Yesterday, September 10 was World Suicide Prevention Day.
It’s a growing epidemic and the numbers tell a shocking story. Every 40 seconds someone takes their own life according to the World Health Organization (WHO). That’s about 800,000 people worldwide every year — although some estimates put that number closer to 1 million.
Suicide is the leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 29 and for every suicide that results in death, there are as many as 40 attempted suicides. This is tragic, and tells the tale of the times we live in and the despair people are feeling, even with all of the information, help lines, awareness days that happen now.
I think one of the problems, and I don’t ever proclaim to be an expert, that people feel is a lack of connection in this fast paced world. Lack of a safe place to talk about some of the problems and feelings that face them in their head or in reality everyday. Some people are really good at putting on a happy face in the midst of their seemingly happy life. Inside they feel that they just can’t ever let down their façade to the outside world.
I used to be really good at checking in with friends and family. I would message them, send a text or give a call. Oddly enough…. I started to realise that no one was reciprocating, no one was checking in on me. If I wasn’t reaching out, I never heard from them. Inside I was having my own personal struggles, that no one, including close family, knew about. I justified it though as people are busy, people have their own lives and their own problems, wait…maybe they don’t even like me, I suppose I am a loser so who would even care.
But luckily for me I suppose, I knew the ways to pull myself out of that downward spiral fairly quickly. I knew about getting out of my own head, keeping a grateful journal, getting out in nature, and even knowing that not everyone is going to like me or care about me even though I am a fucking delight. And that is ok. They do not have to take the time to check in if they truly do not want to, or if they just can’t right now. I relied on my very tight circle of about 3 people and 2 cats to slowly open up to and to get me through my own tough time.
So… outside world, check in on your friends and family!
But if you can’t reach out right now, for whatever reason ( you are busy, you forget, you have your own life and your own problems)…. at the very least, let down your own façades. Be real. Stop all the social media perfection, either posting it or looking at it. Stop living your own fake lives and find your authenticity, even if it is messy and riddled with reality. Realise we all have shit going on that we want to hide. We are all in this life together, so let’s all at least be real.
Surround yourself with people that you truly care about (and I am ok with it not being me, if I am not your shot of whiskey) and take the time to make connections with them. Build a tribe where everyone in it is at least OK. Maybe not perfect, but OK. We need to stop this suicide epidemic.