Deemed as escapists, individuals that face suicidal tendencies are often dismissed for the emotional issues they have. ‘They should have opened up, it was their choice!’ is what we often hear from those expounding their ‘expert’ opinions about those that decide to pull the plug on their own lived experiences.
However, we must take into consideration that the thought patterns of an individual who contemplates something as drastic as suicide are not linear, or even very coherent, for that matter. The capacity to think with one’s head on their shoulders is something that fades into oblivion with the progressive passage of time. What we need to fundamentally comprehend is that the human mind is wired to protect the self, and not terminate it. The thought patterns and mental palette of a contemplator of self-termination are thus, quite skewed.
The distortions that arise due to suicidal tendencies, which spring from emotional disturbances such as depression and rejection often cause a bottling up of emotions. Individuals often say ‘I might as well keep what I’m feeling to myself, or ‘ What if they don’t understand what I’m feeling?’ In cases like these, it’s clear that the wiring of the brain to promote self-sustenance are compromised in some ways.
The experience of feeling these emotions don’t even correlate to who an individual is. From the average Joe on the street, to a Homemaker, to a Successful Businessman, to a Michelin Star Chef, to a Celebrity, to a Doctor, or for that matter even to a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist. ; it doesn’t matter who you are. Each and every one of us faces the same probability to plunge into a stream of distorted thoughts when we’re exposed to certain phenomena around us. In these cases, the evaluations that we make of situations panning out around us often lead us to develop thought patterns that may not exactly be favorable for us.
The next time you start to doubt the credulity of someone who is experiencing some form of anguish, don’t go ahead and discount it as a ‘phase’. Sit them down. Talk to them. Give them a little pep talk and tell them that you’re there for them. Make sure that they don’t bottle up their emotions, and be their pillar of support rather than brushing their pain away as something that will fleet by.
On World Suicide Prevention Day, transcend your tendency to let other people go and live your own existence. You could make a difference even with a few words of reassurance.
An undergraduate in Psychology, Shantanu is an aspiring Educational Psychologist who will be pursuing his Master’s in 2018 at the Ohio State University. He is adept with psychometric and statistical research, and has honed his grasp over psychology through a 4 year undergraduate course in Liberal Education at FLAME University, Pune.