How Suicidal Behavior is a Cry for help

My younger brother has attempted suicide on a number of occasions. The first time I found the incident to be extremely embarrassing. All I could think was Typical, always after attention.’ I remember laughing at the incident because he had attempted to consume several over the counter headache pills, but on later investigation even these headache tablets could have dire consequences to ones body if taken in such quantities.

After I had finished with my selfish thoughts, I then realized just how fed up he must be feeling. Was this his attempt at letting us know that he’d had enough? Is this the ‘cry for help’ that he is so desperately seeking from his family? Expelled from several schools, working by fifteen years of age, not getting along with anybody, possibly misunderstood. He was not a likeable character, and still isnt as times, my brother. But he was still a person, possibly a very damaged one, but still a human afterall.

Our immediate family was not around at the time. My parents had not spoke nor got along for several years, our mother more than 4000km away in another state. I remember other family members just shaking their heads at the recent behavior of my brother. How could I, a 20 year old girl help her brother?

At the time I couldn’t help. The best thing I did was to contact my mother and organize for my brother to go and live with her. And he still displays reckless behavior, where I wait to receive the call about his death.

Although my brother’s suicide attempt was not successful, why did he not have the support and the guidance needed at the time? I think even to this day that if he had of received the help he was so desperately seeking, maybe he would not be an alcoholic and heroin addict today. The situation has been allowed to get out of hand, and my brother still does not have the support he needs. His cry for help was not heard, it was not acted on and it certainly has led to more adverse behavior.

We have a duty as parents, siblings and friends to not ignore someone who attempts suicide. We shouldn’t bury our heads in the sand and ignore the situation, never to be discussed again.

When remembering events from that time, I feel extreme emotions of anger. Anger at not dealing with the situation, anger at not listening to my brother. I too am guilty of shaking my head and just hoping the situation will never be spoken of again. I am terribly guilty that I did not recognize his feelings, the feelings of desperation and anger at himself and his life that he was experiencing.

I should have tried to help him more. Jumped up and down at the time demanding my parent’s to act on this. Unite as parents and help one they created. Demand some much needed help and guidance that he had obviously been lacking, but so desperately craved. But all we did was allocate the reasoning to one of attention and manipulation. And ever since it has been a downward spiral into drug oblivion.

Over the years I have tried to support and guide my brother. I have rescued him from drug dens and drug squats. I have driven him daily to receive his methadone treatment. I was the only family member to support and visit him while he spent six months in rehabilitation. But where is the other family support he still craves? I have no idea. He has certainly burnt his bridges over the years to cause upset and tremors that reverberate through the family.

But it may be too late now. He should have had help all those years ago when he was asking for it. And the way he did this was by a suicide attempt. I beg of anyone who witnesses suicide behavior, don’t ignore it. It can lead to more upset and hurt for the victim. When someone does attempt suicide as a cry for help, for goodness sake listen and help as much as possible. I wish I had of not been so selfish all those years ago, I may have had a much more normal brother who knows how to function in society.