According to Web MD: “Suicide is not a mental illness in itself, but a serious consequence of treatable mental disorders. “
According to crisiscenter.com : “There is no typical suicide victim – It happens to young and old, sick and well, rich and poor.”
According to mentalhealth.gov:” Suicide causes immeasurable pain, suffering, and loss to individuals, families, and communities nationwide. “
According to the New York Times: “Suicide is the act of taking one’s own life on purpose.”
Every single one of these quotes is wrong in one way or another. And I am going to break them down, take them apart, and reform the truth as I see it.
First, not all mental disorders are currently treatable. Some doctors will claim that they are, but I have seen many people crumble inside themselves from something that they cannot name, they cannot comprehend, or grasp. There are disorders that we may never understand, as a society. I am not speaking from a professional standpoint, but from a personal point of view. You can choose to disagree with me; this is just my own belief.
Second, one can claim that people are well—or look well—when they end up committing or attempting suicide. I disagree. Some part of them is not well. Some part of them has a speck of darkness eating away at them, even if they never show it. You cannot assume that they are well. None, none, NONE, of them are 100% well.
Third, there is a disgusting assumption here that suicide is an American epidemic. It isn’t. This is a worldwide issue. Not statewide, not nationwide, not just in developed countries. World. Wide. In fact, according to a map provided by The World Health Organization, the US isn’t even the worst affected by suicide in the world. (link provided in sources below)
Fourth, there are some disorders that successfully take control of one’s life. So by claiming that every single case is “the act of taking one’s own life on purpose.” is in fact ignoring the disorders that take control. I watched mental illness take reality away from someone that I loved. I watched her control slipping as everything slid away into dreams and confusion, hallucinations and fear. She swam in and out of a dream world that convinced her that it was real… and her only way into real life was to end her life in the dream, which was actually real life. She did NOT know what she was doing. She didn’t try to take her own life, she was trying to live it, she was just confused which life was real. Nothing here was on purpose. You cannot claim that when so much was beyond control.
Now, I am writing this while watching Patch Adams and thinking about Robin Williams. He struggled with depression and maybe more. Regardless of what was really going on, I refuse to believe that he had full control over his actions. Depression does crazy things to a person’s life. Robin Williams was a very strong person that brought laughter to countless people. And yet, he was so lost himself.
I’m coming onto an important point here. Suicide is selfish; absolutely, completely, irrevocably selfish. If you are considering suicide, DON’T USE THAT AS AN EXCUSE TO NOT REACH OUT. People care. My statement above may seem harsh. It is the truth. You not only hurt yourself; you hurt your family, your friends, people you may not have known, people that could have been in your future, your potential, etc.
I am not saying that it is easy or that it is condemnable if someone has committed suicide. Something pushed them to that point. It is important to try to be understanding, especially for those that they left behind.
My baby sister attempted suicide at 13 years old. She described it as feeling out of control and overwhelming. She took her gym shorts and used the draw string to try and hang herself in the bathroom. She is so blessed to have had an angel walk in on the attempt and save her life. My beautiful sister has struggled with depression and body image issues. This girl is amazingly gorgeous, I am so jealous of her. She has done what she can to get the help that she needs to avoid finding herself in that situation again.
The 100% wrong thing to do is what my father, his wife, and her family did to my sister. They accused her of just looking for attention, of being a “bad daughter”, of making her parents look bad, of being selfish and full of herself.
Let me first revisit my statement. “Suicide is selfish.” Yes. Suicide is selfish, the completion of it. However, it is not the person acting selfishly, not intentionally. The selfishness belongs to the suicidal thoughts that are taking over this person.
My sister wasn’t acting selfishly, she was doing the only thing she could think of to gain control of her life, though it wasn’t the correct decision, in these moments one’s mind does not process thoughts or impulses correctly. She was not doing it for attention. She was not doing it to piss off daddy. She was not doing it to hurt anyone. She was doing it to try to gain control of a teenage life spiraling out of control.
Now, many of you might not be able to understand this. If you have not lived through a life that has put you in a situation where your mind, heart, and body cannot agree and it is tearing your soul apart. If you haven’t lived through heartache and torment through most of your life; there is no way that you could possibly understand exactly what she was going through. You can be compassionate and supportive, but you will never know.
