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What makes a person contemplate suicide?  People who have never thought about it tend to say that suicide is the most selfish thing a person can do.  Funny though because those who think about it mostly do so because they feel it would be better for everyone else if they weren’t around anymore.  They feel lost and alone.

Life has to be really difficult for someone if they believe the only choice they have is to no longer exist in it.  I’ve read tons of statistics about suicide and one that absolutely floors me is that 90% of those who have committed suicide had potentially treatable mental disorders often unrecognized and untreated. 20% of them had attempted suicide previously.  WOW!!  Doesn’t that speak volumes?

When I was 19 years old, I attempted suicide for the 3rd time.  This was the only time my family knew about it though because I came very close to succeeding.  I never told anyone that I was thinking of ending my life.  I surely wasn’t doing it for selfish reasons.  I didn’t feel like anyone cared about me.  I was absolutely miserable.  Life for me had been full of disappointments and letdowns.  I felt like I was a problem for my family and it would be easier for them if I wasn’t there anymore.  When I was home alone one night, I took some pills.  Not sure how many I took, but it was enough.  My boyfriend came home early, found me incoherent and rushed me to the hospital.  I woke up 3 days later with my wrists and ankles strapped to a bed, with tubes everywhere there could possibly be tubes.  It was 4:30am, I was all alone and in a panic.  I was gagging from the breathing tube, didn’t know where I was and couldn’t talk or move my arms or legs.  I was literally terrified.  Finally with all my gagging, I stopped breathing so the alarms began to scream bringing a slew of nurses into my room.  They refused to un-strap me from the bed because apparently I had ripped the IV’s out of my arms and hands 4 times and was kicking and fighting.  They wouldn’t take the breathing tube out.  I had been vomiting charcoal for 3 days and it was all over the side of my face, in my hair and on my pillow.  Come to find out while I was in this condition, they allowed my family and a few select friends come visit me because they weren’t sure I would pull through.  I was mortified, humiliated, and just wanted to go home.  Well another day and a visit from the local pastor and I was out of the hospital on my way to see a psychologist.  My mom was beside herself with worry.  My family was angry with me.  To this day at 42, my mom still worries about me when I’m too stressed out.  I would never put her through that again though.  To my family they thought I was acting out or being selfish, but I wasn’t. If my boyfriend hadn’t come home early things would’ve turned out quite differently I’m sure.  If I just wanted their attention I would have told them I was contemplating suicide, I would have shown some signs.  I wasn’t looking for sympathy or attention.  I was looking for peace, peace for all of us.

I know now that I would never find peace in suicide.  I know how wrong it is.  I know that my family cared for me and my friends cared for me.  I just couldn’t see it at the time.  I truly believe that God spared me for a reason.  I believe that my purpose is to try to help others and to make people more aware.

An estimated 1 million suicides are attempted every year.  More women attempt suicide than men, but men have a higher rate of completed suicide.  The elderly make up twice as many suicides as young people with a higher rate of fatal attempts.

Most people who attempt suicide exhibit warning signs.  Some things to look for are:

Talks about: suicide, no reason to live, being a burden to others, feeling trapped, unbearable pain.

Behavior: increased use of drugs or alcohol, looking for a way to kill themselves online, acting recklessly, withdraw from activities, isolating from family and friends, sleeping too much, calling/visiting people to say goodbye, giving away prized possessions.

Mood: depressed, loss of interest, rage, irritability, humiliation, anxiety.

Those with mental disorders have an increased risk of attempting suicide.  Especially those diagnosed with severe depression, mood disorders, personality disorders and schizophrenia.  The key to preventing suicide is to educate everyone  to recognize the symptoms of mental disorders in those they are close to so they can provide support.

Many who show signs are merely crying out for help.  Don’t ignore that cry.  Pay attention to those around you.  Provide them with support.  They may only be trying to get attention, but they may very well succeed and kill themselves.  Don’t take that chance.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call 1 (800) 273-8255.

Reach your hand out.  Stop this completely preventable disease.