By: Josi Billings
TRIGGER WARNING: THIS ARTICLE DISCUSSES TOPICS REVOLVING AROUND SUICIDE
The bathtub water is warm, wait no, really warm. My hand burns as I dip it in to test the water, but it’s no pain I haven’t felt before. You would think at this point my body would be numb along with my emotions but instead, I feel the hot tears roll down my cheeks. As I look in the bathroom mirror a wave of sadness mixed with anger rolls to the surface as I realize, this is the last time I will ever see my reflection. Except for this time I don’t see the ugly creature I thought I saw before, I see myself.
Maybe the way I saw myself before was just the devil reaching beyond the glass and shaking me until my brain liquified into a goo that couldn’t comprehend the reasons why I should stay alive. Or maybe I just really am what I think I am, nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing, I’m nothing, I am the scum you scrape off your shoe, the thought of death in the back of your mind that rises to the surface every once in a while. I am nothing.
How does the world constantly spin and flourish and continue to be filled with life and love when all I feel is stuck on it. I lean over the bathroom sink and get my face so close to the mirror I see every imperfection, every little detailed flaw I’ve been cursed with. I stare upon my reflection and remember why there is no life in me. I am a soulless hollowed out figure of disgust that has never met the expectations of anyone. I would rather be dead then have to look or even think about myself one more time. As the mirror gets foggy from the steam the hot water bath is producing, I see my reflection fading away.
Though the story written above is just a fake scenario, it may seem very real and true for some people out there. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention explains how suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the US. For teenagers, it’s the second. Suicide rates among adolescents have been rising dramatically. According to the Parent Resource program, “More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED.”
What if I am having suicidal thoughts?
If you are contemplating suicide or are having suicidal thoughts the first step is making sure you tell someone trusted what you are thinking. Though talking to someone about what you are thinking or going through sounds difficult, inevitably it is the first step. If you need urgent help or are in a serious crisis call the national suicide prevention lifeline, which will be listed below. Support groups, doctors, family members, counselors, or spiritual leaders are great places to seek long term help for comfort. Always remember that you are wanted, needed, and loved.
What if my friend is feeling suicidal?
When it comes to talking to a friend who is suicidal jokes and unnecessary comments just so happen to make matters worse. Do not say anything at all and stare at them even though it may feel a little awkward. Do not call their thinking dumb, change the subject, or say a cheesy comment about how they’re “so great”. Instead, explain to them how you are worried about them, make it clear that you do not want them to die. Of course, saying you don’t want them to die may seem dumb because you don’t want them to die, but clearly stating it may change some things. Do not say something like, “Don’t die, you’re so pretty and nice.” Instead directly say, “I do not want you to die.” In these cases it’s ok not to know what to say though, don’t act like you know every feeling and thought there is to a suicidal mindset when you may not. It’s more insulting and hurtful to act like you understand everything they’re going through and like that they’re no different from you. Be sure to get your friend help or ask them to call the national suicide prevention lifeline if they’re in severe condition.
Appropriate comments to say to someone contemplating suicide:
“I’m so glad you told me that you’re thinking of suicide.”
“I am sad to hear that you’re hurting like this.”
“What’s going on that makes you want to die?”
“Help is available.”
“Is there anything I can do to help?”
“I hope if these thoughts continue you will continue to talk to me or a professional about them.”
How can I feel better or overcome suicidal thoughts?
When wanting to feel better or overcome suicidal thoughts you have to remember that they’re just thoughts, you don’t have to act on them. Some people choose to make distraction boxes filled with pictures and items that are found comforting or bring back positive memories. Getting lots of sleep, keeping up good hygiene or getting back into the groove of it, and spending time with people you love can also be good distractors. Overall trying your best to be kind to yourself and working towards recovery can lead to very positive results.
What are the different treatment options when trying to get better?
The main treatment option most people are familiar with is therapy. Therapy can allow you to speak of your negative thoughts and why you’re thinking about suicide in a safe space with a professional who is equipped for these types of situations. Normally the mental health professional, or therapist, will ask you questions about your situation. Medication is another treatment, but instead is a more medical option that can involve antidepressants or anxiety treatments. This type of treatment has to be prescribed by a doctor.
To reduce adolescent suicide we must start talking more about it and collaborate on ways to reduce or end it.
National suicide prevention hotline: