Suicide prevention, awareness, and the continuing care of survivors is dear to my heart. I am a suicide survivor.
At a very low point in my marriage, while battling back from cancer surgery, I lost all my hope, all feeling of worthiness to breathe air, and believed I was a burden to society who had completely failed as a mother. Eventually it got to the point of lining up 15 or more prescription bottles and emptied them in to my stomach with a liter of Jack Daniels.
“I lost all my hope, all feeling of worthiness to breathe air, and believed I was a burden to society…”
I never lost consciousness, and didn’t even get sleepy. Nope, my OCD kicked in and I cleaned the house from top to bottom. My (now ex-) husband’s response was to demand what I was trying to do to him. The responses from my family and minister were no better. Filled with blame, shame, and accusations of lack of faith, I had nowhere to turn for help once I was released from the 24 hour hold. None of the health professions hooked me up with outside support. I was just put back into the same situation, the same nightmare of abuse and trying to be worthy of my children.
“Filled with blame, shame, and accusations of lack of faith, I had nowhere to turn for help.”
Looking back, there were so many warning signs. It’s amazing how well I avoided recognizing my spiral into hopelessness. The abuse I lived with daily throughout my marriage, including threats of not waking up in the morning, played a large part in my hopelessness. My background with depression started in middle school, as well as constant pain from undiagnosed diseases, and daily bullying both at home and at school added to my struggles.
Hopelessness is what a person who commits suicide dies from — the bone deep feeling of aloneness. The feeling your loved ones would be better off without you around is what drives most suicide attempts. Depression, self loathing, hateful inner dialogues, and abuse all contribute to hopelessness.
“Hopelessness is what a person who commits suicide dies from — the bone deep feeling of aloneness.”
Suicide isn’t attention seeking. Suicide isn’t a cry for help. Suicide is the result of hopelessness — of a soul dying.
In a study done by NIH covering the 2001-2015 period, rural counties consistently had higher suicide rates than metropolitan counties. The study also concluded suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. There were more than half a million suicides during the study period.
“…suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States.”
According to the Veterans’ Administration, recent statistical studies show that rates of veteran suicide are much higher than previously thought, as much as five to eight thousand a year or about 22 a day. PTSD, depression, and lack of mental care follow up after discharge all play a part in veteran suicide rates. Vets finally got some hope of the help they need when President Trump signed an executive order to provide more benefits to service members transitioning from the military to civilian life in an effort to decrease veteran suicides on January 9, 2018.
Older veterans face a higher risk of suicide, the data showed. In 2014, about 65 percent of veterans who died from suicide were 50 years or older.
Warning signs for suicide, according to suicide.org include:
- Appearing depressed or sad most of the time. (Untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide.)
- Talking or writing about death or suicide.
- Withdrawing from family and friends.
- Feeling hopeless.
- Feeling helpless.
- Feeling strong anger or rage.
- Feeling trapped — like there is no way out of a situation.
- Experiencing dramatic mood changes.
- Abusing drugs or alcohol.
- Exhibiting a change in personality.
- Acting impulsively.
- Losing interest in most activities.
- Experiencing a change in sleeping habits.
- Experiencing a change in eating habits.
- Losing interest in most activities.
- Performing poorly at work or in school.
- Giving away prized possessions.
- Writing a will.
- Feeling excessive guilt or shame.
- Acting recklessly.
“You never know whose life you might save!”
PLEASE watch those around you. You never know whose life you might save! Tell the people you care about how you feel. Talk to your children and their friends openly and let them know you are someone safe to talk to about anything. If you see someone hurting, don’t ignore it — ask about how they are doing and show you really care. Watch people’s body language when they talk. Look for signs of discomfort like lowered eyes, crossed arms, or fidgeting when you are talking with someone.
Most of all, talk to listen and not to answer.
Hey y’all, I’m Wanda and I’m a Spoonie in my late 40s. I have several chronic illnesses I battle daily. I’ve raised two beautiful girls and have a wonderful service dog named Tucker. It is my hope to have shown and continue to show the world a face of chronic illness who chooses to become BETTER instead of BITTER.