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You Are Not Alone: Combating Suicide 101
Do you know of a loved one who has considered harming themselves or has taken their own life? Every year, one million people die from a public health problem that is one hundred percent preventable. Thousands of others struggle with the thoughts of suicide and the aftermath of losing a loved one to suicide. The question we need to ask ourselves is what are we doing for others who are living with suicidal depression? What can we do to either help ourselves or others come out of suicidal thoughts? The good news is that you are not in it alone and there are numerous people and resources to help those struggling with suicide.
Signs of Suicide
The first step to helping anyone overcome suicide is to be able to quick spot the red flags. The most obvious signs are when the individual talks about killing or harming themselves, and general discussing feelings of constant hopelessness. Seeking access to harmful weapons or substances is another obvious sign. People who have pre-existing mental health illnesses such as clinical depression, schizophrenia, and substance abuse related issues are at a greater risk of committing suicide.
As for more subtle signs, the individual may bring up feeling such as there is no hope for the future, self-hatred, and overall social withdrawal. People with suicidal depression often struggle with feelings of emptiness, guilt, anxiety, and shame. They will often start giving away important possessions and saying goodbye to friends and family. It is important to realize that the signs of suicide can range from subtle to extreme, which makes it important to listen to loved ones, even to issues that may seem minor at the time.
If you are reading this article and are struggling with suicidal depression, here are a few things that can be done from the Akram Vignan (Step-less, spiritual science) way of life. First and foremost, it is important to recognize that every living being on this planet is sacred and was placed on this earth to serve a purpose. Often times, when people are considering suicide, they feel as if they have nothing to offer to the world and that the world would be a better place without them. This simply is not the truth. Recently, I learned about a phenomenon called the butterfly effect. It is this idea that if a butterfly flaps its wings hard enough, it can cause a series of events that ends up resulting in a hurricane on the other side of the world. Similarly, you cannot judge what positive impacts your actions today, not matter how big or small, will affect another human being. Choosing the option of life gives you the ability to continue contributing to the world the unique perspective and skills that you possess which no one else in the world has.
Another important idea to keep in mind is that regardless of the suffering you are feeling now and regardless of the adversities life throws your way, they are all temporary and relative. Each event, each experience, in life comes with an expiration date. Some pains last as short as a few seconds and some last for months, but all come to an end. Param Pujya Dadashri on dadabhagwan.org, would explain that life switches between happiness and unhappiness. Obstacles and unhappiness come and go in life to make each person stronger.
Helping Others Cope
One of the most important actions people can take to help a loved one struggling with suicide is to be proactive. Do not ignore the early signs or wait for that person to reach out to you for help. From personal experience, I used to talk to a friend dealing with suicidal depression. I would always tell her please let me know if you need anything, I am only a call away. However, it is much better to call that person yourself and visit that person as much as possible. I saw positive results in my friend’s behavior and she slowly came out of suicidal depression. Another beneficial action is to help that person find an activity they are passionate about and do it with them. Anything to help relieve stress and to make the person aware that they are not alone should be done. Remind that individual the two points mentioned earlier in the article: one that they are a valued member of society, and two that any pain and obstacle they experience in life is temporary. It is also crucial to remind your loved one that you, as well as others, will be there to help and guide them through whatever life throws their way, the good and the bad. The best mode of action is to constantly keep reassuring the person struggling with suicidal depression that they are not alone and are loved.