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J.R. Buchanan

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World suicide prevention day

Today, September 10th, 2015, is World Suicide Prevention Day, September is National Suicide Prevention Month. As a suicide surviver myself, and as the husband of a suicide surviver, I am glad for this day and month, as well as the resources available to help those who are suicidal.

If you have not ever experienced suicidal ideation it is hard to understand why anyone would contemplate such an action. It's pretty simple really. Most people who commit suicide (not a politically correct phrase, but...) have a mental illness, diagnosed or not. It's hard to imagine the anguish of depression, anxiety, or worst of all depression, anxiety, and mania all at once (perhaps the most dangerous state to be in) that can occur with a mental illness unless you've experienced it. Once the misery reaches a certain level, once the hope is gone, once you believe that this state can never and will never end, any escape looks good. Even one that involves dying.

What about the people you leave behind? Isn't suicide a cruel and thoughtless thing to do to these people? Sometimes this thought stops you from killing yourself, but often the state of despair and hopelessness, the self-loathing, the belief that your life has no value, the belief that you're dragging all these people down, that you're a burden, gets so bad that you realize that your friends and loved ones are better off without you. Of course this is a lie that your ill brain is telling you, but it's hard to resist. After all if you don't accept what your brain is telling you, what can you accept?

Once you have contemplated suicide, and especially if you've attempted suicide, the idea is in your head forever, ready to pop out whenever the emotional pain reaches unbearable levels. It always presents itself as a possible solution. Not a good solution, but it's the one that comes to mind.

What can you do to help someone who feels this way? Someone who might kill themselves? Be there. Don't ignore the warning signs of potential suicide. Talk to them. Give them the number of a suicide hotline. If they are actually planning a method, place and time for their suicide, get them to the nearest emergency room. Yes you can ask about this, and often you'll get a straight answer. Even in the darkest place, most people want hope, they want to think that there is help. Offer it to them.

What are the warning signs of suicide? Here are some of them:

If a person talks about:

  1. Killing themselves.
  2. Having no reason to live.
  3. Being a burden to others.
  4. Feeling trapped.
  5. Unbearable pain.

Behavior:

  1. ncreased use of alcohol or drugs.
  2. Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online for materials or means.
  3. Acting recklessly.
  4. Withdrawing from activities.
  5. Isolating from family and friends.
  6. Sleeping too much or too little.
  7. Visiting or calling people to say goodbye.
  8. Giving away prized possessions.
  9. Aggression.

Mood:

  1. Depression.
  2. Loss of interest.
  3. Rage.
  4. Irritability.
  5. Humiliation.
  6. Anxiety.

What are some suicide hotlines? Here are some in the US, if you are outside the US, Google can help::

Voice:

Text:

What are your thoughts on this? Let us all know in the comments!

As usual, I'll post future updates to my Facebook and Twitter pages. Feel free to follow or friend or message me.


mental illness, mental health, bipolar, depression, mania, stigma, suicide

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