I thought this post would be a great first for October. I will be writing a post about talking someone down who is suicidal and my thoughts on the best way to approach this later this week, but this is an excellent post as well.
My First Thoughts on Recognizing Suicidal Thoughts
I have been through some of the worst suicidal thoughts over the past ten years. I have never been great at recognizing how bad my suicidal thoughts have gotten until its too late. It usually takes a massive spiral, a suicide attempt, and me laying in a hospital bed wondering where how I got there.
It was that way for the first five years since my diagnosis. I got better over time with taking suicidal thought and changing them. I haven’t attempted suicide since 2010, but there have been times in the last seven years that I got close. (More the first four years than the last three.)
The most dramatic choice that a mentally ill individual can make in their life is suicide. I have to agree because it has been that way in my experience since my diagnosis of the Bipolar disorder in 2007. When I have written on the topic of suicide, it comes from my experience, and I am happy to be alive.
People failed to recognize the signs in my own life that might have changed things. With that said my family new less about suicide than I did. That’s why educate from experience. It‘s true I knew what would happen when my suicidal thoughts and where it would lead. And I can’t blame others for letting me go down the path of suicide. My post is more about recognizing the signs in others so that you can help them. That includes me, as a writer talking about the issues of suicide. I need to be more aware when people leave me comments on my blog, or when they contact me.
Recognizing the Signs
It is critical to know how to understand and identify the signs that a person is considering suicide. What to look for are signs that there is trouble in their life, and one sign is what they are saying. It means when they are talking to you in person, or on social media. Social media is a place that many that are alone and in the throes of suicidal thoughts go to. It could come in the form of direct or indirect speech.
”It’s all over.”
”My family would be better off without me.”
”I don’t want to live anymore.”
There is nothing to live for.”
You have to look at these types of declarations as severe signs that the person is at risk for suicide. Never brush these types of declarations aside. The person that is making these declarations are not in their right mind. It’s imperative to recognize this words and make the appropriate decision to have your loved one seek help. It doesn’t matter if they hate you. I would rather someone hate me, but still be alive.
On the website Your Life Counts. They offer an interesting acronym for identifying suicidal thoughts. I wanted to share this before explaining some of the less subtle signs you need to be recognizing.
It’s called IS PATH WARM
I – Ideation (suicidal thoughts)
S – Substance Abuse
P – Purposelessness
A – Anxiety
T – Trapped
H – Hopelessness/Helplessness
W – Withdrawal
A – Anger
R – Recklessness
M – Mood changes
This to me seems very useful because many of these signs are ones that I was going through in my suicide attempts. In my experience when I was at my most suicidal I was very lethargic. I lost interest in life an the things that made me happy, which for me was always writing or listening to music. When that went away, it was a big sign that I was suicidal.
Other signs that were prevalent in my life was quick to anger and agitation with the people around me. I was quick to anger and more aggressive when I was suicidal. I withdrew from normal life for weeks, months, and in the case of my last suicide, years. There are so many signs when it comes to if someone you love is suicidal. If you recognize these signs in this blog post, it is essential to visit websites like You Life Counts. They offer so many different signs. If they add up, again, they need to help them seek help.
The next step is to have that person seek medical help right away. That could mean calling 911. It has happened several times in my life and in those cases, at least in the interim, my suicidal thoughts went away. Yes, I was mad back then, but those times my doctors or my family took me to the hospital, it saved my life.
What are the Causes of Suicidal Thoughts
This blog post would be incomplete if I didn’t talk about what are some of the causes of suicidal thoughts. It is always my purpose when writing on The Bipolar Writer blog to inform through experience. When someone contemplates suicide, it is often because, for an extended period of time, the overwhelming feelings of a life they never imagined has taken its toll. It is no surprise that depression is often the cause of suicidal thoughts and ideations. You can only be so strong for so long before depression eats away at your soul.
In my experience, I tried so many times to fight off the suicidal thoughts and was successful at times. I could reason my thoughts into positive reinforcements. I used a journal when I was at my most suicidal to gather my thoughts and find a reason to not commit suicide. That is why many of the journals I have posted on my blog from my past always seem as if I was at my lowest.
The causes of going down the path of suicide can be anything related to life. Some of the more common are relationship breakups, divorce, loss, and financial loss. It could be the changes in your job status, and even family genetics can play a part. In my experience, it was always the trauma of my past. Other times it was when I would lose my job or relationships because of my depression.
The truth is suicide can affect anyone in any walk of life. The good thing is that there are resources out there that you can use. When I talk about suicide, I do so in the hopes that those of us in the mental illness community know that suicide is preventable. Talk to someone or seek real help.
One of the worst feelings in my life in the last ten years was when I believed once and for all that there was no hope. That this world would have been better off without me. I am realizing through my blog how silly these thoughts were in reality. The problem is that these thoughts were real in my life in those times that I was suicidal. It almost cost me my life in 2010.
I implore all mental illness bloggers to recognize the signs in our own community. Also, we need to understand the signs of those around us in our lives outside of WordPress. Never overlook the realities that life can bring and if you are going down the path of suicide. I implore you to seek help.
I hope this blog post was helpful.
James Edgar Skye