With the Christmas season upon us, we hear messages of hope and comfort from radio, social media and television. But not everyone really hears this message. Not everyone feels the joy of the season. This is a sad realization as there is so much to be grateful for in our life.
More than 800,000 people die from suicide every year (according to World Health Organization & Center for Disease Control). There are many more who attempt suicide and suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 24-year old youth. It’s so sad.
How can we know what suffering occurs in the minds of those who need help and then how can we help those who are suffering to stay?
We should know that suicidal thoughts are real and can be one of life’s most difficult trials. When the stress and pressure of life seems unbearable, a person’s thoughts and reasoning can become greatly distorted leading them to feel that death is the only option.
Some of the behaviors listed below may be signs that someone is thinking about suicide:
• Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves
• Feeling overly depressed, hopeless and having no reason to live
• Looking for ways or means to kill themselves
• Feeling trapped with no real solutions
• Withdrawing from family, friends and community
• Feeling that they are a burden to others and would be better off dead
• Increasing bad and reckless behavior
• Increasing alcohol and drug use
• Saying goodbye to family and friends
• Feeling anxiety and having dramatic mood swings
But remember, not everyone shows the warning signs of suicide.
We must understand that suicide of a loved one can be a devastating experience for family members and close friends. The grief can be profound and intense. There are feelings of anger, guilt, shock, disbelief, shame and humiliation. We blame ourselves for not knowing or realizing what that person is going through. We blame God and withdraw from family, friends and society.
What can we do to prevent this from happening to our loved ones?
First, we must understand that no one can completely know the full circumstances which caused the suicide. We must avoid judgement or placing blame. We must honor and respect each person’s unique grieving process. Grief is an expression of their love. We can ask how we can assist or help during this difficult time and we can stay connected with their family and friends in support.
When we find people who are struggling with the loss of a loved one, we must do everything we can to fill their lives with hope, gratitude and understanding.
Learning of our purpose in life can help those who are struggling with difficulties but it’s knowing of our self-worth that is the foundation of our ability to believe in ourselves and to get help when we are feeling suicidal.
Self-worth keeps people on the right path and brings confidence and the ability to cope with the hardships of life. This includes maintaining strong relationships which is directly related to a sense of self-worth and confidence.
Attitudes are powerful and they can draw us closer to others. Gratitude, hope, and even humility can help us understand our need for help and gives us the ability to heal.
A person who learns humility has patience with themselves and is quick to apologize for their mistakes. Humility helps us to understand the need for personal development.
There are three areas of healing which can give us hope for a better future:
Physical Healing: We will feel the physical pain of trauma or a difficult situation. This is a way to help rid ourselves of what holds us back and to let go of hurtful feelings.
Emotional Healing: We must truly feel the need to heal from those heartaches we carry around with us.
Spiritual Healing: This requires a real desire to find and understand truth. This allows us to receive the light of hope in times of darkness. This brings the power of compassion and understanding.
Building and maintaining strong relationships in our families is an important key to success in all aspects of our lives. Our existence and happiness are dependent upon building and nurturing strong relationships. With this connection, maybe we can understand when someone we love is feeling suicidal and help them to know their self-worth. We can help them to feel the need to stay.