". . . our stories are what make the difference, and if we can tell them honestly we can hope to help each other. In the end, we have nothing to offer each other but our stories." ~ Emma Lou Thayne

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sept 10: Suicide Prevention Day - Week Sept 7-13

Image by the AWESOME Greg Olsen!
Fan him on facebook! Awesome GIVEAWAYS!
Here's my personal take on suicide:
I'm not EVEN going to GO the religious route here... because when in that state of mind, your own soul isn't what will make you think again. If you're in that state, you feel like that's already lost... but it's NOT! And I'm sorry, but the standard depression/do service/snap out of it/have faith/pray... type lessons/advice will send me for a nose dive EVEN if I'm NOT depressed... So we won't GO THERE... *sigh* Don't get me wrong, I DO have faith and a testimony. However, we're not talking about a mild case of the blues, here... We're talking chemical imbalance and no reasoning... The above mentioned advice triggers MORE guilt due to the fact that you're not able to just "get over it". Things are not really logical...

Dealing with the ups and downs of bipolar, frequently feeling misunderstood... and suicide being a SYMPTOM(?)... this can hit home. I have a sibling that has attempted on multiple occasions, a brother-in-law that succeeded; I've seen and FELT the effects on loved ones.  I can't deny that the thought doesn't jump into my head on occasion. But before anyone gets too worked up over that fact, you need to realize that I do take my medications (which can REALLY be a challenge when trying to get the type and dosage right... Like this past YEAR...) which minimizes my "symptoms" and I can pretty much always consciously force myself to  look beyond the moment and see blessings in my life and people in my life that I would never want to put through that kind of HELL. I am aware that I can go to dark places on occasion... but I KNOW my Heavenly Father loves me and that Christ is my ally. I have a husband that is too good to be true, children and grandchildren that I love. I have my mother, siblings, nieces, nephews... Kids that I worked with in Scouts, Trek, and Primary... and then there are friends... Some that I haven't even met that are here in the blogosphere, that are dear and so inspirational! 

All I'm saying is... if you are dealing with this depth of depression, it shows strength to seek help and it is not a weakness to minimize your symptoms with medication. This is a better way of dealing with it than self medicating with alcohol, recreational drugs, and other harmful ways... Also, when this kind of feeling takes over, try to look beyond that moment because it WILL PASS! Find something... ANYTHING to distract you from this path... Life is PRECIOUS! YOU ARE worth it! Get distracted until the mood passes. For me, it has been all kinds of crazy things that many don't understand... Like mind-numbing facebook games, reading and creating blog posts, editing images, movies, TV, reading, crafts... Find what distracts you and do it! And if the ONLY thing that can get you on another track is thinking of the effect it would have on those left behind, so BE IT!! Put pix of your loved ones where they are easily accessed and let your thoughts go to them!  

I must add here, to those individuals that are close to someone that is having problems of this nature, PLEASE READ and become more educated in how to react. The worst thing you can do is pretend like it's not real, tell them to get over themselves, or tell them they have no reason to feel the way they do. It hits the hardest when it comes from those that are depended on the most. Recognize it as an illness that requires medical help and seek it for them if needs be. When family and friends aren't on your side is when it gets the darkest. (Those are the times that my mind wanders in that direction the most.) Frequently it makes a huge difference just letting them vent without judgement. Recognize that they are imbalanced and don't jump on the defensive. Let things go, especially at these times. YOU don't have to FIX things; just BE there and offer support and/or distractions. Realize that you are not a professional and don't try to diagnose or advise... Some of the best intentions are unknowingly aimed so badly that it does more harm than good.

My BEST reasons to get back on the RIGHT track!
This one from 2002 is in DIRE NEED of an update! 
This group has grown up and out in many ways! ;p
My brother & his fam are CLEAR across the nation...

This one from 2002 is in DIRE NEED of an update! 
This group has grown up and out in many ways! ;p
My brother & his fam are CLEAR across the nation...

This information comes to you DIRECTLY from 

Suicide Prevention Day Sept 10

Education, Awareness Key to Suicide Prevention, Treatment 
September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day

In observation of National Suicide Prevention Week each September the American Psychiatric Association continues its education and awareness efforts on suicide prevention and treatment through its public service announcement, “Father/Son.”
Through support of the American Psychiatric Foundation, the APA’s 30-second public service announcement explores one family’s struggle and offers a national hotline number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). 

A sudden catastrophic event, failure or humiliation like a home foreclosure or job loss can leave people feeling desperate, profoundly depressed and unable to see a way out. Factors that can lead to suicide in these circumstances can be: 
Pre-existing depression

Depression and other mental disorders, or a substance-abuse disorder (often in combination with other mental disorders). More than 90 percent of people who die by suicide have these risk factors.The individual may have been depressed a long time, and what appears to be financial calamity put them over the edge.
Self definition
If a person is defines their value by their job or financial status, they may be vulnerable.
Shame and humiliation
Sudden shame and humiliation over losing money or strong feelings of guilt or self-blame can be overwhelming.
Family history
Family history of mental disorders, substance abuse or suicide. Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse.
Signs of trouble are comments like:

  • “I’m finished.”

  • “It’s all over.”

  • “My family would be better off without me.”

  • “There’s no hope. There’s nothing I can do.”