In the area I currently live in, suicide is something that is hushed, swept under the rug, and when it is not ignored, it is looked down upon and criticized. I have watched the church take suicide as an opportunity to preach sin. This is morally wrong. Instead of trying to help the family that is suffering a tremendous loss, they are pushing them farther and farther down. Their actions dig deep holes of dark depression surrounding the families and friends of those that have lost their lives to the fight against the holes in their lives.
Suicide is not a sin. Suicide is a loss. Suicide is not a copout. Suicide is a lost fight. Suicide is NOT a failure. Suicide is pain and confusion and… well…
Part of who I am is trying to understand the best in people. I try to find the part of them that could explain why they did something terrible. She stole from the store because she really needed it; he lashed out because he had a bad childhood, maybe. I cannot understand everyone; I couldn’t even comprehend trying to.
What I would like people to understand is that these families need support and compassion. Please try to stand up to the bullies that try to tear people down.
If you can stand up against those that preach the wrongness of suicide to the point of stigmatizing the family that has been brought to its knees with grief. These families have it hard enough. Give these people love. In this, I am not saying that suicide is correct; I am just saying that one should not tell a family that their lost loved one will not be accepted into heaven because mental illness took over and stole their lives. This is wrong.
I was recently made aware of a disturbing fact. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Utah had the third highest suicide rate in the country in 2013. (Succeeded only by Montana and Alaska). It is estimated that for every reported suicide there are 12 attempted suicides. In 2013 there were over 600 suicides in Utah according to the above statistics. If you include the attempted suicides the number rises to over 7000. That is over 3% of Utah population. That may seem small, but that is three attempts for every 100 people, and one attempt for every 33, does it really seem so small now?
According to the World Health Organization:
“Over 800,000 people die due to suicide every year and there are many more who attempt suicide. Hence, many millions of people are affected or experience suicide bereavement every year. Suicide occurs throughout the lifespan and was the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds globally in 2012.”
It is important to note that suicide rates can tend to be higher among minorities, including LGBTQ youth and adults.
Next, I would like to share some of the possible warning signs with you all—while also informing you that there are not always warning signs.
One of the most important signs of suicide, one that is repeated again and again in different resources, is someone who talks about committing suicide, wanting to die, or wanting to hurt themselves. Please take these threats seriously and seek immediate help for the individual. *Please note that as much as 25-50% of individuals intending to commit suicide will NOT show any signs at all. If someone you know or love either attempted or succeeded in committing suicide, know that it was NOT your fault.
Other signs may include: behaving dangerously. Such as, buying weapons, increasing self-destructive activities (drugs, alcohol, self-harm, unprotected sex, etc.). They may be sleeping way too much, or way too little, eating too much or too little. They may become withdrawn, not wanting to spend time with friends or family. They may have recently been very moody or suddenly gone from moody to extremely calm. *Note: It is more common for someone that is starting to come out of a depressive cycle to attempt suicide then it is for someone who is stuck at the bottom of depression. They may have a sudden preoccupation with death, or “putting their affairs in order” such as telling people they care about goodbye and giving away prize possessions.
There are some situations that make it more common for someone who is considering suicide (or even previously seeming to be emotionally healthy) to make an attempt on their life; especially so if they have had a previous suicide attempt. Any trauma or life crisis including, but not limited to: a death in the family, an abusive situation, a loss of health or ability to function, loss of a job or financial stability, etc.
Do not feel ashamed or nervous about talking to these people (unless you fear that they may be violent or dangerous towards you or others) talking to them can actually help their emotional situation. If you believe that the person you know could be dangerous to themselves or others please call 911 right away! You could help save lives.
I had a friend call 911 on me when we had a fight. He told them that I was attempting suicide because he was pissed at me and hoped that they would arrest me. However, the police take the threat very seriously. They will calmly talk to the person and make sure that they are okay. They are not upset about being called and will not be angry with the person that they are talking to or with the person who called. So even if you don’t know, but you suspect that they could be. Please help them.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 (there is also an online chat option at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/)
The Trevor Lifeline 866-488-7386
The Trevor Project: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/get-help-now
Suicide help in your area: http://www.suicide.org/suicide-hotlines.html
If you or someone you know are thinking about or considering suicide please reach out for help. Talk to a friend, call a hotline or dial 911 immediately.
Sources I used in my post:
American Foundation for Suicide Provention
The New York Times
The Suicide Prevention Hotline
The Trevor Project
World Health Organization
World Health Organization Map
The Resident Femme