I’m not a so-called mental health professional. I don’t have any professional degrees hanging on my wall or in an office. I don’t have a cool title before or after my name. However, I am a professional of my own experiences. I am a suicide survivor.
Today, September 10th is an extremely noteworthy day. World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is an awareness day observed on 10 September every year, in order to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides, with various activities around the world.
There are astounding facts, figures, and statistics regarding the total number of suicides per day. The number of suicide attempts and deaths continues to grow each year at an alarming pace.
During a very dark time in my life, I really struggled with depression and other mental health issues. There were many times when suicide seemed to be the most viable option. Many were the days that I didn’t see even a shimmer of light or hope.
I can state, with gratitude that I never consciously attempted suicide. It wasn’t something I purposely chose to do. In an effort to numb myself from my own mind and the world around me, I did have a few narrow escapes.
What I want to share from my personal experiences is to educate you and others about what suicide ISN’T:
Suicide isn’t “Crying Wolf.” I have heard this so many times! There are many individuals, medical professionals included, who will disregard someone’s statements about or attempts at suicide as a means of attention. Well, if you use this in a negative connotation, then that may fit. However, if someone is telling you they are feeling suicidal, you need to listen!
It doesn’t matter if they have told you this 100+ times. This statement should be taken seriously every single time they state it. This distressed individual is attempting to communicate with you that there is something not right in their world.
You may not understand it, but they also may not be able to explain it. This is why suicidal thoughts and attempts should be listened to seriously. That one single time you decide the individual is “crying wolf,” may be the one time they are successful at ending their life.
Suicide isn’t “the easy way out.” I can understand how those who have never felt suicidal may feel this way, but it is the furthest from the truth. I have had so many conversations with myself, debates and tug-of-wars when contemplating the thought of suicide.
It was an agonizing experience. I think this is true for most people who have or do feel suicidal. When you are fully immersed in the darkness of depression, you truly feel as though you and everyone else would be better off if you aren’t around.
I don’t ever remember feeling as though that was the easiest option. In fact, by the time I experienced suicidal ideation, I had already tried and been through a million other options first. Personally, I think if someone is harboring this thought about someone who is feeling suicidal, then the entire experience becomes more about them than the person living it.
Suicide isn’t selfish. Yes, I know. I have heard every single statement about what a selfish act suicide can be. My reply to that, pooey! If you are trying to help someone who is feeling suicidal, do you really think that the person is thinking clearly about everything in their life at that moment? No!
When you are so depressed and feeling drowned by everything in your life, it’s most definitely not the time or place to make a decision about life or death. Yet, that is what commonly happens.
What doesn’t happen is an inner conversation regarding the effects to your family, friends and others if you should commit suicide. I don’t believe this is being selfish. This is the absolute definition of depression. It’s very difficult to entertain any type of clarity in thought or words when you are feeling this badly.
And you are definitely doing a huge disservice to someone who is feeling suicidal if you are telling them they are being selfish. Most likely, that statement is going to further add to the dark load they are already carrying. Certainly, it is not going to help them in their current mindset.
Those are the three most common replies or statements I have personally heard from others. And, unfortunately, they are also the same ones I have heard others utter to folks I know who are fighting and struggling inside.
Even though I feel as though I have a fairly good understanding of what others are thinking when they are feeling suicidal, I still don’t know for sure. From my own personal experience with depression, you can read “Depression: How it Feels.” With all of that in mind, I encourage you to listen more and to judge less. That is what all of us need the most.
Please leave a comment and let me know what you would add to my list of three. I truly would like to know. Please be safe everyone and reach out to those who may need your help.
19 thoughts on “What Suicide Isn’t!”
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Thank you for your comments. Please feel free to get a hold of me via email or facebook. My contact information is on my website on the right hand side. 🙂 I’d love to chat with you about what I’ve experienced thus far.
‘What doesn’t happen is an inner conversation regarding the effects to your family, friends and others if you should commit suicide. I don’t believe this is being selfish. This is the absolute definition of depression. It’s very difficult to entertain any type of clarity in thought or words when you are feeling this badly.’
