I still remember the day my aunt talked about the suicide of her neighbor: “She was only 15 years old! I don’t know what she was thinking. What could be going on for a 15 year old?”
To me, that was the problem. Not that people did not understand suicide, but people did not try to understand the person before they commit such act. They were shocked, maybe because they looked over the issues. Maybe they brushed off the warning signs that needed to be addressed.
Guess what, she was forever gone. While you were busy defending yourself, he was barely hanging on. He let go. No one offered them to stay. They thought they weren’t worth fighting for. They let go.
Now, I know it is harsh to put all the responsibilities on a bystander, but let me offer my story.
I remembered hesitating when my psychiatrist asked me, “Any thoughts of suicide?” The answer was yes and I was not ashamed.
She then asked, “Do you have any plans?” I hesitated again. I knew all along the things that could be done to end this life, but I needed courage. I needed courage to end my own life.
At that point, I thought of all the possibilities and was not a bit afraid of the afterlife. I did not care about what would happen if I died. I cared about what would happen to this world if I died. Funny, wasn’t it?
I thought about how my parents would be flooded with shame from the ‘fame’, how they would be on the cover of the newspapers, saying that they raised a ‘coward’, a ‘loser’, who gave up, who didn’t fight, who was foolish enough to end her life. They would say my parents failed to raise me.
I also thought about my funeral, empty chairs and parents standing alone in the rain, like the ending of Great Gatsby. However, no one would write about me like Nick Carraway wrote about Gatsby, who even titled his book by his greatness. I, on the other hand, would be nothing but quiet silence and dust blown by the wind.
Let me back it up a bit. What is suicide?
Suicide is an decision made due to any combinations or one of the social, psychological, neurological, biological and cultural variables. The problem is not a single variable has been demonstrated to be necessary or sufficient enough to cause an individual to commit such act. This made suicide very hard to prevent and I do not blame you for not knowing what to do.
So far we know that the number one cause is Depression.
Most people found Depression very abstract, and never accepted the fact that it is hard to overcome with solitary efforts. No, he could not change the way he thought about life, just like you haven’t changed your perception of him.
I once screamed to my my doctor: “I can’t! I can’t meet the basic expectation (to be happy). I can’t jump over the smallest hurdle(Depression). I can’t be normal. I failed to be ‘normal’. I’m simply a failure.”
A psychologist who works at a crisis center in Arizona, pointed out that taking your own life is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, yet many do so nevertheless. It made me wonder, was it failure, or was it fear. Was it something bigger?
Here is my answer.
Because I didn’t believe the problem would change for the better and because I was too preoccupied with feelings of distress and other’s disgust, I thought suicide was the only way out. I lost hope. No, I didn’t lost it. It was simply taken away from me. I lost faith in others and mostly myself. To me it was not temporary but a permanent, long-lasting, never-ending problem.
I remembered sitting in a room, staring off to the walls with nothing in mind but a doomed feeling. Nothing bad happened to me that day. It was just the feeling. It was a feeling I couldn’t get rid off.
However, I was saved. I was saved because I was sent to the hospital in time. I was save because the psychiatrists tried to understand me. They accepted who I was, believed who I used to be and envisioned a future for me.
They knew about Depression, that it wasn’t a down day, or a low week, or a painful month, but an ongoing problem needed to be solved. They looked at the problem and told me it was temporary. They did not look down at me. They did not judge. They uncovered my worth, strength and power, by simply listening with an open mind. They wanted to know because they let in what they didn’t know.
No one knew about my Depression until one day, my mother’s friend, who happened to be a psychiatrist , happened to be visiting our town, saw something off in me. She asked a few questions and I was sent to a emergency room immediately.
Why did nobody asked? Why no one know? I had hallucinations. I heard voices that weren’t real, 24/7. My mother said I was just quiet. My teacher thought I was in love. My peers? They let me sit alone at lunch because they heard rumors about me.
And I didn’t speak up, because I was taught that Depression should be ashamed of. Depression was no excuse.
Guess what? Maybe that’s why they choose to die. Maybe your comments made her feel a little less. Maybe your eyes barely skimmed through the surface.
So today, let us spare half of our heart to listen to what they have to say. .
You don’t need to take great action by starting a campaign, but please, let them tell their story.
I have been struggling with Depresison for years and finally being able to talk about it! It was a great relief to find this website and have my voice heard by the right audience.
A bit more about me: My doctors still weren’t sure about my exact diagnosis. One said Bipolar. One say physic. One said PTSD. However, Depression was something I constantly struggled with. For a long period of time, I hallucinated voices that no one said. I am putting it out there, because it is OK. I am still a normal human being who works at Starbucks, goes to Univeristy of Washington and write freelance on my free time. Guess what? I come up with ideas no one could because I’m bipolar!
So let’s be proud of ourselves and shine!