“Suicide is not caused by weakness or a lack of courage, but rather by having had to be strong for too long.”
“It all started three months ago, I was working in the company’s HR team and although usually there are growth spurts in this department- People either grew within the company or left for a favorable growth, thus creating more opportunities for the juniors. I didn’t grow, my seniors grew, my juniors became my seniors but I stayed, no opportunities outside also and I didn’t understand why…
This started affecting me, it made me low on confidence, tested my patience, I started getting anxious, frustrated, irritated and short-tempered (but not at work).
My boyfriend and I started fighting a lot and for no apparent reason. I started getting concerned when I fought with him over a habit of his I fell for in the first place- his caring nature. Initially he listened to me patiently, after a while he started fighting back and then he started distancing himself.
I stopped wanting to talk to my friends or relatives or going to parties- I found them very sad, you dress up only to be compared to someone or to be reminded of your shortcomings.
I found myself in the kitchen with a knife to my wrist, contemplating the next step.
At that time I was feeling like I have failed at everything I set out to do, I was failing at my work, my relationship, I wasn’t even a good friend or sister or niece or daughter. I was a failure. I couldn’t see things getting better, in the future. I couldn’t see me growing or my boyfriend and I getting married and living happily. I couldn’t see an end to this pain.
I was feeling that there is nothing positive coming out of my existence, I’m not happy and the people around me are not happy because of me… If I just ceased to exist that in itself would bring peace to them.
I was feeling that I am good for nothing- I have no worth, it wouldn’t have mattered if I was never born, and it would still not matter if I die now. Maybe my parents would care for a while, but no one else. That too would only be for a while. They would be free of the burden that I had turned out to be.
I didn’t share how I felt with anyone, because what was the point of it all- no one could help me. There was no help, no solution, no way out.
Death in and of itself seemed peaceful, the end of all suffering, end of pain, tears and sorrows. The end of the rat race. I won’t have to feel this way anymore- no frustration, no irritation, no constant anxiety, no fear of absolute failure or of people’s judgment- just bliss.
This wasn’t the first time I was in the kitchen, nor would it be the last. It was more often than I’d like for it to be. Ever since my childhood, the idea of the end of all suffering seemed like a good one. Every time the going got tougher than I could handle and I would be in the kitchen after everyone slept at night.
I never could get myself to cut, a voice in me kept telling me, “I hadn’t seen enough, I hadn’t done enough, I hadn’t achieved enough”. This is the one life I get, I can’t die before I live.
I made a bucket list- I had to go para-gliding, skydiving, had to drive all over the country, had to go on a romantic long drive, had to wake up to someone every morning, had to be confident in my own abilities, had to buy a house on the beach overlooking the sea…
I couldn’t die before I had ticked every last one of these. And every now and then there was an addition, with every tick, there were 2-4 things more I had to experience… It was Too Soon
I would come back to my room, cry a little and start the next day with something positive- like writing a poem or making a drawing, working out, or going for a long drive listening to the music. And alway I got the solution I was looking for.
I don’t know what overtook me but I took my boyfriend out for a long drive.”
Thoughts or Feelings that dominate our minds when Suicide seems to be our resort
1. It helps to imagine a happy place, it could either be a memory in which we remember the time we felt exceptionally happy. We can go back to the memory and relive the happiness as many times as we like. Or we can close our eyes and imagine a place where we feel happy- it can be sitting on a beach, listening to the waves; or at a Cyber Cafe listening to the clicks of the keyboard; in front of an empty canvas imagining to make our first ever painting; or at a concert, listening to music and jumping to the rhythm etc.
When we are in this place we would immediately start feeling calm. Also, this place could keep changing from time to time according to what makes us happy.
2. It can be very natural to feel frustrated or feel that we have been failing at everything we set out to do. At this moment all the things that we started which didn’t go as expected seem to form a loop in our thoughts as if it’s set on repeat- past jobs if any, past relationships, relationship lows with family; friends, interests that we lost track of somewhere along the lines.
Everyone has a phase in their life when they tend to feel hopeless, helpless, and worthless. A person who feels hopeless believes that no one can help with a particular event or problem. A person who feels helpless is immobilized and unable to take steps to solve problems. A person who feels worthless is overwhelmed with a sense of personal failure.
3. Has it ever happened that when you only think about the problems that you are facing you feel overwhelmed and that’s natural. You seem to not be able to see a solution- a way out of your situation, you might feel like you are in a well without a rope to pull you out. And then you might share these with someone, or you might go for a jog, or you might go for a holiday, or engage in a hobby or a passion and you might find the solution that you were looking for staring at you like it was the first thing you should have tried.
Everyone, even the best of us are faced with challenges so overwhelming that it becomes difficult to see their solutions. Every concern, every problem, every situation has a solution, we just need to find it and then we need to empower ourselves to follow through on the solution. We are all capable to do anything we set our hearts to.
4. Sometimes suicide is seen as a solution to a problem and a way to end the pain. It becomes important then to try and focus on how to overcome the situation, and not think about giving up on life because that is when nobody wins. Life is too precious. “Suicide doesn’t take away the pain, it gives it to someone else”
5. Suicidal thoughts and feelings can come from an existential crisis, where one realizes they are not the person they thought they were or will never be the person they wanted to become. One’s sense of self becomes shattered. Most of us go through some form of existential crisis at different times in our life. The value of an existential crisis is that it can lead to a revitalized way of being and an authentic sense of self.
