Today my topic is “Suicidal Behavior Prevention: My Letter to You Struggling with Self-Harm”. It’s 1am and sleep has eluded me. I have been staying away from this topic for almost 8 months. I don’t know how to address it but i feel the vital thing is to convey the message regardless. Please do indulge me by concentrating on the topic rather than the construct and please share with as many friends, colleagues as you can because suicide is becoming an option to more people than we want to believe and worse still, an option no one would ever own up to having considered. When life throws it’s pressures at you, the mind wanders. Please do not be tempted to believe that suicide is the reserve of the mentally weak man or woman. It’s not. I have spoken to lawyers, doctors, professors, artisans and housewives who are suicidal. If i was honest to myself, that’s one of the hardest cases to handle as a psychotherapist, counselor, pastor, imam etc. Simply because a life hangs in the balance. This simply happens when people are experiencing more pain or sadness than they can cope with at the present.
Unhappiness comes in trickles, you may never know it’s there until it creeps up on you and then overwhelms. Please seek medical or professional help immediately if you are considering on actually acting on a suicidal thought. Call the Nigerian Suicide Hotline Hotlines: 234 806 210 6493, 234 809 210 6493 BUT if you do not want to explain too much, please call my office on “+234 810 905 5475″ and say “It’s a Suicide Case”. No one would ask any further questions but instead they will connect you with assistance immediately. We have handled over eighty suicide cases in the past 4 years and i believe we may be able to help you navigate the pain.
Understanding the Suicidal Mind?
Over the years,I’ve come to understand that the mind of the suicidal man or woman is a painfully dark place and unique to each individual.
“Therapists have lost cases because they attempted to engage client 2’s issues by applying a solution that worked for client 1. Every case is unique and you must listen with your ears but observe with your entire being”.
Do not attempt to enter it if you do not understand it. You hold the single source of hope (light) in this darkness and the moment the victim loses sight of your light or your hope goes out, You could loose a life. Beyond loosing a life lies something torturous even for you as a psychotherapist. You could get trapped in the dark. So please do not engage the maze if you cannot see it through. This is one of the reasons therapists need therapy because it sometimes could be a lonely job with little avenues for expression.
From this point onward, i will be writing directly to you, the one struggling with Suicidal Thoughts.There is HOPE.
Before you Entertain Suicidal Thoughts or actually proceed on it, Listen to Me;
Remember that feeling you had as a child before you became aware of life, it’s pressures, shame, disappointments etc? You can feel it again. I found out in my own life that most problems we face are temporary, there’s always a solution if we allowed time work it’s magic on us. Time reveals and time heals. Your current pain, shame, disappointment and anger is a temporary situation but suicide is permanent.
You know that the loneliness, anger, shame, guilt or whatever reason that’s making you consider suicide is nothing compared to the pain someone will feel knowing you chose to take your life rather than speak to them. Maybe that could even be your intention. To cause pain, shame or at least leave this world in a way that would make someone even look in your direction for once like you mattered. People can be nasty and self-centered but no one is perfect. Not even you. If you also check well, you may have been the source of some other persons pain. If that was your reason for contemplating suicide, imagine the relief you will feel asking them for forgiveness. That joy is what makes us human, that joy is what makes us better. If no one else wants to speak with you, i want to speak with you (+234 810 905 5475). I have spoken to lots of people in your situation before and trust me when i tell you “There is ALWAYS a SOLUTION”. If You do not want to call but prefer writing, that’s also fine. Send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and i will respond to it.
There are a lot of happy things i can show you about your life that we can hold on to until this current feeling goes away. You have it better than most people and your absence from this life will leave a void no one else can fill. We need to speak but i need you alive to be able to speak to you.
Here are a few things i need you to do;
Please Throw Away Dangerous Items or Substances You Were Thinking of Using- I’m afraid saying this to you so you do not get angry and decide to go ahead but i will say it. “No one deserves to go out or be discovered in an undignified way after suicide”. Please remove every item and make this call. If it would cost you a whole lot calling, Simply download Skype and add me on templesector7 or call the number via whatsapp.
