Suicide. You get shivers down your spine by just thinking about it. The thought of killing yourself and leaving everything you have behind is unimaginable for you, but for some, it’s the only salvation they know. You look at everything you have and you see life that exists in every living being. Everything that surrounds you is full of this amazing miracle, but how does it look like in the mind of someone who only sees their life as a burden?
It always starts with depression. Depression is a very common mental illness that causes people to see the world from the darker side. People with depression have poor concentration. They have a feeling of low self-worth and guilt. Depression can also be seen in disturbed sleep or eating habits. The way depression makes them feel is like there is nothing in the world to be happy about. Seeing only the dark side to everything makes you believe that this life isn’t even worth living, so why even try? Just imagine not being able to enjoy the things you find to be most pleasurable in life: like the hug of a loved one, the sun on your skin or the birds that are singing to you in the morning. These are just little things that depression doesn’t allow you to enjoy, but what about those big parts of your life that made life joyful and happy? Like your job? Your partner? When you stop enjoying these things, you know it’s a huge red flag that your mind isn’t healthy anymore.
The dangerous part about depression is that self-harm comes with it very often. Cutting and body mutilations in any form make the depressed person forget about the mental and emotional pain. I have heard on many occasions that seeing blood coming from their body looks purifying – like all the depression is leaking out through that wound. What they don’t know is that it’s just a little moment of pleasure that doesn’t mean anything. Instead, it just makes them more and more sick.
And these hopeless thoughts and feelings are usually the result of intense, unremitting pain that seems to have no end. Not only is the pain of depression unbearable, to the suicidal mind, it feels as if it will last forever.
What exhausts a suicidal person the most is the constant battle that’s happening within. The constant battle between life and death. At one moment, you see that the whole world doesn’t make sense and that you’re nothing more than a waste of human skin, but in the next moment, someone comes up to you and shows some basic human decency that makes you believe in the magic of life again. Night and morning have completely different effects on the brain and those are the two opposite sides someone thinking about suicide has to deal with.
When night falls and everything is so peaceful and quiet, it’s the moment when all those demons come alive and your brain falls victim to them. In the morning, life seems to be pleasurable again but only for a moment or two.
Thinking about all those people you’re leaving behind and thinking about all the pain they inflicted on you. You’re thinking about how life might look like without you in it and how those people around you will react to losing you. Are they going to cry? Will it be a happy moment for them to know that they don’t have to deal with you anymore? Are they going to regret what they have done to you? Is it that simple? Who knows?
Living with all these thoughts is exhausting and it doesn’t make it easier to choose between life and death because somehow there are always more of those things that make you want to kill yourself.
All of this brings you to unbearable emotional and mental pain. The pain invades your brain and your skin. It’s everywhere. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing in life. The pain just becomes more and more unbearable with every moment that goes by. Your skin hurts from the self-inflicted injuries. Your mind hurts from those thoughts that don’t want to leave your brain and your chest hurts because your heart isn’t able to carry all that burden anymore.
The thing about suicide is that people confuse it with freedom. People with a suicidal mind tend to see freedom in killing themselves, never knowing that living their life fully is actually what makes you completely free. They are more tortured by the thoughts of suicide than by life itself.
People will try to get rid of this never ending pain, trying to find salvation in alcohol, drugs and sex. Anything. Just to numb the pain that is constantly banging against their skulls.
Toxic thoughts occupy their days. Life isn’t easy when you hear those voices in your head telling you that you shouldn’t be on this planet with these people. Toxic thinking can actually be caused by the smallest things that happen in life. For instance: you are carrying the laundry from one room to another. You trip and everything falls out of your hands. To someone who doesn’t have a suicidal mind, it’s nothing. They will pick up the laundry and move on. But for someone who has toxic thoughts it’s not something trivial, but rather makes them think, ”I am so unworthy of this life if I can’t even do this right” or ”I am not even capable of doing this” and so on.
Signs of decline
How do you know that someone from your surroundings is thinking about committing suicide? Most of the time a suicidal person will turn to alcohol and drug abuse. It numbs the mind and it seems to be the only salvation out there. Although, people with suicidal tendencies usually seem to be very social, sometimes even happy and party animals. The fact that they can’t go out with their friends without getting wasted tells you something.
One other sign that they’re surrendering is a change in appetite. Depression can cause the body to simply not respond to usual needs, like hunger. If someone is depressed and suicidal, they play around with their food, they don’t eat enough and it turns to them being underweight and malnourished.
Losing interest in things they usually liked shows that life simply isn’t as enjoyable as usual. I know that people change all the time, but losing interest in something overnight and not wanting to do the things that were making you happy and that made life a bit easier means that you can’t see the meaning of those things anymore. You don’t even know why you’re trying when life doesn’t have meaning anymore.
Discovering that someone you care about has tried to end their life can be a devastating experience. They will need supporting.
You may initially experience emotions such as shock and denial. Sometimes, those close to the suicidal person blame themselves for what has happened, thinking, “if only I’d watched them more closely”. The fact that someone close to you or a loved one has attempted suicide is not your fault.
