It is unlikely that we will ever know what causes someone to think that ending their own life is an option. If we don’t hear that cry, it may be that we will never know why they took their own life. It’s important that we don’t ignore someone who says, “I cannot go on.” LWOS.Life looks at why this is so important.
I Cannot Go On: Never Ignore the Threat of Suicide
We often hear about the pain that someone’s suicide can cause those left behind. I experienced suicide when, tragically, one of my best friends took his own life in 1998. It is still an event that upsets me and confuses me. Until I had counselling it made me feel angry. Why didn’t he talk to me, to anyone? Only one person will ever know that answer and he is not here to provide the answer. All I, his many friends, and his family can do is remember him and celebrate his short life.
“I Just Want It to End”
It is not uncommon for someone with a mental illness to say they no longer want to go on. This may be said at the height of a manic episode or in the throws of depression. It is possible that those around that person may take little notice or consider it a case of “the little boy who cried wolf.” That is why it is so important for people to have suicide prevention training. That one time we don’t listen may be the time when tragedy strikes. Never ignore someone who says, “I cannot go on.”
“Suicide is Selfish”
The three words above are considered common in response to suicide. In some ways, the sentiment is understandable. I have twice come close to losing my own life via suicide and in hindsight feel that I was being selfish. I felt so much pain and felt so worthless that I did not for one moment stop to consider my partner, my family, and my friends. At that moment the only thing that felt “right” was taking my own life.
However, although suicide includes an element of selfishness, that is not all that is involved. I have been asked whether I really intended to take my own life, especially after my second experience with suicide, when I was taken to hospital.
And it is one of the hardest questions I have ever been asked because I can answer both “yes” and “no.” Yes, because at that moment I had no perception of risk, no thought of self preservation. No, because when I was found alive and well, I was glad I was still alive. It is hard to fully describe what was going through my mind during those periods, but had my partner not contacted the police, it is possible I would not be able to write this article today.
A Friendly Ear is a Lifesaving Ear
If you hear someone say, “I cannot go on,” don’t ignore them. It may be a vocal cry for help; it may also be a cry of despair from someone in untold pain who believes there is only one way to cure their problem.
Talk, listen, support, and care. We can do these things to make sure when someone says, “I cannot go on,” they are given the proper support and shown that they are cared for.
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