You phone a friend and while talking, you notice she sounds really down. You think about the last few weeks and realize she has not been herself lately. Is she going into one of her depressions again? You think "why can't she just be happy?" Then you feel guilty and wonder if you should go to her. But truthfully, you just don't have the time today.
We all know people who have "off" days. But sometimes people struggle with more "off" days than not. Often, we are frustrated because we do not know how to help. We might even wonder "is she thinking suicide" but we are too afraid to ask. So we do nothing.
Studies show we hold many myths about suicide. One popular myth is...don't ask about suicide because then we will give the person the idea and they will do it. The fact is, we don't like to talk about suicide. We treat it like a 4-letter word...like the elephant in the room. But suicide happens. It has been part of the human condition since the beginning of time. In fact, in 399 BC, Socrates was the earliest known case of alleged suicide. After being accused of impiety and disobedience, he was sentenced to death. However, he embraced death by willingly drinking the poison.
Throughout history, the dichotomy between accepting the idea of causing one's own death and rejecting it has continued to plague society. We shift from one extreme to the other and back again. We struggle...should someone be allowed to cause their own death? What about terminal illness, euthanasia, mental illness, suffering? Actually, it was not until 1763 when Merian determined that suicide was due to mental illness.
All of these concerns play into what we deem as appropriate behavior when it comes to this interesting issue. What do you think? Let's talk about it!
Myths taken from Suicide.org
Merian information taken from Indian Council of Medical Research (2005)