Or if this does happen (we think of our family/friends), it is more of in the context of that they would be better off without us 😦 …
I know one of the first thoughts I had when I found out Jaie had really killed himself, was “Oh my poor baby. He was so scared. So terrified. And all alone :'(”
Not once have I felt angry at him for his last actions. Jaie was not in a space to be able to think beyond the moment and just wanting/needing to end his pain and torment. He thought by calling his brother and sister he was doing the right thing and letting them know he loves them. He thought that by not calling me and his fiancee he was doing the right thing because he was no longer going to ‘upset’ us. Oh how mistaken my poor ill son was. We are forever scarred and changed as individuals and as a family unit. We miss our beautiful baby boy so desperately and we are scrambling to fill our gaping hole of loss in as many ways as possible.
Thank you for sharing ❤ Stay safe Julie xoxo
(Jaie's mum Sandra)
Wow! I am so touched having read your comment!
I am so very sorry for your loss! The ability you have to understand your child’s hurt and pain and to be accepting of that is so remarkable. Too many folks think that acceptance also means agreement. I can totally read in your words and feel through my own heart that you totally “get” what your son must have been feeling and struggling with.
You are an incredibly sensitive and caring mom!
You are so very correct. During those times of darkness in my life, I wasn’t able to think about anyone or anything else because how badly I felt completely surrounded and encompassed me. It was only through the help of professionals, some hospitalizations, medication adjustments and a whole lot of work on my part that I was able to get through each of those times.
If I can reach out and touch at least one person through my blog and make them reconsider, question and/or seek help, then my personal experiences and struggles have been of great benefit.
Thank you so much for sharing your extremely personal story and experience.
Bless you Sandra! ❤
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Julie only a few weeks before Jaie died I had been staring into the same dark abyss. And it still tears me apart knowing just how scared, alone and despairing Jaie had been feeling in those minutes before he died.
Trying to get my son and daughter now to understand that unless they were physically there to stop Jaie, there was nothing beyond what they had tried to do, which could stop him that night.
I still struggle now since Jaie’s death, but I’ve seen the destruction left behind after a death to suicide, so I make sure I do whatever it takes to survive.
I miss my boy so much. I miss everything. His voice. His hug. His smile. His messes. His calling and texting. Our arguments. His bad temper. His laughter. His just being. Everything 💔❤️💔
I know how depression feels. I know how strong it can hold me and how strong it can just throw me on the floor. It is damaging and it can be relentless.
I can’t even imagine what it has been like for you dealing with your son’s suicide. I often find myself worrying whether my son will inherit my depression as it can be genetic. He has had episodes, but they have come and passed. For that, I am so grateful.
I hope you and your family members can find some peace within yourselves and as a family group together. Let this horrible tragedy bring you closer together in faith and hope. Cling tightly to each other and be forever open and honest with each other regarding your feelings, thoughts, and actions.
I will forever be thinking of you and your struggle to accept and deal with this in your life! ❤ Please feel free to connect with me here on my blog or on facebook. I'm on facebook with my name and my picture is a close-up of my dog panting and smiling. 🙂
Love to you and your kids! ❤ ❤ ❤
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I linked this article to my own, “September 2016: Focus on Suicide Prevention,” under your graphic. Thanks for participating.
(Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
– ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
“It takes a village to transform a world!”
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I am very honored! Thank you so much!
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You are most welcome. Your post was wonderful.
This is such an important post – thank you for writing this! I’ve personally never struggled with this but know people who have. What I’ve learnt is that being suicidal is not a weakness and that asking for help is a huge step.
You are so correct. Our medical community has come a long way since I first struggled 30+ years ago. Back then, I remember being treated very poorly my medical professionals who didn’t really understand the significance of this issue. Our country has come a long way. But we still have a long way to go…
Very powerful – thanks for being so open and sharing your story.
Thank you Linda! If I can reach out and connect with at least one person, then my sharing is completely worth it!
Can’t add to your list because I have never been suicidal. There had been painful occasions where I wanted to die/just vanish/sleep and never wake again… They are just “thoughts”/”wishes” during those times and I know I will not actively seek death because this will cause grief to people who love me.
I think “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl is a good resource. it’s about “discover the importance of finding meaning in all forms of existence, even the most brutal ones, and thus, a reason to continue living”
I have heard great things about Mr. Frankl’s book. I haven’t read it yet, but it is on my reading list. Thank you for reading!