Understanding suicide from a theoretical perspective is fundamental not only because you never know when your help might be needed, (a stranger or someone close to you) subsequently, you could find yourself in a suicidal state.
The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 1 million people die each year from suicide and for each suicide, there are more than 20 suicide attempts. Imagine that! But what drives so many individuals to take their own lives? If you have never traveled the path of depression or suicidal despair, it’s difficult to understand what could drive so many people to take their own lives.
But Sometimes life gets tough and one starts to think about ending it as an escape plan. A suicidal person can’t see any way of finding relief except through death. The truth is, most suicidal people don’t find death appealing. Their wish is to be hopeful, to fill the void, to make the pain stop, to accept themselves and what is. Nonetheless, these things seem unattainable and death seems to be the only thing they can grasp, the only thing they have some sort of control to or over, the only wish in their lives which seems easily attainable is taking their own lives. The alternatives to suicide seem far from attaining.
Understanding suicide : Is death appealing?
“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows.
Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”
― David Foster Wallace
But maybe just maybe, while we can argue that the only way to understanding suicide is by feeling the intensity of the flame, Nevertheless, it’s not that hard to recognize the ugly head of hopelessness or helplessness. That means helping someone with suicidal thoughts is very possible. Understanding suicide does not neccesarily have to involve being trapped.
Here are some facts to help in understanding suicide:
– Suicide is defined as intentionally taking one’s own life and comes from the Latin suicidium, which literally means “to kill oneself.”
– Historically, and still today in some locations, suicide is considered a criminal offense, a religious taboo, and, in some cases, an act of honor particularly, kamikaze and suicide bombings).
– Suicides and suicide attempts have a ripple effect that impacts families, friends, colleagues, communities, and societies.
– Suicides are preventable. Much can be done to prevent suicide at individual, community, and national levels.
– one person every 40 seconds commits suicide. It is the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-old globally.
– Suicide occurs in all regions of the world. Undoubtedly, 79% of global suicides happen in low- and middle-income countries.
– While the link between suicide and mental disorders (in particular, depression and alcohol use disorders) is well established, many suicides happen impulsively in moments of crisis.
– Assisted suicide, is defined as an individual helping another individual in bringing about their own death by providing them with the means to carry it out or by providing advice on how to do it.
– suicides are higher in men than women—with men up to four times more likely to kill themselves than women, However, the rates for non-fatal attempted suicide are four times more likely in women than men and are more common in young adults/adolescents.
– The common goal of suicide is cessation of consciousness. People who commit suicide seek the end of the conscious experience, which to them has become an endless stream of distressing thoughts with which they are preoccupied. Even so, that Suicide offers oblivion.
– The common stimulus (or information input) in suicide is intolerable psychological pain. Excruciating negative emotions frequently serve as the foundation for self-destructive behavior.
– The common emotion in suicide is hopelessness-helplessness. The suicidal person is convinced that absolutely nothing can be done to improve his or her situation; absolutely, no one else can help.
– One of the most harmful myths about suicide is the notion that people who really want to kill themselves don’t talk about it
Suicide often not preceded by warnings
Suicide almost always raises anguished questions among family members and friends left behind: What did I miss? What could I have done? Sadly, suicide without warning is not uncommon. Some talk about wanting or planning to kill themselves or give other hints, others don’t. The decision to commit suicide might be made just minutes or hours before that act. We can’t really tell why these particular groups does this, because only those contemplating suicide or who survive it can tell us why. Experts say: This kind of death defies prediction.
Some people — including those who are more ambivalent about suicide — consciously or unconsciously drop hints and have an identifiable mental health problem, like depression or addiction, others don’t. in particular, Every suicide, like every person, is different. Many suicides are sparked by intense feelings of anger, despair, hopelessness, or panic.
Higher risk for suicide in the short term in understanding suicide:
– An episode of depression, psychosis, or anxiety
– Consequently, A significant loss, such as the death of a partner or a job
– A personal crisis or life stress, especially one that increases a sense of isolation or leads to a loss of self-esteem, such as a breakup or divorce
– Loss of social support, for example, because of a move or when a close friend relocates
– Could be an illness or medication that triggers a change in mood
– Exposure to the suicidal behaviors of others, such as friends, peers, or celebrities.
Few risk behaviors to notice:
People who exhibit these signs of potential suicide are often communicating their distress, hoping to get a response. Moreover, this is very useful information that shouldn’t be ignored.
Talking about suicide: Statements like “I’d be better off dead” or “If I see you again…,”
Seeking the means: Trying to get access to guns, pills, or other objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.
No hope for the future: Feelings of helplessness, and being trapped, or believing that things will never get better.
Self-loathing: Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, shame, and self-hatred.
Getting affairs in order: Giving away prized possessions or making arrangements for family members.
Saying goodbye: Unusual or unexpected visits or calls to family and friends; saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again.
“It’s not a choice. When you live in an orbit of despair, it’s not a choice to you. You have no way out. The only choice I think you do have to make is to reach out for help,”
“I didn’t want to wake up. I was having a much better time asleep. And that’s really sad. It was almost like a reverse nightmare like when you wake up from a nightmare, you’re so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare.”
― Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story
“The bravest thing I ever did was continuing my life when I wanted to die.”
― Juliette Lewis