It is always shocking to hear news on suicide. We never see it coming, and perhaps that leaves us with a lot of questions in mind. What were they feeling? Why didn’t they share? How could I have helped? How did I not know?
Its the extreme measure one can take in trying to end their pain. But what pushes them to this last hope to cease the hopelessness?
Suicide is not a momentary thought or a decision. The act is the product of long lost battles with self, the weight of expectations, the bottled up emotions, and being swallowed by grief and real or anticipated loss. Its an act to unload the burden that is assumed cannot be shared or rather should not be shared. We may ponder – but why not?
Mental health is real, but the conversations around it are not. The implicit stigma of talking about what hurts and pain often pushes one to mask the same. We may not say it aloud, but here are the few ways we drop the hint-
Why can’t you think positive?
Why don’t you try harder?
You’re just overthinking
Why can’t you be grateful?
You have got everything, then what makes you unhappy?
Its all in your mind, get over it
Taking one’s life is a consequence of being long lost in the labyrinth for so long that it has turned into an inescapable trap. Mental health professionals (Cummings & Cummings, 2012) have defined that suicide is a 3 stage process–
Suicidal ideation – When an individual has been depressed for long, the thoughts of ending life become more pervasive. Their thoughts become darker, and they usually find themselves talking about why ending life could be a solution. They may start expressing it by engaging themselves in a piece of depressing music, writing, painting, etc.
Planning – With a lack of intervention in the previous stage, they may move to the planning stage where they think of ways to end their life. They may bury themselves deeper into isolation and be withdrawn than usual.
Auto-pilot – Though the last stage but the most conceited one where the family or loved ones may feel that the individual is getting better. This is the stage where the decision has been made, and they are no longer wrestling within. Their burden of hopelessness is lifted away because now they have a plan to quit. They may appear relieved and less depressed.
We need to become more aware of what goes behind this act, how can we help each other, how can we show up for each other in better ways. Suicide is not a sign of a failed individual, but it is a sign of a failed society. It is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of a weakened support system that turned away every time it was asked for help or shamed when did.
Let’s check in on our loved ones often, but let’s not forget to check in with ourselves too.
Disclaimer: Please note that we are not a crisis intervention helpline. Should you have severe symptoms or have thought about harming yourself, please seek immediate medical help or call suicide prevention helplines such as
Aasra 24x7 Helpline: 91-22-27546669