Save them with empathy, support

Almost quite regularly we are reading news about women, more so young mothers committing suicide. Reasons may be varied but the result is the same - young lives getting snuffed out.

Sometime back, the case of a mother committing suicide, along with her two mentally challenged daughters in Bangalore, was heart-wrenching. The sorry state of the woman was never understood by her drunkard husband, leading her to take the extreme step. It should serve as an eye-opener to many who shirk familial and filial responsibility. Strong emotions of helplessness can affect judgment and perception – that's what pushed the mother into suicidal rage. It is a situation of a double-edged sword cutting her life energies – coping with the disability of her daughters and the devastating situation of living with an alcoholic husband.

The economic status of a woman in such a situation makes a big difference. With a hand-to-mouth existence, these issues get magnified a thousand fold. Women in such situations become 'starving people', as if there is an inner emptiness, a deep bottomless pit crying out to be filled with love, empathy and support. When there is nobody to give that, it shatters the trust in the whole world, and they plan to ‘escape’ from such a world.

Though usually both the parents face similar stress and anxiety when they have a disabled child, it is usually the mother who takes the brunt, who feels frustrated, exhausted and helplessly angry when she has to give 24/7 care and support to the child. If guilty feelings that she is not doing her best is tormenting a mother and are affecting her to the point that she herself gets physically ill, it may be helpful to sort things out with an understanding person, such as a counsellor who can help her get a proper perspective, who will explain the importance of maintaining good health herself.

Caregivers too have limitations as far as their emotional and physical well-being is considered. Pushed beyond the limits, they crumble and collapse. Trying to check one’s emotion and concern and offering continuous help may deplete one’s emotional energies and reserve. Counsellors can give advice to such persons that ‘they are not responsible for the situation’.

Family members must provide necessary support – at least the occasional respite which will go a long way. Instead of suggesting ways and means to deal with the situation, they should become the ‘means’ with love and empathy…

As parents, relatives and friends, people must take notice of some of the warning signals that indicate a woman’s thought process to commit suicide. Those may include many verbal expressions which must not be seen and discarded as mere threats.

‘Listening’ to her feelings of intense helplessness, encouraging her to be open by showing love and genuine concern, making her understand the importance of taking professional help – these go a long way in helping those women who wish to commit suicide but in reality want desperately to live.

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