No one knew I was suicidal until I tried to kill myself, one dark night during a blizzard, while living in a small German village. I was an 21 year old Army wife who hated herself, her life, her marriage, and the Army. Until that time, my husband hadn’t believed me when I said I was suicidal. Even the Army psychiatrists, whom I begged for help, rejected me. After weeks of psychiatric tests, they concluded I was neither suicidal nor depressed; I was simply immature and selfish. That was the last straw. I gave up, and planned my death.
Fortunately, my then-husband had a clairvoyant dream: he saw me lock myself in the bathroom, swallow a handful of pills with a tall glass of water, then lie down in an old claw-footed bathtub to die.
Shocked, Lou awoke, leaped from bed, knocked down the locked bathroom door and dragged me off to the Army medical clinic, as I screamed “Let me die!”
He saved my life. But the desire for sweet oblivion haunted me for fifteen more years until I committed myself to ongoing therapy, learned self-love and self-respect, and created a balanced life with a profession I love.
Why was I suicidal? Years of emotional abuse as a child and later by my husband had convinced me I was worthless. There was no joy in my life, no self-respect or self-love. When I took those pills, I was in such extreme emotional pain I just wanted out of my body. I honestly felt I was doing my loved ones a favor by killing myself.
Many suicidal people suffer similar emotional torment. Childhood abuse, sexual abuse or domestic violence can cripple the spirit and destroy will to live. One out of three teens in the USA will seriously think about suicide, according to recent studies. Cyber bullying creates an atmosphere of ridicule, rejection, shame and humilation that can push a young person into believing death is preferable to their misery, especially if they’re already alienated from their families.
Some people lack the emotional resilience to stay balanced and positive when tragedy happens like financial crisis, great loss, chronic pain or illness, war, or environmental catastrophy. Addictions, isolation, and disabilities can kill love of life. When hope is gone, pain overwhelming, people often give up.
What are signs of impending suicide? Extreme social withdrawal and sadness, profound depression or manic behavior; giving away belongings; on-going refusal to talk about what’s wrong or obsessive talk about death and pain; severe over-drinking or drug abuse; extreme physical inactivity; researching ways to die and/or buying a gun.
How to prevent suicide? Start by gently encouraging a suicidal or very depressed person to talk to you about their painful feelings. Never say “If you’re talking about suicide, you’re not serious. You just want attention!” Help your friend know they’re loved and needed. Listen with your whole heart and encourage hope.
Suggest a warm, wise therapist who specializes in working with suicidal people. With the right therapist, they can heal their emotional wounds and develop will to live. I’ve healed from suicidal depression myself, so you may wish to recommend me for your friend – or yourself.
Many agencies help people rebuild lives after life crisis. Groups exist to help people in chronic pain or disabled develop coping skills.
Suicide talklines have volunteers trained to talk down a suicidal person and guide them to get the help they need.
Medications can help; but some may trigger even worse depression, like some anti-depressants, Lyrica, and Gabapentin. Natural supplements like SAM-e, Kava,or 5 HTP, may help reduce depression and anxiety. A healthy diet, free of junk food, will help stabilize emotions along with daily exercise.
Some suicidal people may need a stay in a mental hospital till they are stable enough to begin to build a healthy life.
If you are suicidal? The ultimate keys to healing from suicidal depression are asking for help, healing emotional wounds, developing self-love and life purpose, building a circle of loving friends, and learning to laugh again while finding joy in small things. Know there is always hope for a better life.
If you suspect someone is suicidal, or severely depressed, reach out a hand of love and help! You just may just save a life.
Gail Raborn, CHt: Clinical and Medical Hypnotherapist, Certified Psychotherapist, Interactive Imagery Therapist. I specialize in working with suicidal depression, anxiety, pain, loss, health challenges. Call me at: (707) 827-3615