Suicide – A Permanent Solution to a Temporary Problem
To some, it’s a rash desperate act, with no thought to the consequences or the ones left behind. It’s often seen as an anxious attempt to escape suffering. Drowning in feelings of self loathing, isolation, depression. To others, it’s the logical conclusion to a history of depression and mental illness. Where one’s thinking is so skewed, one actually thinks the survivors will really be better off with out you. No escape seems visible despite the use of alcohol or drugs. Most people with mental illness do not die by suicide.
Some statistics tell us that the average number of successful attempts is 11.3 per one hundred thousand. I think it’s a lot more than that. This past weekend some of my friends and I discussed suicide. Out of the ten I talked to, about half knew someone who ended their own life. Is it any surprise that suicide is one of the ten leading causes of death?
Are you shaking your head yet?
The statistics are frightning. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide was the seventh leading cause of death for males and the fifteenth leading cause of death for females in 2007. The last ratio was that males committed suicide four times more than female. Yet, the numbers are still rising.
There are many warning signs about someone who is thinking about killing themself. Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly, sleeping too little or too much, talking about wanting to die (or kill themself). Others include talking about feelings of hopelessness, being trapped and unbearable pain. The one common thread? An increased use of drugs and/or alcohol. Others include a history of rash behavior, talking/looking about times or situations to end it all. For whatever reason, all have fallen on some tough times. Although each personal reason varies, some of the triggers can include being teased, a recent loss such as a job, family member, friend, pet, thinking everyone is against them, etc.
In the cases of severe mental depression and/or illness, such as a bipolar disorder, the sufferer is so into what’s wrong with their life when everything seems unbearable, they can’t look at others around them. Their life will be over and everyone will be better off. No more problems, no more pain.
Just for one minute, I hope they try to think about how their loved ones feel.
The loved ones and friends are the ones left who have to pick up the pieces. Trying to move on with their lives, despite what they perceive as their loved ones last self-centered frantic last desperate act.
My friend, ‘Cindy’ told me how twelve years ago, her husband of less than a year shot himself right in front of her. “He was drunk. Desperate. Thought he’d never be able to pay back support for kids that weren’t his.”
Other reasons I heard include “Drugs and alcohol took over”. “He lost his job.” “I got raped.” “Some boy/girl doesn’t like you.” “I’ll show them.” “Life sucks.”
I can’t begin to describe the reasons I’ve heard and researched. What gave me hope was the story of one survivor, ‘Marge’. Her child committed suicide and she sunk into a deep depression. After a while, and an increased use of prescription pills, she realized she was beginning to display the same behavior patters her son did preceding his death. Marge got professional help. Now, her motto is ”Time does help in healing. For everyone.”
“Cindy” went through the “normal” grief process. 1) Denial; 2) Devastation, 3) Anger; 4) Guilt 5) Acceptance. Twelve years later, she’s happily remarried with a wonderful son. She doesn’t have any regrets, she knows ‘life goes on.’
Her story is so similar to other survivors. Cindy is resolute about one fact she shares with other survivors. “It’s not your fault”. Cindy and Marge often find themselves helping others cope. They’ve learned, and hope to teach, that ‘if only I would have” or ‘If I didn’t…. DOES NOT MATTER, no matter whatever you did or didn’t do, It Happened. Your loved one chose an escape route. A lot of the seemingly ‘rash’ cases involved being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, prescription or otherwise.
When asked if she had any advice to other survivors, Cindy said, “Don’t drink. Remember it’s not your fault and life goes on.” Marge reiterated: ‘For everyone, time does help in healing.”
There is help for those who are flirting with thoughts of suicide. Some suicide prevention number numbers are: is 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433), 1-800-273-TALK)(1-800-273-9255). These calls are all free. There are websites that can help. www.suicidepreventionlifeline.
Don’t forget Life goes on. Don’t believe me? Google it. You’ll find websites about those who have tried to end their life, but survived instead. Most talk about now how much better life is, more than they ever dreamed possible; thankfulness and remorse for those they hurt. Some thank God daily that they lived.
So do the loved ones of survivors.
Suicide, it’s nothing more then a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Life goes on.
NOTE: For further information and facts, see: www.afsp.org/ (The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention) and www.save.org/ (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education); www.cdc.gov/