News of the suicide of people we know or are familiar with most times leave us shocked, dumbfounded and devastated. At times, we blame ourselves for our inability to prevent the tragedy, wishing we had recognized the signs or had a pre-knowledge of it and prevented it from happening.
Many of the suicide victims don’t give any glaring indication or signs of their impending plan to commit suicide. Some of them would actually go the extra mile to put on fake smiles and acting out, pretending all is rosy and well with them all in their bid to deceive those close to them of their evil plans. Some would even deny having issues when confronted by those who might have suspected all is not well.
However, most of them do give signs through their words, moods, and actions that indicate all is not well. The truth worth knowing is that not all who committed suicide really wanted to die! Many of them in their confused and overwhelming state of mind secretly wished they could be rescued or helped, but unfortunately, they received no rescue or help and they died. This happened because these days, many of us are too busy or engrossed with things of our own interest or concerns to the extent that nothing happening to people around us is of any concern to us. This is a very bad attitude. Another reason is that some people who identified the signs simply ignored or took them as nothing serious believing that such people concerned wouldn’t do such a thing or that they were just seeking attention. These are the people who on realizing the person they had taken for granted had actually committed suicide, would be full of guilt, regrets and self-blame. Another reason is that many people are ignorant of the suicide signs and therefore could not read meanings to them when noticed in those contemplating suicide.
While it may not be always possible to save or convince some of those known to be at the verge of contemplating suicide against going ahead with their plan, we could make help them if we deliberately attempt to do so. Therefore, knowing some of the signs can make a huge difference in case we meet those who need help.
Below are 10 signs to look out for:
- Suicide threats and death talks: When someone around you starts threatening or talking about death, sayings words such as: “I am tired of life” or “I am tired of all around me”, “I want to die” “I am going to kill myself someday”, “Everything will soon be over or “Everything will come to an end very soon”, “Death is better than what I am passing through”, “You will not see me again soon”, ” I won’t be a burden to you soon”, “I am not going to be missed by anybody”, “It will soon be over.”
2) History of attempted suicide: Those who have attempted suicide before and failed have the likelihood of trying it again.
3) Those contemplating suicide are usually depressed defiance or disoriented.
4) Suicidal people are extremely and deeply pained over issues like job loss, exam failures, financial debt, being jilted by a lover or Loss a loved one and other things. They exhibit feelings of meaninglessness and hopelessness, worthlessness and guilt
5) Distribution of cherished properties: At times those contemplating suicide tactically distribute possessions they cherished to people they are sure would treasure them in preparation for their plan. They at times might write a will.
6) Those contemplating suicide or having suicidal thoughts are usually very moody and withdrawn. They look fatigued or worn out doing nothing. They sleep unnecessarily or suffer sleeplessness.
7) A sudden change in behavior: If someone known as gentle and easy going suddenly becomes very violent. On another hand, there are some of them who all of a sudden start exhibiting superficial happiness and radiance. They may be acting out.
8) Acquirement of new knives/ dagger, sleeping drugs, and others drugs, any form of poison, rope, and checking the internet for ways to die.
9) Threats to punish parents or spouse: A threat by an aggrieved child “to punish the parents” or “to deal with them” or “to have a revenge on them” “or teach them a lesson,” are suicide threats. So also are such words from a spouse to his or her partner.
10) Any “goodbye” posts” or “asking for forgiveness from all and sundry” or “Prayer to God asking for His forgiveness and mercy on one’s soul” on the social media are suicide threats. Same are handwritten or typed suicide letter.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO TO HELP:
- Act Urgently: Urgent and quick actions must be taken immediately if it has been established that a person is contemplating suicide. Go to them immediately. Don’t ever dismiss any suicide threat as nothing serious. Don’t procrastinate to see them later as 5 minutes later may be too Get help and assistance if he/she is behaving violently, and take him/her to the hospital
- Be patient and tolerant: Dealing with a person contemplating suicide needs a lot of patience. You may be insulted or ignored, all in a bid to make you leave him/her alone. You may be irritated and angry by their actions and words, please don’t leave. Stay with them and bear with them.
- Listen to them: Make him/her talk to you about their pains and troubles and listen attentively, carefully and sensitively. Don’t mock, or challenge their decision. Don’t shame or get into argument with them. Make them tell you what they had planned to do to end it his/her life. Collect from him/her any weapon, poison, ropes or drugs hidden anywhere.
- Empathize: A key thing any person contemplating suicide needs badly is love and empathy; not condemnation. To us what they are planning to do might sound stupid and evil but to them, it is the only thing they believe would end their sufferings because they are not thinking straight at that moment. Condemnation would only harden their hearts more. Be a good friend and not a miserable friend and adviser like Job’s three friends in the Bible. Show interest and concern for them. Try and reaffirm their worth as a person greatly loved by friends and family. This is the time to tell them all those beautiful things you know or love, admire about him or her.
- Instill hope: Suicidal persons are pessimist persons with no hope. It is therefore important to instill hope through the words of God by assuring them of God’s help, breakthrough and a better tomorrow. He has promised to help them “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10. He has promised not to leave or forsake you Hebrews 13:5.
“For his anger endureth but for a moment; in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 35:5. This implies Hebrews 4:15, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:17.
6. Pray with them and for them: A suicidal person needs prayers yet they cannot pray for themselves because of the state of their hearts, therefore the prayers and intersections of friends and people who care about them would go a long way. It is important we remember them in our prayers. Prayer works.
7. Get help: Take them to the hospital or inform family members.