Turning the Tide on Suicide
Updated: May 16
With suicide at epidemic levels in the U.S., suicide is in the headlines,mainly when it's involves a celebrity. Well at least, until the next tragedy dominates the news. But the epidemic of self murder won't go away. This blog examines suicide myths & misinformation, facts, and helping
a suicidal loved one.
Suicide has been around since the beginning of time. In some instances, it is encouraged as a way to preserve one's honor. During war we hear the term "falling on your sword." Seppuku or harakiri, a form of Japanese ritual disembowelment, was originally reserved for
Samurai, but later was practiced among Japanese civilians presumably to restore honor to
oneself or one's family. The Apostle Paul even entertained the thought of it but decided he needed to stick around for a while. "21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith,26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me." (Phil. 1:21-26).
When things go south in a person's life,
it can get so bad that thoughts of suicide pop into the head. That's not unusual. We all want the painful things in life to just end, even those who have a strong love for life, don't give up easily and have a desire to overcome whatever's blocking them from pressing on. So thoughts of suicide may enter the mind, just like many other people facing hard times. When we assess people like this, it often turns out that they have no plan, no time frame or what they will use to do it. That is very good news and a relief to the ones we assessed. Here's the thing to remember:
Everyday, thousands and thousands of thoughts pass through our minds. We don't act upon every single one and there's the key. Thoughts are just thoughts. Unless we empower them, thoughts have no power in and of themselves to do anything. So we let those thoughts go and move on with the business of living.
Thus we have misconception number 1: anyone who thinks about suicide is destined to go through with it. This is as wrong as the sister myth that says "Talking about suicide, will put ideas into his/her head." Wrong again and as we know, two wrongs don't make a right. Neither one of those is. Talking about suicide and getting educated with the facts, the signs and the symptoms are the very things that will turn the tide on the suicide epidemic. People who choose the option of suicide don't really want to die, they just want to stop the pain. They believe they've exhausted all other options. That being said, if you are reading this post and not a trained therapist or counselor, and a loved one or some other person has been talking about suicide, especially if they are exhibiting signs and symptoms associated with someone seriously considering suicide, assume they are serious and get help. Call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 For Veterans their families and friends call Veteran's Crisis Line 1-877-594-2732
SIGNS TO LOOK FOR
So what are some of the signs that a person might be planning something? There are a lot of good websites on Suicide Prevention if you just type SUICIDE in your web browser. Let's look at some the information here: It bears repeating that people who choose the option of suicide don't really want to die, they just want to stop the pain. They believe they've exhausted all other options. If you notice any of the following signs get help. Don't dismiss them, and don't think it can't happen in your family. It can. It does. Denial will turn to the most difficult type of grief one must endure if it happens.
TALK: about killing himself/herself/ of having no reason to live/ about being a burden to others/ that they'd be better off dead/ saying the pain is unbearable--can't live like this no more/about feeling trapped
BEHAVIORS: writing about death, dying or suicide/ withdrawing from family, friends, favorite activities, and society/ visiting or calling people to say goodbye/ looking for ways to kill themselves such as searching online for materials or means/ updating a will/ giving away things, especially prized possessions/ increased use of drugs or alcohol/ engaging in reckless or risky behavior/ sleeping too much or too little/reaching out on social media/ aggression/ reliving past stressful experiences/ episodes of excessive rage, anger or wanting revenge/ buying a gun, knife, rope, pills
MOOD: depression/ loss of interest/ bored and detached/ angry or irritable/ anxiety/ ashamed/ sudden, unexplained or appearance of a positive mood change--suddenly happy****
*******Warning: this is where family and friends mistakenly let their guard down. They think the suicidal person is "better."NO! NO! NO! A suicidal person is suddenly happy because they have made peace with their decision to kill themselves. DO NOT LEAVE THIS PERSON ALONE!!! GET HELP!!!
Do not be afraid to ask if someone is feeling suicidal. Better yet ask directly if they are thinking of killing or hurting themself. Ask them "What's the ONE THING that would make them choose to live. It bears repeating that if you are reading this post and not a trained therapist or counselor, and a loved one or some other person has been talking about suicide, especially if they are exhibiting signs and symptoms associated with someone seriously considering suicide, assume they are serious and get help. Call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 For Veterans their families and friends call Veteran's Crisis Line 1-877-594-2732
Remember that God loves you and cares about your hurt and pain. If you have been trying to get back in touch with God and are struggling with depression, mental or emotional pain, PTSD, email Rev. Carlene on the CONTACT page of this website. To schedule an appointment email on the CONTACT page of this website or firstname.lastname@example.org or call (630)557-6229 in the Greater Chicagoland area. No need to drive to an office, I come to your home for all sessions or an agreed upon safeplace if home is not safe. Or, try a video counseling session
Until the next blog post Blessings and Peace!
Rev. Carlene Appel-M.Div. CISM