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Suicide survivor urges persons in a dark place to “hold on to hope”

TRIGGER WARNING: The following story mentions suicide and self-harm.

Having hit the lowest point in her life, a mother of one shares her journey on how she found her way back.

Jane (not her real name) had reached her breaking point and was ready to give up everything and end her life. But she found a way to hold on to life and is still moving forward day after day.

“There was no stopping for me,” Jane said, her voice thick with emotion as she held back tears, reliving the moment she attempted for the second time in her life to end it.

Jane first had thoughts of hurting herself when she started attending school in Georgetown.

Being a young girl far from her family and the Amerindian village she grew up in, far outside of the capital city, she was subjected to much bullying, which resulted in low self-esteem she still struggles with even now.

“People used to make fun of me in a joking way, but I always took that serious. During my teenage years, I always thought about it and thought I wasn’t good enough.”

“It began really small with those thoughts. And as I became 16, I began self-harming.”

'Jane' is a mother of one

“It is not something I can control even up to this day. I mean, I am much better than I was, but during those days, I couldn’t help myself. I used to always want someone around me before I do something to myself.”

She recalled that it was better in the beginning, hurting herself instead of letting people hurt her.

Local psychologist Anju Vivekanandaraj says, “It is also important to note that not all suicide or act of suicide are linked to the need for killing themselves. It can also be different other reasons; it can be just a coping mechanism.”

Jane said, “I attempted suicide about two times. The first time it wasn’t really bad; it was deep but not that bad. The second time it was really bad; I had to get stitches.

“I had my uncle, and he kind of talked me out of it.”

Psychologist Vivekanandaraj notes that there are many reasons someone may resort to suicidal thoughts or actions.

“It’s because they are, they kind of don’t find a way out of a challenge or situation they are caught up in. So, they don’t see a way out of that, and they would have tried different coping mechanisms, they would have seek different support, but then they feel helpless at a point where they see there is no way out of this and that’s why they tend to have the suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm, but that doesn’t mean that they are weak.”

Today, Jane is in a better place due to the intervention of some co-workers who urged her to seek help, and through therapy, she can keep fighting to stay alive every day.

“No matter how bad it gets, no matter how you think that you’re not getting out of the situation you’re in, you’re always gonna come out. Speaking from my experience, I was giving up. I was at my lowest point, but you’re always gonna come out if you hold on to hope. Tell yourself it’s gonna be okay. The more you tell yourself it’s gonna be okay; it’s gonna be okay.”

Vivekanandaraj says it is important to normalise open discussions about mental health struggles and gives advice on how to approach someone you know if you have concerns about them.

“Start with a few questions. A few simple questions like ‘how are you feeling?’. It’s okay to ask, ‘Do you have any thoughts of harming or killing yourself?’ which is completely okay to ask those questions. So, start with a few simple questions and show that you have a genuine concern towards them. And make sure wherever you approach them, make sure that place is something that the other person feels comfortable with.”

If you or anyone you know is depressed and possibly contemplating suicide, kindly contact the Guyana Inter-agency Suicide Helpline on 223-0001, 223-0009, 223-0818, or 600-7896, 623-4444.


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