Suicide Help - How to cope with suicidal feelings?


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by Jayaram V

According to a report that was recently published in the newspapers, it is said that in the last decade alone over a million farmers committed suicide in India and the suicide rate in the country had been gradually going up, especially in the younger generation. Unfortunately, in a country of one billion plus people, some reach the unfortunate conclusion that the only way to make others listen to them or call attention to their problems is by committing suicide or threatening to commit suicide. During the public agitations for social or political reasons, some activists go to the extent of committing suicide by setting themselves on fire in public. Some are so depressed that when they hear the news of a leader or a film star passing away, they commit suicide, as if they are going to be together in the afterlife.

The rate of suicide is equally alarming in various parts of the world. According to a recent study, suicide rate has alarmingly gone up in the US in the last few years. About 38,000 people committed suicide in the USA in the year 2010. In the same year nearly 900,000 people committed suicide in various parts of the world. These are reported incidences of suicides. The number will be much higher if you add the unreported ones. Due to the social stigma attached, many suicide cases go unreported.

Causes and concerns

Most of the suicides happen when people feel helpless and come to the desperate conclusion that their lives are meaningless. Chronic depression, old age, ill health, and other issues also drive some to end their lives. In all cases, the will to love and the longing for life, which usually keeps us in survival mode and life oriented, is gradually replaced by feelings of despair and loss of hope, until a threshold is reached.

Studies show that people commit suicide for various reasons such as health, age, economic and social factors, fear, helplessness and other psychological problems. Studies also prove that those who are accustomed to pain, violence and discomfort in their lives and those who have easy access to kill themselves are more vulnerable to feelings of suicide. It is also found that suicide rate is higher among younger people and those who suffer from chronic eating disorders. Many people think of committing suicide at some point in their lives, when they are going through severe adversity, but only a few actually commit the act. Illness, depression, pain and suffering, ill health, lack of love and affection, self-hatred, and guilt are a few aggravating factors.

We cannot be certain about future. However, based upon current trends we can make a few intelligent guesses about how life will be in the coming years and decades. When we analyze how our lives are becoming increasingly complex, one fact emerges very clearly. In future, life is not going to be any easier for people. With all the technological advances, it is definitely going to get even tougher and tougher and increasingly competitive as the population will increase, resources dwindle and nations become aggressive to promote their self-interest.

In the next few hundred years or so, if our civilization survives the madness and wickedness of a few, life is going to change radically for many. As new inventions and technologies come up, they require different skills and competence from the workforce. As lifestyles change according to the changing circumstances, they demand more aggressive and competitive survival skills and strategies from the people. New ideologies may also surface as the older ones become outdated and inadequate. In a growingly complex materialistic society, people also feel more alienated and unwanted. As a result, unless adequate measures are taken by all governments to provide relief, there will be no shortage of people who want to end their lives.

The reason people resort to suicide is that under certain conditions it seems to be an easier and quicker solution. It offers the path of least resistance to those who want to escape from the agony and burdens of life. In a hopeless situation, once, a person reaches a certain threshold of tolerance and overcomes his fear of death, it is difficult to stop him from taking his life. Suicidal feelings are aggravated by negativity, hopelessness, and chronic depression. If such feelings are not resolved in time, a person becomes increasingly inclined to take his life.

Life is a precious and wonderful opportunity to experience consciousness, self-awareness, relatedness, and be part of the existential phenomena we call Nature. On the other hand, suicide is a sheer waste of that great opportunity. Suicide is a desperate act committed by those who give up all hope about their lives and themselves. For obvious reasons, suicide is also an extreme act of self-denial by those who reach the desperate conclusion that dying is better than living.

Suicide is not good because it does not solve any problem. It is a sacrilege against oneself and the loved ones, and most importantly, it is a selfish action with devastating influence upon those who are directly affected by it.

