I’ve always been suicidal. Being diagnosed with Manic Depressive (Now called Bipolar Disorder) when I was just thirteen years old, emotional turmoil was kind of my thing for a very long time. Everything that was good was the greatest thing in the world and everything that was bad was complete and utter devastation. And feeling the extreme of everything all the time made me want to self medicate and made me want to kill myself. One of my biggest fears in life isn’t sharks or spiders or even death itself. My biggest fear in life has always been ending my own life. Losing the fight was always my biggest fear. As I’ve grown older and have won every fight with myself up to this point, I’ve become wiser and learned a lot about the condition I have and why I’ve always been a little different. I’m so very thankful for having won my fights and I am able to sit here with a cup of coffee and write. Not everyone wins those fights.
Let’s dig into the facts:
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for people ages 10-34 years of age (you know, those crucial learning about life times). (3)
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for everyone in the US. (3)
In 2019, the death rate for suicide in Florida was 14.5 per 100,000 population per year. (1)
In 2017 there were almost three times as many suicides as there were homicides. (3)
Men are almost twice as likely to kill themselves. (3)
Bipolar disorder results in 9.2 years reduction in expected life span, and as many as one in five patients with bipolar disorder completes suicide. (4)
One in ten people with Borderline Disorder will complete suicide. (5)
One in five people with Schizophrenia will complete suicide. (6)
These numbers are alarming because the death rate due to suicide is greater than colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, liver cancer, and luekemia. More people will die from suicide than from liver cancer and luekemia combined. (7)
There aren’t always signs. We know that the biggest sign is someone being depressed and saying that they want to die or that they want to kill themselves. But there are other signs. Sometimes the afflicted can be riding a manic high. Mania is a mental state which results in great excitement, overactivity, euphoria, and delusions. This can cause someone to seem as happy as they have ever been, motivated, working on several projects and being very social, easily agitated, and have difficulty understanding reality.
When in a manic episode, the detachment from reality and thinking that every idea is the best idea, things like suicide are more likely to happen. It isn’t always depression.
Now, let’s talk about some of the most common things people feel about suicide.
Only people with mental illness commit suicide
Wrong. Not everyone with mental illness is suicidal and not everyone that is suicidal has a mental illness. Major detrimental life events such as losing all wealth, taking someone else’s life, and experiencing extreme loss can all lead to someone taking their own life without a previous pattern of mental illness.
Where were the signs? Why didn’t anyone know?
While there are a lot of signs leading up to someone who is a prime candidate for suicidal thoughts, it can be really fucking hard to see it sometimes. Sometimes it’s an impulsive decision, usually made by people who continuously make impulsive decisions. And sometimes it’s hard to see these decisions as impulsive instead of inconsistent, frustrating, and annoying.
Suicide is the selfish and easy way out.
Suicide is selfish in the fact that it is their decision on what to do with their life. And it is the only way out. With life comes beautiful and incredible things but there is also pain and loss and failure. And it’s easier to process the good things. People that commit/attempt suicide see it as the only escape from their suffering. So, yes, you are correct that suicide is selfish and it is the easy way out. But the connotation on that statement is wrong. Someone has to experience so much devastation in their life that they need it to end and they choose what they see as the best option.
Talking about suicide will make people want to commit suicide
First of all, if you think this, you’re wrong. Plain and simple. Normalizing the discussion of suicide and mental health is never going to glamorouize suicide or mental health. If you’re like me, being open about my thoughts of suicide and self harm and feelings of depression usually ended up with me being hospitalized for 3-5 days. And listen, I’m very grateful to have people in my life that cared enough to recognize something was wrong and took the measures that they thought they needed to take to protect me. But I’ll be honest, it made it worse almost every single time I went to the institution and came back. And that isn’t to say that hospitalization isn’t beneficial. Sometimes that’s exactly what needs to happen to help someone. I’m just stating that my personal experience has not been beneficial. Having honest conversations as an adult and having people that are supportive, understanding, and curious about suicide and mental illness has been more beneficial than anything else in my life. It shouldn’t be a weird thing to talk about.
What do I do if someone tells me that they want to kill themselves?
Listen. Listen to what they are going through and give them support. Don’t pressure them to seek help. Don’t tell them that there is so much in life to live for. Just listen and tell them that you love them and that you are there. And then fucking be there. Check in everyday. Show them that you care. You cannot judge them for feeling this way. You can’t tell them what they should do or be angry at them for feeling so devastated that they feel they shouldn’t be alive anymore. You just need to love them and listen. And if it’s an emergency situation that requires immediate attention, get them in a hospital where they can get the immediate help that they need.
Losing someone to suicide is always a heavy loss. We need to talk about it. We need to open the dialogue to discuss mental illness and dealing with substantial life events. We need to take care of each other.
Suicide rates are on the rise every year (3). We need to be open about it. As long as people feel uncomfortable talking about suicide, it will be that much harder for those afflicted to come out and talk about it. Be open. Be warm. Be compassionate. No one should be killed by their own thoughts.
One thought can kill someone. Not a bullet, not a rope, not a tub of water, not a blade, not a belt. A thought.
Talk about it. And if you feel like committing suicide, reach out. There are people that want to listen. We are here and we care, even if we’ve never met you.
Below are the most used prevention lines. Some you can call, some you can text, and some you can chat online.
If anyone has any questions about suicide or mental health, I am here to give you all a first person perspective. Ask me about it. Let’s have a conversation.
911 is the national emergency number in the United States.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/) is a 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. It provides Spanish-speaking counselors, as well as options for deaf and hard of hearing individuals. It is only available in the United States. A 24-hour an Online Chat in partnership with Contact USA is also available.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (ESP) can be reached at 1-888-628-9454
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Deaf & Hard of Hearing Options) can be reached at 1-800-799-4889
The Veterans Crisis Line (https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/) is a 24-hour, toll-free hotline that provides phone, webchat, and text options available to military veterans and their families. It provides options for deaf and hard of hearing individuals.
The Veterans Crisis Line can be reached at 1-800-273-8255, followed by Pressing 1.
IMAlive Crisis Chatine (www.imalive.org) is a non-profit, worldwide 24/7, anonymous chatline to help anyone in crisis via instant messaging.
The Crisis Text Line can be reached by texting HOME to 741-741.
The Trevor Project (http://www.thetrevorproject.org/) is a nationwide organization that provides a 24-hour phone hotline, as well as limited-hour webchat and text options, for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.
The TrevorLifeline can be reached at 1-866-488-7386.
TrevorChat can be found at https://www.thetrevorproject.org/get-help-now/ (available 7 days a week from 3PM to 10PM ET).
TrevorText can be reached by texting TREVOR to 1-202-304-1200 (available M-F from 3PM to 10PM ET).
The Trans Lifeline (https://www.translifeline.org/) is a nonprofit organization that is created by and for the transgender community, providing crisis intervention hotlines, staffed by transgender individuals, available in the United States and Canada.