It’s one simple question with a potentially profound answer. We have to ask ourselves, how many are not okay? According to Wikipedia, rates of suicide vary from 5–50 per 100,000 of population; the incidence of male suicide generally outstrips female suicide by 2 to 4 times.
Far more people suicide than are killed at work or on the roads. Yet, it is a silent killer. It’s rarely a high profile death.
How Are You Going?
Now, this is where things get personal.
If you clicked a link titled, “Are You Okay?” you’d have every right to expect something there to read or absorb during a low or hard time.
Sometimes those low or hard times are especially dark. I’ve been there. Many others are there also, right now, not with you, but desperate all the same. You may not see them, just know they’re there; alone too, scared, numb, frozen, catatonic, wasted in despair.
There might have been times when you’ve reached out, but right now you’re beyond that. Comfort and an answer seem distantly vague and just so completely out of reach they’ve become irrelevant. The desire to be in the land of the living is not there and thoughts encroach into the dangerous. A strange ‘freedom’ starts to shine through—one you perhaps haven’t seen before. But, oh, what a trick it is. The mind’s found a way out. There is blindness to the irredeemable cost, however.
Let’s be under no false illusions: a life taken can never be replaced.
There is nothing to be gained in doing, what many might call, something stupid.
How are you going? Are you okay? Have you got a sounding board in your depths? God hears. So will others too if you’ll trust them. This sort of ‘risk’—to share—pays sound dividends that you might not even see right now. It might be useless to talk about the advantages of faith right now, but nevertheless, make this step.
Learning to Enquire: “Are You Okay?”
The scene of Bob Geldoff’s character “Pink” in Pink Floyd’s, The Wall (1982), captures the quintessential make-up of a person having reached panophobic limits. Fortunately, this film portrays some of the rationale for such depression. Of course, we all relate, if not personally then by recognition of the same sorrowful gait in others.
Pink may be a little far gone; perhaps he’s beyond reason. He returns blank looks for what seem genuine queries.
For those of us who have been there, to such a desolate and shut-in place, our family or a close friend tried to get through. Somehow they did, or somehow we were just inextricably blessed... somehow. (Yet... some others didn’t make it.)
Perhaps we are infinitely grateful that someone took the time to ask that vital question. Now we have our opportunity to look deeply into the soul of each person we encounter, to gain a glimpse of the state of the heart and mind; to take the time to care.
Let’s not make any assumptions about the condition or state of another person, and let’s make sure we ask our “Are you okay?” with genuine empathy. It could be what someone desperately needs.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.