Suicide Prevention Week By Melissa

Editors note:  This is Melissa Friday post but because she had a suicide death in the family last weekend she is just getting to it now.  Please read this because maybe we can save some peoples lives.

September 5, 2010 through September 11, 2010 is National Suicide Prevention Week. World Suicide Day is September 10th.
I know this is a different type of subject matter than what I have written about in previous guest posts, however, this is a cause that is near and dear to my heart. I realize that it sounds rather strange for someone to say that suicide prevention is a cause near and dear to their heart, but that is how I feel about it. At one time in my life, I really did not think about how important it was to talk about it. All of that changed after my second suicide attempt and a stay in a psychiatric hospital. As my mind began to heal, and I began to reach out more and more to people all across the world, I realized that suicide is a topic that people are extremely hesitant to discuss.
It is something we should discuss. Each year the suicide rate increases. As the amount of attempts goes up so does the number of people who die by suicide. Suicide affects people of all walks of life, gender, age and race. From teenagers to the Elderly and everyone in between, they all usually have one thing in common. An untreated mental illness/mental health issue. In many instances that untreated illnesses is Severe/Major Depression.
Would you know if someone you loved was at risk for suicide? Would you know what signs to look for? People do not always talk about their desire to die by suicide, nor do they always give away their personal effects when they are thinking about taking their own life. I know many people believe that someone on the verge of suicide would do those things, but in many instances of death by suicide the family is caught off guard because their loved one did not display those particular signs. Unfortunately, they did not know how to look for others.
I knew I wanted to kill myself. So I very carefully, as much as possible, avoided anything that would give my family any clue that I was in so much trouble. I did not talk about death or suicide. I did not give away any of my possessions, I did not even leave any kind of suicide note. If my family had known about other things to look for, they would have seen the signs of what was going on in my head that I could not cover up.
Some things to look for that might be warning signs that someone is at risk for suicide:

  • Appearing depressed or sad most of the time. This was the biggest clue I exhibited and could not hide.
  • Withdrawing from family and friends. This is also something I did that I could not hide.
  • Losing interest in most activities. Hobbies and just keeping the house in order were things I was no longer interested in. I could not hide this.
  • Dramatic Mood Changes. I had two moods, sad or angry. It was impossible for me to hide this.
  • A change in sleeping patterns. For most of my depression, I slept too much. As it came closer to the time that I attempted suicide, I barely slept at all.

This is by no means a complete list of the warning signs that someone would display. If you were to do a Google search for “suicide warning signs” you would find many more lists that are much more complete. What I listed were warning signs that would be difficult or impossible for someone to hide. Things to look for and to pay particular attention to.

Anyone and everyone is at risk for developing a mental illness/mental health issue. Some people are at a higher risk because of family history, or a history of other chronic health conditions. There is no immunization to guard against mental illness. There is no magic pill that would prevent someone from developing a mental health issue. Which means anyone and everyone could potentially be at risk for suicide.

I believe that knowledge gives us power. By knowing what to look for we are being responsible parents, spouses, children, siblings, friends, and etc. to the people we love. It gives us the power to help. Never tell yourself that death by suicide or a suicide attempt is something that would never happen to someone you love. My family thought that, and were surprised to learn that they were wrong.

Margaret Tidwell

I am a 33-year-old blogger. I write about my life and my struggles with Multiple Sclerosis. I also am a huge bookworm, and I have been doing book reviews for years now. I even blog about adoption, Multiple Sclerosis, and things that go on in my life.

Margaret Tidwell

Margaret Tidwell

Margaret Tidwell

Margaret Tidwell

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