Coping with suicidal thoughts

Nothing can stop a person who is determined to end his life. If one has easier access to the means of self-destruction, it is even more difficult. The decision to live or not to live rests with each individual and individual alone. However, it is possible to help people who have suicidal thoughts to think differently and search for other possibilities and alternatives. They must be empowered to find enough reasons to hope for better and live. If you want to help those who suffer from suicidal thoughts, you can use the following suggestions.

1. Ask them to consider the moral, social, and spiritual consequences of committing suicide and how actions may affect the lives of others who love them or depend upon them.

2. Help them to find alternatives to keep themselves busy.

3. Engage them in an exploratory process to find a purpose to live, and reasons to continue their search for meaning and happiness.

4. Motivate them to consider the option of helping others, especially those who need help like themselves.

5. Create opportunities for them to express themselves without fear, guilt or shame.

6. Encourage them to be part of something bigger, nobler and higher, which will divert their attention from the negativity they experience and see a bigger picture of life.

7. Inspire them to look for opportunities to learn new skills and step out of their comfort zones to develop confidence, hope and courage.

8. Teach them methods and techniques to heal themselves or learn to bear pain and suffering with tolerance and awareness.

Changing the mindset

Most suicides are committed on an impulse. If you teach people to think rationally and dispute their suicidal thoughts during crucial, you can help them to control their depressing thoughts and suicidal tendencies. It can be done by teaching them to control thoughts and impulses by focusing upon the following aspects of life.

1. Hope: When life becomes hopeless, people begin to think about death. Teach people to look at the positive aspects of life and find every opportunity to increase their enthusiasm and happiness. Sometimes a change of place and circumstances can help.

2. Expectations: Expectations are a major source of unhappiness, friction and frustration. Many people commit suicide when their expectations are belied. Therefore, it is important to teach people who suffer from chronic suicidal thoughts to manage their expectations by cultivating detachment and take life as it happens.

3. Purpose: If life is filled with purpose, the thoughts of suicide will not arise. Even if they do, people can control them and focus upon their purpose. If you ever have to help people who are going through a deep crisis, help them to find a purpose that is bigger than themselves and stick with it until the end.

4. Service: There are many people in the world who need help. Nothing is gained by a person who commits suicide. It is a totally selfish act, which leaves many other people feeling devastated. You can help people to think about others and help them to overcome their own feelings of depression and helplessness.

5. Reason: Most suicides are committed on an impulse. If you teach people to think rationally and dispute their suicidal thoughts, you will help them to control their depressing thoughts and suicidal tendencies in crucial moments.

6. Spirituality: Suffering is integral to human life. No one can avoid it. Those who suffer from suicidal thoughts need to be constantly reminded of it. Our scriptures and teachings of spiritual masters can be a great solace for people who are going through a lot of internal suffering. Spirituality and practices such as yoga and meditation can help people to deal with their negative and depressing thoughts and find solace in themselves.

7. Self-image: Those who suffer from suicidal thoughts experience self-doubt and low self-esteem. They look for approval from others and when they feel neglected or ignored, they suffer from depression. It is therefore, necessary to teach them to face others with courage and conviction and develop positive self-image.

8. Value of life: Suicide disrupts the progress of life and the smooth functioning of society. Human life is very precious and unique. Everyone who lives upon earth has a role and responsibility. Each of us is a point in a long chain of events. Each of us concludes or ends many tasks and processes that were started by the people of our previous generations. We also begin some on our own and pass them to our succeeding generations. For example, if I abort a child, I cut off a branch in my family tree. If I give birth to a child, I start a new branch. If I kill another living being, I cut off many branches of the family tree of that being. Anyone who commits suicide also commites the same damage. He ends not only his life but also the chances of any successors who may be born to him. Suicide thus disrupts the flow of life and creates chaos in the world. It leaves a small hole or a tear in the fabric of creation, which no one can mend. Therefore, it important that people understand the implications of suicide, and why socially, morally and humanly it is not a good decision at all. They should remember that human life is a unique opportunity to live consciously and experience the wonders of existence. Those who want to end it through suicide must remember the scars they may leave upon earth and the unique opportunity they lose to live and experience life.

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