This post is by far the most emotional post yet. Suicide is a very scary topic of conversation. For people who don’t suffer from mental illness, they don’t know what it’s like or understand when people commit suicide. I’ve witnessed multiple suicidal attempts (attempted by mother) and also knew someone that killed herself back in high school.
Suicide is so prevalent now than before. So many people including famous people have opened up about their struggles with mental health issues such as Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, and Brooke Shields, who talked about postpartum depression in her book. It is becoming more common now that it’s not even funny at all.
Recent deaths such as Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, Robin Williams, Avicii; have really been making news in the world. Mental illness can’t be just swept under the rug anymore, it’s a real epidemic. Suicides are the 10th leading cause of death in US and more than 50,000 die every year because of suicide. Most are done with firearms, hanging, overdose on drugs and etc. If you do a lot of digging especially on http://www.afsp.org or http://www.nami.org, there are so much information on suicide and how overwhelming it’s becoming and how much it costs our country over billions of dollars (annually).
Suicide prevention is important and people need to talk more about it. Violence is inevitable but also preventable. Suicide is preventable, too. But there are warning signs and risks that need to be recognized first.
If you know someone who suffers from mental illness such as depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disease; the risks of suicide are unbelievably high. Most suicidal individuals will exhibit behaviors such as mood changes, feeling like they are unworthy and hopeless, withdrawal from society, violent behavior and so on. Some people even talk about taking their own lives and believe me, when someone talks like that always take it SERIOUSLY!
I’ve been fortunate with my depression, anxiety and panic disorder that I haven’t had suicidal thoughts. For me, I believe that the only one that says my life over is God. People can believe what they want to believe, but I don’t think people should take the easy way out. However, the problem is that when you’re depressed and suicidal; you’re ways of thinking are irrational. I’ve hit rock bottom many times throughout my life, but never once did I ever decide to take my life.
It saddens me so much when people take their own lives. Again, it’s their choice. If I ever made that decision, I would ask God to take me straight to hell for taking the easy way out. Seriously! The pain that you put on your family and friends, is truly unbearable.
I’ve witnessed many attempts by mother over the years. Because my mother suffers from Severe Depression & Paranoid Schizophrenia, her illness will cause her to become suicidal. My mother has been hospitalized in a mental hospital so many times throughout her life. I remember one time, after her mother died, she had to go to the hospital because she overdosed on her medications and spent months in the hospital. I was so young at the time that I couldn’t see her until she was discharged. Over the years, she has overdosed on medications on numerous occasions. One time during college, I was working and got a phone call from my dad and he found her unconscious because she overdosed. I was so scared that I left work and rushed to the nearest hospital. Most recently, in 2013, my mother spent close to 4 months in the hospital because of another overdose.
Earlier that summer, my mom began to hallucinate and also became delusional as per to her Schizophrenia; and she thought our next door neighbors were out to get her. It was the same kind of delusional behavior when I was in elementary school. One day, she was taking me to school and she said that we were going to walk to school. My school was at least 5-10 miles away and it was raining outside at the time. So, she told me to get my stuff and we were going to walk to school. At one point, she started looking over her shoulder multiple times and claimed that someone was following us. There was no one there. My mom said there was a man following us. So then she started running into oncoming traffic and we were both picked up by the police. My dad was contacted and my mother was taken to the hospital and quickly over to the psychiatric ward for an evaluation.
Back to summer of 2013, her delusions and hallucinations began to get worse. One night, she got up and tried breaking into her safe that was locked which contained her pills; she managed to break it open and started chugging pill after pill. She was transported to the hospital and I was a wreck. Seeing someone close to your try to take their own life is so hard. My mother spent a few months in the hospital and my dad and I visited her on a daily basis. At the hospital, I was scared because I’ve been in mental health hospitals before to visit my mom and it scarred me for a long time. I remember one time, my dad and I visited her in her room and she said that she wanted to get out of there. I saw her become violent. My mom isn’t a violent person at all. But she threw a chair right across in her room. She tried escaping a few times and I remember she was talking to me over the phone and she tried going out the front door. I heard the nurses telling her that she can’t leave and I heard my mother yelling and wanting to get out of there. She had to be restrained and sedated. But was really heart wrenching was when visitation hours came. The nursing staff got to know my dad and I very well because we were there everyday. The nurse told me that we were one of the few families that visited their loved ones in a mental health hospital. How sad is that? You go to the hospital to get better! Families should stick together through thick and thin. I couldn’t believe that other people seemed to not care at all about their family members that were institutionalized.
One of the main reasons why my mother’s hallucinations and delusions were so bad, was because her body had become immune to the medication that she was on. After while, the medication wasn’t doing its job and she needed help. The doctors and nurses tried different anti-depressants and anti-psychotic medications to help her. It took a while and found one that worked for her, but it didn’t help her completely. One day, the doctor overseeing her care told us that new medications alone aren’t going to help her and she needs another alternative to help her. The doctor suggested ECT treatments. When I heard electric shock treatments, I said “NO WAY!” But the doctor said that it was her last resort. If we don’t do anything then she will commit suicide. So my dad and I did our research on ECT treatments and for some it helped relieve their suicidal thoughts and severe depression. I remember my dad telling me that even though it’s scary, she has no choice. So, she started ECT treatments. If you don’t know what ECT is then search the internet. Her treatments were several times a day and eventually, went down to twice a day. Now after 5 years in, she gets them every 3 months. Truthfully, they really work for her. But she hates going because she knows the procedure very well, but wants to keep getting better.
I remember another encounter when I was in high school. A popular girl in my school committed suicide with her stepfather’s gun. I remember she brought marijuana to school and she and her best friend got caught by a faculty member. She tried committing suicide in the principal’s office with a phone cord, but was stopped by the principal. He thought she was just goofing off and didn’t take her suicide attempt seriously. After school, she went into her father’s gun collection and opened the case and killed herself. The next day at school, everyone was crying. I didn’t know why, but when I found out I was shocked. She seemed like a nice girl but I didn’t know that she had depression very bad. Her best friend attempted suicide and was transported to a mental institution. I was so shaken up and in such disbelief. It’s so sad. People can call suicide: “The easy way out.” But they can think whatever they like. Sometimes, you can do all you can do but it still happens.
Like I stated before, people don’t understand what it’s like to suffer from this until it happens to them. There are so many resources out there such as American Society for Prevention of Suicide and there’s also a Suicide Prevention Hotline, just in case.