I decided to write this article after talking with a friend about a sensitive subject, which is bullying. Of course, neither I nor my friend is a victim of bullying, but we watched a video (quite a sad one) about bullying and decided to talk about it. But this article is not focused on bullying, but on a more general subject (where bullying can be considered a sub-subject): Hardship and suffering.
We all experience hardship and suffering during our lives, but I want to talk about people who suffer more than the “normal limit”. Who are those people? Well they can be people who are victims of bullying, they can be people who lost someone who was dear to them, they can be children who experienced a traumatic event in the past such as the divorce of their parents for example, they can be people who lose everything and end up in the streets, they can be depressed people or even suicidal people.
Even though I mentioned a lot of categories of people who suffer more than the “normal limit”, most of them can be considered as subcategories (or even reasons) for two main categories: Depressed people and suicidal people. Be careful, some people will consider depressed people and suicidal people as being the same, but they are different and it would be a great mistake to group them together (especially if you are trying to help them because the actions you might use for a group might not be effective for the other).
Someone can fall into depression for many reasons but they usually have one thought in common: they think that nothing can take them out of depression. (this statement is based on many cases I’ve seen so far, so this statement is made from a subjective point of view, and not an objective one.) Being suicidal is worse than being depressed. There is a strong reason why being suicidal is worse than being depressed: Someone who is depressed still has the slight hope to be able to become happy one day (even though they still think nothing can take them out of it) and so have a wish to live a better life later on. On the other hand, when someone becomes suicidal, that slight hope disappears and the wish to live a better life later on turns into a wish to die and be finally freed from a life that could be compared to a horrible torture.
If I gave you the difference between a person victim of depression and a suicidal person, that is because I want you to know how to help them if you were to meet someone like that someday. (Yes, this article is here to give you a way to help them.)
When you see a depressed person, do not try to help them right away, because they won’t let you do so. You first have to get close to them, and let them open themselves to you. You need to gain their trust, but you also need to know what provoked their depression from their own mouth. When it happens, you will finally be able to help them.
When you see a suicidal person, the situation will be completely different. There will be two types of case that will usually make you realize that someone is suicidal: either the person failed to kill themselves, or the person is about to try to kill themselves.
Let’s talk first about the case in which a person failed to kill themselves. They tried to escape from a harsh life and yet they were not able to. They will certainly feel like prisonners. In my opinion, putting them into psychiatric hospital and giving them medicines all the time will not help them. In fact, I would even say that doing so would just “erase” their life, and they would become almost lifeless bodies, or as people would call it “zombies”. No, what we should do instead is to discover what pushed them to try to commit suicide. When you discover the reason, take that person with you and show them that life may be harsh, but it can also be beautiful. Show them that we are not prisonners of sadness and that we can find happiness if we never give up to seek it. Give them the strength they need to bring back that wish of living a better life later on. Choose carefully the words you are going to use and when you are going to use them, because a bad step could destroy your efforts to help them. Words are however usually useless if you were able to show them a beautiful side of life.
Let’s talk about a more difficult case, a case in which you witness someone who is trying to kill themselves. You might sometimes come across them in some places that are used to commit suicide, such as the Golden Gate Bridge. Here, using words can be useful or useless depending on the situation. You can try to change their mind, but it would be extremely difficult because they already decided to kill themselves. Do not talk too much unless you are confident it would change the situation. However, it does not mean that you should not talk to the suicidal person. In fact, in those situations, talking to them is the best way to delay their “final act” and to give you enough time to find a way to save them. But you have to be quick, because they will not wait forever. Remember that you are not an expert in this matter, so choosing the quickest way (but not always the best way) might be good enough to save someone.
Too many people give up on their lives because life has been a curse for them, with death being the only way to escape it. We only live once, so we should help them and turn their life into a gift they would cherish and love.
And if you are depressed or even think about suicide, please remember that there is always a rainbow after the storm.