Updated: Mar 9, 2022
Written by Cynthia O- Published by VIP Magazine
What pain filled your mind? What crushed your dreams. What consumed your thoughts and sealed your freedom in a cage? The door of freedom is open, yet the cage still attaches to your extremities. The silent scream, clouded by thoughts of hopelessness, cutting your sweet life so soon.
How precious is this thing called time? Time cannot be bought and whatever we choose to do within our given timeframe has no bearing on time’s continual pace. As time ticks, we proceed with our lives and establish connections or relationships that prove to be beneficial.
We were taught to love. Through the bonds of love, we are interwoven through various levels and aspects of our lives. Love yields a feeling of hope, happiness, and security. This bond is a part of why it is challenging when a loved one dies. Death is inevitable however the blow of its effect still hits hard to family members left behind.
One form of death that often leaves family members with many questions is suicide. The act of suicide initiates with a single thought that leads to agreement with the thought and acting on the thought. Our bodies naturally fight to live. Even at the point of suicide, we question whether to end it all or choose an alternate route. Families playback in their mind, wondering if there was something they’ve missed or if there was anything they could have done to keep their loved one alive. Many reflect on their last time spent with the loved one or other special memories that stand out more than others.
Suicide is a topic that is rarely talked about but happens often in our families and communities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide was the 10th leading cause of death and led to over 47,00 deaths in 2019. Suicide is also noted as being the second leading cause of death for youth ages 10-24 years old. As a result of the increasing concern, several measures are put into place to increase awareness and prevention.
National Suicide Prevention Month is recognized in September. Many mental health providers and organizations unite in an attempt to promote awareness and extend services to individuals in need. The National suicide prevention hotline noted several risk factors that are associated with suicide. A few of the risk factors are a history of mental illness, substance use disorders, hopelessness, impulsive or aggressive tendencies, history of trauma, financial loss, sense of isolation, cultural beliefs, and exposure to others who have died by suicide. As we focus on prevention it is important to be aware of some of the warning signs associated with suicide. These include talking about wanting to die or kill themselves, searching for ways to kill themselves, talking about having no reason to live, talking about feeling trapped or unbearable pain, talking about being a burden to others, increasing the use of alcohol or drugs, changes in sleep pattern, withdrawing or isolation behaviors, or extreme mood swings.
The mind is the battleground. Tackling suicidal indentations and attempts requires tactics that are powerful enough to sustain a mind that has become fragile. Joining efforts to tackle suicide is not just the job for family members directly affected or mental health providers. It is a job that everyone can take a part in. We must push past the act of highlighting potential warning signs. We must increase awareness of outlets of relief, letting everyone know that there is another way out.
At the surface is the presenting problem that appears to scream loudly that there is not another option besides ending it all right away. Collectively our efforts of prevention should scream, You are not alone in this fight to live. Let’s increase the conversation of showing everyone their worth. Let’s normalize seeking help before the problem becomes unbearable.
Let us come together like never before to not only spread awareness, but to be the bridge for healing, and the light of hope. The suicide prevention hotline should be known as well as the universal number for emergencies. The suicide prevention hotline ( 1-800-273-8255) will soon transition to a shortened number of 988 in an attempt to have quicker access to help and to provide a number that everyone can easily remember.
To family members who lost a loved one to suicide, grieve at your own pace. You too are not alone in this fight. Let the good memories from your loved one live on. Live with no regrets as we are unable to change what has happened. Consider doing something special that will spring forth continual life and make their name live on forever. One idea would be to plant trees or make a garden in their memory.
For those who suffer from suicidal thoughts, keep fighting to live. I speak peace, healing, and restoration to you who suffer in silence. You are not alone in this fight. May you find light in the midst of your dark moment. Give yourself grace and a chance to live. You are worthy enough to live.