… don’t give up. Not so easily. Not when, no matter what, there is so much to do; to know; to experience; to do more than just exist. Live.
I suppose, sitting here, and thinking about it, being very grounded in my own upbringing, it is easy for me to say that. No matter what the knocks life has dealt, I’ve cushioned them with much grit, and plain survival instincts. Not all would have that grounding; or that instinct I suppose.
Today, September 10 is World Suicide Prevention day. Last night I received the update from Write Tribe about this, and a request to do a post on it, or simply create awareness (link). This here is my contribution, because this is something that has touched me.
Just yesterday, in school, during the lunch break, we heard the news of a young girl of Class XII, in one of our sister schools, who committed suicide over the weekend. The details surrounding it are not clear, but what came out, was that her father was rather strict, and had been harsh with her regarding something; probably her studies. (Term Exams are going on right now). The news, the parents being distraught, and the loss, all of it is heart-rending. As also is the fact that it could have been so avoidable.
It also brought to mind my youngest Uncle; a sunnier, more mischievous soul I don’t have among my Uncles; the cheerleader almost in the lot of Uncles I have, took his own life, inexplicably, over a year ago. He had laughingly threatened to do so, and even kept repeating it. He refused any help; refused to tell us where he was; and suddenly, out of the blue the news came.
The tortured thoughts; the absolute nadir of self-belief; the way he/she thinks at that point in time: how can one anticipate it? When one is given signals; or ‘feelings’ or notices the air of introversion, lack of cohesive behaviour, the gloom and the quietude, that should be indication enough. But who, apart from those closest, would even notice? In our busy schedules of daily drama, daily mind numbing routine, and endlessly looping routine, when would we? But we must. We must.
Last year, towards the end of the year, or was it early this year, my elder son was almost witness to a very traumatic incident when a young cadet shot himself; my son, being on Duty that day (a Sunday morning), was the one to reach him first. That self same lad, also on Duty, had, only minutes before been on his phone, had interacted with my son… The trauma reached out to all of us; and almost just as much for my son, as it had to his family, even though he’s in the Services. The utter and senseless loss – there is never a reason we can find for it.
Prevention. From my cosy room here, I could probably hand out tips. Having never had to think about it, even though there may have been occasion, at times, puts me at a disadvantage. What I’d like to share is just my perception, not any empirical statistics or data that I refer too.
Raise children with love. With moral strength. Easier said than done, definitely. And it takes both parents, and the extended family to be consistent.
Know your children. Your partner. Your friends. Know signs that all may not be well.
Help them to understand the word NO. (Understand it yourself too) Most times we say it too much. Or not at all. And, at the first NO later in life, it becomes too heavy a burden to acknowledge.
Do not put aside niggling doubts; feelings of unworthiness; unreasonable sadness; mood swings. These could be related in some way to the urge, which then takes only one spontaneous single senseless moment of execution.
Talk. Talk. Talk. If you’re depressed. Or if you notice someone’s under-weather.
Empathy. Find it. Show it.
Get help, for yourself, or for someone who you think needs it. There is NO shame in doing it.
There was a time when I thought that a suicide is a coward’s way. I still do, sometimes, but it’s also a path taken by someone who is sick, unwell, as in having a condition.
And, no matter what happens, you have YOU. That’s the best thing you have to work with.
Spread the word. Observe, and be that person who notices, cares. And the one who’s strong enough to know weakness, and ask for help. That is when you’re the strongest, most times.
You MUST read this blog post. Quiet courage there. (link)
The blog post at Write Tribe, which has inspired this write, has several links, for awareness and prevention.
10 September, 2013
The picture is the banner shared on the Write Tribe post.