It was a long day and she was not sure what to do at the end of it. She had tried to help her friend… tried so hard that it made her sick. Yes, she accomplished her goal. Her friend was not going to commit suicide this time, at least. This was the third or fourth time she had saved her. Once she was almost dead when the paramedics arrived.
Sometimes helping others in their darkest days takes a toll on one. It causes worry and fear that you might not be there the next time. It causes insomnia, fatigue and a foreboding that never quite goes away.
Over one hundred million people commit suicide worldwide every year. There are 10 to 20 attempted non-fatal suicides each year worldwide.*
Suicide is the 16th cause of death in the United States. It is the leading cause of deaths of those 35 and under.*
Whether we are aware of it or not, each of us knows someone who attempted suicide at one time in their lives. It is not something folks bring up around the dinner table or water cooler.
Often, mental illness is present when one tries to “just get away from it all.” Although the person may not know it and you, as their friend may not know it. However, mental illness is present and not necessarily the cause of the suicide attempt.
Depression and not knowing how to go outside of your self is often the cause of suicide…skewed thinking.
Suicide is a serious disease; one that can be healed. Much like an alcoholic, though, a person who prefers suicide has to come to the point that they have a lot to live for and do not want to die before they can be helped.
Taking care of you ; keeping your self in good mental condition and good spiritual condition will give you the compassion and non-judgmental attitude that you will need to help any friend who contemplates suicide. It’s not always easy, but it is possible.
So, your friend has tried for the umpteenth time to kill themselves, and you feel a need to take drastic measures. You issue an MIW (mental illness warrant). You make sure you are with them when the police come. It is a horribly painful thing to do. You know that they may never speak to you again, yet you can not stand by and do nothing.
You have to decide what will work for you and what will not. You will likely seek counseling in the beginning. And part of you has to harden your heart a little, so you will not become depressed or dragged down.
You must come to the realization that while it is always the other person’s choice, it is also your choice whether or not you are willing to take the hit and remain their friend.
There are things that you can say to a suicidal person, but it will not matter. If they are determined to die, they will not listen to you. Perhaps an MIW might be necessary. They won’t hate you forever, I promise.
When someone is suicidal, you are constantly watching their every move. You drive them places rather than having them drive. You eliminate as much of the risk for them as you possibly can.
However, you do not realize how much danger you are in simply by virtue of the fact that they are your main concern, and you fear for them.
Causes of Suicide
The causes of suicide are dramatically varied. However, often is the case that suicidal behaviors almost always occur in people with depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, as well as alcohol dependence. This is not always true.
Folks who attempt suicide are trying to get away from a life situation that seems impossible to deal with: The loss of a child; constant humiliation from others; feelings of guilt and shame for some action; being a victim of abuse; feeling rejected or lonely.**
Aging can bring on depression so deep one can see no other way out. (The elderly have the highest rate of suicide.) One reason it is so important to be kind to elderly folk. You may be the only physical or emotional contact they have all day or all week! Leave them with a smile.
Of course any huge emotional trauma (death of a loved one, unemployment, financial problems) can have the same effect.
My momma told me that really sick folks do not seek help. Healthy people do. My momma used to tell me that every time she took me to a psychiatrist! She was right.
Risk factors or triggers for suicide in adolescents include:
Access to firearms; a family member who committed suicide; one who has a history of deliberate self-harm; they have been neglected, abused, or had a romantic breakup.
The one thing all parents should be aware of are what is happening in their own community. If there are many suicides among teens, this can be like a virus for a disturbed child.
One of the worst things you can do to someone who tries to commit suicide and does not succeed is to call them selfish. This may be a trigger for yet another attempt, that could be fatal.
They need validation and they need to know that you don’t approve and you think they should get some help and you will aid them in that.
I have touched on a very small bit of suicidal information. Be sure to check out the following links to learn more.
She lay down in her bed, thought of her friend, and after a silent “Thank you,” she smiled and pondered on where her friend is now and how much she loves life and wants to live it to the fullest.
She knows it was not her intervention, but that of the Almighty Power that healed her friend’s heart. However, she did feel she was used as a tool, and was very happy about that!
On a positive note, prayer is the best tool you have in any situation, good or bad. I highly recommend it.
Be kind to one another and never “assume” you know anything…you really don’t. Life is an eternal teaching ground.