September is National Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month
I suffer from anxiety and depression. The thought of suicide has crossed my mind several times through out my life. The thoughts go all the way back to childhood and were most prominent during my addiction. But now I am clean and finding more positive ways to cope with all of my anger and pain. Suicide is a very widely discussed topic now a days and it’s with good reason. According to the CDC suicide is on the rise more than ever and especially among our youth and young adults.
How serious is this epidemic?
According to the World Health Organization, roughly 800,000 people a year commit suicide. That’s a person every 40 seconds! What is even more frightening is this number only represents those that have been reported. So many more have attempted but somehow made it out alive. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. It ranks higher than the widely reported homicides which comes in at number 16.
Is suicide a disease?
This is a very debatable subject going on in the world right now. There’s a growing number of psychiatrists who are arguing, suggesting that genetics and biology are the key factors which lead people to commit suicide, bucking the notion that the behavior results from a mood disorder, according to New Scientist. Personally, I believe in this myself. Once the thought has crossed your mind it lingers there forever. It’s like a constant nagging in your brain every time you are faced with a horrible challenge. As a child how did I know what it even was? Why would I consistently think about it for years to come after? Why do some people with anxiety and depression think about it while others don’t? The brain is a very strange place and even with modern science we are, still to this day, trying to figure out what makes the brain react.
But you CAN conquer this!
Suicide is a negative coping skill. All you have to do is replace it with a positive. Easier said than done for someone like me who feels this way. Overcoming suicidal thoughts takes as much willpower as actually committing the act so why not put all that into not doing it. I am not a doctor or had medical training so if you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts please contact one of the help hotlines I will list at the end of the post, go to the emergency room, or seek out help from a therapist. I can’t speak for everyone but therapy has never really helped me. Usually it makes me feel a lot worst and more uncomfortable. So I sought out help for myself through self-help books and online communities.
Two books I have read that have really helped me are Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by Dr. David D. Burns and DEPRESSION: Depression Self Help, and How to Easily “Overcome Depression” For Life by Otto Viteri. Feeling Good is a very long book while DEPRESSION is very short. Both are filled with coping exercises you can practice anywhere to deal with suicidal thoughts and tendencies from your own comfort zone. They are also a good read for someone who knows a suicidal person and would like to better understand why they feel this way or how to help.
I have also found that actually convincing myself to get up and do yoga has really helped. It helps me to calm myself when I start feeling overwhelmed and anxious. I have found a book specifically for people who practice yoga and have depression. If this is something that interests you check out Be Your Spirit: A Guide to Health and Happiness Based on the Yoga Sutras by Dr. Randy Niederman.
I know I didn’t dive to much into my personal story but I wrote a post not to long ago about the day I decided to get sober after an overdose (an unknowing suicide attempt) that you can read here. A friend and admin of one of my mom support groups recently wrote an article called Suicide Survivor you should check out as well. It really struck a chord with me and made me feel like I am not so alone. Her story is told through the eyes of the person on the other side of suicide. You can also check out her Facebook group I’m in at Life Unplanned.
If you or someone you know is suffering from suicidal thoughts or tendencies please, by all means, contact these hotlines below or 911. I know it is very hard to think rationally when you are in this state of mind but please don’t ever forget there is love and a way out!
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
The Trevor Helpline is a 24-hour suicide prevention line aimed at gay,lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning teens: 1-866-4-U-TREVOR
“Only in the grip of darkness, we can shine amidst the brightest star” – Unknown