They spoke for three hours. Something was weighing on his mind. He was devastated by the number of suicides which he had experienced within his community over the last couple of years. As they shared their experiences, they both realized that between the two of them, they knew of almost twenty people who had committed suicide.
“What makes them do it?” he asked her.
“I don’t know.” she replied.
“Sometimes I think that we have not learnt how to experience emptiness within us. There are two types of emptiness – one which last for a short period and one which last for a long period which leaves a feeling of hopelessness within. Both are normal and both should be seen as healthy but sometimes people can’t cope with that feeling of emptiness.” He answered quietly.
They explored the topic from all angles – from people who have everything and seem to have no clear reason to commit suicide, to people who were stressed by financial, emotional or social challenges…but still, at the end of the conversation, he did not have an answer to justify the deliberate end of a life.
“If you had a serious problem, like debt or you had committed a crime or had been in a situation which made you feel ashamed, who would you go to?” she asked.
He bent his head and got in a pensive mood. “I have no one who could support me if I was in a serious crisis. No one has time and neither do they have the resources to support someone else. We are all busy trying to hold our own stuff together.” he replied.
The conversation left a heavy feeling in the air. His body shifted uncomfortably. As she looked closer at him, she saw the sadness in his eyes. She suddenly became alerted to the unspoken message within the room. He was close to the edge himself. As he pondered on the grief of others, his own grief of trying to hold it together for so long by himself was beginning to crumble. The tears welled in his eyes and as they streamed down his face. His sobbing was unstoppable. “I am sorry.” he apologized between the sheets of tissue. “It is so hard to keep it all in sometimes. Just having anyone to listen to relieve the emptiness is so important. I don’t have a problem which I can name. I have an emptiness in me which seems to be going on forever. I wonder if it is that emptiness which swallows our spirit for living?”
We often think that problems need a diagnosis. Maybe most do. But what if it is just this nagging feeling that won’t go away? What if the only way to get through it, is to talk long enough? What if the problem may never be fixed? Depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress, stress, inability to cope with life, cannot always be seen on someone’s face. We may not have the answer to why someone commits suicide and there are some things which we may never understand in this lifetime.
My simple explanation is that it is simply their exit point from this lifetime. However, don’t underestimate the power of a conversation today! You may just be that lifeline to someone. Also, don’t forget to seek support when that feeling of emptiness seems to be taking away your spirit for living fully.