How to recognize and help suicidal people around you?
He was older than me, but we were friends. Most of the times he was a fun-loving person who could crack jokes, sing along with us and teach a thing or two with our studies. We spent many nights looking at the stars and talking about distant planets, satellites and aliens.
I’m not sure whether he used to have a daily dose of suicidal thoughts storming his mind back then, but when he made his first suicide attempt, I had thought of it as a joke. But as we rushed to the scene and heard his croaky voice calling out to save him, I had felt the earth sinking beneath my feet.
More shocked I was by the horde of onlookers who were just watching him die. My friend had cut his throat with a blunt knife in the middle of the market square.
We rushed him to the hospital. I still remember him saying to us in that gagged voice (because of the slit throat),” Please save me boys. Please save me.”
Yes, we saved him. Not until he tried to hang himself again after some months. The door had to be smashed open with an axe and there he was struggling under a rope.
The next time I heard about his suicide attempt was when I was in bed, sleeping. Strange that he always attempted to kill himself in the early mornings.
This time he succeeded.
While scanning the headline you might have been interested to know about how we saved our dear friend, but we didn’t. We couldn’t. That’s not the only reason I’m writing this ‘how to help suicidal people’ post, there are some more tragic reasons for this. I ask you to read on as what befell upon us could befall upon you too.
And there are some tips to help you recognize people with suicidal tendencies and, how to cope with suicidal thoughts. If we just become a bit more observant out of care, maybe we could pull some suicidal people out of their miseries.
I agree that my friend had messed up his mind with the regular intake of alcohol since his childhood. Alcoholism and depression made him hang himself by the neck in the wee hours.
But neither me nor you will be at ease when I tell you that along with three elderly people, so far 5 children have taken their lives in Pakhribas within the time span of two years. Should we pride ourselves for Dhankuta being the district with the highest suicide rate in Nepal?
Or should we look deeper into ourselves as it seems that we are teaching our children to kill themselves!
The oldest among the deceased was a college student who hung himself beside his girl friend, the other killed himself when he saw that he couldn’t be with his lover ever again. The next victim was a girl of 15; she just had been scolded by her parents and the same for the other boy who was just thirteen. The smallest victim was a boy of about ten.
Do 7, 8, 13, 14 … year old children have suicidal thoughts?
Is suicide a learned process?
Maybe the psychologists are correct when they say that ‘eros’ produces in us the want to live and ‘thanatos’ brings in us the want to kill ourselves, but in case of the children, I feel (I’m no psychologist) it is a learned process.
They learn by seeing and hearing. When they see and hear about people committing suicide, they may learn that problems can be solved by killing ourselves too.
Though quite rare, some children have hung themselves out of their childish curiosity of the process of tying a rope around the neck and finding out happens beyond it.
The assumption that children learn from others to commit suicide implies with the fact that most of the children mentioned committed suicide by hanging themselves and not by poisoning, jumping off a cliff or using other bizarre methods.
Now the question for us : Is there any way we can stop this learning process?
Yes, there are.
But before going into that the other question that is more urgent is:
Are there any ways of pinpointing suicidal children? What kind of people are more likely to commit suicide?
While searching for the answers to these questions, I found that lots of researches have been done on the suicidal thoughts, causes of such thoughts and chance in children and adults.
It is common for a human being to have suicidal thoughts once or twice in his lifetime, but when these suicidal thoughts start speaking all the time then they will rule our lives.
The irony behind their dictatorship is that the suicidal thoughts are hell bound on repressing all such thoughts from ever arising again.
Lemme tell you about one of my experiences regarding suicidal thoughts. This time, a bit embarrassingly, it’s about myself.
No, I had no terminal disease of any sort. My eyes saw well and my ears heard sound. Only my mind was not at ease with itself, it isn’t very peaceful now either.
You know those awkward moments in your youth when everything looks so dull and everyone feels so lonely. The worthlessness of life lurks above you like a dark violent cloud. Depressing thoughts crisscross across the gloomy mind like little flashes of lightning, only that these lights don’t usually enlighten you.
Yeah, I was having one of those depressing moments of my life where I could not see any let out. The expectations of the family, my optimism and the hyper secretions of hormones were slowly making me brood about the meaning of my existence, and its worthlessness.
That was when for a moment of time I had those thoughts of self annihilation. They lasted for a week I guess and most of the time I stared at the ceiling and wondered hanging myself to it by my neck would end all the troubles, dilemmas and illusions.
One evening, after the end of a brief shower, I headed to a lonely place never to return.
But you don’t know how a fresh environment can create inspirations inside your heart! The birds were chirping and the grass was green. The whole surrounding was bathed in the warm sun rays and the water drops on the green leaves along the grass, trees and the cobwebs were twinkling with so much life that I had to ask some deep questions to myself.
Why am I so sad? Why am I harboring these depressing thoughts in my mind when I am the master of my life? Why are my own thoughts and feelings making me so sad?
When the reality dawned on me that ‘I’ am the master of my life and no depressing thoughts or people can fuck my life without my consent, my whole soul got filled with such bliss that it felt like ejaculation.
At that moment I realized that those depressing thoughts were not me and that I could turn them off. I could be in the eternal present relishing the joy of existence without caring for my and their ambitions.
Since then I have stopped hearing myself cry in self-pity. Neither do I invite thoughts of doom and desperation.
