Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. This is a day that we take into account the things that cause suicide and begin to formulate a plan for dealing with suicide. So, I want to just jot a few notes here.
First, suicide is not abnormal. Suicidal thoughts are not abnormal. A number of people struggle with suicidal thoughts and ideation. A number of people deal with suicidal issues every day. This is part of their daily lives. It is not not normal. I am one of these people. I have suicidal thoughts every day. The problem is when they become more and more prevalent and specific. So, one wants to get help before they get to that place. If you have suicidal thoughts, you should see a therapist (most preferably a mental health counselor). This will help you as you deal with them. But, do not every believe that these are totally out of the norm because they are not. Many people struggle with suicidal thoughts and there are a number of ways to get help and deal with them.
Second, I want to talk about what causes suicide. I subscribe to Thomas Joiner’s theory that it is when we are cut off from people that suicide is most likely to occur. Joiner mentioned that a suicidal person often feels like a burden and like they are dragging others down. This causes the suicidal person to feel like they must cut ties with other people so as not to hurt them. They cut ties and the more ties they cut, the easier it is to make a suicide attempt. This is because when a person is not attached to anyone else, then there is no reason to stay alive. I know that, for me personally, this is often how my worst suicidal episodes work. I feel like I am a drag on everybody around me and that the world would be better off without me. This causes me to start severing relationships and ties and to cut people out of my life. This eventually leads to a place where I am attached to no one or anything and that is a dangerous place to be in.
So, what are some ways to help a person who is suicidal? Well, first, if someone mentions suicide to you or that they are severely depressed, ask them if you can help in any way. Being there is a really powerful counter to suicidal thoughts. As well, try to help them get help. Offer to call a counselor and take them to their appointment. Offer to sit with them while they struggle. Just be there for them. Third, be willing to talk about suicide. It is an uncomfortable topic, but it can seriously help others if they are given the ability to talk about these issues. Fourth, if all else fails, contact someone else to help them. Stay there with them but let someone else talk them through the issues.
If you are suicidal, there are a number of things you can do as well. First off, do not believe the lie that you are a burden and that no one wants you around. Make a list of people that you know love you (you may want to do this when you feel well) and then hang onto that list when you feel depressed or suicidal. Second, go to a counselor. Counseling can help tremendously. Third, talk to your doctor. Maybe an antidepressant can help you. Perhaps your doctor can refer you to a psychiatrist who would be better qualified to deal with your medications. Fourth, cling to some positives. One of the things that I do in my life is to try and change my thinking and cling to some things that are positive. For example, I was a little depressed a few weeks ago and I kept clinging to the fact that I was taking a vacation in a few weeks. Any bits of hope make it much easier to deal with the suicidal thoughts.
This is just a small, short list of things that can be done to help with suicide. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to comment.