Reflections on World Suicide Prevention Day

Once you have experienced suicidal thoughts, you approach the topic of suicide in a way you couldn’t before. And if you have made suicide attempts you come at the subject from an even more different perspective.

A few months ago at my work someone who was seeking services died by suicide in the building. The conversations that followed regarding the suicide made me squirm. From the words my coworkers spoke, it told me they have never experienced suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide.

Someone said, “Usually there are no signs that somebody is suicidal.”

Another coworker suggested to everyone that we should all smile at the clients more often so that they won’t feel depressed anymore.

I wanted to say, “Ummmm, no. That doesn’t prevent suicide.”

People may say that there are no signs if somebody is suicidal but I disagree (there are exceptions to this I’m sure). Somebody struggling with suicidal thoughts may be putting up a front that they are fine but those closest to them would potentially see their behaviors change, if they are the type of person to pay attention to those around them.

For me I lost a lot of weight, couldn’t eat/had no appetite, slept constantly, laid in bed for hours, cut myself on a daily basis and canceled the few plans that I made with people.

At the beginning of it all I reached out for help. I found a wonderful therapist who I still see today. My doctor always took what I said seriously, she never doubted me or how I was feeling. Both of them were two of the reasons I chose to live.

For a couple weeks I was going to a weekly doctor’s appointment plus two therapy sessions. I told myself that they were both genuinely concerned about me, they wanted to see me alive and get better. So that fueled me to wake up and start my day for weeks.

Suicide is complex. Each person experiences suicidal thoughts differently and needs different things to help them cope.

After dealing with suicidal thoughts and I hear about a suicide, I am sad for them but I also hope that they are now at peace. It makes me sad to know that they were struggling so badly that the only solution they saw was to die.

If you’re reading this and struggling with suicidal thoughts I hope you can talk to a family member, friend, therapist or someone at the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (I highly recommend this, I’ve used it a few times) at 1-800-273-8255.

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