Recently, I have come across statistics that showed that the Australian suicide rate is higher in males than in females. That made me stop and think for a moment. Questions popped into my head. Why are men more inclined to take their lives than women? And what are the main reasons that make any person to decide to end this existence prematurely?
The desire to live and flourish is an inborn desire. We are born with an enthusiasm for life and growth and the whole of existence. Just watch a baby how determined they can be to realize the smallest steps on their way to development. As we grow our minds are filled with ideas, inspirations, dreams and desires. There is so much information around us that it can not all be absorbed by our minds. We do not have a way to make any sense of it, except we generalize, distort and delete what we regard as unnecessary. And by doing this filtering, which we have been doing since early childhood, we have constructed a certain map of reality that we perceive to be the 'real' world. Now, to have expectations, dreams, expectations and goals is second nature to us. It gives us the ability to find ways to achieve what we set our mind on. That's all great.
A problem can arise with that when our dreams and expectations are way too inflated or way too low. When we imagine life to be a certain way it comes as a surprise when it's not as we want it to be. Either way, we can get to a point where we do not feel happy about life. As this has happened to many people before, there is even a term for it. It's called 'Middle Age Crisis'. However, this crisis can happen at almost any age, except the very early childhood years. Although there is a general term for it, unfortunately it does not mean there is also a general solution that would help everyone to alleviate it.
It affects people differently. Some people come to the realization, that their current life is not satisfying and in order to improve it, they change their lifestyle. They either find a new occupation, if that's what they associate happiness with, or start to study a new degree. Others may make changes in their relations. And there is another group of people – people who's lives have been dramatically changed, possibly by unforeseen circumstances which put them too suddenly into a new reality that they were not prepared for and did not know how to cope with. Their minds were not ready for the change and they could not find options to improve their situation.Suddenly, life could have lost its shine, its meaning. The newly seen reality was too overwhelming to handle. All they could see was suffering, pain and loss.
An interesting process of our mind is that when we focus our attention on something, part of our mind gets switched on and starts to look for anything that could be at least nearly relevant to that focus. This process searches through our memories, our experiences and our day dreams. This is a great tool to have when we are focussed on things positively. However, as it works both ways, when we only see the negative in life, this part of our mind will offer more examples to support the same. After a while, if this process is allowed to continue, it can come to be a rather dangerous way of thinking. People who get to this stage may experience experience loss of motivation to live, loss of appetite for food and loss of all desires. They could start to feel lethargic, apathetic and withdrawn from every day life and society. They could start seeing death as the only possible solution to end the misery of their lives. They even come to believe in the idea that, “It would be better for others if I took my own life and died”. Desperation is a very narrow-minded lady.
How can we help a person who sees death as a way out of misery?
Now, let's not think about Euthanasia here. I am writing about people who can be physically fit, but are in such a state of mind that they see suicide as a relief or escape, people who's minds are torturing them so much that they do not see any other way. They can and should be helped and not condemned. There are rather simple, yet very effective techniques and therapies available. The most important thing to realize is, if we want to help someone who shows signs of withdrawal and possibly has suicidal thoughts, the importance of human connection and compassion. Firstly, show that you care. Show that the person is worthy of your love and compassion. If you are unable to provide help yourself, find a qualified therapist in either Classical Psychology, Neuro-Linguistic Programming or Hypnosis. All these could be used and work well to improve the way the mind processes information and creates the desired reality.
Remember that, there should be someone close to you having a suicidal thoughts, they might not talk about it. However, long lasting withdrawal symptoms and apathy could have covered-up signs and should be taken seriously.