When you live with depression and anxiety thoughts of suicide can be hard to bear.
As you probably know, I’ve had a lot happen in my emotional world over the past few months. I plummeted into a desperate, suicidal chasm that took every ounce of my energy to endure.
I’m not the only person in this world to be sent freefalling into despair. I’m not the only person whose life has been turned inside out without notice. And, I’m certainly not the only person who figured the world and I would be much better off if I left.
It’s in a private world that despair takes hold. It’s not in the latte filled social activities with friends (that’s my life) that are excruciatingly painful. It’s not in the world outside ourselves where our despair has a brightly coloured blanket thrown over it. It’s not even about family. Thoughts of suicide are a private anguish. A desperate need to be released from pain, to find relief.
It’s not just depressed people, or those with an emotional illness, that seek out suicide as an option for relieving inner pain. Suicide can be the solution sought for a short-term crisis or in medical terms, an ‘Adjustment Disorder’ where an immediate need can be to ‘stop the pain’ or the unwanted experience.
It’s interesting to consider this in respect of not why, but how people choose to kill themselves.
Those who believe killing themself is the best (and very real) solution to the pain, may in fact not attempt it because of the lack of availability of a lethal option. That is, there is no method of death available.
Research has uncovered that when suicide plan A has been defeated (for whatever reason) there is usually no suicide plan B, either in the short or long term! As an example, if I drive myself to the bridge I’ve decided to jump off and find suicide barriers have been erected, it’s very unlikely that I’ll drive to another bridge. It’s also probable, that by the time plan A has been considered and perhaps even attempted (I arrived at the bridge) sufficient time has passed from the point of crisis for my heightened distress and pain to have quieted and my conviction waned.
Suicide survivors who have been seriously injured in their attempts and who have been interviewed for research purposes, admitted they realised they did not want to die. That is, a survivor of a bridge jump (from a bridge where suicide attempts had been fatal 98% of the time) stated that once he had let go [of the bridge] his immediate thought was that he did not want to die. A woman who survived a near fatal, self-inflicted gunshot to her head, stated her last conscious thought [after she had pulled the trigger] was that she did not want to die. She said to her rescuers: “Don’t let me die.”
Whether thoughts of suicide are part of a diagnosed or non-diagnosed ‘mental illness’ or they are the result of a single emotional crisis, the risk of suicide is very real. Especially if there is a lethal means readily available.
Feelings that include thoughts of suicide are real. Ongoing questions about why we exist that take shape in feelings of unworthiness, loneliness and too many more to mention, fuel a fire of self-doubt and anguish that can make us long for that ultimate release. Our inability to relieve the pain makes us vulnerable to any ‘catalyst event’ during which we might believe ourselves powerless. Unable to stop the pain in any other way.
For me, I continually work to hold firm to my spiritual beliefs. Beliefs that confirm my life has purpose and that I have value. Beliefs that I may not fully comprehend but that provide me strength to move forward. After all, what would faith be if it did not provide hope for an unknown future?
From Luke Richardson: We need to change the culture of this topic and make it OK to speak about mental health and suicide.
If you need to talk to someone NOW call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Deb Shugg is an awarded businesswoman, wife & mother, author and a sufferer of depression and anxiety.
If you need help to deal with your symptoms see your doctor.
(Abuse of another person is NEVER okay. If you are being abused or, if you are an abuser please seek help.)