I had planned a completely different post for this week; however, when heavy, hard things happen that have a deep impact on your life, sometimes you just have to write about it.
Earlier this week, I lost a former roommate and good friend to suicide.
Suicide is not a subject that is talked about often – it can be perceived as taboo and not appropriate to bring up. That’s too bad, because that’s what this post is about. Although it’s not an easy discussion, suicide is an important subject that requires dialogue without the implication of committing a social faux pas.
According to Mental Health America (MHA):
A suicide attempt is a clear indication that something is gravely wrong in a person’s life. No matter the race or age of the person; how rich or poor they are, it is true that most people who die by suicide have a mental or emotional disorder. The most common underlying disorder is depression, 30 percent to 70 percent of suicide victims suffer from major depression or bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder.
My friend was in this 30 to 70 percent category and had struggled with mental disorders for years, including depression, bipolar disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder. I witnessed this first-hand as a roommate to this person while we were in college. For years, they sought help through counseling and therapy, and eventually moved home with their family for extra support.
If you think someone is considering suicide, trust your instincts, and communicate your concerns without being judgmental. Be willing to listen. Refrain from trying to counsel the person yourself, but do not swear to secrecy or leave the person alone (MHA). Always seek professional help.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), suicide is among the three leading causes of death among people aged 15 to 44 worldwide.
- An estimated 2 to 15 percent of persons who have been diagnosed with major depression die by suicide.
- An estimated 3 to 20 percent of persons who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder die by suicide.
- An estimated 6 to 15 percent of persons diagnosed with schizophrenia die by suicide. Suicide is the leading cause of premature death in those diagnosed with schizophrenia. Between 75 and 95 percent of these individuals are male.
- Also at high risk are individuals who suffer from depression at the same time as another mental illness. Specifically, the presence of substance abuse, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder put those with depression at greater risk for suicide.
- People with personality disorders are approximately three times as likely to die by suicide than those without. Between 25 and 50 percent of these individuals also have a substance abuse disorder or major depressive disorder.
I can’t even pretend to imagine the darkness that an individual must experience and endure day after day with no reprieve in sight. All I know is that this person was, and will continue to be, loved and supported; they are now finally at peace.
My heart is heavy this week, and will be moving forward. A beautiful person left this physical world, but their soul is free.
Take time today, or this week, to reach out to friends or family that you haven’t spoken to in a while. Hug those close to you. Tell those you love how much they mean to you.
We all have a lot on our plates and are constantly on the go throughout life. Remind yourself that the best things in life are the relationships you have developed with the people around you.
Peace to all today, this week, and moving forward.