Thursday, October 15, 2009

Something More Important This Time

So, a lot of my blogs are fun and humorous, but today I'd like to write about something a little more serious: suicide. More specifically, suicide prevention. Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for people ages 15-24, and the 11th leading cause of death overall. It's a pretty striking statistic, but suicide is 100% preventable.

First I'd like to share some statistics regarding suicide:
*90% of people who commit suicide were suffering from a diagnosable mental illness at the time of their death.
*Approximately every minute, someone in the US attempts suicide, and every 18 minutes, someone in the US dies by suicide.
*More people die from suicide than from homicide.
*The risk for suicide among young people is greatest among young white males; however, from 1980 through 1995, suicide rates increased most rapidly among young black males.9 Although suicide among young children is a rare event, the dramatic increase in the rate among persons aged 10-14 years underscores the urgent need for intensifying efforts to prevent suicide among persons in this age group.

Facts and Information
-Most suicide attempts do not work (because, generally, the person doesn't actually want to die- they want to end their suffering). A failed suicide attempt from a drug overdose could lead to permanent liver damage; jumping off a building or cliff, or shooting oneself could lead to paralysis and/or brain injury; "slitting your wrists"- cutting yourself, with the intent of suicide- will not only lead to massive blood loss, but severe scarring.
-Most people who commit suicide seek help in the four months prior to their death, and a significant amount still seek help in the month before their death.
-Just because someone does not have a mental illness doesn't rule out the possibility that they're having suicidal thoughts. Also, just because someone has a mental illness doesn't mean they're having suicidal thoughts.
-Feeling hopeless and alone is one of the most horrible, intense feelings that someone has suicidal thoughts may experience. If you feel this way, please know that you're not alone.
-Suicide may seem like the answer, because it's not- what happens afterwards? No matter how much pain you're in, please reconsider.
-Most people who are suicidal send out some sort of signals (whether or not they are obvious). If you are having suicidal thoughts, please, please get help. If you have a friend or family member who you think may be having suicidal thoughts, please talk to them. It can make a world of difference.
-People may not talk about depression or suicidal feelings they may be experiencing, but that doesn't mean they're not there. If you think someone you know is suffering, help them or get them help.
-"Talking", whether to a therapist/counselor/"shrink" or a loved one, won't necessarily cure the feelings, but it can help greatly.
-Survivors- the people "left behind" by the person who committed suicide- may feel almost as (if not just as) bad as their lost loved one. They might also feel abandoned, helpless, and rejected.
-Survivors, especially parents, often feel guilty- like it's their fault. Even if the person wrote a suicide note and said, "It's all your fault", it wasn't. You may have hurt the person, but you did not cause suicidal thoughts to come to their mind.

Suicide is a serious topic. But it can be prevented. If you think someone you know may be having suicidal thoughts, please pay attention for the following warning signs/ risk factors of suicide:
-Talking about suicide or a wish to die
-Preoccupation with death
-Statements about hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness- take statements like, "I can't go on" or "Sometimes I wish I was dead" seriously
-Social isolation (for example, people who live alone or lack close friends which could've given them the support they need)
-References to death and/or suicide in drawing, school essays, poems, etc.
-A sudden, dramatic, and unexplained change in behavior- for example, in emotions (from being sad to having more energy, which would signal the energy the person may have to act on suicidal thoughts)
-Saying "goodbye" to everyone, giving away possessions
-People who have a mental illness or behavioral disorders- for example, one of the following "depressive" disorders-
+Seasonal Affective Disorder
+Unipolar Depression
+Bipolar Depression
+Atypical Depression
+Premenstrual Syndrome- that's right, PMS, or the outrageous mood
swings that occur before a female "gets her period", can cause depressive feelings and yes, suicidal thoughts.
+Depression often comes with anxiety disorders, including but not limited to-
-Panic Attacks/Panic Disorder
-Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
-Generalized Anxiety Disorder
-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
-Social Phobia
-Substance-abuse problems, for example alcoholism
-Previous suicide attempts
-History of suicide among family/friends
-Parasuicide, or non-lethal possibly suicidal actions- such as self-injury ("cutting" or "burning", for example) or non-lethal drug overdoses- known as a "cry for help"

If you are having suicidal thoughts, please remember that you are not alone. I know it may feel like it sometimes, but I promise you are not. You are loved, even if you don't realize it. Please, please, please, reach out for help if you need it- remember that "Reaching out is a sign of strength, not weakness." (Joel Madden).

The top 2o reasons to hold on...

20.If you're reading this, then there's some part of you, at least, that wants to hold on.

