Tuesday, 14 August 2012

NEVER give up on life

     Thinking of ending it all? You and millions of others.
       According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are approximately a million deaths from suicides every year, with one suicide every 40 seconds - a rate that’s predicted to rise to one death every 20 seconds by 2020! In the UK alone, the Samaritans deal with nearly 5 million people every year and are contacted by someone with suicidal feelings every 57 seconds. Mental illness accounts for some 90% deaths worldwide, while one in four youths suffer some form of depression before reaching adulthood. Even more disturbing is that, in a third of countries, people at highest risk are in the 15-44 age range.

Why do so many young people want to end it all?
       Let’s face it, the world is not an easy place to live in right now, especially for youngsters who feel the pressures of life more keenly. Fed by unrealistic expectations, teenagers are particularly prone to negative thoughts, intense feelings of worthlessness and unwarranted guilt. The media are not much help. Dire forecasts, harsh living conditions, economic downturns, climate change, natural disasters, poverty, famine, wars, crime and violence are constantly in the news. Gloom and doom predominate.
       Of course, it’s only natural to worry about what’s happening in the world, to care about the sufferings of others. Empathy is a wonderful virtue, yet if you allow injustices and cruelty to crush your spirit, you’re no use to yourself, let alone anyone else.
       On a personal level, many youths struggle with family problems such as divorce, exam failure, the loss of a friend or relative or even a beloved pet. Some are devastated by unrequited love or the break up of a romance. And, sadly, too many kids have experienced some kind of abuse – verbal, physical or sexual – all guaranteed to damage self-esteem.
       Are any of these problems familiar to you? Do you wrestle with the meaning of life? Is there a purpose? Is this all there is? If so, what’s the point?
Antidotes to negative emotions
       Like many young people today, you may feel utterly helpless at times. Like being at the bottom of a deep black pit from which you can’t see any way out. If you feel worthless and unloved, here are a few basic steps to take:
Talk to someone - a parent, a teacher, a trusted friend. Sharing your feelings will provide relief, as voicing these openly may help you put them in perspective. Another person can also suggest practical ways to alleviate or even solve your problems. And, just by listening, he or she can show that someone understands just what you’re going through.
Seek medical advice - Around 90% of suicides are due to mental illness, particularly depression, which is nothing to be ashamed of, just a medical condition caused by a chemical imbalance which could be easily put right. Or you may be referred to a psycho-therapist who can identify the root of your anxieties.
Ask questions – Make a list of questions to ask your parents or doctor. Knowing what you’re dealing with is half the battle.
Write it down - Putting problems on paper can organise your thoughts, help you rationalise situations and minimise their effects.
Pray - People who believe in God seem to have fewer mental problems than those who don’t. Prayer is a powerful weapon against humans’ most merciless adversary - despair. Just knowing there’s someone who knows you, who can read your every thought and loves you anyway is a great comfort when you’re frightened and distressed. As one ex-soldier said: “There are no atheists in the trenches!”
Don’t isolate yourself - Sure, when you’re down you need space to meditate and cry. But your mind needs a break! Force yourself to mix with other people who can help you forget your problems for a while. Go for a walk - fresh air and exercise are wonderful antidotes to depression. Fill your mind with pleasant and upbuilding things – sports, hobbies, family, friends, wholesome entertainment. Whatever you do, don’t wallow in morbid films, violent online games or aggressive music. Look for the beauty in life, not the horror.
Count your blessings – Think of at least one blessing in your life – everyone has at least ONE. A loving family, loyal friends, good health, a talent for sports, music or other activity; the wonders of science or nature – anything in fact which makes you feel happy. And by accentuating the positives, you can eliminate the negatives!
Think about others – Try to imagine how those close to you would feel if you did anything drastic. The grief, the guilt, the lifetime of unbearable sadness. Could you really put them through that?
Remember this awful darkness WILL pass - just as a grey cloud eventually opens up to reveal the sun behind it. Life is like that. Nothing stays the same. Although problems may seem overwhelming, be patient, ride them out and you’ll often find them being solved in ways you’d never have imagined.
How to help a friend
       If one of your friends seems to be unnaturally low and may be contemplating suicide, then insist that they talk to someone. And if they don’t, YOU talk to someone, either their parents, a teacher or another person who can be trusted. Don’t feel you’re betraying your friend; on the contrary, you may save their life. After all, few people really want to die – they just want to stop their torment.
Warning signs
·         Feelings of worthlessness or being unloved
·         Intense and unwarranted feelings of guilt
·         Profound sadness
·         Change of mood and behaviour
·         Change in sleeping and eating patterns
·         Lack of interest in activities
·         Tendency to isolate oneself


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