Hopelessness. Depression. Crying. Abuse. Broken Trust. Rape. Divorce. Death. Grief. Addiction. Abandonment. Loneliness. Love. Perceived failure.
There are many reasons why people get to the brink of wanting to die and end their suffering. Some people have experienced depression for years and feel like there is no escaping the pain they endure. Some people go through experiences that have them spinning and unable to get their feet under themselves. Although for each person the reason may be different, the storm is real and similar.
Many people don't understand the pain and isolation that a person may feel who considers suicide as an option. Due to this lack of understanding, those considering suicide as an option often feel that they can't share how they are feeling and continue to keep this part of themselves private. On the other hand, many people miss the signs that people close to them are suffering and possibly feeling suicidal. Often times family and friends don't ask important questions, as simple as a genuine "how are you doing?".
From NAMI, Risk of Suicide... "According to the CDC, each year more than 41,000 individuals die by suicide, leaving behind thousands of friends and family members to navigate the tragedy of their loss. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among adults in the U.S. and the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-24; these rates are increasing."
Family and Friends Learn the Warning Signs
- Threats or comments about killing themselves (suicidal ideation, can begin with seemingly harmless thoughts like “I wish I wasn’t here” but can become more overt and dangerous)
- Increased alcohol and drug use
- Aggressive behavior
- Social withdrawal from friends, family and the community
- Dramatic mood swings
- Talking, writing or thinking about death
- Impulsive or reckless behavior
What may spell out imminent danger...
- Putting their affairs in order and giving away their possessions
- Saying goodbye to friends and family
- Mood shifts from despair to calm
- Planning, possibly by looking around to buy, steal or borrow the tools they need to complete suicide, such as a firearm or prescription medication
What I learned after years of answering the suicide hotline is that many people (not all) consider suicide as an option because they can't see through the fog that is their depression or situation. What ever pain or experience they have gone through leaves them feeling helpless and hopeless for any sort of positive change. The feelings that swell inside of them make them not want to deal with life anymore. These feelings most times than not are temporary.
Temporary in the sense that despite feeling as though there is no hope, there is. Despite feeling like no one cares, they do. Despite feeling like you wont be missed, you will. Despite feeling you will never find another great love, you will. Despite feeling like life has never gone right, it can.
I noticed that majority of the reasons that callers felt suicidal stemmed around a failed relationship or perceived failure. In such cases, I point out that for most people who have experienced break ups, time was what they needed to get through the pain they felt, in which they often looked back asking why they felt that way about that particular person. Everybody needs to feel that negative situations have solutions and talking to someone trained in in mental health can be that help. It doesn't mean that you are weak or a bad person, having thoughts of suicide means that an individual has more pain than coping resources.
Two things occur typically to help a person, they either find a way to cope with the feelings and emotions experienced or reduce the pain experienced. People do get through this even those that feel really bad which is important to know. By realizing that just because you feel like you want to kill yourself doesn't mean that you have to. Agree to wait at least 24 hours before acting out on any plan and consider calling the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). There's strength and courage in admitting you need help and seeking it!