Miss Guyana Universe 2013 shares her ideas on suicide and its prevention

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Miss Guyana Universe 2013, Katherina Roshana

As time nears for Miss Guyana Universe 2013, KatherinaRoshana to hand over the crown to her successor, the super talented beauty queen has been engaging in a series of important issues in the areas of both health and fashion.

Addressing a prestigious forum for suicide prevention recently, Katherina noted that suicide is a tragic event with strong emotional repercussions for its survivors and for families of its victims. Thinking we all deal better with tragedy when we understand its underpinnings.
Katherinan Roshana offers the following advice in the hope that anyone who’s been left behind by a suicide reading this might be able to more easily find a way to move on, to relinquish their guilt and anger and find closure, and also to help anyone contemplating suicide.
Teenage suicide is a serious and growing problem and if everyone can focus positively on the following points, they may be able to if not completely alleviate, at least significantly reduce this dilemma

“The teenage years can be emotionally turbulent and stressful. Teenagers face pressures to succeed and fit in. They may struggle with self-esteem issues, self-doubt, and feelings of alienation. Some because of peer pressure, others for love disappointment or lack of parental understanding in what may be love or perceived love.
For some, this leads to suicide. Depression is also a major risk factor for teen suicide. At times depression could come from illness such as endometriosis,” Katherina offers
She also advises that if you are assailed by suicidal thoughts, the first thing to remember is that many people who have attempted suicide and survived ultimately feel relieved that they did not end their lives. At the time of attempting suicide they experienced intense feelings of despair and hopelessness because it seemed to them that they had lost control over their lives and that things could never get better. The only thing that they still had some control over was whether they lived or died, and committing suicide seemed like the only option left. This is never true!
The Miss Universe Guyana/Miss Limacol New GPC Inc. Beauty Queen says: “Hold fast, have patience, pray, think, breath, take a jog. Speak to an elder, a mentor, a former or current teacher, your priest, or even call my secretariat at 226-7541 or 22-60168, or message me via my FaceBook fan page.”
She notes that Guyana cannot afford to waste a mind, a soul or a citizen, since there can always be a way out, if our people would listen, have patience, and be prepared to help.
Katherina notes that 90% of the people who attempt or commit suicide don’t usually want to die but do want to alert those around them that something is seriously wrong.
She informed that virtually every person that she has spoken with who attempted suicide and survived, was glad that they did.
The beauty queen observed that the tragedy is that they often don’t believe they will die, frequently choosing methods they don’t think can kill them in order to strike out at someone who hurt them. Many times they are often tragically misinformed.
She counsels that if you are in intense emotional and/or physical pain, to remember that your judgment is being clouded by that pain.
“If you are considering suicide, you are trying to end that pain. Please do not confuse ending your pain with ending your life. The prototypical example of this is a young teenage girl suffering genuine anger because of a ruptured relationship, either with a friend, boyfriend, or parent, and eventually swallows a bottle of sleeping pills. She of course would be rushed to a hospital and may die days after ingestion because of a damaged liver or some other organ,” she exhorted.
Katherina relates that the wounds suicide leaves in the lives of those left behind by it are often deep and long lasting. The apparent senselessness of suicide often fuels the most significant of pains.
She warns that some of the thoughts that may accompany suicidal tendency include:

• I want to escape my suffering.
• I have no other options.
• I am a horrible person and do not deserve to live.
• I have betrayed my loved ones.
• My loved ones would be better off without me.
• I want my loved ones to know how bad I am feeling.
• I want my loved ones to know how bad they have made me feel.

She stresses that whatever thoughts you are having, and however bad you are feeling, remember that you have not always felt this way, and that you will not always feel this way.
The risk of a person committing suicide is highest in the combined presence of (1) suicidal thoughts, (2) the means to commit suicide, and (3) the opportunity to commit suicide.
Katherina advises that if you are prone to suicidal thoughts, ensure that the means to commit suicide have been removed. For example, give tablets and sharp objects to someone for safekeeping, or put them in a locked or otherwise inaccessible place. At the same time, ensure that the opportunity to commit suicide is lacking. The surest way of doing this is by remaining in close contact with one or more persons, for example, by inviting them to stay with you.
She also opines that sharing your thoughts and feelings with people can also help.
Our 2013 Woman of Substance Awardee notes that if no one is available or no one seems suitable, there are a number of emergency telephone lines that you can ring at any time. She declares that a potential suicide victim can even ring for an ambulance or take them self to an Emergency Room at a medical institution.
She advises against the use of alcohol or drugs as these can make your behaviour more impulsive and thereby significantly increase your likelihood of attempting suicide. In particular, do not drink or take drugs alone, or end up alone after drinking or taking drugs.
She suggests that you make a list of all the positive things about yourself and a list of all the positive things about your life, including the things that have so far prevented you from committing suicide. These lists are to be kept on your person and read over and over each time you are assailed by suicidal thoughts. She also suggests that on a separate sheet of paper, you write a safety plan for the times when you feel like acting on your suicidal thoughts. Your safety plan could involve delaying any suicidal attempt by at least 48 hours, and then talking to someone about your thoughts and feelings as soon as possible. Discuss your safety plan with a health care professional and commit yourself to it. Sometimes even a single good night’s sleep can significantly alter your outlook, and it is important not to underestimate the importance of sleep. If you are having trouble sleeping, speak to a physician.
Example of a safety plan
1. Read through the list of positive things about yourself.
2. Read through the list of positive things about your life and remind yourself of the things that have so far prevented you from committing suicide.
3. Listening to classical music, or watching your favourite movie can also help.
Distract yourself from suicidal thoughts by reading a book, watching a film or comedy.
4. Get a good night’s sleep. Take a sleeping tablet if necessary.
5. Delay any suicidal attempt by at least 48 hours.
6. Call someone on the phone and talk with them. Alternatively, call a health care professional on (phone number), or the crisis line on (phone number).
7. Go to a place where you feel safe such as the community centre or the sports centre.
8. Go to the Emergency Room.
9. Call for an ambulance.
The erstwhile Miss Guyana Universe 2013 and International Peace Ambassador advises that once things are a bit more settled, it is important that you address the cause or causes of your suicidal thoughts in as far as possible, for example, a mental disorder such as depression or alcohol dependence, a difficult life situation, or painful memories. Discuss this with your physician or another health care professional, who will help you to identify the most appropriate form of help available.
Katherina notes that: “Life is a precious gift of the Creator of the Universe. We must prize it, cherish it and make good use of it. We need our difficulties, our disappointments for they make us better persons, give us the impulsive, the drive to strive harder, and if it does not work, say it is destiny, and accept fate, and live a bright and hearty life, knowing that life can never be all perfect, nor all difficult.”
Katherina Roshana concludes by stating: “All things are temporary. Hardships and difficulties are temporary, and joy and successes are temporary. But they are all important in life. A life of everlasting sweet is not impossible to have. As one must taste the sour to appreciate the sweet. Therefore, do not hurt yourself, and leave your loved ones in pain for the rest of their lives, for them it is also a shame, a stain.”
Next week we will continue with Katherina as she focuses on health issues that affect almost everyone in our society.
Written By Alex Wayne