I looked at my searched terms and I noticed a dramatic increase in the search of suicide and suicidal thoughts. I must assume that this is a direct correlation with the impending holiday season.
To many people, the approach holiday season is like impending doom. There are so many potential triggers that are likely to send someone into a severe depression.
It is hard to find people that are compassionate and will actually listen without judgement. Most people find death and suicide so disturbing that they are not willing to let the existence of such things into their reality.
So what ends up happening is when someone mentions having thoughts of killing themselves, the responses are as follows:
1. Oh, Don’t talk like that!
2. You don’t really mean that.
3. Everyone gets depressed.
4. You aren’t the only one with a hard life. Why does everything have to revolve around you?
5. My personal favorite …Everything isn’t ABOUT YOU!
6. You have a great life.
7. There is nothing really wrong with you.
8. Did you take your meds today?
9. You are just trying to get attention.
10. You would not actually do that.
So, these are all actual things I have heard people say in my field of healthcare work. I have had patients that were suicidal and other healthcare workers actually said these things to them. Needless to say, I promptly sent them out of the room.
The thought of suicide is disturbing to someone listening, but it is much more disturbing to the person.
People that have suicidal ideations, have tried everything else to feel better. They have already racked their brains and tried to reach out for help over and over again.
It is rarely something that suddenly occurs to a person and they do it on a whim. I would venture to say that by the time someone searches the term suicide on the internet, they have already spent months trying to get real help …if not years.
Some people are helped by a good therapist to deal with depression and anxiety. Others are not helped. It may be a bad patient/therapist match or they may be a person that therapy is just not the thing that will help them.
Meds work for some people. Medications for mental health are precarious at best. It takes a while to find the right medication and sometimes pills do not help enough.
“Have you taken your meds today?” is really not helpful. In fact the answer could be extremely complicated and not a yes or no answer. People have several meds in their arsenal. They are adjusting the dosages on a daily basis, trying to get some relief.
The extreme lack of validation is devastating to a person. If you are feeling suicidal and someone tells you “Everyone gets depressed. Just suck it up like the rest of us. Everything does not revolve around you” how does that make you feel?
You are in a severe state of mental torture. Then someone says they have depression sometimes too, so you should get over it….This can add to the feeling of isolation.
People who have not suffered from severe depression do not know what it is like. But even people who have been suicidal in the past do not always believe a loved one when they try to talk about this.
If you are feeling suicidal then it hurts to be invalidated and brushed aside. It makes you feel more worthless and hopeless.
Something in your brain has become so traumatized that it is telling you that it cannot tolerate any more pain. Your very own brain is against you and telling you to end it’s torment.
Having your own brain work against you like an enemy is a very very frightening thing. You do not want to do what it is telling you to do or you would not keep reaching out for help, from those around you, from meds, from therapists and then finally from a stranger on the internet.
They think you have a choice to just “stop it” or “turn it off”. It is not that easy. You can’t just flip a switch and turn off thoughts of suicide. You have been consistently traumatized by things for a long time and the brain has become exhausted.
The first thing is to validate you and your feelings. I know you feel terrible fear and pain. It has been building for a long time, probably from years of traumatic events and people constantly invalidating you.
By this point in time, you have been invalidated so much by so many people that you feel alienated and like you are different from everyone else.
Someone who has suicidal thoughts may be very compassionate to others. They can be the person that other people tend to count on and expect to be strong, no matter what.
Some people end up self isolating because they feel they are invisible to other people or that they do not belong. They may feel very taxed by the company of others, especially when they cannot talk about whatbis going on inside of their own brains.
People can get to a point where their brain is telling them that it cannot tolerate the mental torture any longer. This is not intended to be selfish.
I dislike hearing people call suicide selfish. The person who commits suicide is not trying to abandon anyone. Their intention is not to hurt anyone.
It is a state of emergency that people get into and they cannot figure a way out of it.
If you have had suicidal thoughts before then you know the extreme feeling of lonliness and hopelessness.
The holidays are coming and there are elements to certain holidays that can betriggerring. Sometimes feelings of loss, isolation, and grief can become amplified.
Having to hide your feelings and thoughts about depression or suicide can make it worse. It can seem like you are the one person that no one wants to listen to.
The holidays require an extreme effort of acting just to get through. The acting feel tedious and exhausting.
One thing that can help to endure the holidays is the Spoon Theory.
If you have not heard of it then you can easily find it on google by typing in Spoon Theory. You can make it more specific by typing Spoon Theory mental illness.
You do not have to fullfill everone’s expectations during the holidays. Just because other adults expect certain things does not make you obligated to do all of them.
Self care and self love are very important during the holidays, particularly if you tend to become more depressed at that time of year.