Someone says, “I don’t want to live anymore” how do you respond?
I spent time with a young man who finds each day so difficult that he wants to die. It seems at least once a week I have such a conversation and I feel very challenged each time. In such situations, you have a person before you that has privileged you with their deepest thought though you desperately want to tell them a reason to live.
I am known for not having answers in such situations other than advising them to go to the nearest Accident and Emergency unit if it gets so bad. Yet I often wonder if someone is going to kill themselves would they bother? Unfortunately, over the years those who I have known to kill themselves have not spoken about it directly prior to the act. Difficult as it is, it is a good thing that this guy and others actually tell someone of their suicidal thoughts.
I try to be as honest as I can and that usually means I say I don’t have answers. What I do try and do is bring the person into the present moment. The individual is usually grieving a loss, the loss of status, job, contact with their kids, home, relationship and often all of these. They want life to return to how it was and they can’t live with how it is. They can’t live with how it is because there is too much pain and yet I find myself saying you are going to have to feel this pain and not resist it as the pain has to be released before life can resume.
When we are in so much pain and resist it we are holding ourselves back from living as we are continually reliving the pain because we haven’t let go, or surrendered. I feel the need to say here, “It takes one to know one.” I am not talking from a place of ‘not knowing pain’, I am well acquainted with my own pain and the challenge to, “ Let it go.”
The pain wants to deliver us from the illusions that our worth is based on anything other than the life we inhabit.