I barely managed to sleep for the last two nights. For the largest part of the night, I fought hard to doze off to sleep. The thought of staying awake freaked me out. If only I remain still in my bed and shut my eyes, I would be safe.
“Why didn’t you wake me up?’, asked Hubby the next morning.
“I didn’t want to disturb you and ruin your sleep.”
As I was fighting viral fever and infection and didn’t want to pass it, I slept alone. In the early hours of the morning, I went to my daughter’s bedroom and slid quietly in the couch. The looming curtains and the sound of the rotating fan in the background stillness freaked me out.
Just a few days ago, I received the news of the death of the fiance of a 20 something girl I work with closely. They were going to be married this year and move to America. The young man committed suicide for no apparent reason and filmed himself while hanging himself from the fan with the curtains. I crossed paths with him last Friday. We never spoke, and yet, the news disturbed me.
At the outset, there was no reason for the young man to take his own life: no financial problems, family discord or love failure. He was a fitness freak and had grand plans for the future – marrying the love of his life, the American dream and becoming an entrepreneur.
I may not have known the guy and couldn’t have done much to prevent his death. But, I hear that he was a positive soul which makes the news hard to digest for his family and loved ones.
In my capacity, I can be a solace to the devasted girl who is battling depression, confusion, and cynicism. It’s easy to preach at this point about what the young man should and should not have done. I choose to empathize and help in whatever capacity I can without being judgemental about the mysterious happening.
Apart from my heart going out for the bereaving young woman, I cannot help but contemplate of the waning mental health of our generation.
India has the highest suicide death rates in the world. The fact that is so common in the modern day life makes it scary and all the more important to discuss ways to prevent it.
While the reasons for some suicides are known, many remain a mystery.
Was it an act of desperation,
personality disorder – bipolar/schizophrenia or
unexplained tiny voices/supernatural elements coming into force?
Pinpointing the cause can help gauge the red flags early-on and perhaps, even prevent a loss of life.
There is a real phenomenon called suicide contagion which makes it even more crucial for parents, siblings, relatives, friends, lovers, spouses, co-workers to be vigilant. The young lady in question is already showing signs of suicidal tendencies via her posts and talk and needs emotional support and counseling at this hour.
There is a sense of helplessness and yet, the nagging question of what can we do in our capacity to help prevent these fateful incidents?
- Staying attuned to your spiritual side is crucial for gaining perspective, meaning, protection/support and strength. Understanding that we neither have the power to create or take away our lives. Beginning and ending the day with a gratitude prayer can help count your blessings.
- Seeking happiness “inside-out” without relying on others for it. We shouldn’t seek validation outside to feel worthy or accomplished. A breakup, lay-off or even words should not break you. “Carry the weather inside” is a phrase I loved ever since I heard it.
- Knowing that life is a gift, and we are all unique in our way irrespective of money, fame, success.
- Surrounding yourself with the right tribe is essential. Positivity is contagious just as negativity. Be around people who genuinely care and prod you to be the best version of yourself.
- Discern the chaotic messages in media, literature, art, and entertainment. Some of them are sneaky, subliminal and hold more power than we attribute to them. For example, many shows like “13 reasons why” or uploaded suicide videos of Youtube can contribute to suicide ideation. We are surrounded by bad role models in the public eye than ever before in history and following their path can be disastrous.
- Nothing beats traditional wisdom. Small things like sleeping and waking up early, leading a disciplined life, listening to what elders have to say, staying away from addictions can help.
- If you are in a toxic relationship or marriage, take ownership to do things which are in your best interest. Women especially, forgo respect to keep love. Respect yourself enough not to be taken for granted or poorly treated by your lover, spouse, and his family. The same applies to men who are in relationships with an abusive partner. Today, there are several men’s rights groups which remove the stigma associated with male abuse by female partners. Beware of manipulative people and relationships. Don’t lose your mind over any relationship. It’s not worth it.
- Having a holistic perspective of health. Your mental health is as important, if not more, than your physical health. Parents have a bigger challenge and responsibility for raising emotionally healthy children.
- There is no shame in getting help from a qualified psychologist/psychiatrist. Knowing the root cause of any suicidal tendencies may save a precious life.
The truth is that life offers abundant opportunities to change your life for the better.
There is always a silver lining to every dark cloud. An answer to every problem. Never believe anyone including the voices inside you that may suggest otherwise.
There is always hope! You have to keep holding on to it tight. Until you walk into the path of light.