April 10, 2012 —My heart is aching as I write this because I have been remembering the many suffering people I’ve known personally or through others who have ended their own lives.
Whatever the reason, it is always devastating.
A friend of mine has decided to participate in the Out of the Darkness Overnight walk to help raise money for suicide awareness and prevention.
His father committed suicide five years ago this summer — before ever meeting his first grandson.
When I was in my early twenties, the brother of my then boyfriend decided he was done living and just gave up.
He was only 30 years old but couldn’t stand to live another day. And sadly, we were not very surprised when he did it.
Another friend of mine lost her mother to suicide just after my friend had graduated college.
She said her mother felt like she had nothing to live for since both her children had grown.
Her children still miss her.
I barely knew my paternal grandfather because he spent most of his time drinking himself into a stupor in his bedroom.
I suspect he was depressed and probably knew what he was doing when he decided to go on a three-day diet of only alcohol.
Last year there were more than a few suicides in Lassen County, leaving families and friends wondering why and struggling with the unknown.
This year a husband and father of four ended his life for unexplained reasons. However, one could argue he had at least five reasons to live.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, more than 34,000 people in the United States die by suicide every year.
That means a person dies by suicide about every 15 minutes, which is about 90 people per day. This is really disturbing to me. Why is this happening?
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says more than 60 percent of all people who die by suicide suffer from major depression, and the best way to prevent suicide is through early detection and treatment of depression and other mood disorders.
OK, so depression is very treatable, but what about the other 40 percent who take their lives? If they are not depressed, why do they want to kill themselves?
There are various theories out there explaining possible reasons for the sometimes impulsive, self-destructive act, but there is still a great deal of unknown.
Some say suicide is not a pointless or random act and that people who think about ending their own lives see suicide as an answer to an otherwise insoluble problem or a way out of some unbearable dilemma.
Death may be preferable to certain emotional distress or disability.
Ending a conscious experience on earth, which has become an endless stream of distressing thoughts, may feel like the only way to get relief.
To some, suicide is the answer to intolerable psychological pain and excruciating negative emotions such as shame, guilt, anger, fear and sadness.
Occupational and interpersonal difficulties can precipitate suicide among adults, studies say.
People who attribute failure or disappointment to their own shortcomings may come to view themselves as worthless, incompetent and unlovable.
Add in family turmoil, an incredible source of frustration, and they’re a bomb waiting to explode.
Suicidal people are convinced absolutely nothing can be done to improve their situation; no one can help. Suicide provides a definitive way to escape from intolerable circumstances, including painful self-awareness. Suicide offers oblivion.
Only the person who ends their own life can explain their reasoning behind the seemingly senseless act.
Be it feelings of anger and resentment, exaggerated guilt, based on long standing problems or triggered by a specific event — there is no answer and there never will be.
Most of us are surprised when someone commits suicide.
But many researchers say suicidal people commonly provide verbal or behavioral clues that indicate clearly their lethal intentions.
So, let’s all try to pay more attention to each other.
If someone appears depressed or sad most of the time, be direct, but not judgmental.Slow down and have a real conversation.
Taking the time to engage someone might just save his or her life. They are worth it. You are worth it.
“We’re all in this thing together, walkin’ the line between faith and fear. This life don’t last forever, when you cry I taste the salt in your tears.” — Old Crow Medicine Show
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