Thoughts of suicide are common in people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and other mental illnesses, or who are going through hardship in life. Although suicidal ideations are fairly common, they do not in and of themselves indicate that a person will actually commit suicide. That does not, however, mean they should be ignored. Even if a person is claiming thoughts of suicide “just to get attention,” those claims should always be listened to and responded to with compassion, care, and support–preferably in-person support. Ignoring suicidal “cries for attention” can lead to actual suicide.Responding can be as simple as sitting in a room with the person, holding them, sleeping near them, or giving them a hug. If you can’t be physically with them, phone calls or texts are the next best solution. But this is in response to suicidal feelings and ideations. If someone is truly suicidal, then being left alone is never an appropriate response (unless, of course, you hope for that person to die–let’s hope there’s nobody out there whose friends and family actually want them to die).
Letting go is hard. When my mom was a young teenager, her family left Cuba in disgrace. In 1966, the Revolution was over, Fidel Castro was in power, and many of the changes that would prove him a ruthless dictator were already taking place. My grandparents were both teachers–intellectuals were reviled in communist Cuba because they were considered among the most outspoken against the new regime. Before she left, my mom saw signs posted around the campus where her father taught, declaring him a traitor. The government seized their house, and they were only able to bring two suitcases among the five of them. I’ve never seen a picture of my mom as baby for this reason. On the airplane, she had to surrender her Cuban passport for refugee admissions to the United States. To this day, she has never again set foot in Cuba.
Have you ever decided you needed more positivity in your life, so you go through your social media accounts and purge anyone whose posts read as antagonistic, depressing, or negative in any way? Maybe you also dropped that friend who was always angry, or who never wanted to go out with you? If you’ve never done this, I guarantee you know someone who has. Deleting or ghosting people with negative vibes has become a really popular way of embracing positivity. Problem is, it’s actually one of the most unhealthy things you can do. Continue reading →