It is important for you to be aware of your own feelings, and avoid reacting in ways that could block communication or cause your loved one to react angrily or withdraw. Unhelpful responses include:
Often people report that they find it difficult to support someone who has attempted suicide because they feel they don’t know what to say. It can be hard to find the right words when you’re feeling overwhelmed and emotional yourself.
Create a ‘safe space,’ where the person feels loved, cared about, accepted, supported and understood. Letting the person know you support them, and asking open-ended questions, can help to open the lines of communication. The following suggestions may serve as prompts:
Recovery from suicidal feelings is possible. You can learn how to manage these thoughts in the future to keep yourself safe, or you may get to a place where you no longer have these thoughts at all. Other people have recovered from suicide attempts and you can too.
Remember, even if you feel like you are alone, there are people who can help you.
Here are some ideas that can be put in place now to keep you safe in the future:
Create a safety plan
Working with your counselor or doctor, create a plan that you can follow should the suicidal thoughts return. When creating a safety plan, it is important to be as honest as you can to ensure you are comfortable with your plan and it meets your needs.
Know where to get help
As part of your safety plan, create a list of services that you can turn to when you are in trouble. Helplines can be a good place to start. It is a good idea to have your safety plan with you when you make the call because the counselor can work with your plan to help keep you safe. If you don’t have a plan, a counselor can help you create one.
Learn the thought triggers
Identify what sets off the negative thoughts. It may be that these thoughts are triggered when you spend a lot of time alone, when you are exposed to stressful situations, or perhaps on the anniversary of a painful event. Whatever the trigger is, make use of the safety plan when your triggers arise before you start to have the suicidal thoughts.
Learn some relaxation techniques
This can be a breathing exercise, progressive muscle relaxation or meditation. These activities can help to calm you and distract you from the intense thoughts.
Distractions and stress relievers
Write down some activities that you may find helpful in distracting you from the intrusive negative thoughts. These might include the following:
Taking care of yourself after a suicide attempt
Now more than ever it is important to look after yourself. For a while at least, life might feel dreary, uncomfortable or strange. Establishing a routine can help you to get through this difficult period. Eating well, getting enough sleep and doing some physical activity will help improve your mood. You can start introducing more things into your routine once you feel ready.
Should you continue to have suicidal thoughts, it is important that you get help. If you’re already receiving professional help or support, it’s important that you stay in contact with these services, particularly if you’re feeling distressed. If you feel you need some extra support, you may wish to consider calling a crisis line +234 806-210-6493
You could also reach out to a trusted friend or family member. It’s very important that you are honest with the person who is helping you. Let them know how you’re feeling, and what you think you need to ensure you get the best possible help.
Recovery is different for everyone and it may take time, but it is possible.
How to help a suicidal person
Helping a suicidal person isn’t that easy. You have to firstly protect yourself from their toxic thoughts and you have to be strong enough for them not to affect you and your mood. If you are not sure that you can do this, then maybe it’s better to simply lead them to a therapist who can help them out in much better ways than you can.
1. Make them feel needed
The best way to show a suicidal person that suicide is not the answer is to make them feel wanted and needed in society. Show them how lonely you would be if they left you and show them that their life really does have an impact on this world. Make them believe that there is nothing more sacred than their breath and their presence.
It really does make a change when people care about your well-being and when they ask you how you are and so on. Life becomes easier when you see that there’s someone out there who cares enough to ask how your day went. So don’t let a suicidal person be alone with their thoughts, but make them verbalize what they are thinking. Make them see that someone cares enough to listen what’s going on inside their head.
3. Don’t try to find a solution
Don’t you think that they have already thought about every possible solution? When you’re depressed, it’s not because you have a reason to be sad, but it’s a mental illness that doesn’t allow you to be happy no matter what. That’s why you shouldn’t be telling them to have a balanced diet because it will make them feel better or to try using healing crystals. Those things do not work. Instead ask, ” What can I do for you now?” and take them to a therapist if they’re not in therapy already.
4. Encourage therapy
I can’t stress this enough, but going into therapy works wonders. Therapists don’t get emotionally involved with their clients which means that they can have a completely rational solution for them. Therapists are there to help us get mentally stable and help us resolve all the remaining issues from our past. If anyone can help them, it’s a therapist.
5. Don’t judge, understand
People who have a suicidal mind often don’t accept help because of the fact that everyone around them will judge them for what they’re thinking and feeling. Don’t do that. Make them feel understood and like they’re in a safe space when they’re talking with you.
6. Be gentle
Don’t force yourself on them. A universal need is empathy and if you get easily triggered, if you get easily mad by words or something between those lines, then try to get a hold of yourself and don’t let those emotions get the best of you. Suicidal people don’t want someone who will yell without any particular reason but actually someone who will be gentle and empathetic, no matter how much of a mess they are right now.
I would like to conclude this with a personal message for anyone who is reading this who is suicidal or who knows someone else who is suicidal.
If you are on the edge of the abyss, don’t jump.
If you are going through hell, don’t stop.
As long as you are breathing, there is hope.
As long as day follows night, there is hope.
Nothing stays the same forever.
Set an intention to heal, reach out for support, and you will find help.
Don’t leave the stage in the middle of your song, your beautiful song.