I am vastly experienced with suicide, professionally over two extremely different mental health positions coming up on a decade, and personally for thirty years. It is NOT an easy way out for people. It is NOT something a person wishes to do. It is NOT selfish. It is something a person will fight against for as long as they can. This, in my professional experience in a homeless hostel, is true with a person who does not have any family or close friends fighting this battle alongside them, and is also true with a person who has family beside them fighting with all their might to help in each and every way possible.
(Free image from Pixabay)
This week a young man I know very well died through suicide. He was an extremely creative and talented young man. He has a warm, loving and caring family that helped him in every way possible. He has friends who cared and helped in any way possible. He fought with all his might an exceedingly bloody battle, for each and every way he could survive. He had everything, and everyone in place that could possibly help. He did not want to die. He died this week.
I have personally known young men with close friends and family who have died through suicide. If you had asked them on the day they died, if they did they want to die, I think they would have said no. Mental health is a serious issue. Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, and many other ‘mental health conditions’, have their roots in something much larger. These roots can go into every fibre of a persons cognitive abilities. Counselling and any professional mental health is beneficial to the person who is struggling with suicidal thoughts.
It is imperative that you ask if a person has any suicidal ideation, or put simply, if they have planned how they would wish to die. If the person you care about answers with a plan, then it is necessity they get immediate psychological help. Some other signs of suicidal thoughts may be giving things away, or no longer interested in anything in the future, or any other number of things. I have included an information picture below. However some people may not have a plan, and it may be a spur of the moment end of their life on earth. This is very much harder, maybe impossible to predict. The information in the picture below shows some of the warning signs of suicidal thoughts.
(Picture from www.beyondblue.org.au )
The young man I mentioned earlier was known to be having suicidal thoughts at times, although at the time of his death, he was steadily improving and much more vocal and hopeful regarding the future. This would indicate that he was ‘coming out of the woods’ usually. However things changed dramatically… with no warnings. Another lady was talking to a family member, and with no warnings whatsoever she had died through suicide within 30 minutes.
Chester Bennington from the excellent band Linkin Park, died recently through suicide, from his own mental health struggles. His brave wife has since released videos and pictures from the days leading up to his death, where most people looking at these would never expect him to be feeling suicidal. He had money, fame, talents, and a loving family and friends, everything we aspire to having in life, however at a fateful moment in time he died. This highlights that sometimes a person we love and is loved and cared for by many people, lose the battle in their minds and bodies to survive.
This leaves us with the many questions of why, and the exceedingly painful thoughts of what if I could have…. These thoughts and questions are inevitable, but with many people I know personally who have died through suicide there is nothing more could have been done. They are loved by many, cared for by many, and given everything possible to help, but still die.
I am a mental health professional, so you may think: Do I get used to people dying whether through suicide or physical illness? Do I get used to the struggles people are going through? Do I just let something as serious as precious people’s mental health just brush past? NO! I feel everything deeply. Having a soft heart in a cruel world takes courage, and is not a weakness, it is the fuel in my career. I am a biker and I may appear to be tough to people who do not know me. However with many people I walk their journey alongside them with empathy, trying to see their journey through their eyes. I see precious souls frequently who are still here on earth because, partly, of the help and support I was able to offer them, professionally or personally. Am I a hero? Maybe to them, but I think im just using the gifts I have to help people. I think of them being my heroes, to have the privilege to sit with someone who is battling so many ‘demons’, and see them fight bloody battles of mind, body and soul, and win so many times, even when they have nearly lost all hope.
I hope my stumbling words here may inspire someone to stay alive on earth, and help some family and friends to see they have done all they could. Suicide needs to be talked about everywhere as it is everywhere. If you are in a room with a lot of people in it, how many do you think are struggling with thoughts of suicide… It would surprise you. My words here are far from perfect, but neither is life.