What can help
1. Writing what we are thinking or feeling. It serves as a very important means of expressing the whirlpool of thoughts and emotions that we are going through, and at the same time it can be bring about clarity in our thoughts. What feels like “I’m failing at everything” can turn to “I’m only doing slightly poorly in my career, which is affecting my relationships… I can fix it”
2. Indulging in physical activities or our hobbies, interests, passions or developing a new hobby or passion or skill set can help not only as a pleasurable distraction from the emotions or thoughts that completely occupy us, but also it can help as a vent, to express our emotions and gain clarity without repressing our feelings. “A stitch in time saves nine.”
3. Ask yourself, if my friend or a relative was in the same situation what would I advice them. Follow your own advice, you are the best judge of your situation.
4. If you feel like giving up on life think how you would feel if someone close to you, a friend were at a similar stage of life how would it affect you. Even if it feels that people wouldn’t care or be affected or they would be relieved of a burden, you know that is not true.
5. Increasing our motivation through discussing reasons for living and making a Hope Kit i.e., a collection of objects that represent reasons for living; e.g., photos of loved ones, motivational phrases etc.
6. Thinking about the negative thoughts when we are feeling self-destructive. Once we have identified one, writing a Coping Card about how we would counter it. And writing an action on the other side of the card that we can take which will counter our negative thought and will support the way of thinking that the card expresses.
For example, if we think: “I don’t fit in anywhere; I am a bother to people,” you could write: “I’m feeling down but that doesn’t make me undesirable. There are people who care about me and want to help me.” For an action we could write: “I am going to call someone right now and talk to them.”
7. Project Semicolon: “Semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.”- Amy Bleuel. Bleuel battled addiction, mental illness, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts after her father took his own life. She got a tattoo of a semicolon.
We don’t need to get a tattoo, but we can take a pen and draw a temporary semicolon on our wrist with which we can make a promise to ourself to continue our life.
8. Making a list of things we want to achieve or experience, before reaching a certain age or dying. It can be a never-ending work in progress, continuously being altered, updated, contemplated and rejuvenated. For example, in the film “A walk to remember, the protagonist has a Bucket list that reads:
- Get married in the church where her mother and father were married
- See a miracle
- To be in two places at the same time
- Get a tattoo
- Befriend someone she doesn’t like…
9. We do have things to be thankful for that can help combat feelings of deficiency or lack of perfection. It is important to make a list of our achievements and of our hobbies and passions in advance, when we are happy or think about what the list would be if we were writing it when happy. We can derive hope from them whenever feel a constant reminder of our setbacks.
Being mindful of our setbacks. Making a list of these can help us bring about closure in how we wish to proceed. Do we wish to work on it so as to be better in the future or if we feel that working on it may not lead any more results, we let go of it and replace it with something else.
10. Don’t let others define your expectations of success, set your own limits so you can reach them. Nobody is perfect. Recognize, then, that sometimes we can’t make everything perfect—and that’s okay. Be OK with mistakes and failure. It can be easy to be stressed out, or be afraid of things going wrong or plans coming undone, and if experienced a setback to be demotivated by it.
Suicide is associated with shame, uneasiness and guilt. It is important to know that it is not crazy or bad to have suicidal thoughts and feelings. The best of us can have these at least once in our lives.
Many young people and people who have not experienced suicidal thoughts or mental ill-health tend to interpret suicide as an act that expresses both control over one’s life situation and freedom. The truth is, however, that most suicidal acts arise in situations in which life seems unbearable and everything seems out of control.
People who have suicidal thoughts may not seek help because they feel they cannot be helped. This usually is not the case. Many people with suicidal thoughts have medical conditions that can be successfully treated.
You have the power to say “this is not how my story will end”;
List of Crisis prevention Helplines
|India||iCall – +91-22-25563291
Sumaitri – 011-23389090
Sneha – 91-44-24640050, 91-44-24640060
Lifeline Foundation – +91-33-24637401, +91-33-24637432
The Samaritans – 022 64643267, 022 65653267, 022 65653247
|United States||National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Phone: 1 800 273 TALK (8255)
Lifeline Crisis Chat
Veterans/Military Crisis Line (for active U.S. service members, veterans, and family members)
Phone: 1 800 273 8255, Press 1
The Trevor Project (for LGBT youth, friends and family members)
Phone: 1 866 488 73865
Phone: 13 11 14
Phone: 1800 55 1800
|Canada||Kids Help Phone (for youth under 20)
Phone: 1 800 6686868
For people over 20, find a crisis centre that serves your area:
Phone: 0900-113 0 113
|New Zealand||National Depression Initiative|
|Singapore||Samaritans of Singapore (SOS)
Phone: 1800 221 4444
|South Africa||The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG)
Phone: 0800 567 567
|United Kingdom / Ireland||Samaritans
Phone: 08457 90 90 90 (UK)
Phone: 1850 60 90 90 (Republic of Ireland)