I wish I could tell you that those who suffer those thoughts always wear green shirts and orange and white striped socks, that they have a particular color hair or a certain shaped nose.
But they don’t.
Given that suicide has increased by 25% for the general population and 70% for youth, we have to know those signs–just in case. Because anyone our circle of friends could be at risk.
If you had told me Charles suffered from thoughts of suicide, I’m not sure I would have believed he “was the type.” I would have thought, “No, he loves us too much.” Not that any mental health professional ever told me that. Suicidal ideation is an irrational state of mind. And in that state of mind I call a brain attack, it’s hard to think about anything else but getting away from the intense pain.
Remember the one most painful event of your life. In that moment of intense pain, you could think of nothing other than making that pain stop and getting some relief. Do we think of family then? Or anything else for that matter?
So what is the type?
Usually, those who suffer the thoughts are deep feelers, often more empathetic. But those who are that way don’t always show it.
The signs can be subtle and we cock our heads over something our loved ones say that doesn’t feel quite right but the odd feeling we get is patted down by logic or we just don’t know which bucket to put that thought in because suicide isn’t on our radar. Our own brains don’t let those thoughts in because we just don’t think it could possibly be that bad.
We just don’t know what goes on in someone else’s head. And when we get that weird feeling, we just need to stop and ask more questions. “Tell me more,” followed by listening.
Signs of suicide below copied from American Foundation of Suicide page.
If a person talks about:
- Killing themselves
- Feeling hopeless
- Having no reason to live
- Being a burden to others
- Feeling trapped
- Unbearable pain
Behaviors that may signal risk, especially if related to a painful event, loss or change:
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Looking for a way to end their lives, such as searching online for methods
- Withdrawing from activities
- Isolating from family and friends
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
- Giving away prized possessions
People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:
- Loss of interest
- Relief/Sudden Improvement