Are you feeling suicidal?
If you reading this right now, feeling like you wish you weren’t here, or actively wishing to end your life, know that I love you– just as you are. I hear you are feeling a lot – perhaps numb, hopeless, helpless, overwhelmed, angry, or sad. Bitter, envious, jealous, or empty. There’s room for all of that. Plenty of room for all that you’re feeling. Breathe. Cry. Scream. Talk. Most importantly, talk to people who care about you, who care for your well-being. People are waiting to talk to you, hoping to talk with you, to hear what you are going through and to be with you through this seemingly impossible time. If you’re feeling depressed, despairing, or feeling suicidal, know that 24/7 you can chat with someone online or talk on the phone (1-800-273-8255) with just such a person who’s been waiting for your call.
To hear David’s story of hope, skip to 1:30:
World Suicide Prevention Day
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. I’d be remiss to not speak up on this occasion. This year I’ve been reflecting a lot on the subject. I looked at the statistics today; and the CDC reports that in 2014 roughly 4% of the US population age 18 and older had suicidal thoughts in 2014. That’s one (1) out of every 25.
In my personal experience, I’ve known two who have succeeded and and a number of close friends who have either considered it heavily enough to check themselves in, or attempted and failed. It weighs on me to know that if you head to the bookstore, there are few and far between options for support when you’re feeling either like you don’t want to be here or actively wishing you weren’t. At Barnes and Noble I found nothing. Half Price Books, nothing. Third Place Books, nothing. There were plenty of books on cultivating happiness, plenty of books on depression, anxiety, Borderline Personality Disorder, and even books on cutting. But nothing for those contemplating suicide. How is this possible?
Feeling Suicidal: A Crisis of Self
Going online, I found some resources on Amazon and through the library; but the majority of these were academic– intended for study, not for those needing assistance. Wow! You can imagine my relief when I found a resource at the library, Thinking About Suicide: Contemplating and Comprehending the Urge to Die, which addresses this very point. Author David Webb writes (p6):
“The lived experience of suicidality is chaotic and confused, full of ambiguity and doubt. Anger, fear, and other passions are also tangles with the paralysing hopelessness and helplessness. All of this and more must be spoken of. The dispassionate, scholarly voice has its place, but by itself it cannot adequately capture and articulate these essential elements of the suicidal experience as it is lived.”
Yup! What a breath of fresh air to find his book, and perspective. Webb, who had attempted his own suicide before deciding to complete the world’s first PhD on the subject, in his book dispels the common myths people hold around suicide. Casting the light of spiritual self-enquiry onto the experience, Webb maintains suicide is not a mental health issue, but a crisis of self. I couldn’t agree more.
If you’re feeling suicidal, or wanting to understand the experience more in-depth, I highly recommend picking up his book. He’s clear to state his book is “not a self-help book with a ‘cure’ for suicidal feelings in seven easy steps. …Instead, this book invites you to honour and respect your suicidal feelings as real, legitimate and important.”
A different perspective
Another book I’ve found interesting on the subject is “Suicide: What Really Happens in the Afterlife? / Channeled Conversations With the Dead.” The authors share stories from mediums of those they’ve channeled, and their experience upon successfully having committed suicide.
From an energy work perspective, it’s interesting to see the overlap with my practice and the feedback the mediums received. In Reiki, we have a technique to treat past life trauma, including that of a suicide. In such cases, I have seen that while clarity and creating the possibility of a new outcome can be helpful for clearing the emotional overwhelm, there is still the learning to be learned. I think of Michael Bernard Beckwith who puts it like this (I’m paraphrasing here), “If this situation never changed, what quality would I have to birth within me to be OK with it?” This seems to be confirmed in Klimo and Heath’s book in which they suggest suicides reincarnate into the same conditions (even if different circumstances); there’s no skipping lessons. What’s more interesting, is I have also experienced their description of successful suicides who reincarnate into this life with the same conditions, and as such, experience suicidal ideation– also have at the same time a certain knowing that trying [again] would be useless.
Whether or not you believe in reincarnation, we can all agree that if someone is feeling suicidal, they need help– now, here. I have found this is very hard for people — knowing how to connect with people when the stakes are high and emotions are heated. It’s easy to alienate.
The biggest thing that alienates, in my experience, is people not knowing how to empathize. They go straight into reaction. By and large, we haven’t been taught to listen, to really hear how someone is feeling and listen for what they need. So what do we do? We counsel, we try to ‘fix it,’ we shut down. We one up, we go into our own stories. Oh, man. It’s heavy enough for someone feeling suicidal to hold their own difficult feelings and stories; they don’t need to add yours to the pile!
How might you communicate to someone you love that how they feel matters to you, and in such a way that allows them to hear you? Ask. Ask how they are feeling. Ask what they need. Ask how you might help. Ask if they’d be willing to hear more ideas on what might help. Tell them you love them, and if it’s the case, that you don’t know what to say; but that you want them to know from the bottom of your heart you’re here for them. You’re listening.