Monday, 19 August 2013

Suicide & Suicidal Ideation: **WARNING: POSSIBLE TRIGGER**


Today I'm going to talk about a scary subject: suicide. I'm going to start by throwing out a few statistics I found.

*One million people commit suicide worldwide every year. That's one every forty seconds.

*100,000 adolescents die from suicide every year.

*The second leading cause of death among teens is suicide.

These are just a few of the shocking statistics I found. But I'm not here to talk numbers. I'm going to talk about my experiences, my life, and almost my death. This is not an easy topic to write about because it takes me to my absolute darkest days. The days where I had lost all hope and saw no other alternative.

I want to first explain what suicidal ideation is and the difference between actually being suicidal. Suicidal ideation is something that is difficult for someone without a mental illness to understand, so I will do my best to describe it through my eyes.

I started having suicidal thoughts (ideation) in my preteen years. I was struggling with depression and as my world got darker and I slipped further into the abyss, I started thinking what the world would be like without me. I wondered if anyone would notice if I was gone. I wondered if anyone would come to my funeral. I wondered if anyone would cry. I wondered what kids at school would think and what gossip would be spread about my untimely demise. I also thought about random other things like who would get my stuff. I couldn't understand my thoughts. I knew they weren't normal and so I kept them to myself. The thoughts continued through my teens and into adulthood.

Fast forward to my dark years more than ten years ago now. Through circumstances in my life I fell into severe depression once again. The thoughts returned. I eventually became semi-comatose. I would spend hours staring blankly out the window willing my existence to end. I would see my death through the eyes of an onlooker. I became completely detached from the concept. I didn't want to kill myself. I just wanted to stop existing. I told my husband who of course became very worried and got me into see a therapist immediately. The first of numerous hospilisations during that period came about.

Unfortunately for me the suicidal ideation, like the rest of mental health issues, doesn't go away. Whenever I fall into a depression, the thoughts creep back up in the back of my mind. I once again see my demise from a disconnected viewpoint. Even today in my happiness, the dark ideations pop into my brain and I have to physically shake them out of my psyche. Suicidal ideation doesn't mean a person is going to attempt suicide but if someone is having these thoughts, take it very seriously and seek help. If someone close to you tells you about these thoughts, they don't necessarily want to die but they do want help and want the thoughts to go away.

My suicide attempts came out of seemingly nowhere looking from a different perspective now. They came during times when there had been a glimmer of hope followed by snuffing out of that glimmer. I tried three times. Each time it was snap decision. I didn't tell anyone what I was going to do, but I left an out each time. Like most women, I used pills each time. The first time the empty bottle was found next to me shortly after taking the pills and I was rushed to the hospital immediately. The second time, I took several bottles of pills and washed them down with vodka, but I knew someone would be home soon. However I wasn't discovered til the next morning. I woke up a couple days later in the hospital with mild nerve damage. And the third time, I wandered off in the night and took two boxes of OTC sleeping pills and washed them down with a bottle of NyQuil. I called the bane of my existence who was a thousand miles away. He managed to contact the person I was staying with and police dogs found me a few hours later.

It's scary to think how close I was to not surviving, especially the second time. I haven't actually been suicidal since my last attempt. The ideations still creep into the corners of my brain when I get depressed, but no actual thoughts of doing it. Suicical ideation is common among people with mental illness. It's a symptom of many mental illnesses.

Sadly someone who is actually going to attempt suicide may not even exhibit indicators. Sometimes the contrary. They may actually appear to be on an upswing in their depression like I was. While all threats to commit suicide should be taken seriously, it's the quiet ones that usually succeed. The person who has committed to proceeding with an attempt is unlikely to tell anyone.

If you or someone you love is exhibiting suicidal tendencies, seek help immediately. Not everyone gets a second chance like I did.