‘’When people kill themselves, they think they’re ending the pain, but all they’re doing is passing it on to those they leave behind’’ – Jeannette Walls
I’ll be honest; when I was asked to write this article, I wasn’t sure what to write on. Suicide prevention has always been an issue I hold close to my heart. However, I was uncertain as to whether I wanted to address such a personal topic on a public forum. As I was still deciding, I googled ‘’suicide quotes’’ and the above quotation appeared. And I can safely say, I have never related to something so deeply in my entire life.
Suicide is not something you always see coming. You have no idea what thoughts are being entertained in another person’s mind and you have no way of knowing when those thoughts may claim centre stage and manifest into action. It is impossible to look at the outward appearance of a person and ascertain the internal workings of their mind.
I know that when most people think of depression they picture a social recluse; a person isolating themselves from friends and family. They picture a man or woman progressively missing lectures, social gatherings or handing in assignments further and further past the due date. Society has moulded us to believe that the depression can only manifest through a visibly broken individual. However, this breakdown can sometimes be invisible. Invisible to the point where they seem to be living the best versions of themselves. Where they seem to have their school life, work life and social life under control, even though they cannot hold back the tears behind closed doors.
Let me paint you a picture of my late sister. Imagine an A+ student. Imagine an extrovert running in more social circles that you can count. Imagine a teenager with the world at her fingertips. Does she seem depressed? No. Was she? Yes.
I encourage you to not only see people as their outward appearance they present to the world, but to move past that and to dig deeper into their minds to see if they are as happy and cheerful as they seem to be. With R U OK? day occurring recently, I implore you to sit down and have a conversation with those closest to you. Even if it proves trivial, and that they really do have it all together, at least you are assured of that fact and have extended a helping hand.
Furthermore, to those who are reading this article and who are unfortunately in the same boat as me, you should know; you are not at fault. While it might seem impossible to accept that right now, you must stand firm in the fact that you are not to blame. Hindsight is 20/20, and while you may look to the past and pick apart at every minute sign that you now wish you considered more deeply, you need to realise that there was nothing visibly wrong. Nothing visibly alarming. Which is exactly why we must ask everyone the simple question; are you ok?
If this piece has brought up any issues that may be affecting you, you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, or find out more at www.beyondblue.org.au/