Monday, September 10, 2012

Thanks to those who saved me.

Happy Suicide Prevention Day, everyone!

Happy and suicide seem like oxymorons, but a day in which we talk about mental health and suicide is a good day to me. There are thousands and thousands of people suffering with thoughts of suicide, and it is the 3rd leading cause of death for youth age 15-24. Men are more likely to succeed in suicide, based mostly on their method of choice, (handguns and hanging are popular among males.) Many things can lead to suicidal thoughts, such as mental illness (e.g, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar, ect.) drug use, family breakdowns, abuse, neglect, ect, and are usually accompanied by feelings of hopelessness, and the belief that there is no other alternative.

People who attempt or complete suicide do not want to die. They simply want to put an end to their emotional/mental pain, and often feel that there is no other option for them.
I was rather suicidal through my teenage years, I was rather suicidal, ended up in the hospital once, and did some damage to myself over the years. But this post isn’t about the things I went through, rather, it’s about the numerous people who saved my life, directly or indirectly.

Thank you, Bria, my junior high friend, who found out about my suicide plans and reported it to a teacher. And many thanks to that teacher, who took the report seriously and intervened. I may have hated both of them at the time, but looking back, I couldn’t be more grateful.

Thank you to my ninth grade science teacher, who listened when I told her I “used to want to kill myself.”

Thank you to Leslie, my first girlfriend, who walked with me through every turbulent moment, and listened whenever I needed someone.

Thank you to the English department in high school, who never failed to raise my self-worth

Thank you to Josi, who always understood, and did whatever she could to support me.

Thank you to every counselor who listened to me, offered support, and ways to improve my life. Especially Michelle, who didn’t let me go, even when I tried to get away.

I’m alive today because these people realized something was wrong, and stopped to help, even if it was only to ask, “Are you okay?”

Take an interest in those around you. If someone appears depressed, or has been speaking frequently about death or suicide, take a moment to ask them if they’re all right. You could end up saving someone’s life, even if you don’t know it.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Suicide: Myth or Fact?

It’s a pretty scary word. For some, it ranks up there with infanticide and pedophilia—why would anyone willingly take their own life? Those who have never had any sort of contact (knowingly) with mental illness or suicide may find the idea ridiculous, idiotic, or just plain selfish, but it’s anything but.

Myth or Fact:

Suicide is the easy way out. This myth BAFFLES me. Anyone who has attempted suicide or has a history of self-harm will tell you suicide is ANYTHING BUT easy. Even those who are determined to end their own life still have the survival instinct buried within them. That means they may subconsciously try to save themselves. Many failed suicide attempts are due to survival instincts kicking in at the last moment. More so, SUICIDE HURTS. You are trying to die, and anyone who has been in a medically critical state will tell you DYING HURTS. But for some, this pain is better than nothingness or the depression they feel. Dying is exceedingly painful, but they’ve come to a point in which living causes them even more pain.

Suicide is selfish. People who say this make me REALLY ANGRY. The people who insist suicidal persons should stop what they’re doing and keep living for the sake of their friends and family are incredibly selfish. This person is in extreme mental or emotional pain. They’re not trying to die to make everyone around them feel miserable. They just want a way to end their own torment. Would you call someone who wanted to escape a torture chamber selfish? No? Then STFU.

People who talk about suicide won’t do it. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. One of the first warning signs that someone may be considering suicide is they begin TALKING ABOUT IT. If someone you know starts to fixate on death, dying, or suicide, talk to them about it! They may be at risk of seriously harming themselves!

People who attempt suicide and fail are simply seeking attention.  Remember when I mentioned those survival instincts? Sometimes that takes the form of not cutting deep enough, ripping the bag off their head while trying to suffocate, not securing their hanging rope, ect. This doesn’t mean they’re not serious. It means subconsciously, they want to live. If someone attempts suicide and fails, intervene IMMEDIATELY. Most people will attempt suicide more than once before they succeed.

Only depressed people attempt suicide. Most people in their life will experience suicidal thoughts, whether or not they suffer from a mental illness. 2/3 of university students will contemplate suicide due to stress. Suicide is a result of someone who is very unhappy, suffering emotionally or mentally, and feel there is no way out. Just like depression, ANYONE can be affected by thoughts of suicide. It is not an issue that pertains to age, gender, social status, race. There are children in our programs as young as 5, 6, 7 who often display suicidal thoughts or actions. Without intervention, many of these children would either attempt, or at the very least engage in self-harm.

Familiarize yourself with the warning signs of suicide. It is 100% preventable, and it’s time we erased the stigma so more people will reach out for help. It’s time suicide became history.