Have you ever thought about killing yourself? It’s a terrifying thought.
I know because it happened to me in the summer of 2007.
I never developed a plan or any intention of doing it, but for about a week I thought “What if?”
What if I move beyond thoughts and develop a desire to die?
What if I can’t stop myself from thinking like this?
At the time I had no idea where the thoughts came from which caused confusion and filled me with dread.
Even saying the word suicide made be anxious. As if just thinking about it meant that I might actually go through with it.
Looking back I realize that I was anxious and depressed rather than crazy. But imagine going through that experience without understanding that.
And what made everything worse is that I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone.
Eventually, I reached out to my sister, but not before I suffered with severe anxiety and depression for months.
Like most people I waited to reach out because I was embarrassed – even ashamed about what I was going through.
Talking about my problems also made me nervous and avoidant, so I was willing to suck it up and trudge along on my own a lot longer than I should have.
The problem is that in the case of suicide silence can kill. Isolation breeds more depression, anxiety, and hopelessness.
Look what happened to Robin Williams, for example.
Over the past week I’ve heard several people that knew him say things like “I didn’t know he was in pain,” or something along those lines.
But that’s the thing, this problem is a lot more common than most people would like to admit. And people keep this problem to themselves far too often.
Here are some important facts about suicide:
Suicide is no joke
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States
- In 2010 over 38,000 people committed suicide
- In the same year over 1 million people attempted suicide
- Males are more likely to complete the act of suicide
- People that commit suicide are often between the ages of 24 and 40
What puts you at risk of suicide?
- Family history of suicide
- History of child abuse
- Previous suicide attempts
- Alcohol/Drug abuse
- Severe Depression and Anxiety
- Significant loss such as a death or divorce
- Serious illness
What helps to prevent suicide?
- Clinical care (psychiatrist/therapist)
- Support of friends and family
- Cultural or religious beliefs
What makes it an emergency?
- You are experiencing severe anxiety or depression
- You are having thoughts of harming yourself
- You have a plan to hurt yourself
- You have access to means needed to hurt yourself
- In case of imminent threat to yourself call 911
If you’re suffering with thoughts of suicide I want you to know that there is help.
In the United States you can call 1-800-273-8255. If you live outside the U.S. please do a quick Google search for “suicide hotline” to reach someone near you.
I was lucky that I had someone there to support me and as a result things didn’t get out of control.
But when it comes to suicide you don’t want to rely on luck. If you need help ask for it.
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