- Death & Loss of Life
Seeking A Solution To Suicide
A Leading Cause Of Death
Suicide is the 8th leading cause of death in the United States and accounts for 50% more deaths than murder. Shocking statistics, to say the least, and reports show the numbers are increasing. What’s behind these sobering facts?
Experts concur suicide is not a pointless, random act without reason. Most people contemplating suicide are seeking an answer to an unbearable problem that seems to have no solution. To them life has become something they fear more than death. Suicide offers an alternative. The common denominator is a pervasive feeling of depression and hopelessness.
Everybody at one time or another has had the thought cross their mind. But most quickly dismiss it. It’s normal for a mentally healthy individual. However, someone suffering from severe depression might slide over the edge. It’s a choice appearing preferable to their present circumstances.
People who have had high standards or expectations are singularly vulnerable to thoughts of suicide when they fail to meet their goals. Extreme frustration leading to deeper depression is usually the result. People experiencing failure to their own shortcomings may see themselves as useless, worthless, or even incompetent. Suicide provides a definitive way of escape.
Not A Mental Illness
Normal persons don’t want to die. Suicide happens when someone’s suffering is so acute they believe there is no hope. Suicide is seen as a way to end it. Suicide is not a mental illness but rather a consequence of several mental disorders, especially major depression.
Suicidal tendencies are a common occurrence. Often, an impression nobody cares about them is predominant. They are seeking attention and may even resort to blackmailing people by threatening suicide if they don’t get their way.
A common myth about suicide is people who want to do it don’t talk about it. Most who do have told others and exhibited verbal or behavioral clues indicating their intentions. Dealing with suicide includes restoring hope and having a plan to stop their suffering. Steps must be taken to stop or reduce it. There are many ways to do this including use of medication, spiritual meditation and therapy.
Providing hope is important. Short term suffering can usually be handled as long as there is hope. When an individual believes no hope exists, the risk increases. So how do you recognize someone who is contemplating suicide? There are signs to watch for.
Excessive sadness, withdrawal, mood swings and personality changes can be symptoms. Often, someone will begin putting their personal business in order such as visiting friends and family members, giving away possessions or making a will. They might even write a suicide note. This may include loss of interest in activities they previously enjoyed. Calmness following a period of depression can also mean a person has decided to take their life. A major life crisis such as death of a loved one, job loss, major illness or divorce could prompt an attempt.
People working in professions, such as police officers and health care personnel working with terminally ill patients also have a high incidence rate. And although women are more apt to attempt suicide, men are more likely to succeed. Suicide rates are highest in teens, young adults, and elderly people over 65. Or if someone else the person cared for has committed suicide, then they are more likely to do so as well.
However, not everyone who considers suicide will say so, and not everyone threatening to will actually do it, although every threat to do so should be taken seriously. If you know somebody you feel may be considering this terrible act, get them professional help immediately. If you’re not a qualified professional don’t try to handle the situation yourself. You could aggravate the situation. For instance, confining the person to protect themselves from their own actions could be potentially disastrous. Someone who is bound and determined to follow through with their plan will find a way to do it. People who have been confined have been known to even drown themselves in a sink.
Often, those who think about committing suicide don’t consider the effect their actions will have on those who care about them. This is because someone in their frame of mind has developed “tunnel vision” of the mind and their thoughts are focused only on accomplishing the act.
If you know someone who has committed suicide you’ve probably experienced shock. Shock is usually the first reaction to someone’s death and you might not be able to function normally for a time. But, shock can be beneficial as it provides protection from the preliminary pain of loss. Following the initial shock you may feel angry, guilty or sad because maybe there was something you could have done to prevent it. Or you may be angry with a therapist who was working with the deceased because they failed to prevent the death. And you may even be angry with God for allowing it to happen. These thoughts are normal and you shouldn’t dwell on them.
The shame associated with suicide, originates partly from its historical and religious connotations. Early Roman and English law made suicide a crime because it was assumed a person only took their life to avoid paying taxes! And although the Bible doesn’t directly address suicide, early Christians defined it as murder.
If you are considering suicide, get professional help immediately. Call 911 if necessary. There is an abundance of resources concerning suicide on the internet.