Friday, September 10, 2021

In Honor of Suicide Prevention Day

For this post, let’s talk about suicide. Just suicide. Not how we felt after someone we know committed suicide. No, let’s get close and personal about what leads people to attempting and taking their own life.

For me, and I feel like people can relate to this, when I get low, I get low. I lose all sense  of hope. I feel alone, like a burden. I feel like a failure. A bad mother, daughter, friend, worker. I shut down and belittle myself. Which makes me feel even worse. I call myself stupid, fat, ugly, a failure. I tell myself no one wants to talk to me, that I’m a burden, my family would be better off without me.

After years of battling the ups and downs, I now have a great support system in place. But not everyone does. Which means these thoughts stay in your head until you actually believe them to be true. For me, this is what lead to my suicide attempt. I felt like no one understood me. I now know that I am not alone. 

Did you know suicide is a leading cause of death in the US? So what are we doing wrong in helping people in crisis? Are we not listening? Are we ignoring signs? How can we be better? 

Suicide can affect us all, it doesn’t care about your gender, age, or race. Some risk factors include mental health disorders, chronic pain, substance use, family history of suicide, and many more. But risk factors don’t always mean someone will commit suicide.

So let’s talk about warning signs. A few warning signs include: expressing the want to die, feeling empty or hopeless, unbearable emotional or physical pain, putting affairs in order, withdrawing from family and friends. Serious warning signs include: extreme mood swings, making a plan, acting anxious or agitated. If you know someone displaying these signs, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask if they are ok or need help. 

The best we can do for someone we know who is suicidal is be there for them. Show them someone cares. Someone loves them. Someone will miss them. Don’t be afraid to be upfront and ask if they are suicidal, honestly it will probably be a relief to them that someone noticed. That someone cares about them. Let them know that you love them and they would be missed, that you are there for them, whatever they need.

You should also be prepared for the possible lashing out when suggesting someone needs help. For me, I lashed out, yelled at my mom, and said I was fine. I refused help initially. I denied having a problem and shut myself down more. What I had in my corner was someone advocating for me. So even if they lash out at you, don’t be afraid to stand your ground, continue to be there for them. Show them you care.

Suicide is literally killing our society, it affects all ages, genders, and races. It does not care how much you pretend to be ok. This is why we need society to step up and recognize that mental health is a problem. We need, as a whole, to talk about our problems, recognize a crisis. Speak out and end the stigma, help each other not be afraid of not being ok. Together we can make a difference. An escape.

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