Give them a reason not to
The act of taking one’s own life ... it’s unimaginable to most of us, but for some, it becomes the only option they can think of.
I AM a fan of Soundgarden. Naturally, I was devastated to hear of Chris Cornell’s suicide. He’s not the only one. Tommy Page also committed suicide. Why do people commit suicide? Is it depression?
Among other reasons, yes. But psychiatric depression is only a small piece of the puzzle.
A study published in Psychology Today suggests that the reasons are deeper than once thought.
Researchers studied the suicide notes of people who completed suicide successfully. The main difference is that the notes of suicide completers included much more detail about how they were a burden on other people and society compared to people who only attempted suicide, but did not complete it.
In those notes, hopelessness, pain (emotional and physical), and the belief that death will end this pain were the common themes.
In summary, people don’t commit suicide just only because they are depressed or in pain. They commit suicide because they don’t believe that there is a reason to live anymore, and that their family, friends, and the world will be better off without them.
But I feel depressed sometimes. There are circumstances in my life when I am actually very depressed. When I am depressed, I don’t feel like committing suicide. What is the difference between people who think like me and people who commit suicide?
When you were depressed, did you have hope that the future will be better and that your problems would ultimately be resolved?
Suicidal thoughts usually come from a feeling that you cannot cope when faced with a situation that overwhelms you.
When you feel as though there is no escape from that situation, you may experience some sort of narrowed vision – and in that crisis, you think that suicide is the only way out.
There is also a possible link to genetics. People who commit suicide or have suicidal thoughts or behaviour may more often than not have a family member who committed suicide.
Psychology Today also suggests that people who commit suicide also ultimately possess a mental strength that enables them to go through the intense emotional distress and physical pain to commit suicide. They must be highly tolerant of pain.
In their lives, they may have played violent and extreme sports, got tattoos and body piercings, played with guns, or got into a lot of fights. That is why they are fearless of injuring themselves.
When they were alive, they may have actually said things like: “I can stand pain more than other people” or “I am not afraid of things that other people are afraid of.”
Is it true that women are more likely to commit suicide?
Actually, women are more likely to attempt suicide, but not go through with it.
Men are the ones who are more likely to complete suicide because they usually use more effective and irreversible methods like a gun or hanging.
My mother has been depressed lately. Is she a suicide risk? Should I watch out for anything or be more aware?
There is definitely a risk. Suicide risks include:
● Feel hopeless, worthless, or agitated.
● People who are socially isolated or lonely.
● People who have experienced a stressful life event, such as a loved one’s death, post-traumatic stress disorder (common among war veterans), a breakup, or financial problems.
● Have a substance abuse problem like that of alcohol and drugs.
● Have suicidal thoughts.
● Have access to firearms in your home (more common in the United States).
● Have an underlying psychiatric disorder, such as major depression or bipolar disorder (mania and depression).
● Have a family history of mental disorders, substance abuse, suicide, or violence, including physical or sexual abuse.
● Have a medical condition that can lead to depression and suicidal thinking, such as cancer, chronic disease, paralysis, or chronic pain.
● People who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender with an unsupportive family or who are persecuted in a hostile environment.
● People who have attempted suicide before.
For children and teens, watch out if they are victims of bullying at school or are on drugs. They may not want to tell you about it.
Some young girls who have been raped or got pregnant also take their own lives.
I can look out for these, yes. But are there any warning signs such as what the person says or does?
Yes. Warning signs include:
● Talking about suicide (“I’m going to kill myself”, “I wish I hadn’t been born”).
● Stockpiling pills.
● Wanting to be left alone.
● Having mood swings.
● Being preoccupied with death, dying or violence.
● Feeling trapped or hopeless about a situation.
● Increasing use of alcohol or drugs.
● Changing normal routine, including eating or sleeping patterns.
● Performing risky or self-destructive things, such as driving recklessly.
● Giving away personal belongings or getting affairs in order when there’s no explanation for doing so.
● Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again.
Dr YLM graduated as a medical doctor, and has been writing for many years on various subjects such as medicine, health, computers and entertainment. For further information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The information contained in this column is for general educational purposes only. Neither The Star nor the author gives any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to such information. The Star and the author disclaim all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.