As the words became alive from the speakers, Linkin Park’s music weaved the experiences of my growing up: the agony of emotions, disassociated yet mounting up in their own ways, their music was where one could go and find comfort. To rush after school, plugging into computers, closing our doors away from the world, we drowned ourselves in the voice of Chester Bennington. His suicide has made an entire generation revisit his songs and see that the lyrics were more than just mere anthem of our generation.
When it comes to discussing about suicide and death, our conversations mostly lacks sensibility and empathy. We either romanticize it or call it coward’s dance. Afraid to untangle the reality from the myths, we put an individual’s pain up for display and insensitive interrogation, as if suffering can be quantified and compared. Every human is a different shade of being; every situation brings different reactions. One can bear the hardest task with all glory while other can stumble onto the floor even if they spilled their milk. Growth in your mental health is not a competition.
According to World Health Organization, every 40 seconds a life is lost to suicide. In India alone, 11.5% of the population takes their life. The statistics speaks out clearly: it is important to not let it go ignored anymore. Before you extend hand to someone (or yourself), let’s become aware of few myths that are attached to it:
Myth: Talking about suicidal thoughts with the concerned person might encourage them to do it.
Fact: Many mental health professionals have rejected this myth and called it untrue. Rather, many professionals consider it one of the effective ways to approach the situation. It helps in creating a safe environment for the person to express his or her thoughts without feelings of being judged.
Myth: People who say that they want to attempt suicide never go through with it.
Fact: One of the biggest signs of someone who is going through psychological trouble is giving suicidal threats. Almost everyone who commits suicide have once discussed with their family, friends, and counselors. Even if it is said as a joke, it should be an alarm bell for the listener.
Myth: They are attention seeking people.
Fact: Mental health professionals warn the listener to not fall into the trap of this myth. Rather than brushing it off, it should be taken seriously and concerned person should be treated with care and compassion.
Myth: If a person decides to commit suicide, you cannot do anything about it.
Fact: You can. Rather than ending their lives, most of the people with suicidal thoughts want to end their pain and despair. Most suicides are preventable. Therefore, act immediately if someone you know is talking about committing suicide and help them in consulting a mental health professional.
Suicidal behavior is often in company of other mental disorders, depression being one of the top most. It is important to know that with right therapy and social support, depression is treatable. Alcohol and drug abuse also often play a role in suicidal attempts. It is hard to ask for help in a society that still treats mental health issues as a dangerous taboo. But until we can create an environment where people struggling with their mental health can talk openly, the fear of being shunned will be real. If you are person who is afraid to come out of your suffering closet, reach out. If you fail to find a friend, there are several suicidal helpline available 24/7 to hear you out.
As I listen to Chester’s voice again, I realize how we lost a legend to pain. In his loving memory, let’s not forget to take care of ourselves and others.
Rest in peace, my friend.
Major Indian Suicidal Helpline:
Aasra (Navi Mumbai): +91 22 2754 6669
Lifeline Foundation (Kolkata): +91 33 2474 4704/+91 33 2474 5886/2474 5255
Maitreyi (Pondicherry): +91-413- 339999
Roshni (Secunderabad): +91 40 7904646
Saath (Ahmedabad): +91 79 2630 5544/+91 79 2630 0222
Sneha (Chennai): +91 (0) 44 2464 0050
Sumaitri (New Delhi): 2338 9090