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Suicide - Why Do Some Feel Is It A Last Resort?

By November 24, 2009 - 9:34am
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I'm sadden to say that my daughter's best friend's father committed suicide on Sunday night. We are all in shock and still don't know the "why". My daughter is a teenager and is having a hard time understanding how a parent could do this to their child and so am I.

I don't know if he felt so hopeless or depressed that he thought this was his only solution. I'm surprised to read that suicide is the eleventh most common cause of death in the United States. I wish we would have recognized some of the signs so we could have helped in some way. With the holidays around the corner and the current state of our economy, I'm sure depression and suicide will be on the rise.

How do we help those around us who are having thoughts of suicide or are depressed? And most importantly what do you say to your children when something like this strikes so close to home?

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Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Anon - It sounds like you could use someone to talk to. I'm going to suggest that you call one of the trained counselors at the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. They are there to help people better understand depression and how to deal with it, and really want to help. Please call them at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), This is a free, 24-hour hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Your call will be routed to the nearest crisis center to you, and there's no embarrassment at all. Will you do this? I think it could make a major difference for you to talk to someone who really does understand what you're feeling and can help you. Take care, Pat

September 30, 2010 - 6:52pm
(reply to Pat Elliott)

Anon, stay with us here at EmpowHER. we want to keep talking to you. Please let us know how you are. You are stronger than you know. AND wiser, you already have said you need to take action this time. Good for you.., I hope you have by now. Tell us what is happening.

October 1, 2010 - 12:49pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have suffered with depression aswell. im 17 and had severe depression from 12-15 years of age. I never told a doctor i just gradually felt better towards the end. I wanted to commit suicide everyday and spent hours planning it out, hours crying and the whole time i never told a single soul the true extent of how i was feeling. I believe i am slipping back into depression now which i want to avoid. i am going to see my gp, however i do think its useless speaking to someone who has never suffered with depression. My mother has suffered with depression and i have had a very uncomfortable upbringing as a result. My sister dealt with her upbringing by getting angry continu ously, my brother turned to drugs but i bottled it all up and put on this fake smile for the whole time. I don't want the embarrassment of going to the doctors and telling my dad that im suffering with it but i dont think i can go through this again without taking action on my thoughts. :(

September 30, 2010 - 2:41pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Becoming depressed at such an early age and surviving it is an accomplishment. I had my first experience with depression in childhood as well. I never told anyone. I have experienced depression off and on most of my life. I have had suicidal thoughts day after day, but I made a choice when I was 15 that I would not commit suicide as six other relatives had done. I made the choice because of a relative who was the single mother of 5 children who killed herself. I felt a lot of compassion and empathy for her, but also for her children, and the legacy it left them. I don't blame her, but I am so grateful for the choice I made, and make over and over when I have suicidal thoughts. The things that happen in my brain when I am depressed, are not me, the feelings, the thoughts are not me. I am the one who survives, who goes to work, raised two children who do not have to grieve a mother who fell victim to suicide. I had to realize, that even when life isn't fun, life, even the worst life holds great significance, and in my right mind I will not forget that.

October 1, 2010 - 1:29pm

I agree with you... the majority of people just feel to busy or self consumed to deal with someone who may need help, or that shoulder. I just think it takes a life lesson, like knowing someone close to your who has been depressed, or if you have suffered from it personally to really understand it! Wouldn't it be nice if we could all just take on an attitude of caring for each other?

August 15, 2010 - 6:49pm

When a parent commits suicide in some cases it is because life feels intolerable, they are so depressed they feel like they aren't a good parent, and their family would be better off without them. In fact, they feel dead every day of their life for weeks, months, years. They are truly not being logical, and so their suicide is not going to be logical. The depression is talking, not the person that they were before the depression. Someone said,"Depression is the delusion that life is not worth living." It is sad because it is treatable, Fathers don't have to die. I'm so sorry for your friends.

