How to not encourage someone who is suicidal

I am usually not a fan of “What not to say” and “what not to do” type posts. I’ve always found them a bit annoying honestly. But I’m beginning to understand why they exist. There’s been this specific post that’s been going around for years that has always bothered me. Every time I see it, it gets a good amount of attention, and all around agreement. I’ve always been the type to avoid disagreeing with people, so I’ve always kept quiet about it. But honestly, this one can do some damage and I feel the need to speak up. Before I go any further, here’s the message:

7 thoughts on “How to not encourage someone who is suicidal

  1. I watched this Spanish movie once, called “The Sea Inside”. It is about a quadriplegic man’s struggle to legalize euthanasia for his condition. I used to avoid very “heavy” or depressing movies, because I felt so fragile. But with this movie, when it ended, I felt like I had watched a documentary. I thought I would probably feel the same way the protagonist felt and didn’t get too sentimental over it (he doesn’t, either). But someone I knew (that hasn’t experienced clinical depression firsthand, btw) told me that when she saw it in the cinema, she ran outside and vomited because she felt the protagonist was immensely ungrateful to those loving him around him. As if he was supposed to keep living just for the people around him.
    I also remember once somebody telling me (in a relatively casual discussion), that she considered people who committed suicide as cowards. Although I could see there was something more to this (she kind of got teary eyed), I was still so furious. One thing was that, having suicidal thoughts myself from time to time, I considered people who actually went through with it, braver than me, who (I) kept living. (I think I saw it as a mind over matter thing. On a more philosophical basis). But I also felt furious, because having had that experience, I knew how difficult it is to fight the survival instinct. And that when a person starts considering suicide for real, it means they really cannot see (or rather, feel) any light. It feels almost natural to them from then on. Also, it’s also kind of mathematical. When the minuses in your life seem more than the pluses, this seems like the next logical step. I couldn’t understand how she couldn’t realize these things.

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    1. It is heartbreaking to hear people think of it that way. At the same time, it can be a bit of a relief though. You can’t understand what it feels like to be suicidal unless you’ve gone through it, so if someone doesn’t understand, that’s a good thing. Compassion doesn’t require complete understanding so spreading awareness is good. But personally, I like to remember that I’d rather my loved ones not understand because that means they haven’t gone through it.

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  2. May I share this on my blog/social media? This was very well written and provides a great perspective.

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    1. Thanks so much! As long as you link it back to my page, I’d be more than happy for you to share it.

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