This is Not a Time to Use Alcohol or Drugs – Using any of these would only make the pain worse, You should be getting out your phone to make that call that would change your life for good. Everything good sometimes starts with a little step. Your move is making that call. I would love to speak with you. My best and most sincere conversations have been with people struggling with thoughts of self harm. In an uncanny way, i seem to understand them
Stay Hopeful, It’s not The End – Like i said to you earlier on, regardless of the situation that made you feel like giving up on life, it can be fixed. Stay hopeful and soon your hope will become thankfulness. When it becomes thankfulness, please don’t forget to extend this hope to other people who need it because you have become an Alumni of the Institute of Pain (🤣🤣🤣.. ok ok.. i know its a serious discussion but i couldn’t help it). This is experience that you will help others with like i’m doing for you today.
Understand Your Trigger – I need you to please do something for me before we speak or you call the suicide hotline in your country if you are open to it. Please write down three things, that make you think of harming yourself. This would help me or anyone else understand your plight better. Socrates said “Man (woman too), Know Thyself” and this is powerful if you ask me. Once you know what makes you think that way, we can begin solving it immediately.
I am waiting for your call (+234 810 905 5475).
With your Permission, Let’s Speak to Every Other Person;
In the uncertain times we find ourselves, a higher percentage of people we all know are susceptible to self-harm. Here are some other risk factors that could also contribute to suicidal thoughts:
- Constant abuse without a solution
- Witnessing abuse and being engulfed with hopelessness
- Unsatisfactory Career Life
- Diagnosis of a Life threatening medical condition
- Exposing Yourself to Suicidal Behavior
- Extreme Emotions (Guilt, Shame, Anger, Envy etc)
Fact #1 Research has shown that males are more prone to suicide than women. However women are more prone to having suicidal thoughts.
HOW DOES A SUICIDAL THOUGHT BEGIN
“Most suicide cases would agree that one of the main triggers for them is solitude and lack of acceptance by other people (I believe you are still reading. If these two are part of your list, please add them).”
Other reasons i have noticed as causative reasons are not being able to identify with a gender, battling religious beliefs, battling sexual orientation privately etc.
Like i said before, don’t make a permanent decision based on a temporary problem. Whatever the issue is, we can navigate it with you. Seek out a professional nearest to you and speak with them. 98% of suicide cases that finally got the help they needed ended up being thankful and i know you will definitely be part of this statistic. Do not battle this feeling alone because there are professionals (medical doctors, psychotherapists, counselors, psychologists, pastors, imams…. the list goes on) who are waiting for you to just say the word.
“We won’t allow you take your own life because it means something to US”
The good news is that formerly suicidal Individuals have been able to overcome suicidal thoughts and live full, happy lives. You definitely are one of those who i will add to this number. You won’t die today, not on our watch, Your life is beautiful and there’s something on this earth only you can do.As always, i hope this piece on “Suicidal Behavior Prevention: My Letter to You Struggling with Self-Harm” helped someone. If you are struggling with a toxic relationship and would love to talk about it, You know how to reach me. Don’t wait until it affects your career, family life or more before seeking help.
Written by Obike Temple.
Temple Obike is a licensed marriage and family therapist, speaker, author and psychotherapist who has counseled over one thousand, two hundred clients comprising of couples, individuals, abuse victims (substance, physical, emotional and sexual) and grief-stricken clients. With over 70,000 in-counseling minutes (1,000+ hours) accrued in practice. He runs his private psychotherapy & counseling practice out of Lagos, Nigeria and has counseling centers in Abuja and Port-Harcourt. His practice also provides options for both online and on-site services.
His private practice has positively empowered lives through his online counseling, podcasts, free advisory services and free online materials. Readership of his articles also receive a growing number of visitors alongside subscriptions to his email newsletter at templeobike.com. His passion for empowering and uncovering the secrets to lifelong marriages and personal development led to his new book titled “Soul Bodega” available on amazon and across other online and traditional stores.
Never give up on yourself! You are a journey happening through various destinations.