“Suicide is a silent killer and ‘It is the most preventable cause of death’ ” (Hastings 2017, p.75).
If you find yourself living in the confinements of a dark place where hope no longer exists, suicidal thoughts can easily simmer into the circumference of your mind. But what do you do when you are imprisoned by your own emotions? Who do you reach out to? Who do you confide in?
Is sharing your authentic emotions even an option?
For many people dealing with suicidal ideation seeking help is not a possibility to them. They would rather remain silent about thoughts of ending their lives then to deal with the stigma and shame associated with suicide.
“Their silence doesn’t mean that they don’t want help. Stigma and the mental disorder itself tells them that help is not a present option” (Hastings 2017, p. 76).
In order to kill or break the silence, the stigma associated with mental illnesses must be removed. The way to remove it is to talk about it. The public at large must be educated about mental disorders.
As I share in my mental health memoirs, the desolate times that I experienced suicidal thoughts, having no one to reach out to who could provide sincere support without any stigma attached made me feel like I was trapped in a cold and dark cave without anyone concerned about my present condition or even noticed that I was mentally not present.
And even after I did receive help, people viewed me differently. They acted differently around me. It was as if they expected me to forever be fragile, never again to live a ‘normal’ or healthy life. It seemed as though it was their expectation that I would never be able to successfully manage daily activities.
It didn’t matter the roles I had within my communities. It didn’t matter how I positively impacted the lives of others. It didn’t even matter that I ministered to others. I had now been given the label of incompetent because I had experienced a human emotion that at least millions of others also dealt with.
Ignorance wanted to keep me silent and make me give into social stigma. But education and understanding gave me the courage and strength to be my own advocate and for others.
If you are currently dealing with suicidal thoughts, I encourage you to not be silent. You might be surrounded by a stigmatized environment, but do not allow the lack of understanding by others cause you not to receive the help you need and deserve. Your life matters!
If you are a survivor of suicide, do not be trapped by the shame or guilt others want to box you into. Yes, you experienced a dreadful place in life. And many factors caused you to want to give up on life. You have a right to acknowledge the pain that landed you in that place. Do not allow anyone to dismiss your pain. You have the right to live your life on purpose without being apologetic about it. You are a survivor!
If you are someone who has never experienced thoughts of suicide, do not criticize what you don’t understand. Reach out to advocacy organizations and educate yourself. Offer support to anyone you cross paths with that might be affected by suicide. Do not add to the statistics by being a part of the stigma that keeps those from receiving help. You be the voice that breaks the silence!
Together, we all can help stop suicide!
References: Keeping My Faith While Saving My Mind. SJHastings. 2017