“But It felt like a judgement to me! How it sounds like doesn’t matter; it’s how I feel! Remember your talk on suicide intervention? You said the key is to listen non-judgmentally! Maybe that’s the care I need!”
“Well, actually, it wasn’t. They’ve known her suicidal behaviour. She’s attempted twice before, and when she succeeded, it was at her aunt’s house. They thought she’d be safe with the constant watch of her aunt.”
“Have you heard of the guy in Japan who opened a cafe next to the mountain cliff? He did that so he could offer coffee to those considering jumping. There are so many ways to help. You don’t need years of knowledge on cohort studies or comparative analysis to start.”
“No, I’m totally surprised. You just seem so normal! Wait, was that offensive? Sorry, but please don’t take it the wrong way. And man, I can’t imagine, overcoming that must have been a hell of life experience.”
“What? Suicide? But people here have such a relaxing lifestyle without stresses from work, why would they want to kill themselves? They look happy!”
When both sides lower their guards and choose to share, they connect honestly. Many, however, would rather not risk the shame, insecurity and embarrassment, because the truth is many of us do judge. We prefer to separate ourselves from those who are “abnormal.”
“I think your sister is suicidal. Please don’t tell your parents. I don’t think she’d want your parents to know. I’ve tried to calm her down and she sounded better on the phone, but I thought I should tell you at least.”
I was reminded of the time when I stayed home for 5 days straight without seeing or talking to another soul. It may not sound like much but the aftermath of self-isolation scared me into a frenzy.
“I don’t know. All I know is that I can’t go to the kitchen. I can’t look at knifes right now. I’m also afraid to look at the balcony window. I’ve been gripping this chair in the den for 10 minutes already to calm down.”
He enjoys math and statistic but has trouble keeping up with school attendance. I have asked about his tendency to skip lectures. It was not easy for him to put those thoughts into words. Perhaps he also did not really understand it. At the time, he had already been in college for 8 years.