If someone says they are thinking of suicide, you need to listen.

You may think it is a cry for attention, you may think it’s all a planned drama, that no one really wants to kill themselves without a reason. But are you sure there is no reason at all? How desperately over the edge does a person need to be to contemplate suicide as their last choice?

Of course it’s hard to understand since you’re not in their position. Since what is going on in their heads is a complete mystery to you. What’s more is that people don’t want to know what’s going on in the mind of someone suffering from mental illness. Because the questions to be asked are too hard, the answers are not at all that easy to understand. It is easy though, if you try. But you don’t want to go to the extent of trying.

It is too messed up, too complicated, too overwhelming. If it is that difficult for you, imagine what it is like for the person going through it all. Messed, overwhelming, complicated- these are all understatements for them.

How do I know all this? Because you’re hearing about this from me, a person who attempted suicide in the past. There’s a reason I understand the difficulties of struggling with mental illness. I have bipolar disorder, anxiety, PTSD, and I have been suffering for more than a decade till I decided to open up.

My suicide attempts stopped with the help of medication and regular therapy. And that wasn’t the only thing that helped me. I had people around me who were willing to listen when I said I am thinking of suicide.

When a person contemplates suicide, they aren’t being selfish. They aren’t trying to make your life difficult. They are simply trying to get rid of the pain that comes with trying so hard to be normal. Trying so hard to be accepted by the world. But it’s not possible.

The mind of a person with mental illness doesn’t work the same way as others. Their brain is essentially broken, in layman’s terms. In most cases, people with certain mental illnesses are highly intelligent and that makes it even harder for them to make others understand their perspectives. In this scenario, it becomes rather frustrating for the person suffering to adjust to the world. They become lost in translation. And when it all becomes too much to take, the only choice left is to attempt the last resort for the pain to stop.

Suicide rates have skyrocketed in recent years in India alone. It is not a pastime, it is not a joke. People, specially the youth are suffering from depression and anxiety more than anything else.

For anyone who wants to understand depression, imagine being stuck in the bed, paralysed, unable to move an inch. You can’t sleep and you can’t wake up, you’re in a perpetual limbo. You can’t get up for water, food, shower- anything normal is a myth. All you can do is cry, cry for eternity, cry for reasons unknown. You feel nothing. Your phone rings but you can’t seem to take it. You need to get up, get ready for the day but you just can’t do it. You’re numb. Your family members and friends are concerned about you, but you just can’t make them understand. You’re in this alone, and you need help. You need to see a psychiatrist who can help you.

And this is just depression, a drop in the vast ocean of mental illness.

Even though mental illness is considered a taboo in our society, it is time we stand up against this thought process. To save more lives. People are dying because we refuse to face the hard questions. In this date and age, there are people who still refuse to acknowledge the existence of mental illness.

Let’s be logical, let’s face the facts. Mental illness is the same as any physical illness. It requires the same amount of understanding and attention. A body cannot conduct without the brain, neither can it work the other way around. As difficult as it is to understand an invisible illness, it is not impossible, specially when it can save lives.

So the next time someone says they are thinking of suicide, you need to listen.