Death should not us do part, and especially not by suicide.
To prevent suicide, implementing just four simple ideas will suffice. But first two introductory points.
A. Medical science is trying to uproot all illness and scale back all aging and soon will abolish dying altogether. Some worry what to do with overpopulation. However, when we have gotten smart enough to prevent death, prevention of overpopulation will be relatively easy.
A much graver more stubborn problem is our human tradition to kill each other out of greed, anger, jealousy or nationalism. What’s the use of becoming physically immortal but dying anyway from violence?
A most serious variation to violent death is suicide. In Israel, it’s the second most frequent cause of death between the ages of 15 and 44, both among men and women.
B. Let us not scare or criticize people who contemplate suicide. When they “succeeded” it’s time to mourn (see also here), not to condemn or blame — or foster survivor’s guilt. (Being angry is always easier than crying, but the latter is often more helpful. At best, sometimes the anger can lead to crying.) When they’re still alive, know that suicide is a right but that it’s up to you to help them to bring closer their survival.
Now, our four prevention points. Some of them may be easy and what not to say may be evident to most people. Here is some more ideas.
- What to Understand?
No one kills oneself just to be dead, but rather for two reasons:
1.a. Temporary but total hopelessness.
1.b. A wish to end the pain of life because it’s too much to bear.
- What to Tell Someone Close to Suicide?
2.a. If the person sees no light at the end of the tunnel, tell them: “I believe you. I will not try to cheer you up. But believe me that this can pass. You don’t have to see the light yet to believe that soon you will. Even if you’ve been desperate for a long time, it can pass sooner than you think. And if you’re hopeless because you’re in a panic, let’s wait together until the panic starts fading.”
2.b.1. If your emotional pain is too much, and you’ve been drugged, kick out the drugs because they make you number than that they kill the pain. When you’re not numb anymore, you can start crying, which takes away the pain – heals it. There is no amount of emotional pain that cannot be drained by crying. And it takes longer when you don’t get started.
2.b.2. If your physical pain is too severe, know that if you deal with underlying fear for pain, physical pain can become quite bearable. You can heal the fear by making (cruel) jokes and not stop the shivering, laughing, perspiring and blushing you start doing as a result. Keep making such jokes until the fear has healed. Yawning can hasten physical healing.
- Thought is Not Enough
The ideas in 1 and 2 need to be implemented to work. Contemplation is often not enough. This is not a philosophical cure. It rather comes from prolonged emotional work. It pays to persist and persevere.
- Publish Your Success Widely
You might want to forget about this once it’s over, but you can save many lives by briefly and boldly sharing: how bad it was, what you did, how it worked, what was helpful, and how glad you are that you won. Even if you only have a short time to live left (say your physicians, but hey, they’re no prophets), share it.
Also failure might brew success. It’s nonsense to think that you could’ve done better (If you could have, you would have). Yet, your hindsight might help others in similar situations be more successful than you were.