Let's Get Real - Candid Discussion on Suicide
September is "Suicide Awareness" month, and September 8th-14th is "National Suicide Prevention Week." For most individuals, the topic of suicide is taboo. People are afraid to talk about it out of fear of giving young people, or people in general, ideas about ending their life.
Even talking to a therapist about suicide has become slightly taboo. Some common fears are- "I'll be committed to a psych unit," "I'm Christian, and these thoughts will send me to Hell," or "Why does it matter, no one cares anyway." Individuals are afraid to address it, and even fail to support someone who is grieving in the wake of it.
Suicide is more than just an ending, or as some folks say "escape." It is an ending of a mental health battle, that was far worse than was humanly seen.
What It's Not:
The easy way out.
A sentence to a doomed afterlife.
Suicide is a personal end to life due to a lack of foreseeable relief to suffering. When we are able to conceptualize as well as experience from this perspective, we are able to cultivate a rich compassionate awareness. Many of us are touched by this. I have been both personally and professionally. Death by suicide leaves everyone in the wake wondering, how, why, and feeling personal guilt. Even though no one is to blame, it most certainly can feel as though the individual was let down. It's common to wonder what could have been done to prevent this. The uncomfortable truth is that often there is nothing more anyone could provide to prevent it. Individuals who die due to suicide are not weak, but very strong. They have made a personal decision to discontinue their story. That had to be an incredibly difficult decision to make, and one they certainly didn't take lightly.
To help us discuss suicide more fully, I'd like to address a few often misunderstood components. Suicidal Ideation is terminology used to describe suicidal thoughts. Thoughts do not indicate intent. This is a taboo gray area in that clients are often afraid to discuss suicidal ideation due to fear of being medicated, or institutionalized. Individuals are fearful to tell their family and friends about suicidal thoughts due to perception of being judged, unfriended, viewed as weak, or called selfish. This is where we can do better as a society.
We can create a loving, accepting environment where we are honest about the darkness that each and every one of us has felt, and allow another individual to be open about theirs. The best prevention is talking about it, and seeking out a licensed professional to help you navigate out of the darkness. There are resources available if you or someone you know is feeling suicidal; nonjudgmental, supportive, objective resources.