July 24, 2010 - 11:37pm
(reply to scribbling)

Thank-you for your words scribbling. It was good to read such an insightful entry. I, like so many other people have considered suicide. The entry back in DECEMBER about the dad who committed suicide was referred to as someone that " thought he had no other choice, or options" Believe me, one who considers suicide has tried to get better, it is not a logical choice. But in our culture it is frowned upon to walk around looking depressed. Nobody wants to deal with a very down, withdrawn, sad person. So the depressed person goes to great lengths to hide the sadness and despair. Anger seems to be much more manageable for friends or even acquaintances to deal with. (Maybe people are more accepting of anger because there are so many angry people out there!) Ask yourself if you know someone who seems angry or negative all the time. OFTENTIMES they are the ones who may need help. The internet is an amazing tool. Ask them a lot of questions and tell them your interested in helping. You would be surprised how that negative person starts to confide in you and be prepared to watch him/her soften and explore feelings with you. Ask others about a good therapist. Asking questions is such a valuable tool. The depressed person is not going to do this. Someone else may need to coax or even call to make the first appointment! Remember it is not up to you to fix. But a shoulder to lean on goes a long long way. The father who took his life wanted to end it because he saw no other way to end his pain. People who end their lives are not doing it to be vicious- to get back at anyone. They simply give up. We need to change our attitudes about depression and suicide in our culture. It is not to make the family members miserable or unhappy. It is a way out.

August 12, 2010 - 9:52am
(reply to americanwhoahman)

Often it is more than just the depressed person who is trying to hide their negative feelings. Many people don't listen, because they are not able to deal with the negative feelings they have. A depressed person brings a listener's own hopeless, helpless, feelings to the surface where they can't be avoided. We all have them. It's a part of being human. But a person who can't be honest with their own feelings, isn't going to find it easy to listen to a person who is suicidal. That is because they WILL be affected. It WILL be painful to hear. The truth is it forces us to face ourselves, the part of us that feels weak, has too many doubts and questions. The part we don't want to admit knows something about why a person wishes they could die. If we know that part of ourselves, we know something about how to survive the doubt, loneliness, fears of life, and sometimes knowing that even with all of this, life is all we have, death is the unknown, we will get there, all of us, but in the meantime we can understand each others feelings that life is hard and makes no sense. In the act of truly hearing someone in pain we create another thread connecting them to the fabric of life.

August 15, 2010 - 7:40pm
(reply to americanwhoahman)

Thank you for your thoughtful words!

I agree---the perspective from many people is to avoid someone who is sad, negative or generally "down", instead of taking a few moments to try to talk with them. Talk therapy is so helpful, even if it is just to a friend or co-worker, just to vent.

I think the problem is: we want to avoid confrontation. We have all had situations where we DO ask someone, "what's wrong?", and then end up listening to an hour-long "poor me" rant, when the person is not really sad or depressed. It is difficult to get out of those situations gracefully, without hurting feelings, and so we end up avoiding any similar future situations. It would be helpful for everyone to learn some "carefrontation" skills (instead of "confrontation"), so that we can kindly tell the "self-pitied" person that we are unable to listen to their story, so that we have enough time and energy to listen to someone who really needs us.

Any suggestions? How do you gauge which person really needs to be heard and understood vs. the person who is just "whining" and zapping our time and energy??

August 12, 2010 - 1:01pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am someone who has suffered from depression for the past three years. It took me over a year to finally build up the courage to ask. I am very sorry for your loss, but maybe I can offer some insight as I did go through the same struggle with the decision of if I should end my life or not. I know that my yearning to do so came from the feeling of worthlessness, being alone, and the feeling that no one would care or notice. When I was in the deepest slum of my depression I wanted to end it all because I felt as though there was something wrong with me. You ask how to help; make sure they know that there is nothing wrong with being depressed or sharing how they feel because they are loved and not alone. Because when you have depression the feeling of being alone in the world is enough by itself to make everyday life unbearable.

December 21, 2009 - 9:50am
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