If you are considering suicide, odds are, there is an underlying issue that needs to be treated in order for you to feel okay again. Suicidal thoughts do not simply occur for no reason. There are many things that can cause an individual to contemplate suicide. Depression, social isolation, addiction, the loss of a close loved one to suicide, and other mental health disorders may all be contributing factors for a person experiencing suicidal ideation.
It is critical that, if you are contemplating suicide, you seek help from a professional. Not only will they be able to help you overcome the suicidal thoughts, but they will also be able to help you treat the root cause and prevent those thoughts from returning. Here are a few of the underlying issues that may be contributing to your suicidal thoughts.
Depression is commonly thought of as generalized sadness. However, depression is an identifiable imbalance of chemicals in the brain. To treat this, many people require medication in order to rebalance the brain’s neurotransmitters that help to regulate mood and emotion. There is no shame in needing medication, just as there is no shame in people needing medication for a physical illness.
Medication isn’t the only treatment approach for depression, however. Many people suffering from depression benefit tremendously from techniques such as therapy or even service dogs; in fact, these approaches are often used together for a more comprehensive approach to treatment. Despite the societal taboo against mental illness, mental illnesses are just as valid as physical illnesses. If you were experiencing a problem with your heart, kidneys, or another organ, you would see a doctor. Similarly, if you are experiencing problems with your mood or thinking -- functions of your brain -- you should see a psychiatrist or other mental health professional.
People who are living with long-term or chronic illness tend to experience suicidal thoughts. They want to escape the pain or limitations imposed on them by their illness, presenting another underlying issue that requires the help of a professional. Counselors are important for people struggling with their health as they get the person talking about their frustrations.
People who bottle their feelings typically experience a decline in their mental health, leading to suicidal thoughts. If you have a physical illness and believe it is causing you to feel trapped and suicidal, you should seek the help of a therapist.
Social Isolation or Rejection
Certain groups are more at risk for suicide as they experience a higher rate of social rejection. LGBTQA teens are at an alarmingly high risk for suicide as people around them reject, attack, and belittle them for who they love or how they identify.
If you are part of a minority group that is often rejected by mainstream society, it is important that you identify safe spaces. People in these groups need accepting places and people that offer kindness, validation, and a sense of normalcy. You should also seek the help of a therapist familiar with these issues.
People who struggle with addiction are far more likely to attempt suicide than the average person. Alcohol, in particular, is dangerous as frequent use can trigger behavioral changes and can actually foster suicide attempts by reducing impulse control. Addiction tends to go hand-in-hand with other problems as it is often the result of self-medication.
People with depression or anxiety may abuse alcohol in an attempt to feel better while unintentionally increasing the likelihood of a suicide attempt. Getting treatment for addiction is the first step to recovering from suicidal thoughts.
Ending the Stigma
It’s important to avoid misconceptions about suicidal tendencies. They should never be disregarded as “attention-seeking” behavior or someone being “overdramatic.” The pain those with severe depression feel is often unbearable, and more importantly it is very real and shouldn’t be disregarded in any way. In fact, it’s often the fear of being rejected that keeps those struggling with suicidal tendencies from seeking help -- so be sure your loved ones won’t worry about this kind of reaction from you.
Suicidal thoughts are not a sign of weakness. It is important to remember that suicidal thoughts are the result of a much larger issue. Anyone in the same situation has an equal likelihood of developing these thoughts. It’s important not to blame yourself for your suicidal thoughts and to focus on seeking help for issues affecting how you feel. Contact a therapist or psychiatrist, get help, and you will be surprised by how much better you feel after tackling the root of the problem.
If you’re depressed and feel like you have no one to turn to, Lifeline Crisis Chat is available throughout the United States and its territories every day from 2 p.m.-2 a.m. EST. A joint project between the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and CONTACT USA, it offers a free, private option for users to reach out to a specialist who will create a safe space to discuss whatever you need to.
If you’d rather talk it out over the phone, call the (free) National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It will connect you to a trained counselor at a local crisis center 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you’re a teen struggling with depression or just need a peer to confide in, you can visit Teen Line online anytime to find someone your own age who wants to help.
About the Author: Steve Johnson co-created PublicHealthLibrary.org as part of a school project. He and a fellow pre-med student enjoyed working on the site so much that they decided to keep it going. Their goal is to make PublicHealthLibrary.org one of the go-to sources for health and medical information on the web.
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