Suicide is newsworthy because life is precious. (Psychology Today)” In 1993, a 6-year old girl living in Florida stepped in front of a train. She left a note saying that she “wanted to be with her mother” who recently died from a terminal illness. This is the power of the human mind. A girl in Kindergarten thinks of the past and imagines a future so bleak, so devoid of meaningful moments without her mom, that she takes her own life. The same mental tools that distinguish us from other animals, the same mental tools that allow us to solve problems and produce creative works that give us symbolic immortality are the same tools that allow a 6-year-old to contemplate a future that is terrible enough to leap in front of an oncoming train. If a 6-year-old has the cognitive capacity to kill herself, then we need to step up our efforts to understand and prevent it from happening.”
Your Not Alone - Reach Out
Also visit your:
- Primary care provider
- Local psychiatric hospital
- Local walk-in clinic
- Local emergency department
- Local urgent care center
Alcohol & drugs
Every suicide is a tragedy, and to some degree a mystery. Many times, the act of a loved one ending their life leaves more questions than answers. Many of the warning signs are not visible and are vailed by the individual who is contemplating suicide. Hidden purposely for many unanswered reasons.
Suicide often stems from a deep feeling of hopelessness. The inability to see solutions to problems or to cope with challenging life circumstances may lead people to see taking their own lives as the only solution to what is really a temporary situation, and most survivors of suicide attempts go on to live full, rewarding lives. Depression is a key risk factor for suicide; others include psychiatric disorders, substance use, chronic pain, online bullying, family history of suicide, and a prior suicide attempt. Impulsiveness often plays a role among adolescents who take their life. Grief as it relates to the above and an overwhelming feeling of debilitating hopeless leaves one for the perceived “only” remedy, suicide. If a person deemed at risk due to any of the above exhibit’s sudden mood changes even a suddenly upbeat seemly manic mood or completely new behaviors, they may be actively considering suicide. Those who speak about being a burden to others, having no reason to live, feeling trapped, or in unbearable pain may also be contemplating suicide. Feeling like a “burden” or that life would be “better off without them” are some of the main reasons one will choose death by suicide according to some studies notes left behind stated that as one of the main reasons. A general feeling of hopelessness postures as unending in the person’s psyche.
What is it that enables a person to be tenacious enough to swallow an entire bottle of pills, ingest poison, or push the chair away to dangle from a rope tied to the ceiling? It might be controversial to use the word courage, grit, or strength in this context. Nevertheless, a suicidal person often must overcome intense emotional distress to complete the final act. Leading suicide researchers speculated that a sense of burden is necessary but insufficient to understand who dies by suicide. A person also requires the capacity to harm themselves. A person must be highly tolerant of pain and conflict to make room for the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings that arise when working toward the goal of ending life. This tolerance of distress must be acquired somewhere along the way. Researchers suggest that the greatest suicidal risk exists for people that believe they are a burden on society AND possess a history where they acquired the capacity to harm themselves. This acquired capability can arise in unusual ways such as:
- playing violent and extreme sports.
- getting multiple body piercings and tattoos.
- shooting guns.
- getting in physical fights.
These types of painful and provocative events offer a sense of fearlessness about lethal self-injury. A person might respond positively to items such as “Things that scare most people don’t scare me” and “I can tolerate more pain than most people.”
Statistically, suicide occurs most frequently among ages 45 to 54. Men are more like to complete the act of suicide; women are more likely to attempt. Some of the common myths about suicide is if the subject of suicide is mentioned that person will consider acting on death by suicide. It is important that you engage them in conversation. Do not promise that you will not seek outside support but encourage them to seek it out with you. Some basic questions you might ask are: How are you coping with your challenges? Are you thinking about hurting yourself? Are you thinking about dying? Are you thinking about suicide? Have you come up with a plan for taking your own life?
Other myths are that depression only affects adults, People who are depressed are weak, there is nothing that you can do with a person who is suicidal and only people who have been diagnosed with depression can be suicidal. Veterans belong to a high-risk group for suicide due to their deployment in the military. It is recommended that veterans should find support groups that comprise those who have experienced similar problems.
Some signs that someone is considering death by suicide:
- Talking a lot about death
- Giving things away, feeling worthless
- Previous suicidal behavior,
- A sense of hopeless and helplessness
- Alack of belonging
- A disruption in sleep either to much or not enough
- Feeling trapped
- Feeling alone
- Having no reason to live
- Increase their use of drugs and alcohol
- Looking for ways to kill themselves
- Isolation from friends and family
- Withdrawing from activities
- Calling or visiting people in order to say goodbye.
If a person, no matter the age is talking about death by suicide please take them seriously. Don’t brush it off as attention seeking behavior, believe them. Do not minimize their feelings our belittle their circumstances. Listen non judge mentally and empathically. If you the reader are dealing with suicidal thoughts it is recommended that you create a safety plan: watch for warning signs (mood, thoughts, and behaviors) that appear troubling. Make a list of people you can turn to for help. Make a list of activities you can do to provide a distraction from suicidal feelings. Make your environment safe. Make a list of relaxation techniques that can be used on a daily basis. Make a list of professionals you can contact when you need support. Keep this list close and use this tool when needed.
It is important that suicidal ideation be taken seriously. Take every opportunity to remind yourselves and your loved ones of their value. Check in on your loved ones looking beyond the surface to the inner pain. Ask direct, open ended questions with love, if you have the idea that your loved one is considering death by suicide. There is support without the heaping of shame and guilt. Your loved one’s life depends on it. “if a seed knew it was made to become a giant oak tree it would make persevering through the dark times feel much more purposeful.”