Get ready to be uncomfortable.
Today, I would like to talk about something very dark. Thoughts that some of us, or our friends and family, may have had. Thoughts so dark, they are typically deemed a taboo to even be brought up, straight up poison for anybody aiming to please social media algorithms.
Today, we‘re talking about suicide.
Recently, the ex-partner of someone in my close family decided to take his life. While this made me revisit some of my own dark thoughts in the past days, it also left me wondering what could have been done to stop this from happening. What kind of conversations should have been had with him? What kind of help would he have needed to see that other options exist and that life can be beautiful.
I’ve always had a troubled relationship with the concept of death and the longing for not being here anymore.
On several occasions in my life, I was faced with people that voiced such thoughts to me. Thankfully, all of them only verbalizing these thoughts and feelings, not actualizing them into any attempts on their life. But the question always remains the same – how do you react?
You might have a more severe and concerned reaction the first time, offering help, having a longer conversation. But what if a person repetitively hints at their will to die over weeks, months, maybe years. Do you start growing numb to it? Dismissing it? Do you see it as a cry for help or a cry for attention?
As so often in life, I feel the answer to those questions is to have an open, honest and compassionate conversation.
Let’s not take the easy route of simply dismissing suicidal thoughts with words like „Don’t worry, it’ll get better“, „Just go to therapy“ or „Come on, your life isn’t that bad“.
Instead of moving away, we should be getting closer: Actually ask, why do you want to die? What is it that you think will happen if you take this step? What longing do you think will be fulfilled by this? What is it that you really want and need? And what help can I give you?
Maybe, just maybe, such soothing words can sway a troubled mind.
I hope that, should you ever find yourself in a situation like that, you remember this post. I hope that it can help some of you find the right words, and reach out yourself if you need help.
Stay safe out there.