Feeling Suicidal - Mat's Thoughts
By Mat Broomfield
What is Suicide?
Why do people commit suicide?
One thing is for certain; suicidal thoughts are always precipitated by long or short-term periods of emotional or physical turmoil. However, those who attempt to commit suicide do not always do so amidst a big fanfare of showy emotionalism. They don't always mope around crying and sobbing before doing the deed. Sometimes suicidal thoughts come as a small, quiet voice in the dead of the night. Not a huge compulsion to do something terminal, but a quietly insistent suggestion from some destructive and deceptive part of your brain. And other times, suicidal thoughts come as a sudden impulse upon which people act before they have time to realize that they're not being rational. Before they realize that things won't always be as bad as they are now.
Sometimes such thoughts or compulsions come as a result of chemical imbalances in your brain causing depression and irrational thinking. Other times, they come as a result of emotional or physical assaults such as the death of a family member, splitting up with a partner, moving to a new, seemingly hostile town or school. Still other times, suicidal thoughts may come as a result of publicity in the media, from our peers or on the web.
I know it's not politically correct to talk about this, but I'm of the belief that web rings dedicated to people who've committed suicide, or to abused kids can actually place the thought of suicide so uppermost in people's minds that they might see it as a viable option ahead of getting counseling or talking to someone. My suggestion to you is to stay well clear of these rings. They may have started out as self healing, self-help circles, but rather than elevating the mood of the general community, they eat at everyone's psyche like a cancer, painting a falsely negative picture of the world in which we live. Bad things do happen in the world, but linking them all together into a web-ring of misery serves no one.
(When asked about JaredStory.com, Mat said, "Just to reassure you, no, I don't count you among the circle of gloomy web sites. Yours is a wonderful, positive site dedicated to finding the best in Jared's life and celebrating it, rather than miring yourself in the misery of his death. ...Yours most certainly does not do that. It's positive and upbeat, talking about healing for the wider community, not public penance for yourself or castigation for someone else.")
One thing's for sure, although you
may still be able to add two and two and carry on the semblance of a normal
life when you're feeling suicidal, you are not, repeat NOT, thinking rationally.
That's the most important thing for you to realize. Just as a person who's
mildly intoxicated by alcohol is not aware of the slowing of his physical
reactions, someone in the midst of long-term depression or a momentary
life trauma is not fully
You need to realize that your thoughts will return to normal eventually. If you've been so profoundly affected by a situation, that you're having thoughts of ending your life, there are medications that can help to stabilize your mood until your brain musters its resources and you can think normally again. So you need to talk to someone to get immediate help.
One of the manifestations of depression is lethargy - you feel tired and you can't be bothered with anything. However, don't let this feeling fool you into thinking that it's too much effort to save your own life, or make you think "Ah what's the point?" Your outlook is colored black by your current mood. You have no idea what great things are in store for you over the rest of your life, so you have to give yourself the time to live the life that you deserve.
Depression is a condition of extremes. In America one of its most severe forms is called bi-polar disorder. The term refers to the opposing poles of emotion - extreme happiness at end and extreme misery or weariness at the other. In Britain the condition is called manic depression because the opposites of mood appear like mania: excessively happy one minute, and deeply depressed the next.
Stick with us.
Suicide is not a pretty
But it isn't like that. Suicide is frequently gory. Violent suicides leave blood and worse to clean up. It's traumatic, even for professionals to deal with. Less violent ones still end up soiling themselves in death. That's right - you'll shit and pee yourself. Sorry to be blunt, but you need to know the full picture.
This is not some scene from Romeo and Juliet: it's life and it's not pretty. Your suicide scene will be forever etched into the memory of those who find you. It's not a nice way to find someone, and it's not a nice way to be found. Your life is too important to throw away.
As for the aftermath, your friends may hold memorials, but many of them will forever be tortured by guilt and by questions. The newspapers will almost certainly not report your death because they have a policy against publicizing suicide. Many families are literally torn apart by the suicide of a child. The psychological reverberations of your death will hit the lives of many people around you like an explosion, and although they may continue to live, some of them may never, ever get over it. In fact, you should face the possibility that your death may affect people so profoundly that others may actually take their own lives as a result. It's not uncommon.
Now I know that a guilt trip is definitely not what you need when you're already feeling low, but you absolutely need to realize that there are repercussions that extend far, far beyond your own life. You also need to realize that there are almost certainly people who love you, right now. And even if that's not true and you've had a rough life, there are many people who care about you - many of them you haven't even met yet. Also, there are literally hundreds of thousands of people in your country, who can love someone EXACTLY LIKE YOU. You'll probably never meet them all, but you only need to meet one or two to make your life incredible.
Dealing with suicidal thoughts
In some ways, not committing suicide is like giving up smoking - all you have to do is get through the next hour without doing it or lighting up, and each hour you do that, it becomes fractionally easier, until eventually you find yourself wondering what the problem was in the first place. Not committing suicide is about postponing any action until your emotions regain sufficient resources to deal with the source of the problem.
There are many ways that you can distract yourself whilst your mood becomes a little more stable. The trouble is, you may need to be firm with yourself in order to do them, and determination is not in great abundance when you're feeling depressed and emotionally drained. However, if you can do them, here are a few suggestions.
1. Listen to music. Stay away from sad, meaningful, even romantic music. These all evoke emotions that are particularly vulnerable in your depressed state. I recommend something upbeat and positive.
2. Dance or play an instrument. I know that in your negative state of mind, these are activities that are far from your mind, however, sometimes the action determines the mood. Put on a lively record that you can't resist dancing or playing to and try to find the joy and rhythm that has always inspired you in the past.
3. Force yourself to do something for others. Sometimes, putting the needs of others ahead of yourself is just what you need. You often hear of bereaved families starting charities or doing good works. It's therapeutic and it adds meaning to the cause of your misery. It can also be very distracting.
After the immediate danger
It's great to lie in bed in late, but you need a reason to get up each and every day.
Perhaps a goal might be that you will complete a computer game, or read a specific book, or finish your homework early, or mow a few extra lawns to pay for a CD, or you'll do a better job on your make up than you ever did before, or you won't have seconds at dinner, or you'll say something nice to at least five people during the day. There are so many different things, and only you'll know what's meaningful to you.
If your suicidal feelings were initiated
by a short-term trauma, you may also find that when the trauma has passed,
or you are emotionally able to cope with that trauma better, that have
a sense of vacuum: that you almost crave the emotional turmoil that filled
you before. Although it was a very negative feeling, those depths of depression
were also a time when the other things in your life ceased to matter. The
daily trivia of your life became unimportant and in a sense you gained
a different sense of perspective on life. A similar thing happens to survivors
of accidents or severe illnesses. Your world view has shifted. This is
not necessarily a bad thing in itself. We do clutter up our lives with
far too much emotional trivia that weighs us down and distracts us from
having a good life. However, don't confuse that sense of perspective with
the negative emotions that helped you find it. You can still enjoy that
uncluttered clarity of purpose without needing to feel suicidal to get
it. In fact, if you apply it to your daily life, you might even find yourself
empowered in ways that never were until you moved close to the edge. You
might find yourself realizing what's important in life, and what was just
background noise. Use that knowledge. Turn it into something good. And
always remember, you are precious, and you can be loved.
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