It feels as though no one listen to you; your best friend has moved away and you don't think anyone else cares. You are having trouble at school and with your parents. Each morning when you awaken, you feel like you just want to go back to sleep and never get up. Life seems to be moving too fast and it feels as though you may never catch up. It's feelings like these that make some of us feel as though ending our lives would be better than enduring them. After all, is there any point to living a life of pain? Usually, when we reach this point, we start out slow, maybe by using a knife or a razor to cut ourselves. For awhile, we are given relief. Did you know that when we cut ourselves there is a chemical in our brain, called endorphin, that is released to the site of the injury to provide relief? No wonder cutting is addictive! So, we cut ourselves, hoping against hope that someone will see the marks on our bodies and get us the help we not only know we need but that we WANT too. Eventually, though, we begin to realize that cutting offers only temporary relief and no one has talked about our silent cry for help so we move on to more drastic measures to end our lives. But we don't really want to die. If we did, if we truly wanted to die, then we wouldn't wear short sleeves so others could see the marks left by cutting, we wouldn't let others know we are on drugs, we wouldn't tell anybody or email anybody about how we really feel. Did you know that nearly everyone who completes suicide has asked for help, has given warning signs of their intentions? Why would we do that if we genuinely wanted to die? Why do something that we don't really want to do? It can be very hard - very hard to have to go through loneliness and it can be hard to feel misunderstood but take a look back on your life. When you were in the fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh grade, your first boyfriend moved to a different state and you thought you'd never heal. But you did. There have been problems in your life before that made you feel hopeless but from which you recovered. Likewise, the troubles that you're facing now are temporary; they are not permanent problems. One day, sooner than you probably think, you'll be able to leave your parents' home and make choices of your own for your life. One day you'll fall in love with someone who will love you just as much.
Life is a mixture of blessings with strife and I know how it feels to be all alone and frightened. I myself have attempted suicide several times, until I realized that I did not really want to kill myself. YOU DON'T EITHER. Each of us have a very special and unique purpose on this earth; a purpose that when we find it, will provide us with love and joy. Wouldn't it be a terrible shame to end life just days before you find that joy? Life is unexpected and that means that we often find hope and joy when we least expect it.
What do you do if you've decided not kill yourself but the pain still hasn't gone away? The number one thing to do is praise yourself, give yourself credit for having the courage to live, instead of die. Then realize that as much as we would like to think otherwise, people usually are not as perceptive as we would like to think they are and that means that we have to reach out and tell them how we feel, flat out and directly, instead of subtly. There are lots of people (and places) that are wanting to help you: they just need to know that you need help. Think of it as a dangerous addiction and just as people who are alcoholics have to get themselves to an AA meeting to begin to heal, suicidal people have to to say, "I want to kill myself" to someone; a school counselor, a pastor, an adult that you trust and believe in. The counseling and group support that you'll receive when you do this will open whole new doors of light to your life.
Below, I've highlighted a few facts and statistics about suicide. Hopefully, the information will help others become more aware of hurting youths around them and will help show suicidal people that they really are not alone:
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people 14-18 years old. Nearly all suicidal people ask for help.
- Suicide is 8 times more likely in gay youth than it is in heterosexual youth.
- Girls are more likely to attempt suicide, while boys are more likely to succeed at suicide.
- Suicide is 4 times as likely among those who have been abused.
- Suicide tends to run in families, but it is NOT hereditary.
- Suicide knows no economic class. It affects the poor, middle and upper classes equally.
- It is common for suicidal people to express genuine happiness prior to the suicide. They are happy because they have found a way out of the pain: suicide.
- It can be prevented. Some guidelines for those who need help helping a suicidal person:
- Never leave a suicidal person alone
- Ask anyone who is depressed whether they want to die. Contrary to many fears, speaking of suicide can actually save a life. Don't be afraid to use the words "death" "dying" and/or "suicide". It will make the suicidal person feel more comfortable in telling how they really feel.
- Ask if they have a plan. Again, don't be afraid to say, "So, how would you do it? With a gun?" Any idea that you might suggest are ideas they have already thought about. You will not "plant" ideas in their heads.
- If suicide is imminent - for example: if their plan includes a weapon of choice, and if they have access to the weapon of choice, call the police.
- Because they do not want to die, suicidal people will usually keep any promise they make. So, make a suicidal person promise you they will contact you before they commit suicide. This will give you time to contact the proper help.
- When talking with a suicidal person, use the word complete suicide instead of commit suicide. Commit implies that they are committing a crime or doing something wrong and that brings about feelings of guilt to the suicidal.
- Encourage them to talk with an adult. If you feel that you are unable to handle their problems (which is perfectly okay as suicidal peopledo need professional help) then tell an adult and let that adult take over.
- Pray. Pray alone for the person and in groups. The Bible says that when two or more people are gathered in his name, then He is among them. He does not want anyone to complete suicide. Pray There are a lot of people in this world who are hurting and believe me, sometimes merely feeling misunderstood is reason enough to end life. But your life is very, very important and help is just one conversation away.
NOTE: the National, US number for suicide is 1-800-SUICIDE and nearly every other country has a suicide hotline.