Suicide: It’s Ok to talk

For those familiar with my blogs, you’ll know I usually end with Get healthy. Eat smart. Train smart. Not so today. There’s much more to life than eating and training smart. There’s life itself…

Time for truth. I’ve been indifferent to social media. Facebook, twitter etc. just weren’t my huckleberry. I preferred keeping my stuff to myself, sharing only to those close and didn’t feel the need to globally broadcast my latest eating escapade, holiday selfie or where and when I drank my coffee. I was critical too. Voicing that social media is intimacy overload. It’s the digital equivalent of nosey neighbour Mrs Kravitz, I’d half joke, renouncing its prying existence and equally renouncing those so seemingly emotionally invested in it that they just have to reply to every post or message within half a nanosecond. It’s only recent that seeking to self-promote own business, I’ve kinda changed my tune. I do want an audience. I do want people to know some of my stuff. Just some. Kinda hypocritical, huh?

A recent Facebook post, courtesy of my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor and training partner, made me stop and rethink my huckleberry. Which is a big ask some would say. The post’s focus was the deadly serious issue of male suicide. After reading the short message, my critical clouds cleared just a little. Maybe social media isn’t all bad. Maybe he/she/it can be more than celebrity gossip, an e-spreader of commerce and an insensitive vehicle for teen bullying and slut-shaming. Maybe he/she/it can open our eyes, raise awareness and perhaps help those in real need too.

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Suicide

Sometimes you think you know someone and then you don’t. Is that the type of thought process you have when someone you know suicides? Raw disbelief? Shock? Gosh, I never saw that coming. Thankfully, I don’t know of anyone terribly close who has taken their life.

Disturbingly, it’s far from uncommon. I do know of work colleagues and acquaintances who’ve lost partners, lost teens and lost adult offspring. Lost souls forever lost. The facts and stats of the uncomfortable truth that people just can’t deal with life are sad reading.

In 2014, there was an average of 7.8 deaths by suicide (male and female) In Australia every day. The highest number in over a decade.

Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15-44, eclipsing coronary heart disease, road accidents, cancer. For men aged, 40 to 44 years, 18.3% of deaths are attributable to taking to one’s own life.

Answers? I don’t have. Questions I do. What is this dark place of the human condition where perceived hopelessness invades and consumes virus like, and those infected with the fatalistic view that suicide is the only solution make and take the dying and final solution?

What are we doing as a cultural collective that so many are disconnected and then lost to this real killer? I don’t know. I don’t know why we do the things we do. I don’t know lots of things. What I do know and believe is that it’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help. Don’t suffer in agonising, lonely silence. And it’s not imposing or overstepping to ask another if they need your shoulder. We can’t all be granite, capable of withstanding the fire-storms that life can hurl at us. Go ahead and make a connection. It’s OK to talk.

PS. Finishing on a light note, this Mrs. Kravitz didn’t survive her flames and won’t be prying again soon.

You can read more about the it’s OK to Talk campaign here

If you need support you can call: Lifeline 13 11 14, Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467, Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800, MensLine 1300 78 99 78.

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