Well that’s a short personal story from my side on how I got healed from the suicidal thoughts which had infested my mind.
Now, let’s be concerned with the signs and symptoms of suicidal people as shown in the researches all around the globe.
These types of children are more likely to have suicidal thoughts
- Very intelligent,socially isolated, aggressive, suspicious, physically premature and highly vulnerable to criticism.
- Antisocial behavior and problems in school
- Their mothers having psychiatric problems
- Having psychiatric disorders
- Dream about death, fear death and worry more about death compared to others
- Substance abuse, mood and personality disorder
- Family history of suicide
- Poverty, poor family relations, witness to violence, rapid changes in living conditions
- Physically and sexually abused children
- Death of loved ones, ending of relationship
- Lonely, negative peer pressure, bullied upon
- Identifies with a depressed or lost mother or lost father
- Threaten to commit suicide when situations don’t go as per their wish
- Have spent time in prison
- Gay or third gender (Hijada) coping with their sexual identity
- Idolizes friend, family member or celebrity with suicidal behavior or who was the victim of suicide (Kurt Cobain? Aaron Schwartz? Writers who committed suicide?)
- Alcoholic children (Yes, the children are trained to become alcoholics in some cultures)
13 Reasons a child or an adult commits suicide
- Takes the blame for the cause of his parents’ divorce which eventually gives him the idea of self-punishment
- Trying to escape from an unbearable life situation; trying to regain control over such situations
- Acting out the hidden or open desire of the parent to be rid of the child
- Seeking for a counter-attack or revenge against real or perceived wrongs
- To avoid punishment/abuse and seeking a better, happier,more comfortable place
- Feelings of hopelessness and anger
- Psychotic symptoms such as hearing voices within his mind telling the child to kill himself
- Problems with a romantic relationship, conflicts with parents and disciplinary problems are potential suicide causes for young children.
- Wants to follow the dead or see the dead person again, others have problems handling the grief
- Copies the suicide act, thinking that it is acceptable behavior without fully understanding the results of his suicidal actions.
- Suicide ideas getting into his mind between 6-12 years after hearing and seeing them happen in his surrounding
- Hopelessness and low self-esteem
- Some sort of terminal illness not related to the mind
People who should be kept under high alert for suicide
- The people who have already attempted suicide but failed
- Those who suddenly seem bright after a long-span of withdrawal from friends and pleasant activities. That means they have made up their minds
- Those who start giving away things and talk about going away
- Those who write suicidal status on social networks, draw pictures filled with death and write about death or suicide on their notebooks
Have you seen kids and people around you who match with the description of suicidal people given above?
If your answer is a No, then be prepared as we can see that the suicide rates in Nepal are growing day by day. Shockingly, the child suicide rates are increasing and it looks like the children are more frustrated and depressed than the elders in Nepal.
Is there any way we can help them? Yes, obviously and if you have been shocked by the monstrosity of the problem, you will see that the solutions are so simple, we have forgotten to expect from them.
We have become more and more sophisticated, and richer and richer but failed to grow the spiritual part of our being. And, our children have become lonelier and sadder.
This is not a blame. Just look at how we can stop all these suicides and understand the simple things involved in this matter.
How to help the children and adults who are, or could be, suicidal?
Love and care
As simple as that, all we need to do is show our love and care for all the people around us.
- Get involved in anti-suicide campaigns in your locality, schools and colleges.
- Whenever somebody attempts or commits suicide near you, neutralize its negative vibes on the children and adults through anti-suicidal lectures, classes, dramas, movies, songs, literature etc.
- Show that you care (comment) every time somebody quotes something depressing or suicidal on Facebook…… that’s what social networks are for
- Don’t feel guilty for not being able to help someone
- Help them understand that they, and only they, are responsible for all the pain and pleasure in their lives
Become a better parent to stop your children from being suicidal
parent who loves and cares his children won't ever fightin front of them.
- You wouldn’t scold them too harsh or beat them up as you don’t think that they are some punching bags or a subject on whom you can pour out your anger.
- You would teach them ways to solve problems/conflicts in the most non violent ways
- You would harvest anti-suicidal morals in the children from early childhood
- You would help them find the purpose in their lives
- You would help them to be more hopeful and fill them with self-esteem
- If you find someone with the signs we have discussed above, don’t hesitate to discuss with them freely on the topic. Show your concern, support and love.
- Don’t leave the suicidal people alone
- Consult the medical staff for better counselling
Follow these tips if you have had suicidal thoughts once or twice in your life
- Decide who is the master of your life: your thoughts, your feelings, your society, your dreams, your fears, your guilt, your ambitions or you?
- Live in the present. The present is eternal. The present is thoughtless, dimensionless, unrelated and beyond pleasure and pain.
- Victories and defeats, embarrassment and jubilation come and go but you go on for ever.
- Humans err and feel guilty. Understand your guilt and try to stop yourself from doing anything which makes you feel guilty afterwards.
- Don’t ever compare yourself with others because usually our basis of comparison is totally flawed.
- If you have psychiatric problems, take proper counselling and medicines.
- Try Yoga and meditations, Zen or anything else that helps to let you watch all the turmoil raging within you…. as an unbiased observer
- Be open, sing, dance and play……. that’s what we are here for.
- Involve in some altruistic campaign (your own) where you help people selflessly with whatever you know or have
- ……………….Add your insightful tips as a comment below…………..