Mental Health

On Suicide and Lending a Helping Hand

In light of a report of a recent suicide of a Guhit Pinas member, I began to revisit the age-old question of how do we actually help someone battling depressive and suicidal thoughts. If I should be frank about this, even as a person likewise suffering from a psycho-social disability, I do not know how to respond. Yes, I do know how help is afforded me, but how do I help in return? Usually, it can be taxing to undertake—that of “just being there” with our oft-busy schedules. But then again, with news of a death by suicide looming overhead, it would naturally be expected that we stand in shock, and remain in such a state. Then move forward as if nothing happened, inasmuch as it “does not concern us”. This may be equated with insensitivity, indeed.

But how to help, really?

As I read more and more about the girl’s taking of her own life, and browsing her Facebook profile, I could not help but think as to why she had been driven to what most people might perceive as “the unthinkable”. Her Facebook timeline says it all: shares of posts about depression, quotes that reveal her mind’s battle with her own demons, notes about mental health, and what we could imagine as a screaming mind hollering for help in this vast expanse of Facebook’s netosphere. However, with all her friends on the said social media platform beholding her everyday thoughts as realised through her posts, I just found it impossible that no one took action. Or maybe she was not receptive? Or perhaps help was on the way but never arrived at the nick of time? Questions, questions that I could not help but ask all over again. Eventually I became a little bit triggered that I had to shift away from viewing her profile. Now, I looked up and wondered what it could be like for her parents, siblings, or anyone who knew her. What it might be for them now. Are there regrets or feelings of disappointment? Would there be proffering of warm condolences and not condescending comments from people who do not understand the vantage point of suicide and its prevention? As I ruminated on all of these, I began to look inwardly, in introspection: how did people help me when I was undergoing premeditations of suicide, when times were rough, when clouds of internal disgust over my entire being began hovering, encompassing me whole? I remember, I was counseled during those pivotal moments of my depression’s nascency, with people who offered their own means for me not to kill myself. I got diagnosed and eventually, medicated; and despite constant bouts of my severe mood swings and depressive thoughts, I still had people patient enough to hear me out when others did not. Would I then be considered luckier than this girl who cried out for a helping hand but had no one to lift her from her own quagmire?

Gleaning from all my experiences, I got to value how much being there for people can mean a difference. Just one’s mere presence, a tad bit of a hug, words spoken gently, and keeping company in the midst of turmoil can be a means for someone’s personal metamorphosis from depressive episodes. There is nothing better than seeing someone surpass his or her own turbulent state by our own efforts, no matter how simple, just to make someone’s life easier. In this way, our acts of charity can never go to waste, with the greatest reward of that seeing another go on with life as our most cherished accomplishment. Self-actualization? Maybe, or whatever they might call it.

As with every occurrence, there is always a lesson. Yes, it may not be that easy to just be there with all uncanny patience for someone with a psycho-social disorder, including depression but making a difference is what matters. As is with other means of working for the good of all, doing so should not be contrived but as a wholehearted endeavour to be of service to others.

Thus said, let’s all be there for each other without forgetting that tomorrow is always a different day.

And to those who are currently at the brink of “the unthinkable”, someone amongst the crowd is ready to comfort you. Do not hesitate to call for help, as for sure, there is always a person right there to tell you that everything is going to be alright.

Choleric-melancholic, blogger, teacher, mental health advocate, book lover.

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