Suicide: The Silence Must Stop!
Updated: Sep 18, 2020
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide is a topic no one wants to speak about. It’s difficult and uncomfortable, however that is all the more reason we need to do so. Silence about mental health is killing people. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, approximately 11 people die by suicide each day in this country and it is the second leading cause of death among youth and young adults (15-34 years). Every life is valuable, and every loss is a tragedy. I for one won’t remain silent on this issue any more. It’s far too important.
Journal entry of November 9, 2004 – I feel myself slipping away and I don’t know what to do to stop it. I’m doing everything I’m supposed to; meds, doctors, shrinks but my heart isn’t in it. I’m just so tired, so worn out. No one understands and its not fair to keep whining to everyone. They must be so tired of me going on and on. I can only hope that somewhere along the way I can stop being a burden to everyone. Its not that I want to die, its that I’m tired of living. Five days after that entry I wrote a goodbye note in the same journal. I had decided to end my life. November 14, 2004 – I don’t want to hurt anymore. Please don’t be mad at me, be happy. I’ll finally find peace and quiet. There will be no more pain, no more hurting, and that is what I have been searching for my whole life. Let me go.
It’s hard for me to read those words now and remember being in that place. I’ve had suicidal ideation many times before and since. I have been on the verge of ending my life multiple times over many years, however this was the only time I had written a goodbye. It pains me to think of the hurt I would have caused those who love me if I had been successful that November night. But I am here and I am grateful to be alive.
Suicide goes against the grain of human nature, which is to want to live and survive. So a blind eye is often turned by others or the person feeling suicidal makes sure to hide all those dark thoughts. We need to peel back the veil on this topic and make it okay to be discussed openly. Anything less than that is deadly. Those who don’t experience that feeling of despair and nothingness will never understand what it’s like to not just want to die, but to be at peace with that decision. You truly feel that no one loves you; that you don’t matter; that the world is a better place without you; that you are doing a favour to those in your life. It’s not logical but guess what? The logical part of the brain isn’t working at that time. It has been overtaken by the emotional mind and the demons are louder than any other voice.
One of the hardest things is to know how to respond to someone who you suspect is suicidal. It isn’t easy but it really is quite simple…..you ask them. I know it’s difficult but the simple question of “are you planning suicide?” can literally save a life. Ask them if they have a plan. Ask them if they have tried before. Ask them to talk to you. And then stand by their side to get them help. Don’t be afraid to tell them that you love them and how much it would hurt you if they were no longer on this earth. I can tell you from my own experience that these things being asked and said do make a difference. Those words have brought me back from the brink on many occasions.
Suicide does not mean someone is weak. It means the amount of pain a person is in has overtaken their ability to want to live, to think clearly, and to feel that life is valuable. My hope is you never know what it’s like to be in that place, but if you are there, or know someone who is, please reach out. Please say something. The silence must end. The pain must stop. One more life lost is too much.