Saturday, July 30, 2011

Suicide and Depression

When we are children there are things that happens that are engraved in our minds forever. When I was about 8 years old there were a a couple were friends with my parents. I think there about in their 30’s. Dad came home and Mom told her that “so-and-so” and died. Her husband found her in the bathroom. Later, I overheard them talking and they said that she went into the bathroom and put a gun to her forehead and shot herself. Her husband rushed in and found her lying there. Thankfully the children were not in the house. They were Christians and he was so ashamed that they almost had to force him to go to the funeral. I will never forget that moment that I stood in front of the casket. She had beautiful long brown hair and I overheard them saying they had to fix it so it curved over her forehead to cover the bullet hole. I just stood there staring.

All my life growing up I thought about it. They were such a nice couple. What caused her to suddenly walk in the bathroom and commit suicide? What could be that bad in life that she killed herself with her husband in the next room? Later I heard them talking about how a couple of weeks earlier she became more and more depressed.

Over one million people die by suicide every year. The World Health Organization estimates that it is the thirteenth-leading cause of death worldwide, and the National Safety Council rates it sixth in the United States. In addition, there are 10 to 20 million non-fatal attempted suicides every year worldwide.

“Suicidal behavior is complex. Some risk factors vary with age, gender and ethnic group and may even change over time. The risk factors for suicide frequently occur in combination.

Research has shown that more than 90 percent of people who kill themselves have depression or another diagnosable mental or substance abuse disorder, often in combination with other mental disorders. Also, research indicates that alterations in neurotransmitters such as serotonin are associated with the risk for suicide. Diminished levels of this brain chemical have been found in patients with depression, impulsive disorders, a history of violent suicide attempts, and also in postmortem brains of suicide victims.” {}

It is suggested if you notice a persons behavior change, such as depressed, isolated and so on, you may be able to notice the signs of one contemplating suicide. However, it is my observation that if the person is in a deep depression to start with, how will you notice the change? It is my experience that at this stage, a person is silently, constantly planning their suicide and the method. Their lives, their thinking is so warped and twisted, unless a miracle happens they will carry out their plans.

At this point in my life I did not know what was wrong with me. I did not even know I had Bipolar I. No good or positive thoughts ever entered my mind. I was on a spiral downhill that kept getting faster and faster. My life was a total failure. I almost ruined my marriage at least twice before; about to loose my business any minute; I did not want to be near anyone, I was perfectly contented to be alone. All the failures from since I was a child ran over and over in my mind. That was only what I wanted in my mind. If you have not experienced deep - dark depression you would not understand that your mind is like a sponge at this stage; it ONLY WANTS negative, depressive thoughts! This is why it is so hard to get out of the depression.

 But the main thing that kept coming in my mind, is I just wanted off. I know this is weird but I could actually picture the earth slowly spinning and I just stepped off and let it keep going on by. I did not want to ride anymore. What was the use? Nothing will change. I am a looser and I could not stand staying depressed all the time. My family will be better off because they won’t have me around to make their lives miserable anymore. 

What we all must consider is suicide has a devastating effect on the families and friends who remain. It's ironic isn’t it that often the person who has committed suicide thought that no-one cared about them. Not only do those who remain have to deal with the grief and shock that is natural when someone dies, they have many other feelings and emotions to work through. Feelings of hurt, confusion, guilt, anger and remorse to name a few. 

I will not lie to you, my family did not want me to be this way, but they DID love me, and they WANTED and loved the “good” me with all their hearts. That is so important. Yes, at the stage you are in, it can make lives around you miserable BUT there was something there they saw before that they liked. THAT is the person they want! THAT is the person you must become again. Can I go back and change all the years I made my family miserable? Can I undo all my faults and failures? NO. But I CAN and be the person that is deep inside of me they love. I’ve mentioned before, if I had not sought help, I would not be able to tell my little ‘Princes’ daddy loves her because she was born right before I got better. Think about that! I have been married over 30 years and now I kiss my wife good night and tell her I love her. She patiently puts up with my mood swings and dark manic episodes because she knows I will eventually be myself again. Sometimes we laugh and joke just like we were newlyweds all over again. THAT is what I almost missed!

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