The idea of taking one’s life often seems extreme or unbelievable for those that haven’t been in that dark place first hand. However, if you take the time to break down the thought process that drove someone to such an extreme decision, you may be surprised by just how understandable it may turn out to be.
Currently the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, suicide claims approximately 44,965 lives every year. Even more staggering, for every suicide recorded in our country, another 25 will attempt to end their lives. For those that are considering the notion of suicide, the negative stigma surrounding mental health often hinders any efforts to get the help that they need. What can we do to break this deadly pattern?
It starts by pulling back the curtain, breaking the current stereotypes that exist and normalizing conversation about mental illness. Those who commit suicide don’t make this decision because they are ‘being selfish’ and a suicide attempt isn’t always a ‘cry for attention’ (although it can be in some situations). Their struggles don’t mean that they are weak, and shaming those who struggle will only drive them further into the dark hole that they feel trapped within. Instead, we need to open our minds to try to understand where they are coming from, enabling us to reach out a hand and offer the necessary support to help pull them through their darkest days.
Here are 7 reasons why people attempt suicide, you may be surprised:
#1 – They lose sight of hope in the middle of their pain and suffering.
Often if you look closely at the lives of those who have made this drastic decision, you will find that they lived with a great deal of pain and suffering leading up to the decision. While this may be pain that their loved ones are aware of, it may also be pain that they kept hidden from the rest of the world. Their battle isn’t an easy one, in fact, the pain can become so overwhelming that they lose sight of the hope they once clung to. This loss of hope is often the final straw in a long battle, leaving them feeling as though it will never get better. Why continue to fight, if you truly believe that you are fighting for nothing? It is at this moment they need to be reminded of the light in their life.
#2 – They are battling a severe addiction.
Those who are battling addiction are often judged for their struggles, treated as though they deserve no sympathy from those around them. While there is a fine line between supporting a loved one and enabling a loved one during addiction, those who are battling this monster often feel as though they are trapped in their lives. This can quickly sap them of any hope that escape and recovery are possible. Faced with the belief that this is how they will live the remainder of their life, suicide may seem like a viable option. If you know someone facing addiction, recovery is possible with professional rehabilitation.
#3 – They are manipulated by their inner voices due to psychosis.
It’s a situation that few want to discuss, however, it is also a very real reason why people may suffer around the globe. Those who are living with conditions such as schizophrenia are not only battling the negativity of the outside world, but their own, and very real, inner voices may actually encourage self-harm and destruction. Without the appropriate professional care and treatment, it’s often only a matter of time before these voices lead to serious harm or even cost those who are battling their lives. The good news is that with treatment, those facing psychosis are able to live a normal life, however, many will never seek assistance, or will be misdiagnosed in their efforts to find help. It is important that these individuals are referred to those who are professionally trained to treat these conditions.
#4 – They believe that they have become a burden to those that they care about.
While far too often we refer to those who commit suicide as being selfish and uncaring, their care for their loved ones may actually be the very reason that they have made this difficult choice. How so? For their struggles to have pushed a person to the point of considering ending their life, they are significant. This could be physical health or mental health related in origin. Whatever the cause, they see this as a burden on the people that they love most, and they genuinely believe that removing that burden is the best-case scenario for their loved ones. It can be difficult to understand if you are not in their shoes, but they genuinely feel guilt for the difficulties they believe that they bring to your life.
#5 – They are victims of abuse, destroying their sense of self-worth.
While there is no arguing the fact that abuse can lead to some serious physical injuries, one may argue that the emotional and mental abuse is even more dangerous. Abusers manipulate and attack their victim’s mental state, tearing them down and making them feel weak in order to further secure their control in the situation. Over time, this can cause the victim’s sense of self-worth to deteriorate. They may begin feeling as though they have nothing to offer the world or the people that they care about, or that they aren’t worthy of the assistance that others are offering to help them break free. At this moment, it may appear that suicide is the only viable option to end the pain they are experiencing. It is certainly possible to break free from this cycle, but the first step is to separate the victim from their abuser to end the ongoing abuse and allow them to start to put the pieces of their life back together.
#6 – They are living with some form of terminal illness and wish to control this last decision.
A debate that has increasingly made the headlines in recent years, those who are facing terminal illness are seeking the right to end their own suffering and release themselves from their inevitable losing battle. The idea of physician-assisted suicide may seem crazy at first thought but consider this for a moment: many of these individuals are in constant, ongoing pain. They were once healthy, vibrant and living life, and now are faced with declining health and the reality that they will never return to the things that they once loved to do. Instead, they are forced to slowly watch themselves fade away. Depending on where these individuals reside, they may seek the assistance of a professional to release themselves from this suffering, or they may choose to take matters into their own hands.
#7 – They struggle to manage their ongoing battle with PTSD following a traumatic event in their past.
There once was a time that PTSD was only associated with the struggle experienced by soldiers returning home from a combat situation. However, mental health professionals now advice that PTSD may be the result of any traumatic event such as witnessing a violent crime or being in a serious car accident. In most cases, PTSD requires professional help in order to work through the condition and free oneself from its hold on your life. Characterized by terrifying flashbacks and overwhelming emotional distress, if left untreated PTSD can push someone to the point at which they believe that the only way to free themselves is through ending their life.