Nothing angers me more than the ignorance of naive people. It pleases me to see others happy, but it also hurts me to see others suffering. I find it cruel for sheltered individuals to think someone who is suffering is selfish. No. They are mentally ill and feel helpless. Could you ever imagine being so hopeless? Do you know what’s it’s like to feel like your disappearance is the only answer…the only relief to this intense pain? Those labeling the mentally ill as selfish couldn’t possibly understand the feeling. I will do my best to lay it out from my perspective.
Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States.
Teenagers and young adults appear to be the most affected. Studies suggest that even the reported suicide rates can be inaccurately low. Why? There is such a stigma surrounding suicide that it’s likely not accurately reported. How sad is that? An individual feels so helpless that they felt the need to take their own life. Yet, their family is too ashamed to admit it was a suicide? This only does the individual more injustice and lowers the potential for more awareness surrounding suicide.
Suicide doesn’t kill people…depression does.
Do you genuinely believe that people often kill themselves without a reason? AT LEAST 40 million Americans are diagnosed with a mental health disorder annually, and there are nearly 45,000 reported suicides every year. Think it’s just a coincidence? Suicide is a side effect of depression. Depression is a mental illness. You can’t control whether you’re mentally ill or not. Sure, you can find ways to manage, but that doesn’t guarantee the treatment will be successful. Depression comes with intense lows and highs. All it takes is one really low low to push someone over the edge.
Depression overrides your rational thinking.
Let’s dive into science a little bit here. The left side of your cerebral cortex is responsible for logic and analytical thinking. This is located in the frontal lobe of your brain. The more primitive part of your brain is located within your brain stem and cerebellum. This “lizard brain” is responsible for core survival. It’s also what can trigger individuals to be impulsive. Because this is located in the lower anatomy of the brain, your mind can get “stuck” in your lizard brain, blocking off your capability to think rationally. This is especially true for victims of trauma because your “fight or flight” is also triggered within the primitive brain. See the diagram below.
Essentially what’s happening is your brain is shutting down any functions it deems unnecessary for survival. Therefore, it’s directing all of its energy to keep you alive, and your lizard brain doesn’t think you need your rational brain to survive. (Ironic, huh?) As you can see, you can’t think your way out of depression, addiction, or trauma. It’s far more complex than that. It’s science!
It only takes one extreme moment of weakness.
Once your reptile brain is switched on survival mode, your brain naturally begins to disassociate. As a result, we can make rash but permanent decisions from this lack of impulse control. Repetitive stress and trauma only make the emotions more difficult to cope with. This is why seeking help early is so important. Don’t wait for suicidal thoughts to arise before asking for help!
Friends and family inevitably suffer, but…
This is what gets me. Generally, the thought of leaving your friends and family behind is what leads others to misconstrue depression and suicide. “She has children? How could she leave her daughter like that?! So selfish!” I shudder at the thought of these words. Yes, friends and family suffer when someone commits suicide…but the victim suffered the worst. How unfortunate is it that the individual felt like death was the only answer? How sad for them. Of course, it is very sad that a daughter is left without a mother…but she wasn’t thinking rationally when she did it. It was her lizard brain. Her logical thinking was blocked off, and she felt like no one loved her. She felt like the world was a better place without her because she was a burden; that a dead mother is better than a toxic one.
Why do you think celebrities commit suicide? Take, for example, Robin Williams. The loss of this public figure is one that can never be forgotten. He was loved by most, had friends, family, a loyal fan base, and was doing well for himself financially. Williams was living the dream, so why would he do such an unimaginable thing? He was suffering from depression and it got the better of him.
Depression is the cancer of mental health
Mental health disorders should not be taken lightly. It’s so unfortunate that the stigma surrounding depression prevents others from feeling empathy. Those who are mentally ill don’t look sick. There are no Go Fund Me campaigns for depressed people. Treatment is available…but there is no cure. Depression can be hereditary or circumstantial. Isn’t this all just so gut-wrenching? Someone could be suffering from the deepest pain imaginable, but the whole world could be oblivious to it…or worse…label them as selfish.
Lead with kindness. Lead with empathy.
We’re all entitled to our opinion. My only hope is that this has shed some light on depression and suicide. If you’ve never felt so hopeless you wanted to die, you could never possibly imagine. Be kind to one another.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please seek help. In a moment of crisis, you can call the 24-hr suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255. You are not alone.