If someone indicates they are considering suicide, listen and take their concerns seriously. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about their plans, and let them know you care and they are not alone. Encourage them to seek help immediately from a knowledgeable professional. Don’t leave them alone. If you need help please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

You can learn more at 
www.take5tosavelives.org. Take 5 to Save Lives is a project of the National Council for Suicide Prevention and is supported by other national organizations.

Suicide Prevention Week:
The following is just part of the article, so go read the rest of it!  ;D
"...suicide does affect everyone. It is the 11th leading cause of death in America with statistics that every 15 minutes someone takes their own life and with over 800,000 suicide attempts a year, every 38 seconds someone else tries to end their life. National Suicide Prevention Week aims to lower these attempts by using education for the younger groups and outreach programs for the older generations. 

It is estimated from the most recent 2006 statistics that every suicide affects at least 6 people. In reality, I am sure the number is much greater because once you know someone who has attempted or completed suicide, it stays with you forever. National Suicide Awareness Week is about making sure someone who wants to take his or her life knows every available option before attempting to do so and hoping that maybe he or she will find something more to live for in the process.

If you or someone you know is struggling and in need of some help, even if it’s just to talk to a confidential resource about your feelings or a suspicion you may have about a loved one, call the National Suicide Lifeline: 1-800-273 TALK (8255) or if you are a confused youth you can turn to the Trevor Project Helpline: 866-4-U-TREVOR (488-7386)."
And a snippet from NAMI (where there are numerous resources...)
"Suicide, like mental illness, is rarely a story that features one protagonist. But once the story has stopped, the rest of the players struggle to find closure. We can see reflected in Vonnegut’s books what is true for anyone touched by suicide: the scar from the loss runs long and it runs deep.

“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center,“ Vonnegut wrote. Perhaps one of the reasons that his writing is so appealing is that he was able to speak from a place of despair, which was paradoxically the fuel for his often-gentle humanistic vision. Though people may feel there is no one with them on that edge, the reality is that many have stood in that same place of hopelessness, and many understanding listeners are available on suicide hotlines, at support groups and among mental health professionals.

We may never fully enter into another’s reasoning behind the decision to end their own life, but we can all challenge ourselves to become better listeners so that we can be there for each other when we’re seeing things from somewhere far from center. Download NAMI’s toolkit with resources for individuals, families and providers for some ideas that will get you started with asking the right questions or looking for a listening ear. As Vonnegut said: 
“Why bother? Here's my answer. Many people need desperately to receive this message: I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about…You are not alone.”
If we all need to learn the signs of depression and take talk of suicide seriously, there are a few groups of people who may need extra attention. Almost all of us know someone who is unemployed or a veteran. Both are at a higher risk of suicide. We need to hold them especially close."


Sunny Day said...

When I was a teenager I had those thoughts that everyone would just be better off if I weren't around. You know, just wallowing in self-pity. But, I never thought about suicide. As I grew older, I always joked that I would never attempt it because I would botch the job and just injury myself in such a way that I would be a vegetable the rest of my life.

My older son on the other hand has called me talking about suicide. I was fortunate that I could talk to him and give him a way to get out of the hole he was in. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I live with the fear/concern that something will happen and he will go over the edge. To compound the problem, he lives over an 8 hour drive away.

Holly said...

I'm sorry Sunny... It's a good sign that he was willing to open up to you. Call him frequently just to talk about life in general on a regular basis. It will help him KNOW that you care even from the distance. Ask him now and then if he;s feeling better about things or if there are things he'd like to vent about. Has he sought medical help? If not, encourage him to. Tell him that it shows responsibility and strength to seek help... Not weakness. Tell him to think of it as heart disease or diabetes. It's just an imbalance that with medication can help him live a more productive and gratifying life. Tell him to do it for YOU because you love him. (((HUGS)))

Garden of Egan said...

Very beutiful and thought-provoking Holly. Thank you for sharing that.

As an ER nurse I have seen the devastating effects of this tragic ending. Unfortunately it doesn't end for those families and loved ones.
It certainly scars those of us who fight so hard every day to save lives.

I {heart} you!

Lisa said...

I remember when my mom and husband were talking, both having struggled with anxiety, and said how they'd often thought it would be easier just to be gone. Not necessarily suicide, but just to die, so as not to have to struggle through it anymore. I was so surprised that they'd felt this way, but I do understand it. Some things in life seem never ending, and some minds have a more finite understanding.

You're exactly right in that it doesn't help to suggest they serve, have faith, snap out of it, etc. All of those things good advice in some instances, but terribly harmful when their reasoning is altered. And if they COULD, they WOULD.

Thanks for the wonderful post. Love ya~

Krista said...

Very true words and amen! Usually people who think you can snap out of it have never suffered from depression. It is an illness. <3

Holly said...

I LOVE you guys!! This is a subject many try to avoid. You guys didn't and that says VOLUMES about YOU!! <3

I used to hide everything and sometimes I wish I still did. LOL!! But I think it's more important to be honest about it and help fight the stigma.

Thanks for being such GREAT supports and giving me such entertainment in your posts! You're the BEST!!

Costa Rica Baby! said...

Great post. So many think you can just pop out of it...but that is normal, slight depression. Severe depression is actually a chemical issue in the brain, right?
Doesn't do any good to try and kindly lecture someone out of it...just seems to add "normal depression" to the mix too.
I love, love your idea about distracting yourself. Very cool. I tried that with my mother. She suffered because of cancer. It is tough for us watching too.

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