I’v known sad people…depressed people…anxious people. People who have bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. I’ve known people who have tried to take their own life and some that did.
It’s impossible to know what a person is thinking in the moment they put a plan in action to stop living. In my experience with my own family and working at a community mental health organization, I know individuals who take their own lives are in pain…some type of pain. And these people don’t necessarily want to die. They just want the pain to stop.
In the last week, two prominent figures, who added a lot of beauty to the world, died of apparent suicide, Kate Spade on June 4 and Anthony Bourdian, today, June 7. What a shame. Not because one was a famous designer and the other a famous chef and television host, but because they were two people, two of God’s children, who must have been in so much pain. I’d like to believe that there is a combination of resources that can save anyone from suicide, but I look at these two and think…maybe there isn’t. They had access to all the resources in the world and they did not have the right ones to prevent their deaths.
For the record, all of you should know not every person who suffers from depression has suicidal thoughts. You should also know that depressed people typically don’t kill themselves. Depressed people have no energy and barely get out of bed or do anything. The depressed people at risk of suicide are starting to come out of their depression, and have just enough energy and mental clarity to do something about how awful they feel.
There are not always signs that someone is going to take their own life. There isn’t a scan for that and there most certainly isn’t a special checklist that provides 100 percent accuracy. However, there are lists like the one below to highlight some potential risk factors. Behaviors that may signal risk, especially if related to a painful event, loss or change:
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Looking for a way to end their lives, such as searching online for methods
- Withdrawing from activities
- Isolating from family and friends
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
- Giving away prized possessions
The thing is nothing quite breaks my heart the way someone dying by suicide does. It’s a complicated thing to feel. In some ways, I completely empathize and in others I am apalled that someone could just throw in the towel. I am in awe that someone would have the strength to do the unthinkable to themselves, and in the next breath, I am shattered by how broken and weak someone must’ve felt in a moment. I am at peace that their pain has ended and I tormented by how they’ve stopped it.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, there are options available to help you cope. You can also call the Lifeline at any time to speak to someone and get support.
For confidential support available 24/7 for everyone in the United States, call 1-800-273-8255.