Warning: This post deals with the subject of suicide. It's therefore recommended to consider your own mood before reading.
“Goodbye my friend it’s hard to die
When all the birds are singing in the sky
Now that the spring is in the air…”
There must have been some time in the past you came across a piece of news about someone committing suicide, and your first comment would be “What a waste! Life is so beautiful. Why did they do such a stupid and selfish thing?”
That seems fair, doesn’t it? ‘Til the day you’re there – exactly where that suicidal person used to be when they bid life farewell. And now you understand one fundamental mistake you made when you judged them before.
No, they weren’t stupid, nor were they selfish. And they knew so well life is beautiful.
But, it was too much to take. Like it’s too much to take for you, right now.
Welcome, or not so welcome, to suicidal depression.
When I was in high school, a girl in my class attempted to commit suicide. She showed up in class that day, knackered and about to collapse. She soon fatigued. We called the ambulance, and luckily she recovered quite fast after that. Of course, we gossipped about how that seemed to be a not-so-serious suicidal attempt, and I remember cracking up, or cringing a little bit when I heard her story. What was a teenager supposed to know? Was she just trying to grab some attention? How could life of a highschool girl possibly be too hard to take? Oh, I was not the happy-go-lucky kinda girl either. I’d had my episodes with depression back in middle school, and I believe suicidal thoughts had somehow haunted me once in a while, albeit I’d never acted on that. However, since I’d been brought up in a culture where suicide is considered desperate and selfish, what I often gave the suicide survivors or victims are criticism and disgust, rather than compassion and sympathy.
But it should’ve been compassion and sympathy. And I wish I’d known it better, that those people who had to resort to death, the ultimate harm to the body, as a self-help act indeed deserve understanding and some hands of help. And yes, by “those people”, I may include myself. I should’ve deserved some peace of mind, instead of the denigration I’d put on myself before just for having suicidal feelings.
Now dear, whether you or someone you know may have ever felt this way, please start doing yourself or your friend a favor by stop judging. There’s nothing weak, abnormal, selfish or childish about feeling suicidal. There’s no age bar for such feelings either, since a depressing experienced grown-up man just has as much tendency to end his own life as a depressing inexperienced teenager. There’s no level of pain that’s “enough pain” to feel suicidal, since the ability to handle one pain differs from person to person. It’s easy for us to observe and judge that a guy carrying the debt of 1 million dollars suffers more than a girl abandoned by her boyfriend, but chances are that both of them just feel equally terribly in pain. There’s no way to compare mental pains. And suicide, from the moment the thought of it makes its way into the mind, has never been the indicator of how big the problem is. It just happens when the pain exceeds the coping resources of one person. All the hopes, the optimistic attitude, the self-help advice, the support from others, have dried up. They’re now exhausted and ready to completely surrender. Things get uncontrollably ugly, and life feels like torture. Would it be easier to put an end to everything? Everything, including their own life.
While I support the idea that everyone deserves the right to die at their own will, I don’t believe anyone should. If you happen to be in deep depression lately, I hope you reach out for someone and talk to them about how you’re feeling. There’s always someone that will listen wholeheartedly, be it family, a friend or even a stranger. So give them at least one chance to help you.
And in case you are the “someone” mentioned above, the one that is trusted enough by your depressed friend that they sit you down and reveal their suicidal thought, I sincerely hope you don’t judge them. No, you can’t judge them. Don’t belittle their problem “This is nothing. It’s not enough to feel suicidal about.” – you don’t know how many times they’ve thought things through, and yet they could not get over the desire to die. Their problem is THE problem, no matter how small or big it may seem to other people. Don’t make them feel like a selfish criminal anymore just because they’re already wounded to their very soul and are considering an ultimate salvation. Tell them you get the problem and can see ways to actually solve it. Noone wants to die, even the one who’s planning on suicide. All sorts of self-harm action, including suicide, for me is a desperate crying for help.
So if they let you in for that very vulnerable moment, for the sake of love, just take their hands, no question asked and no judgement made.
And just don’t let them go.