Sunday is World Suicide Prevention Day.
How sad is it that we need such a thing?
In the 1980s and ’90s people were very concerned with the rate of suicide in teens. It might be that one of the reasons was even after half a century people still remembered the trauma of being a teenager. As if trying to find your place in the world is not difficult enough, the chemical malfunction we call puberty can be enough to fry anyone’s receptors.
Growing up is a challenge even on the best of days. So many young people know very few good days, it made the spirits of those who also suffered ache with the need to be aware of the delicate nature of innocence.
More importantly in being aware of those moments when such delicacy is crushed, they took time to teach the youngest in schools the importance of emotions and how to deal with them. Although some may complain about the maturing generations, they tend towards a sensitivity towards others as well as themselves.
They even show sensitivity towards the elderly, a group who are often forgotten about when it comes to feelings.
Raised in an era when it was both considered inappropriate to talk about feelings, as well as maintaining personal independence, when the latter begins to fail the former may become out of control as well.
In addition to declining assistance with both mental and physical decline, elderly suicides can often be disguised as accidents due to age or forgetfulness.
These individuals may have buried loved ones, lost their inability to care for their own basic needs, and often have found themselves to be such a burden to the family that remains that they no longer even receive visits.
It is not only the elderly who suffer because of the expectations of the society they grew up in.
Although many people still feel such a pressure to provide for their families that the loss of a job can lead to suicide, so do other expectations.
Women who are infertile can feel that they have not fulfilled their societal role.
People who have never been in legal trouble and find themselves on the wrong end of a police encounter can become desperate.
Very young children who receive their first grade lower than an “A” have been known to attempt suicide.
People whose religion tell them they cannot do something they feel called to do, such as divorce an abusive spouse, can find themselves thinking the unthinkable.
Individuals who can think of no other way out of the crushing feeling they are experiencing usually lead to thoughts of suicide.
The thing is, those thoughts don’t have to lead to actions.
All it takes is one breath at a time.
Just keep breathing, and remember you are not alone.
We also need to remember how our words and actions can affect others. Sometimes it takes knowing someone to change the way we understand the world.
If we start by listening, both to ourselves and to others, we might be able to impact the numbers in this unthinkable tragedy that impacts so many of our own friends and neighbors.
Even a stranger can be touched by what they hear us say. We cannot know everyone who sees everything we do. We can know that we made the effort to be more aware, to speak in kindness, and to share our successes.
As people gather at the Peace Pole from 9 to 10 a.m. on Sunday to recognize the sanctity of the spirit within each one of us that cannot be replaced, I encourage each of you to think about a way that you can help.
Maybe you need to speak up, or maybe you should make it a point to be quiet. Follow whatever kindness you are called to do, to help eliminate thoughts of suicide.
Beanie Taylor is a staff reporter for The Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.