Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States of America. Suicide rates have been increasing. Countries with national suicide prevention programs have seen decreased suicide rates, but it’s still not doing enough, considering the frequency with which I see a new post or article about someone’s love one who passed away at their own hand. What’s going on with this? What are the prevention programs not doing? Why is this still a problem?
I’ve been doing a lot of research. I’ve been studying current suicide prevention programs as well as the history of suicide and the stigma around it. The stigma appeared with the emergence of Christianity, for to kill oneself was to kill God’s gift. Despite medical advances that have informed us that no, suicidal behavior is not a correlation with demonic possession but instead a serious mental disorder, this stigma still infiltrates itself into society, hiding in the nooks and crannies of every institution. But you know what many of the programs we have in society today are not doing? Talking about it.
It’s about time suicide was normalized. Children need to be exposed to what it is and what causes it so that they can be aware of the signs as they could appear in their peers or themselves. People need to be equipped to fight suicidal thoughts. I’m tired of hearing the room fall silent every time I bring up suicide in conversation. The first step is understanding it. If we don’t teach people to understand mental illness, then the problem will never be fixed. Talk, talk, talk! That’s all I’m asking. Destroy the stigma!
Every word feels like it weighs a thousand pounds. Every decision feels like it is life-threatening. Every move feels like it is the most important thing in the world. The world feels too bright and the light hurts my head. Everything is spinning. I cannot breathe. I cannot think.
I get anxiety and panic attacks a lot. Lately, it has been daily. It’s been hindering my writing, hence the lack of posts in the past month. Thank god for my dog, who always seems to know what’s going on, and cuddles me even though I can’t stop hyperventilating. When I’m able to clear my head, I realize what I must look like from the outside, and how hard it must be for the people who love me to see me like this. I’m writing this for anybody who loves someone who suffers extreme anxiety attacks, and for those of you who suffer attacks like I do, I would suggest creating something similar to show your loved ones.
A few simple steps to help somebody having an attack:
1. Listen to them. If they tell you to stop talking, do. If they tell you to leave them alone, do. Don’t completely abandon them and walk away, but take a step back and be there to listen.
2. Get them water I know it’s something very simple, but it helps a lot. Especially if they are dry heaving or hyperventilating. They need water. It can help calm them down.
3. Remember, this is NOT who they are The person they become when they are having an attack is not who they truly are.
4. Do NOT downsize their problems While the situation at hand may appear easily fixed from your point of view, to them, it’s the scariest thing in the world. Do not downsize or try to fix their problems. Listen to them. If they want to think of a solution, you can help, but do not try to fix everything yourself because you do not see the problem the same way they do.
5. Be there Honestly, that’s the best you can do. Sit with them through it. They will appreciate you so much for it.
Hope this helps somebody. Will try to write more these coming weeks. xoxo