Suicide-brainart2.jpg

I started this blog so I could spread the word that the Philippines has The Compassionate Friends , a grief support group for families that have lost a child or a sibling. Aside from its primary mission to assist families toward the positive resolution of grief following the death of a child of any age, it also provides information to help others be supportive. The second mission proved useful to a blogger whose friend’s sibling died of sucide. (NOTE:In my entry, Suicide:How do you say it?, ““Died of suicide” or ““died by suicide” are accurate, emotionally neutral ways to explain the death.)

What a compassionate friend she is! She took time to send me an e-mail asking my advice on how to deal with her close friend’s loss. I just told her this:

The best thing to do is just listen to her without any judgement at all. In short, just be a friend, Be there, If she wants to talk, let her talk. Listen. If you feel like crying, just cry with her. Hold her hand. Hug her. There are no words that can comfort really. Mention the loved one’s name and anecdotes if you have memories…we love to listen to stories of our loved one.

I also offered her some tips when dealing with bereaved family member or friend. True enough, just talking helped her friend and even the friend’s mother. Suicide is the most difficult topic to talk about. I know of a few suicide survivors (bereaved family members) who refuse to even say the “S” word. A trusted friend is what the suicide survivor needs in their early grief, one who is non-judgmental and compassionate. Talking helps relieve the pain.

The suicide survivor usually feels isolated and guilty for not having prevented the death one way or another. Guilt combined with incomprehension is what I think makes suicide different from any other death. It’s very hard to make any sense of it. All the Whys? and What ifs? that you can think of remain with them for such a long time. But the question remains, what causes death by suicide? Could it have been prevented?

suicide-prevention

I don’t have statistics or studies to prove that it can be prevented because there are many factors that might have caused the death (see above image). Let me just tackle one myth which is suicide ideation as a result of mental illness. These are my observations from informal discussion on the topic of mental illness and suicide.

1. There is a stigma on people who have mental illness. Heck , even some Human Resources officers frown upon job applicants and employees taking some sort of anti-depressants or mood disorder drugs. Often, these people are labelled “mentally unstable”. The fact that they are taking medicines show they are helping themselves and are less likely to be “unstable”. What is scary are the undiagnosed mentally ill persons like Charles Roberts,that milkman who killed Amish girls in a school house.

2. Oftentimes, the death was a result of a chemical imbalance that controlled the person; it was not a rational choice. Often a victim of bipolar disorder, also called manic depression, this type of depression results to drastic mood swings. They often get confused and very afraid for years before they finally give in and end their life. With the right medication and enough holisitic therapy, the mental depression can be minimized. Sometimes the medication may not even work for the patient and it’s a matter of regular visits to the psychiatrist to determine the right dose and type of medication.

3. Despair is a sin, the old folks say. Feeling gloomy, and desperate can be easily cured if one has strong spiritual faith. I don’t think so. It might help but remember, a chemically imbalanced brain isn’t wired well. “You will get over it . Don’t lose faith. Keep praying.” are often the words given to the desperate person. But God asks us to help ourselves and seek medical help.

Shame often prevents a person from seeking medical help because of this stigma towards mental illness. And even if they ask for help, the gravity of their problem is minimized as mere despair. Oh yes, I know of one death by suicide from a friend because of this reason alone.

Suicide survivors, like this blogger’s friend, will most likely struggle for many years, to find reasons why her sibling would even consider death by suicide. Were there other available options? What if one of these other options had been considered? All these questions make the grieving process last even longer. However long the process, this search for meaning, safe sharing with others and time, helps diminish the suffering. The sad fact remains that there is so much stigma surrounding death by suicide which is very regrettable. Maybe someday, a suicide survivor will discover it’s safe to share their stories with friends , families and other survivors.

Save a life. Read more on General information about suicide and suicide prevention

For Suicide Prevention Hotline in the Philippines

The Philippines’ FIRST depression and suicide prevention hotline is now open. Call 804-4673 (HOPE). Open 24/7.

If outside Manila text/call these nos: 0917-558-HOPE (4673) or 0917-852-HOPE (4673)

For Suicide Survivors Grief Support
Contact Me or read grief support articles on Suicide

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (1212 Posts)

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.


About Noemi Lardizabal-Dado

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

  • http://www.baratillo.net Juned

    I remember reading that years before RC Priests refused to officiate burial rites for those who died by suicide. And some cemeteries refused to inter the bodies of those who died by suicide. I do not know if it is true or practiced here in the Philippines. One of my great grand uncles died by suicide. As far as I know he was not denied the final rites and burial.

  • http://aboutmyrecovery.com Noemi

    @Juned- A few months ago, I was listening to our parish priest on the subject of suicide, Good thing he was a progressive priest. He said that some churches still refuse to bless deathy by suicide. The priest said how hypocritical of these priests. They bless PIGS, COWS , houses and even cars but they refuse to bless the soul of this person who died by suicide. Ugh

  • http://migs.paraz.com Migs

    Good post. I am quite familiar with the topic since I personally have bipolar disorder.

  • http://aboutmyrecovery.com Noemi

    @migz- I have a few close relatives who have this disorder and their meds are working naman for them.

  • Rusell G. Cuya

    Help!!!

