Men and suicide

A morbid topic I know, but nevertheless one that really needs to be spoken about and understood by all. So I get that some people think it is an act of cowardice, it is a sin, it is unforgivable and you will go straight to hell for it. At the same time it is very much a part of life today. You are confronted with issues, worries and fears that you clearly don’t know how to get a grip on and the next most logical step is to remove yourself, while falsely thinking that everything will then be just fine.

Sorry to tell you this, but it won’t…issues and problems are such an integral part of human life and there is no getting away from it all together. You are not the problem; your choices might be what create the problems, your dysfunctional family unit might have contributed, or it could have come directly from your genetic makeup, but it is not YOU, because you are just a vessel, put temporarily on this earth to experience, create and learn. Yes look around you, so many people seem to have a grip on things, seem to have such an easy life…but that is their reality that they have created for themselves and your reality is completely different. You cannot compare your life to someone else’s and then make the assumption that they don’t have problems or that they have never faced death…

Let me share some statistics with you; yes I know; I also hate it when people want to throw statistics at me, but looking at the figures just helps to put everything into perspective where this matter is concerned; so that you can see that you are not alone in your thoughts about suicide. Suicide is actually recognised by WHO as a global health priority. Because of our rapidly changing society the expectations of earlier years on men seem to pale in comparison to what is expected of them today.

  • Depression will be the main form of disability by 2030.
  • 10% of all people will become depressed at some point in their lifetime, according to WHO.
  • 5 times more men will succeed in their aim to commit suicide than women.
  • 8000 South Africans die by suicide each year – which is 667 deaths per month – which gives you 1 death per hour.
  • 800 000 people die annually by suicide worldwide.
  • Suicide was the main leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds, worldwide in 2015.
  • For every successful suicide recorded there are 20 attempts.
  • Currently someone, somewhere in the world dies by suicide every 40 seconds. WHO predicts that by 2020 1.5million people will die every year from suicide. That is one death every 20 seconds.
  • According to NIMSS suicide accounts for 10% of all non-natural deaths in SA.

Guys this is some scary stuff and right this moment someone is busy killing themselves over something that probably could have been sorted out if they only had the freedom to ask for help!!

What is the main cause of suicide in SA?

  • Money issues
  • Marital/family problems
  • Academic/career stress
  • Stress in general
  • Depression
  • Mental disorder – such as a mood disorders

These are just a few of the triggers that could lead to suicide, and it is important to know that it could even be a combination of the above triggers. It could be one significant traumatic event or many smaller events in your life.

I too thought that I would be judged as weak if I spoke about my issues or sought professional help. My dad was very clear on how he felt about ‘shrinks’ and ‘head doctors’, he believed that they created problems in people’s heads that weren’t there before and where not real, just to make money. He believed a man sorts his own issues out and there is no room for emotions and shit like that, a man does what he must do, full stop. Anger was the only accepted emotion for a man because it was the driving force that allowed him to fight his way through issues.

The fact of the matter is that severe depression, more than one attempted suicide episode and a plethora of other issues that I have carried around with myself for so many years was all part of my journey in this life. I know today that I have nothing to be ashamed of for asking for help, and I don’t wait until I am falling to pieces either. If you are someone that suffers from depression you know the signs and you understand the triggers – and if you don’t yet know this, then you need to start figuring it out – so that you do something before you are in trouble. I had no issue to phone up my psychologist and tell her that I am struggling and needed to see her. On the contrary…it is a very empowering act of self-care and self-love, both vitally important components to creating a happy and balanced life!!

I am sorry, but that piece in the bible that says you must love your neighbour as yourself, I think most people misunderstand that. To me it is saying that in order to love your neighbour you must first love yourself. If you don’t know what love is, how it feels and what it looks like then how can you give it to someone else? You cannot look after other people if you are not whole because all you are going to do is break the next person too.

Guys, it is time to man up and to take responsibility for ourselves, our bodies, our minds and our lives. We are here on earth to experience the wonders of love, happiness and connectedness with other significant people that cross our paths, you cannot see and experience jack shit if you are not in a place of self-awareness!!

Did I always know this??? Hell no…it took me years before I realised that that I needed to open my eyes and look around me… I needed to learn to recognise those people who were part of my journey and who were adding value to my life and to me as an individual. It all happened in a flash yes – the last 6months actually – but the process took very long and I can only say that it has being the most incredible journey until now, so much so that I look forward to each new day and to each new adventure with excitement .

Will I ever attempt suicide again??? Not on your life, I have developed a love and an appreciation for life that I never thought possible. I will also never judge people who do commit suicide because the path leading up to it is extremely lonely and everything hurts ten times more than you could imagine… all I can tell those fellow travellers is that there is help available. If you are afraid to take the first step, then start right here by sending me an email and just chatting openly and freely.

Stay well

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