Hey there, thank you for being here. How are you? Did you have a good week? I had a dreadfully uneventful week and am plagued with rolling over a good amount of items on my to-do list into next week. I’m happy it’s Friday. I love Fridays, I can’t even tell why.
SAYING SUICIDE IS A SELFISH ACT IS ACTUALLY THE SELFISH ACT
Are you aware of the widespread of suicide all over the world at this time?
What do you think about suicide?
In some parts of the world, suicide and discussions around it is stigmatized. In countries such as Nigeria, it is quite a shame that suicidal behavior and suicide is a criminal offense punishable by law. These laws and stigmatization are often based on religion and cultures. Consequently, there is a secretive reaction surrounding suicide together with taboo. As a result, suicide is grossly unrecognized, misclassified or deliberately hidden in official records of death which further makes people unaware of the presence of this cancer that is eating deep into our society. It is therefore no surprise however disturbing that there is a global increase in suicide rates.
Early this week, I had a conversation with a lovely young lady who was of the strong opinion that suicide was a selfish act. From her point of view, anyone who thinks of taking their life doesn’t care for the people who they would be leaving behind and the absence of this regard is what makes a suicidal person selfish. I hope in my heart that after the conversation, I was able to convince her otherwise.
Let’s stop here.
I think that the mistake we are making is that a lot of us are paying attention to those who were or would be left behind instead of thinking about the person doing the actual leaving. Can we think about what must be happening in their minds that convinces them that death is a better option? Can we pay attention to the fact that these people have absolutely no idea what comes after death or what it feels like to die but are willing to embrace it as an escape from their mental (and/or) physical reality? Can we think about the fact that these victims see the people we think they should stay alive for and still think they are not a good enough reason?
I’ll give an analogy, please stay with me:
Ever thought about the mind of a person in a burning building who chooses to jump from the building to their death? When you think about it, it seems rather foolish since the fire would’ve still killed them anyway so why choose to jump?
You see, the fire was the worse of the pain and jumping was less painful and more bearable. Jumping or Staying was death. They were choosing the lesser of two evils.
Now, let’s relate this to a victim of suicide whose mind I always think about as being on an invisible fire. It is unfortunate that we cannot easily see the fire or measure the intensity of mental fires consuming the people around us and I think that this further makes it hard to comprehend what chaos is brewing or is actively unleashed in their heads. It is sad that we as regular people have little to no knowledge on recognizing mental fires, talk more, being aware of the intensity of it and its consuming ability.
Imagine the place of the victim who has to deal with this fire that no one but themselves can see or feel and being burdened with maintaining sanity so as not to come off as a psycho, trying to act normal because you cannot rightly explain why you are not normal. It is worse when it seems like you have your life under control and should be the envy of people but your mind is under attack and no one knows it but you. These people who are dealing with these mental fires have to deal with it alone most times as no one else can see it, no one else can feel it and know that they are in danger, no one else is panicking with you and trying to help you put out the fire because they don’t know and those who know are unable to fully understand what is going on (I know not everyone has no one).
The young lady pointed out that suicidal people are irrational and make the decision to take their lives hastily. I wondered how she knows this, some people actually think about it for a really long time and keep holding on, waiting for the universe to convince them otherwise. She may be right to an extent anyway. I mean, a person in a burning building cannot afford the luxury of rationality. Their first instinct is to get away from the fire and that is exactly what they do, needless to say by a rather unpleasant means.
It is important to understand that the pain of a mental fire is poisonous and extremely fatal; it is not the kind that sticks to a coping mechanism for long; not the kind you can get rid of by waiting it out or drinking alcohol.
Like I said earlier, let’s for a second forget about the people left behind and focus on the people who left or are contemplating leaving.
This article is in no way aimed at encouraging suicide. This article is however aimed at letting us know that maybe we should look beyond our rage, stigma, disappointment, shame, feeling of betrayal and see the human who is just like you with emotions that drowned him/her or is drowning him/her.
Selfish is not the word. I don’t have a word for it. If you do, please let me know in the comment below.
ABOUT TALKING TO SOMEONE
Suicidal people normally do not open up about it expressly. They do drop hints here and there but to be fair, we all are caught up in trying to figure out this conundrum called life to even pay attention enough to notice what is going on.
A lot of times, I see people all over Social Media say things like, “Talk to someone. Don’t go through it alone.” But let me ask; are you someone that can be talked to? I for one know that I am not the person that can be talked to about suicide or depression by a far stretch, while I may be able to understand, I am clueless as to what to do to help. People think it’s just about being nice to victims but will just being nice cut it?
Will you understand when someone with little or so much excitement in his/her life comes to you and tells you about the fire destroying them? Will you be patient enough to tolerate them for as long as they need? The myth that suicidal people are helpless nice people is just wrong. Just like every human, they are not always saintly and they don’t always want to open up. Can you imagine trying to get someone who obviously needs help to open up about their issues and the person is being reluctant? It can be irritating.
When they have opened up to you, what do you know about what you can do?
What do you know about helping them? What information do you have on mental fires? We know water puts out physical fires, well, what puts out a mental fire? We know there are levels of fires; some that can be blown out with the mouth, others that can be put out with water, some fires that can raze an entire village. How do you know how mighty a person’s fire is when you can’t even see it? How do you know how much help they need; a simple blow of air, a bucket of water or the whole damn Fire Department? How do you know?
Suicide is not Selfish.
That is the first thing we must understand.
Let us pay attention to the victims around us; they are normally closer than we think. Let us study about this phenomenon and arm ourselves with information, I learned a lot from this website. Let us be good people to one another; Love is powerful.
Calling them selfish will not make them change their minds so we might as well try a different approach.
If you are on the other side, if you are suicidal, please hang in there. I may not know what the way out is but I know that it is not by taking your life. If you have loved ones, spend more time with them.
Thank you so much for your time, I hope I’ve planted a seed in you and you’ll let it grow.
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Until next Friday, I am yours truly EzeNwanyi. Have a lovely weekend.