Recognizing One’s Pain Before Someone Commits Suicide

Many people go through so much trauma and manage to keep a smile when they’re crying inside. When you look at the popular kids in school, many of us are in disbelief when we hear how somebody who has everything going for them attempted suicide or did commit suicide. We can’t imagine what was going on in that person’s mind because they should have had everything to live for, so why would anybody want to take things to that extreme? And it’s not just the popular kids who go through this because many people fall through the cracks. They think that everyone would be better off without them. Maybe it’s because I have dealt with several loved ones dealing with a lot of internal pain and let the world think that everything was fine by keeping a smile plastered all over their face. Hell, I’ve even done it. But the real tragedy is when we don’t recognize when people silently call for help because they have those tears that no one sees.

Unfortunately, in today’s world, we have a lot of people who say that they’re okay and they’re not. It’s almost like society expects us to say “everything’s fine” because it’s uncomfortable to hear when somebody’s dealing with many issues. It’s easier to put on a fake face than to let people see that we are afraid of because of the shame, embarrassment, and judgment that might come if people know the truth. The reality is that we all go through things in our lives where we need help. It’s easy to avoid those problems, memories, and challenging feelings, but we know that putting off something isn’t always the best strategy.

I read an article that talked about why people say they’re fine when they’re not. People know they’re not, and it reiterated that people often tell others that they’re fine to shield themselves from painful feelings. It spoke of how we often look to our past as to why we do many things. For example, if you had a parent who was raging all the time, you might be afraid of the anger and avoid confrontation or angry situations. Or, if you had a parent who was constantly depressed, you might not want to deal with your feelings of sadness, grief, or hopelessness. I thought it was interesting how they brought to light a lot of issues that stem from your childhood. We all have a childhood because we wouldn’t be adults without being a kid at first. But what we do with that information helps mold who we are.

Because I’ve known people who were suicidal, it made me think about some warning signs when people are crying internally, and they don’t feel like they can talk about what’s going on. I went on WebMD to figure out some of the signs and symptoms that people might research to help them identify people who might be contemplating ending their lives. Here are some of the points I found.

  1. Severe sadness or moodiness.  If someone is experiencing more than usual moodiness, sadness, or unexpected rage, it could signify that the individual is contemplating suicide. That doesn’t mean they are, but there is always a possibility. 
  2. Hopelessness.  Often, people feel a sense of hopelessness about the future and then think that anything will get better. Life has a way of getting better in time, but they don’t always see it when someone is going through problems.  
  3. Sleep problems.This issue is not always an indicator for suicide because sleep problems could stem from many different issues. A person could be dealing with a lot of stress, which could trigger sleep issues, and that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re suicidal, but it does mean that it could be a contributing factor. 
  4. Withdrawal.  When somebody starts withdrawing from something enjoyed or even people they love, it could signify that they are contemplating suicide. That’s not to say that it’s this case in every situation, but it can be a red flag in some problems. I’ve had situations where I started withdrawing from the people around me and situations that I didn’t like. It didn’t mean I was suicidal, but it was a change in my life, and I went through many highs and lows with those withdrawals. Emotions can be like a pit and a pendulum, and sometimes they are hard to control. Be aware that it could be a factor in somebody’s life.
  5. Changes in personality or appearance.  If somebody’s mood swing is erratic and hard to understand why one month they’re fine the next minute they’re not, it could also be a sign that there might be trouble growing. It doesn’t mean that it is, but it does mean that when people’s moods shift quickly, there could be a lot going on that you have no clue about, so be aware that it is one of the symptoms or signs to look for their behavior.  
  6. Dangerous or harmful behavior.  If somebody is cutting themselves, the chances are that there are some serious psychological issues they’re fighting. WebMD said that that is one of the most tangible signs and symptoms to look for because many people who do that don’t want to deal with pain in their lives, so they take it out on themselves.
  7. There is recent drama or life crisis.  I get why Web says that this talk this topic is so realistic because anytime you have a lot of trauma or something change in your life that’s dramatic, and it’s a change that is difficult to adapt to there’s going to be times where you’re not sure how to move forward. When my dad died, I had to learn how to reevaluate my life and figure out the next step for me, and that was tough because he had been my rock. Now I was forced to figure out how I would do things on my own, and that was a scary time. I was angry with God and people and didn’t know who I could trust and who I couldn’t, so it became crucial for me to deal with various emotions.
  8. They are making preparations.  As I’ve learned over the years, when people consider suicide, they’ll often begin to put their business in order. That might include visiting their friends or family members, making a will, giving away their items, or cleaning up their home. Many times a person will write a note so that others will know why they’re taking their life. It usually means that that person is trying to think about what will happen when they’re not in the picture. Strangely they’re caring enough about those they’re leaving behind to try to make the transition a little easier, even though it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will. Usually, that is far from the case; however, when somebody is at that level of despair, they don’t think clearly about how their actions will affect those behind.
  9. They were threatening or talking about suicide.  Not everybody who talks about suicide is going to try to commit suicide. But there are folks who, when they talk about it, and you can tell the way they’re talking about it, could be a sign of problems. If you hear somebody saying that it might be better if they weren’t on Earth, you might want to figure out what’s going on. People should take the threat of suicide seriously, but not everyone who threatens suicide will go through with it. Sometimes people need a chance to process things, and other times there could be some severe happening. Be willing to listen and be there for that person if they are confiding in you for any reason. 

I was looking at WebMD because they had a whole slew of folks at risk for suicide. I urge you to look at their website when you get a chance if you’re interested in this topic because there are several different categories that people fall into on their lists. Still, I found it interesting that even though we can’t completely prevent suicide, we can reduce it with intervention. Research has suggested that if you know the risk factors and can be alerted to the signs of depression and other mental disorders, you have a better chance of intervening before the other person can complete the process.

If you think anybody is suicidal, then I urge you to have them contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-TALK (8255). I hope none of you have to contend with suicide in any shape, form, or fashion, whether it’s in your life or those of your friends and peers and loved ones, but if you do, please know you’re not alone. There are many people out there fighting the same issues. I’ve lost three friends to suicide, and I don’t want to lose anymore. I’m talking about this today because one of their deaths today is their anniversary. It doesn’t make things easier, but it does remind me that life is fragile, and no matter what we do, we need to embrace and cherish every moment possible. So today, as you’re starting, I hope you can take a few moments for you and if you know of someone who is dealing with a lot of hurt and pain, do everything you can to be there for them. Have a great day, everyone.

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