Updated: Dec 25, 2022
When I trained in martial arts, one of the most important lessons I learned was to 'bow out' out with honor. When I tapped out of a sparring match I did so with the knowledge that I had used all available resources to help me before I made the decision to leave or say, "no more, I can't take this." Tapping out of a head lock is not the same as tapping out of life.
Suicide has hit us hard this season. There have been several incidents over the course of my career that clients have chosen to end their lives. It's always a shocker to a professional, to a friend, to a stranger, and a family member when we've become aware that a person we know has ended their lives purposefully. We begin questioning ourselves on whether we did enough for the person who successfully committed the act of suicide.
According to the Center for Disease Control and prevention, 1.2 million people in the United States attempted suicide in 2020. Those that succeeded in taking committing suicide in the US iin 2020 numbered 45, 979. The data showed that while rates decreased for White Americans, suicide rates rose among American Indians, Alaska Natives, Black Americans, and Hispanic Americans. Young adults also experienced an increase in suicide rates. While the rates are staggering, it is even more staggering to find that your loved one has succeeded in committing suicide.
We've all too often seen photos of happy go-lucky celebrities who were hiding deep depressions and took fatal actions against themselves. That leads us to ask the question:
What are the signs of someone contemplating suicide?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Warning Signs of Suicide are:
Wanting to die
Great guilt or shame
Being a burden to others
Empty, hopeless, trapped, or having no reason to live
Extremely sad, more anxious, agitated, or full of rage
Unbearable emotional or physical pain
Changing behavior, such as:
Making a plan or researching ways to die
Withdrawing from friends, saying goodbye, giving away important items, or making a will
Taking dangerous risks such as driving extremely fast
Displaying extreme mood swings
Eating or sleeping more or less
Using drugs or alcohol more often
According to Psychology Today:
Suicidal intentions aren’t always obvious to the untrained eye, especially among those who want to keep them hidden. However, there are many outward signs that someone is thinking of suicide. Becoming familiar with common signs, especially subtler ones, can help someone identify a loved one who may be at risk.
Talks about feeling hopeless, worthless, “trapped,” or like he has no reason to keep living
Makes a will, gives away personal possessions, or tries to “get her affairs in order”
Searches for means to harm himself, such as how to buy a gun or access dangerous medications
Sleeps too little or too much
Eats too little or too much
Shows signs of despair or has significant mood swings
Acts agitated, anxious, or aggressive
Avoids other people, including loved ones; spends more time than usual alone
Drinks alcohol or uses drugs excessively
Has experienced a severe life stressor recently, such as the death of a spouse, the loss of a job, or a traumatic event
Has attempted suicide or demonstrated suicidal behavior in the past
If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible, particularly if the behavior is new or has increased recently.
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Call or text 988 Chat at 988lifeline.org
Crisis Text Line Text “HELLO” to 741741
Please explore the following websites. You may save someone's life, maybe your own.