When I first thought of this title it was in relation to the suicide statistics for San Diego County, California at year end for 2011. On the one hand 2011 had the highest rate of suicides in over 20 years, but on the other, it was the lowest percentage wise. The percentage is based on the number of deaths per 100,000. Statistics do not amply describe the issue. Government agencies care about statistics. Statistics gave birth to the new California program, Live Well. The program’s purpose is to help educate citizens about the risks and warning signs of suicide. Prevention is the cure to suicide.
Suicide is the last resort, an act of finality when all else fails. The person has tried everything imaginable, has asked for help, explained, cried, screamed, acted out in anger, and any number of other behaviors. All for what? There is no help, no viable solution. Death becomes the answer. Pretty dismal.
Life is the proverbial roller coaster. Riding the high side, having fun, enjoying life, then the ride down to the lower swoop. This trip down can be swift, while the ride along the valley feels like an eternity. For those who become incapable of taking the ride back up to the peak, depression, hopelessness and helplessness set in. The ride is at an end, the car is stuck, maybe not broken, but that is the end thought.
For those who are friends and relatives to the person stuck in despair it can be trying and difficult, seemingly impossible to help. Every suggestion is met with an answer: nothing works, tried everything, don’t you understand? Soon no one wants to try to help, leaving the person to his- or her- self. Professionals are known to become frustrated with patients who are stuck, why should family or friends fare any better?
The situation is not hopeless and the person is not helpless. There are solutions. However… The afflicted has to make decisions about life changes that are not welcome. A woman stuck in a violent situation will complain about loosing jewelry, clothing, household items, and what about the children, if there are any involved. The unemployed man who has worked nearly his entire life for a company may not be able to accept employment doing something different and at a lower wage.
Job loss, divorce, death of a significant partner, a child’s death, and millions of other traumatic and difficult situations occur. People with a well developed social structure and support system may find solutions faster and easier to accept. Many will not.
Understanding the signs and symptoms of suicide, the risks, and the journey into despair is the first step in accepting help. Finding and accepting support, solutions, and assistance to change a lifetime pattern is the solution.
Suicide is preventable. Many circumstances have a solution. Yes, there are those that do not have a solution. This article is not a know-it-all-about-suicide.
Every person is different, the list of risk and warning signs is not inclusive. Culture, health, personal beliefs, religion, and family ties have an impact on a person’s decisions about life and death.
The person who plans to commit suicide will not directly tell you he or she has a plan. Planning is a secretive and private matter. The person who discusses suicide and ways of killing self should get help. Secret measures of cleaning up life, getting rid of belongings (everything), completing plans regarding finances, trusts, wills, property, this sort of behavior can be, not necessarily is, a warning sign. Secretive behavior, agitation and dismissal should not be ignored. If help is refused, do not give up. But be supportive, lend an ear and a shoulder, maybe a hug now and then. Let the person know he or she is not alone.
The National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Elvis Presley sing the words to Walk a Mile in My Shoes.
If I could be you, if you could be me
For just one hour, if we could find a way
To get inside each others mind
If you could see you through my eyes
Instead your own ego I believe you’d be
I believe you’d be surprised to see
That youve been blind
Walk a mile in my shoes
Just walk a mile in my shoes
Before you abuse, criticize and accuse
Then walk a mile in my shoes
Now if we spend the day
Throwin’ stones at one another
Cause I don’t think, cause I don’t think
Or wear my hair the same way you do
Well, I may be common people
But I’m your brother
And when you strike out
You’re tryin’ to hurt me
Its hurtin’ you, lord have mercy
Now there are people on reservations
And out in the ghetto
And brother there, but, for the grace of God
Go you and I
If I only had the wings of a little angel
Don’t you know, I’d fly
To the top of a mountain
And then I’d cry, cry, cry
Songwriter: South, Joe