This story is part of a blog series called, “Your Story: a conversation on mental and emotional health and disabilities.” Please read with a heart open and understanding – free of judgement.
Suicide Warning Signs Or Suicidal Thoughts Include:
- Talking about suicide — for example, making statements such as “I’m going to kill myself,” “I wish I were dead” or “I wish I hadn’t been born”
- Getting the means to take your own life, such as buying a gun or stockpiling pills
- Withdrawing from social contact and wanting to be left alone
- Having mood swings, such as being emotionally high one day and deeply discouraged the next
- Being preoccupied with death, dying or violence
- Feeling trapped or hopeless about a situation
- Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
- Changing normal routine, including eating or sleeping patterns
- Doing risky or self-destructive things, such as using drugs or driving recklessly
- Giving away belongings or getting affairs in order when there’s no other logical explanation for doing this
- Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again
- Developing personality changes or being severely anxious or agitated, particularly when experiencing some of the warning signs listed above
Warning signs aren’t always obvious, and they may vary from person to person. Some people make their intentions clear, while others keep suicidal thoughts and feelings secret.
If you are experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, please seek help immediately!
If you are safe, talk to someone you trust and tell them what you are experiencing and share with them your plan; Contact a mental health professional about your thoughts, feelings, and plan; or Call the Suicide Hotline 800-273-TALK (8255).
If you feel out of control or like you may hurt yourself, make your way to the nearest hospital emergency room and tell them your plan.Your life matters, and there are people out there who love and care about you. Please don’t give up.
Please be aware that, in this story, you will read about losing a loved one to suicide. If this affects you in any way please stop reading, talk with a someone you trust, or contact a mental health professional immediately. You may also call the Suicide Hotline 800-273-TALK (8255).
A Note On Editing
Minor changes were made to help make the interview easier to read.
This story comes from an individual who was always aware of suicide, but never fully realized it until after it affected her family.
What was your relationship to the individual who took their life?
He was my older cousin.
How has their loss changed your perspective on mental/emotional health and suicide?
I think everyone “knows about” suicide; we hear the stories and feel bad for the people involved. For me, it wasn’t real until it happened in my family. But this is real! There are people out there who struggle everyday to just live. If anything, this has taught me to be kinder not just to those who I know are struggling but to everyone.
What unanswered questions do you still have about the incident?
I think everyone would ask why? But my question is really: could I have helped you? If you had come to me, told me what was wrong, could I have done something?
How have you come to terms with the negative emotions, for example: guilt, shame, loneliness, and hopelessness, surrounding their death?
It takes time but you start to feel peace again. I wrote a lot about what I was feeling and why. I cried until the tears dried up. And I have forgiven myself for not seeing the signs – for not knowing something was wrong.
Where have you found comfort and healing following this loss?
My greatest comfort has come from my family. My relationships with my siblings and cousins have changed. My brother gives me hugs now; it doesn’t seem like much, but it’s a big deal to me. I have also found comfort knowing that my cousin isn’t alone. My Grandpa is with him, and he finally can have peace. I know that, even though I don’t understand his choices, there is someone who does. We have a loving and forgiving God, and there is hope because of Him.
What would you say to someone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts and ideations?
I am here. I will sit with you and hold you. I’m not going anywhere. We can get you help! I’m so sorry for the pain you are feeling, but please, please don’t give up. You are so loved by so many, and if you can choose to stay – choose to live, we will be here. I know things can get better for you, and there is still good in the world. Oh, and I love you.
What would you say to someone who has just lost a loved one to suicide?
Don’t dwell on the questions that can’t be answered. Don’t doubt that they loved you. This was part of their journey in life, but there is still hope for them. You will feel peace again; you will feel joy again. Until then, it’s okay to cry.
Moving On After Suicide
It can be exceptionally difficult to know how to talk about the death of someone you love and even more so when the individual took their own life. Please know that you are not alone in your feelings of grief, anger, and confusion. It is important to talk about their death in a healthy and uplifting way. The best way to do this is to talk to a professional mental health counselor. You can also talk to a trusted spiritual leader. And it is important that you continue to talk to friends and family members as you seek for comfort and healing.
These individuals made a choice – a choice that ended their life on this earth. This single choice does not and never will define them. Let us remember those that have taken their lives by suicide for all of the good that they have added to this world. Think fondly on the memories you have of them and share them often with others. And let us celebrate the life they lived rather than condemn them for the way they died.
Continuing The Conversation
You are invited to continue the conversation on mental and emotional health and suicide in the comments below. Use this as a place to share memories of the people you have lost to suicide. Please be loving, reverent, and respectful of all comments shared. DO NOT ask for or share details about how an individual died. Comments are being moderated and will be deleted if they are hurtful, hateful, or inappropriate in any way.
A Note For Readers
If reading this story has inspired you to share your own story, please click here to be taken to the introductory post where you will learn where the inspiration for this blog series came from as well as how to participate.