We need to talk about suicide.
In our local societies, at the dinner table and with our close friends. Each of us has a perspective, and everyone has an opinion. Whether it’s to put it aside and state ones lack of understanding, or to be deeply traumatized and impacted over an entire phase of your life.
Often times it’s a condition of the distance from the self, other times it can be a famous person you may never meet, but have a particular relationship with the work of the recently deceased. What we often mistake however; is that it’s a product of weakness or unhappiness. While both of these elements play a part in the eventual decision a victim makes, it can be helpful for those of us left behind to have some ways to understand the person after their passing.
Some points of clarity.
In terms of our non-expert, uneducated, but real-as-life experiences; depression, trauma, and grief are experiential and all each of us can do is confess to our personal experiences and to those around us. So please know your experience is as valid as another’, but no one experience is more accurate than yours.
It is only with this non-judgemental mindset that we can reach a place of healing. And some sort of preventative solution. It starts at home, in our neighborhoods and local communities. Because suicide, or suicide attempts are far from the only arena in which this disease presents itself. The people I’ve known who have committed the act, were at one point as happy as the next person. But have nearly all endured some version of solitary confinement from their normal surroundings.
What is it in our daily lives?
There is a reason why the worst punishment in society and the punishment system of civilization is being kept in isolation from every other inmate. Even if those inmates are trying to hurt the individual. What are the earliest versions of this? Being grounded. Being sent to your room. Sitting in a corner. Being excluded from fun activities, all of which include others and joyous communal activities.
If you simply glance back at the past 40 years of pop culture movements, within each of them, the contrarian subculture always aims to remove itself, and suffer publicly. From punks and goths, to hipsters and vegans. Each movement is almost defined by the unity found in departure from mainstream society.
We are herd animals, and while the rock star in all of us want to stand out from the bunch, it is the rejoining with our kin as excellent versions of ourself that truly fuel the desires for excellence. Not the solitary life of a supreme human being. Likewise, when we are at the very bottom of our emotional barrel, we seek a solitary life. Either end of the spectrum is hurtful to the human spirit but the negative end feeds on solitude.
Teenagers are frequent visitors of loneliness ally and have a membership to the ‘no one understands me’ club. While we can’t manipulate the mind of our struggling teens, we can be there, and be present with them. Sometimes a gentle presence helps and other times it hurts, but a acknowledgement of your existence and love for them will aid them no matter how antithetical it may seem.
There are a bunch of fascinating statistics regarding suicide. Like how Lithuania has the highest rate per capita. But nearby nations have less than a quarter of their incidents. Men are three times as likely to commit suicide than women, but women attempt it nearly five times as often as men. Very little changes in rates per capita as the population grows. So Lithuania is still top of the charts alongside nations like Sri Lanka, Russia and Kazakstan. The difference is each of the other three nations have domestic or natural disasters severely impacting the local quality of life.
Statistics suicide in teenagers
Statistics will source a scientific conversation of depression and how to help; but the reality is two fold. Either love them presently, get them counseling and therapy, or don’t. It can be a delicate process, that seems never ending until one day it abruptly does. Or simmer slowly for years of struggle with depression and anxiety, just like love. Please know you are not alone and the road to learning how true that is lies simply in conversation and being open about it.
Stigma is born of fear, and fear masquerades as the practicality we often refer to as minding our own business. Ask, listen and be the support you’d like, were you faced with the daunting task of aiding someone through a suicidal time in their life. They want help, even if what they exude, say or even scream says otherwise.
Each nation has a suicide hotline, and enables access to inexpensive therapy. Please be gentle, please listen, please love, and please always be present. This disease asks as much of the victim as of their fellows.