DEAR YOU (who may be contemplating suicide),
What if I told you that suicide is not the solution? Would you believe me?
Triggered by the waves of many celebrities that had passed, namely designer Kate Spade, Kim Jong-hyun, Avicii and Anthony Bourdain. It nudged me to delve into suicide figures that are closer to home. The suicide prevention centre, Samaritans of Singapore, reported that there were 429 cases of suicide deaths in 2016. Suicide is THE leading cause of death for those aged 10 to 19, with about one to two ending their lives by suicide each month and 22 cases in total. The highest number of suicide deaths occur among young adults aged 20 to 29, raising much concern for this group with 77 cases of suicide deaths in total.
What is one’s motivation when choosing suicide? It struck me that it could well be attributed to the lack of understanding of the concept of pain and how difficult it is to acknowledge it because of the stigma. In the social media age of photoshops, hashtags and ‘instaworthiness’, what we see online are often falsehoods of people who are caught up with trying to look good and finding the need to portray a certain persona, which perpetuates the stigma of seeking help. It could be seen as being #intsaweak, an ‘untrendable’ tag.
Whenever there is a pain, there is too the desire to end it. Suicide is misconceived as the penultimate in breaking the shackles of pain. Perhaps my friend, you have misunderstood its ‘romantic’ nature as a strong allure to finally find the peace you are seeking. Let me explain why.
3 TYPES OF PAIN FELT BY SUICIDAL INDIVIDUALS
PAINS FROM MENTAL HEALTH CONDITIONS
Being a counsellor, I know that the association between mental health and suicide is quite labyrinthine. Having mental health conditions increases the risk of suicidal ideation. It is arduous to cope with a mental illness when one struggles with things like:
- Difficulty in doing daily tasks
- Deriving little to no joy from interactions
- Thinking no one understands you, leaving you isolated
- Feeling helplessness and hopeless due to perceived lack of control of your condition or situation
Having a mental illness feels like you must wear a mask. Often you want to portray life as happy and well. This makes it difficult for your friends and family to detect your suicidal ideations. When you have to suffer such tremendous psychological pain alone, it gets to a point of asphyxiation and at times suicide seems tempting.
PAINS FROM LONELINESS
Being alone is different from being lonely. In being alone, we do so for space and time to reflect and find peace. Loneliness on the other hand, is a place of disconnect from meaningful relationships. A research has found that poor social support often results in poorer functioning and recovery from mental illness, especially depression. Loneliness exacerbates the impact of stress, making us more vulnerable in the face of challenges. Without meaningful relationships and connections to anchor our lives, the cost of suicide is seen to be low and acceptable…since no one will care anyway.
But I do. Somehow…I do.
PAINS FROM HOPELESSNESS
Psychologically, it is easy to lose hope when one feels cornered. Such hopelessness blinds you from seeing any value in other areas in your life and discount the resources that could improve your circumstances. Hopelessness engulfs us in the darkness of pain and we are blanketed with a sense of worthlessness. Suicide then appears to become a promise of hope as it allows one to escape the emotional turmoil. Really my friend, it does not. It simply transfers the turmoil from you to someone else.
HONOUR YOUR HUMANNESS AND BE COMPASSIONATE TO YOURSELF
The pain we experience in our lifetime form a large part of who we are. Therefore let us be kind to ourselves and not judge nor blame ourselves. It makes sense to seek the help that we need in order to heal the pain we are experiencing. It is akin to seeing a doctor when we fall ill. Having self-compassion also helps us handle sadness, defuse the effects of negative events and sooth stresses.
LIES OF SUICIDE, TRUTHS IN LIVING
The hopes and promises of suicide can be enticing when we are in pain. However, it does nothing but transfer our problems and pain to the people we leave behind. At the same time, it scorns at your existence and worth which are exactly what you are fighting so hard for. Let’s not fall for the lies of suicide, but instead seek the truths in living; rediscover the meaning and purpose that you could live for and find meaning and purpose for our time while we are alive. Since you’re here, let us make the best of it.
So, have I told you that suicide is not the solution? This should not be a choice in the first place.
You need not have to die. Now, this is not a lie.
Me (who hopes you have a change of heart)
Make an appointment with EMCC counsellors or call 6788 8220.
If you are concerned that someone you know might be considering suicide, reach out to them and encourage them to seek professional help. You may find out more about the warning signs and risk factors for suicide here. If suicide is lingering for you or someone you know, call 1800-221 4444 (Samaritans of Singapore, 24-hour hotline) or consider seeing a psychiatrist and/or a counsellor.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hwee Min is a counsellor at EMCC. She believes that love is something fundamental that we search for in its different forms, at various points in our lives. This belief is what brought Hwee Min into counselling. She wants to help individuals be fulfilled and reconciled with their personal and relational struggles. In addition, to also experience love for others and for themselves amidst their feelings of brokenness. This passion to serve accompanied with her warm personality helps her clients feel safe and welcomed. Behind her serene disposition lies a very imaginative mind, where she imagines a future where cars can be folded and tucked into our pockets.