  • sell

    i need help… please…

  • sherry

    My father hung himself when I was 2, I don’t even remember my father. He didn’t get to see me walk to grad. I didn’t get to have a dad walk me down the ile when i got married. I wounder everyday if he even loved me since he surely didn’t love me enough to stay alive.I suffer with deppression daily it gets harder every day as my boys get older it seems to be easer to just want to let go of the world, after all my dad did it why can’t i. and that is the saying I her myself say and i don’t want my boys to do the same, even thou living can be soooo hard for me. I Know dieing will be even worse for my boys.

  • Miguel

    I’m 15, and I study in LSQC here in Phils.
    I am currently working on the increasing rate of suicide around the world.
    Try looking for my video in YOUTUBE.

    sonatakrump is my username.
    thanks.

    PROMOTE THE MOVEMENT

  • Gel Celiz

    Hi,

    I badly need help. 3 years ago my husband left me for another woman. It hurts me so much seeing how happy they are right now and that I am still living miserably and I couldn’t take it anymore. I want them to suffer and I know this is wrong but I am using my daughter against my ex husband because that’s all I know that will really hurt him. I have been so desperate trying to threaten him and his mistress to kill myself and my daughter or to kill both of their families. I know I am becoming insane and I couldn’t help it. Yes, it has been 3 years but I couldn’t still forget the pain. I couldn’t even accept the mistakes I did that was mentioned to me by my ex husband when I asked him why he left. We both have faults but by the time that I was alone with my daughter, I just realized all the things that I should have done before when I still had my husband.

    I want them to suffer more than the pain that I have experienced. All I can think of is revenge for both of them. I know it hurts to admit that I have been living miserably and I include my daughter with my misery but I couldn’t help it. Although I am thankful that I was given a great job right now and think that I have gone farther than them but knowing how my husband is happier with that woman, how he’s so contented with his life now and how he’s been a very good provider to them than us before all because I was preventing him before to do what he really wants that would be the best for all of us because I was thinking that he’s being selfish and irresponsible of he has do things his way and I was totally wrong and mad at myself too because I was not able to give him that chance and to think that I was being selfish.

    I am mad at them and with myself at the same time. I always think that if I my daughter’s not with me? I should have killed myself already. My husband is very right and I hated so much to accept that it’s the truth. I have more time of thinking how to destroy and ruin their lives than to spend more of time with my daughter. I know what I must have to do. I go to church every Sunday and ask the Lord to take away the pain and pray for very bad karma to the people who hurt me and my daughter. All along I am thinking this is what’s right for me and my daughter even others say that it’s not but all I can think of is the right thing to do is to hurt them too. I can feel in my heart that somewhere, somehow this is very wrong but I don’t know how to stop! I need help! Please! All I can think of is to kill myself or kill them to take away the pain and hatred and bitterness in my heart!

  • =(

    It’s so sad that I am a nurse myself but I can’t relate with other people’s problem since I am clinically diagnosed too with depression.. so what now? I am stuck with this difficulty and yes, I agree with you…HRs don’t usually accept those whom have this kind of illness..

    Do anyone knows how then to move on and be like other people who can be just as normal as them???

    Is there some sort of hope for us having this?

  • http://sybdive.wordpress.com/ Midge

    I stumbled onto your blog whilst looking for Philippine helplines for people like myself who are suffering from severe clinical depression. I was under treatment for my condition a few years ago, but it didn’t quite work as the cost of both the therapy sessions and the medication were too much for me and, at the time, I lost my job because of my depression! (So you can just imagine how much worse things got from there.)

    I come from a Catholic family, so I could not get the support I needed from my parents. Both of them insisted that I was either hormonal (my mother’s idea) or that I just needed to pray more (from my father). Throw in the fact that my brother is a priest and my life has pretty much been hell on earth because people would expect me to be “perfect” all the time.

    But all that aside, I wish more Filipinos would become aware that mental health should be taken seriously: it is not fodder for numerous gag shows and soap operas, it is not a lack of spirituality, it is a true medical condition.

  • http://sybdive.wordpress.com/ Midge

    I stumbled onto your blog whilst looking for Philippine helplines for people like myself who are suffering from severe clinical depression. I was under treatment for my condition a few years ago, but it didn’t quite work as the cost of both the therapy sessions and the medication were too much for me and, at the time, I lost my job because of my depression! (So you can just imagine how much worse things got from there.)

    I come from a Catholic family, so I could not get the support I needed from my parents. Both of them insisted that I was either hormonal (my mother’s idea) or that I just needed to pray more (from my father). Throw in the fact that my brother is a priest and my life has pretty much been hell on earth because people would expect me to be “perfect” all the time.

    But all that aside, I wish more Filipinos would become aware that mental health should be taken seriously: it is not fodder for numerous gag shows and soap operas, it is not a lack of spirituality, it is a true medical condition.

  • http://sybdive.wordpress.com/ Midge

    I stumbled onto your blog whilst looking for Philippine helplines for people like myself who are suffering from severe clinical depression. I was under treatment for my condition a few years ago, but it didn’t quite work as the cost of both the therapy sessions and the medication were too much for me and, at the time, I lost my job because of my depression! (So you can just imagine how much worse things got from there.)

    I come from a Catholic family, so I could not get the support I needed from my parents. Both of them insisted that I was either hormonal (my mother’s idea) or that I just needed to pray more (from my father). Throw in the fact that my brother is a priest and my life has pretty much been hell on earth because people would expect me to be “perfect” all the time.

    But all that aside, I wish more Filipinos would become aware that mental health should be taken seriously: it is not fodder for numerous gag shows and soap operas, it is not a lack of spirituality, it is a true medical condition.

Post Navigation

Switch to our mobile site