or relatives that we are going through such thoughts. Yes, suicidal thoughts are negative and that is why we need support to fight through them.

Life is beautiful. 

Don’t pull your self back from what life has to offer.