Warning Signs of Suicide


Suicide

I was married to a man who threatened to commit suicide if he didn’t get his way.  More than once. In our very short marriage, the emotional rollercoaster took everything out of me. You cant imagine what this does to a person’s psyche. I didn’t know it at the time, but came to realize, he was a Narcissist. His behaviors were extreme. This blog has some amazing resources, if you suspect you are in a relationship with a Narc.

Suicide is incredibly serious. Since Miss USA Cheslie Kryst’s death, I have watched several interviews with people in her circle. No one saw it coming. Almost all expressed dismay, at the thought of possibly missing the signs. Depression and Suicide are closely linked. In my line of work, we are required to ask about suicidal and homicidal ideation and intention, during every substantive encounter. 

Sadly, Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the US. Stats show nearly 50,000 suicides, and more than a million attempts. It appears that 70% of suicides are committed by white males, but more women attempt suicide than men. In general, the younger someone is, the less likely they are to commit suicide. Even so, there seems to be an onslaught of young people now taking their own lives. While some suicides are out of the blue, very often there are warning signs. Unfortunately, these warning signs often go unnoticed or worst, ignored.

Be aware of these common suicide warning signs, and you may save a life:

  1. Feeling hopeless. If someone is miserable and doesn’t believe there’s any hope of a better existence, suicide can be a logical conclusion for them. One possible cure for hopelessness is to prove that the ability to alter the future exists. For example, set one small goal; five pushups or to lose two pounds. Accomplishing a small goal is a way to prove that the future is alterable.
  2. Lack of interest in activities that were once pleasurable. This is one of the primary signs of depression. For instance, if you, or someone you know, has always loved to watch baseball, it would be unusual to suddenly lose interest in that activity.
  3. Talking about suicide. Many people that are considering suicide mention it at some point. If you know someone that seems interested in the topic of suicide, that’s potentially a serious warning sign. They might ask you how you’d commit suicide, mention it in the news, or even ask your opinion of people that have done it.
  4. Intentional isolation. People who drastically reduce their social interactions are often also contemplating suicide. When people are miserable, they tend to isolate themselves from everyone else in the world. If your normally sociable friend rarely makes an appearance, there could be an issue.
  5. Giving away possessions. People considering suicide can still be concerned about who receives their possessions when the smoke clears. They often start giving away their tools, furniture, pets, and anything else of value.
  6. Depression. Depression is a primary warning sign of suicide. Remember depression is treatable. There’s no reason to suffer passively, when there are so many treatment options available.
  7. Strong feelings of guilt or shame. People who commit suicide are frequently overwhelmed with feelings of guilt or shame. The best way to deal with these two emotions is therapy. Fortunately, there are many free resources available for this issue as well. An online search will turn up several good possibilities. 
  8. Saying goodbye to friends and family. Committing suicide is like taking a very long trip that you never come back from. Most of us wouldn’t leave on a long trip without saying goodbye. If it feels like someone is giving you a farewell for no apparent reason, that could be a warning sign of an impending suicide.
  9. Stating that others would be better off without them. Many people consider suicide, but decide against it because of the harm they realize it could cause to others. When someone believes that others would actually benefit from their death, that’s a serious warning sign that they intend to harm themselves.

Be on the lookout for these warning signs. Given the prevalence of suicide attempts in this country, you may know someone that will attempt suicide. You’ve likely known others that have considered it, whether you realize it or not.

Suicide is a significant cause of death. If you know the warning signs, you might be able to stop yourself, or someone you know, from ending their life needlessly. Ask, listen, and encourage them to seek help. The number for Suicide and Crisis Hotline is 1800 273 8255. 

If you have suffered the loss of a loved one, use this Depression and Loss worksheet, to help you work through your feelings

To Your Success,
Juan