We need to be aware of people around us who have lost the choice to be happy
THIS week wasn’t a great week. For a variety of trivial reasons, none of which really matter. I moped around for a few days feeling sorry myself, the kind of self-indulgent carry-on you do, when your life is actually pretty ok.
Then I heard that two young men of my acquaintance had taken their own lives in two separate incidents. That kind of tragedy puts everything in perspective.
And because it seems so incomprehensible, the first question people almost always ask is ‘why?’ Sometimes there isn’t an answer. From my limited knowledge, I would say people don’t choose to feel suicidal. Do you not think if someone had a choice they would prefer to be happy than sad? Sometimes you don’t have a choice. Sometimes you just are.
We all have bad days. We all feel pissed off and fed up at times. But then the next day isn’t so bad. And the day after that is a bit better. I think that’s fairly normal. For others it isn’t so easy. We all know someone who just can’t seem to snap out of the darkness no matter how hard they try. They want to, Oh My God they want to but for whatever reason they are stuck.
There has been a lot of talk about suicide awareness in recent times. Personally I don’t think we need to raise awareness of suicide. There is a huge awareness of suicide in Ireland, we have one of the highest rates in Europe. It is rife, especially amongst men. Men who suffer the darkness in silence, afraid to ask for help. We are all painfully conscious of it. But that doesn’t solve the problem.
And to be honest I don’t know what will. It’s an extremely complex issue. Investing in our mental health services would go some way towards addressing the problem. Educating our young people to help them recognise the signs in themselves and in others.
What we do need to be aware of is the people around us who have lost the choice to be happy. And instead of telling them to cheer up or snap out of it, just reach out and let them know you’re there. You may not be able to solve all their problems or make them smile but you can sit beside them, in silence if needs be and just be there for them.
And sometimes it is the ones with the biggest smiles who hide the biggest pain. Remember that too. the terrifyingly good actors who are even able to fool themselves most of the time, that they are fine. The only time the facade comes down is at 4 am when they lie awake alone, wrestling with their demons.
I just want to say you are not alone. You are never alone. Please believe that.
INSTEAD OF TELLING THOSE WHO ARE DOWN TO CHEER UP OR SNAP OUT OF IT, JUST REACH OUT AND LET THEM KNOW YOU’RE THERE