Surviving on coffee and laughters

Friday, July 30, 2010

Non-Travel: Saving a Life is Not That Hard

Not a lot of people actually know this (or notice) but I have had debates with suicide more than once in my life. No, not once did it occur to me to take my own life because of heart problems; I'm tougher than that. Ha! But through all those times, what saved me were encouraging words from the people dearest to me, those who actually took time to find out if I am feeling all right, braving Signal No. 3 storms to drive for an hour and have beer with me.

However, not everyone who has dealt with a demon in their subconscious are actually lucky enough to overcome them. I know at least a handful of people who have succumbed to suicide, leaving all their loved ones heartbroken. In fact, there are even families who commit suicide together! While we cannot really save each life that tries to slip into the graves, we can at least catch one before it hits the ground.

These simple thoughts and actions actually saved me during my most pressing times:

If only Teddy talked, we might have been able
to help.
You will never know how a person feels if you fail to ask. Just the simple thought of asking "How are you today?" is enough for a person to realize that someone cares about how he is feeling. In the website, you will see hundreds and hundreds of entries where a simple question overcame the demon inside of them.

The people closest to me know that the first thing I look for in a person is his smile. How sincere does he smile when he looks at me? Is it real or is it just for courtesy? A smile is more than just exercising your facial muscles. A smile should come straight from the heart, with so much gusto that your cheeks will hurt. A genuine, sincere smile will radiate to your eyes and your eyes will send sparks all over when you look deep into the eyes of a person in need. It is like lighting a candle in the middle of the night in a deserted place where someone is lost - your smile is their spark of hope.

It might not be about what is bothering a person exactly but a meaningful conversation, whether about the weather, pots and pans, travel, or whatever, shows a person that you trust him enough that you are letting him into your life. Now, letting you into his would not be as difficult. Try to engage him in a conversation and end it with a simple "I really enjoyed our conversation. I hope we can do that again soon." This way, the person knows that there is something to look forward to.

I love hugging people. Whenever I meet someone I know, I automatically extend my hand to at least give a half-hug. I believe that with the simple contact from your skin to theirs, millions of cells react to each other and indicate that someone really is here, physically, in real life. You may not always know that a person is on the verge of taking his life but as soon as you see a glint of sadness in someone's eyes, make contact. Touch their hand, drape your arm around their shoulders, hug! This shows the person that you are there, tangible, touchable, and real.

Now, the most important thing that you can do to any person wanting to commit suicide is to understand. No, you should not tell them that what they are about to do is NOT what you expected. Instead, make them feel that you totally understand how they are feeling and why they want to end their lives. BUT, show them that there are other ways to survive whatever it is that they are feeling. Empathize with the person and show him your genuine concern over the situation. I know that at this point, you just want to scream profanities because of concern but that is not the smartest thing to do. Remember that a suicidal person is like a cracked glass, one pressure hard enough will make it fall into pieces. You would want to patch that crack instead of putting pressure on it.

It is not always easy to find out when a person would want to commit suicide because majority of the people that talk about wanting to commit suicide are the ones strong enough to overcome it. The problem relies on the minority that would refuse to show any sign that they are broken inside, and at the slightest point of vulnerability, they just snap.

Suicide is a choice, but not a good one at that. We can all help save one life by these means as long as we practice them in every single person that we care about. You might not know it consciously, but you might be able to save a life before you even realize.


Rebekah said...

This is really fantastic. Many years ago, I had contemplated suicide. I didn't have many friends at the time, and the people I DID know were not friendly. The only reason I didn't do it was because I was worried about the mess I would make. Now, I am so happy that I didn't go through with it, as life has been pretty good lately. And I learned even if life isn't that great, it always gets better -- always.

PinayNomad said...

Thanks, Rebekah! I have been through the same ordeal and the people and I don't think the people around me would understand. Well, maybe they would but I'm just too afraid of what I could do if they didn't so I kept it all to myself. All the while, one of my friends actually notice the changes and she has been with me through and through. :) Yes, life is worth living. There will always be hardships, but as they say "There's a rainbow always after the rain. :)"

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