Are you thinking of hurting yourself? Are you thinking of killing yourself? These are very tough questions to ask someone. They are questions that NEED to be asked though. You also need to be prepared to hear an answer you may not like and be prepared to take whatever action is necessary.
A common misconception is that asking these questions will put the idea into someone’s head. That is not true. The idea is already there if they are contemplating suicide or self-harm. The person you ask may become defensive or upset, perhaps even angry at you for asking such a question. That’s ok. If you have asked the questions then obviously something is going on that made you ask. This can be a way to open the door to communication and let them know that you recognize that they are going through something. It will give you a chance to lend an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on and offer words of encouragement. It can also give you a chance to help the person find the resources they need to help them get through whatever is bothering them. NOT asking these questions could be a matter of life or death.
Hope Matters– When you reach the point that suicide seems like the best option, you have lost all hope. Things seem so dark and you feel so alone. Perhaps you have tried to talk to a family member, friend or loved one. You feel like no one understands how you feel or what you are going through. It is hard to find the words to express how empty you feel, how alone and hopeless things have become. You may hear things like “you’re strong, you’ll be fine” or “just shake it off, you’re just depressed”. Maybe you have always been seen as the strong one; the one that could handle anything and be unbreakable. The one that has always had to be strong for everyone else. Your family and friends know this and see this. You’re the rock. That can make it even harder to admit when you have lost all hope and are feeling suicidal. It can also make it hard for those close to you to really hear you and what you are going through. If people do hear you they probably will not know how to respond. You may hear things like “suicide is selfish”, “think about what it will do to your family”, “things aren’t really that bad”, “things could be so much worse”, “look at so and so-they have it so much worse than you do and they are ok”….the list can go on and on. None of these responses are helpful to someone that has lost all hope. When hope is gone, the light that used to shine within a person is so very dim that they can no longer see it. The pain and emptiness, the darkness and hurt, the voice that tells you that you suck and are no good, the feeling of worthlessness, loneliness, doubt and helplessness…hopelessness.
That is what we want to help prevent.