19 Jun My Take on Suicide…From Someone Who Lived It
In the wake of what is becoming a national epidemic, I want to discuss suicide in more detail. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for teenagers and young adults, behind accidental injuries. So, if you take away unintentional “freak accidents,” it is the leading cause of death. The suicide rates in the United States have been increasing over the last decade at a staggering pace.
I am not here to tell you what the answer is, because I think that is something we’re all searching for. But I am someone who lived through major depression and personal run-ins with attempted suicide as a teenager. I want to explain my take on suicide, coming from someone who was broken to the point where suicide seemed like the only option.
I am 24 years old, and now live a life of wellness, joy and gratitude. But eight years ago, my life hit rock bottom as a high school student. I fell into a dark depression that lasted three full years, with two suicide attempts in that time frame. I also know multiple people who have sadly taken their life…. old friends, acquaintances, teachers, etc. It is the most heartbreaking news one can hear.
Whether you can relate to what I am talking about or not, my intuition is that most people have some sort of curiosity as to the what, why and how someone takes their life. Whether it is the recent tragedies of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, a prior inspiration, someone you know personally, or the millions of Americans that have taken their life, the severity of the result is all the same. I am not here to tell you what they were feeling or why they acted, but I will tell you my perspective from when I lived through it.
When I was in my darkest stages, I felt completely hopeless and helpless. I tried medications and they didn’t work. I felt that I was a burden to everyone around me…my family, friends and classmates. I feel like everyone hated me. I felt like the only sad person at the school while everyone else was happy. I felt that no matter what I did that I could not escape the despair. I hated myself and my life. I felt worthless and that I had no good to offer anyone. I lost friends and isolated myself frequently. I would try to sleep often and engage as little as possible. I had frightening nightmares regularly. I sought after attention from people who I felt were not giving it to me. This was probably my most significant factor. I felt that dying was truly the best choice for me. I felt like everyone wanted me to die, even God. I deeply questioned why I was on this Earth and resorted to the ideation of removing myself all together.
I hope this gives you some perspective. I am not saying that all suicidal people feel this way, but at least some of these points are usually common factors. When people ask, “Why did this person end their life?” The above paragraph may give some insight on the motivations and feelings.
Allow me to share my viewpoints on suicide and all that is encompassed within it:
- Whenever you hear someone mention a suicidal ideation, take it seriously. Seek help. Do not let time go by and hope it gets better. Try not to make the person feel worse off by saying to snap out of it or to just get better. You may not understand what exactly they are doing or why they are acting this way. That is totally okay. Suicide is tough to comprehend. Just understand the severity of the problem and offer comfort, love and help. And if you are the one who is contemplating suicide, reach out to someone you trust. Know that in your darkness, life can become so, so good.
- Medications work on some people, and not for others. For me personally, they did not do much benefit. It is important to understand that medications can sometimes improve a person’s chemical imbalance. But what is also important to realize is that meds do not change the life circumstances that that person may be enduring. For example, if someone loses a loved one, and then they immediately go on anti-depressants to dampen the pain, all that really does is make it temporarily better while creating a long-term deeper struggle. It is important for people to feel so later they can heal. Feel to heal. Medications do not always allow this by masking the feeling we need to feel.
- Understanding that when a person is truly suicidal, their mind isn’t right in the current state. They are unable to rationalize situations properly like a healthy person would, and their perceptions may be skewed drastically. Professional help and services come to great benefit in circumstances like these.
- Many of those who are suicidal are acting out of a cry for help. Something in their life isn’t being fulfilled. A lot of times it happens to be a lack of attention from a certain person or group of people. This is why people often act out in a drastic way, to create a sense of attention. As sad and regretfully as I must say, this was me.
- There are two types of suicidal people; those who truly want to die and those who think they want to die. The ones who truly want to die are the ones who sadly commit the tragedy. Those who think they want to die are the ones that ponder about it or even attempt, but don’t follow through. I had always thought I was the first one, but looking back, I was the latter, because deep down something was keeping me from doing it…or else I would have done it. It is important to take both cases seriously, and identify the root causes for how that person feels and wants to act.
- Exercise, communication, therapy, admitting your faults, and creating an action plan to change your current life’s situation are ways for a person suffering from depression and suicidal ideations to improve and see the light at the end of the tunnel. Once you see the light at the end of the tunnel…life becomes a beautiful thing! One full of love, fun, appreciation and motivation.
- As sad as this is to say, coming from someone who lived it, suicidal people are self-absorbed in their state of mind. Think about it…if you cared a little bit less about the things going on about you and you took the focus off yourself, then there is less to be upset over.
- Faith can solve anything. This is what I wish I had known eight years ago. I didn’t understand what having God present in my life meant, nor did I understand how it was even possible. But now I understand what that entails and how my life has changed forever. I know that what I endured was God’s plan all along. He taught me lessons by putting me through hardships and suffering. By taking the focus off yourself, and putting your life in the hands of God, your heart, mind and perspective will forever change for the better. I have experienced this first hand, as I never used to know God, but now choose to live my life with Him as my centerpiece and guide. The blessings that I have experienced by having a relationship with God are remarkable. Having a strong spiritual life and relationship with God is something often missed by people, especially those who are depressed.
- Acknowledge that the end result of suicide is not okay. This is one point that may cause some frustration and hostility, but it is important to know that those who take their own life did not make a decision that is “okay” by any means. We sympathize with them, love them, long for them, miss them dearly, but also shouldn’t accept that their choice was “okay.”
- Lastly, if you are depressed or thinking about ending your life, just know that, yes, you are in an extremely dark place. But there are greater blessings and experiences in life when you break through the darkness. Though you may feel like it, you are certainly not alone. We all have struggles and darkness. Know that you are loved, cherished and appreciated in the good and in the struggle.
I know this is a tough subject to swallow. Feel free to shoot me any questions you may have.
Take a look at my story of how I overcame my battles with depression and suicide in my memoir, “The Battle Against Yourself.”