19. You are loved. I know you might not feel like it right now, but you are.

18. There is help out there. Sometimes you have to look for it, but it is there, I promise.

17. In some countries, suicide is illegal- meaning that, theoretically, you could be arrested for a failed suicide attempt.
16. In many religions, for example Christianity, suicide is a sin, and you will go to hell.
15. Just because you're feeling suicidal doesn't mean you have to act on that feeling (think about it- do you act on every one of your feelings?).
14. Suicide is not the answer because you won't feel relief. Your life will be over, and so your suffering would, theoretically, but you would only make those you love suffer more.
13. Just because you feel suicidal doesn't mean you have to act on your feelings. It is okay to have these feelings, but remember that is okay to know that they will pass.
12. There is no pain that can't be cured.
11. Feeling suicidal is a sign that you are emotional, that you can feel, and that you're sensitive. Which means you can help other people with their problems, and helping someone when they're contemplating suicide- saving there life- is probably the best thing you can do, as a single person, for someone.
10. One year is 365 days. Ten years is 3,650 days (give or take, depending on if there's a leap year), twenty years is 7,300 days, and fifty years is 18,250 days. That's a lot of time- and you can solve your problems. All problems are fixable.
9. God loves you and understands how you feel.
8. The worst feeling that someone who is contemplating suicide is going through is often the feeling of being alone. And you're not alone. Reach out to someone, whether it is a friend, a family member, a counselor, or any other person that can help you.
7. You may feel worthless, but everybody (yes, EVERYBODY) was put on this earth for a reason.
6. What happens after death? Does anyone really know? Or does nothing happen?
5. Life wasn't always like this. There was a time when it was happy, and that time will come again.
4. If you're contemplating suicide to "punish" someone you hate, or someone who hurt you, it won't do anything, except "punish" you. Soon, you will be just a memory to them.
3. You would be hurting your family, friends, and everyone close to you. Nobody can fully recover from the shock and trauma of the suicide of a loved one.
2. You'll miss out on so much- going to college, falling in love and getting married, starting a family, and fulfilling your dreams.
1. Once again, suicide is a very permanent answer to a very temporary problem. No matter how bad your life might seem now, it's not going to be that way forever. Life WILL get better.

Some quotations...

"Hang on, because everyone goes through it."

"Often, the test of courage is not to die, but to live."

"This, too, shall pass."

"You can survive."

"Don't be afraid to cry."

"You don't know what it is to be sad unless you've been happy."

"When it gets dark enough you can see the stars."

"Whatever you are going through, we will go through it with you."

"Reaching out is a sign of strength not weakness."

"Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem."

I am not going to say that I have gone through EXACTLY what you're going through, because chances are, I haven't. But I am going to say that I have been depressed, and I've had suicidal thoughts, and I know what it feels like to want to die. I know it's scary- suicidal thoughts in themselves are traumatic. But you are not alone. There are people out there that feel the same way, and there are people out there who love you and are able to help.
Life's not easy, especially in the teenage years. Life is hard. But it's not always that way. I know it probably sounds cheesy, but you can't feel depressed until you have once been happy. Everyone has had some good moments in life. Let the little things- finding out about a really cool new band, buying a cool t shirt or a new pair of sneakers, getting a good grade in school, a bowl of ice cream, a sunny day- make you happy. Laugh. Smile.
It sounds stupid but I'm serious in saying that smiling can make you happy. I read it in a book somewhere, and I didn't believe it, but it's true. Just try it.
If you're feeling suicidal, depressed, self-destructive, or even just sad, do something. Keep yourself busy. Do something creative, write in a diary, listen to music, go out with your friends, or try a sport. Or try actually spending time on your schoolwork. Or play with a pet, or even with your little sister (it will make her happy, trust me). You could even attend religious services.
I think I've gone on long enough.
I made this. I did not steal it from somewhere. I spent many hours researching and compiling information, and then putting it all together. I have listed my resources below.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Please share the link to this blog. Suicide is a tragic topic that people need to know about. Please don't lose hope. Help is out there. All suicides can be prevented.

Resources and organizations

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention or call 1-888-333-2377 (the call is toll-free)

Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul- On Tough Stuff

Crisis Intervention (24/7)- 1-800-999-9999

End All The Pain

International Association For Suicide Prevention

Problems of Life- Suicide

SAVE- Suicide Awareness Voices of Education

Suicide and Crisis Hotline- 1-800-784-2433

Suicide Crisis Hotline- 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)

Teens Fight Adult Corruption

The Bright Side

Songs about and against suicide (Wikipedia)

Suicide (Wikipedia)

Suicidal Ideation (Wikipedia)

Suicide Prevention Resource Center

To Write Love On Her Arms

WHO- Suicide Prevention

I hope this post has helped you in some way. If it has, please take the time to let me know (either comment on here, or send me an email at I would love to hear from you.