MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT SUICIDE
The following are common misconceptions about suicide from the NAMI ADVOCATE:
- "People who talk about suicide won't really do it."
Almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Do not ignore suicide threats. Statements like "you'll be sorry when I'm dead," or "I can't see any way out," no matter how casually or jokingly said, may indicate serious suicidal feelings.
- "Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy."
Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They may be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or dispairing, but extreme distress and emotional pain are not necessarily signs of mental illness.
- "If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop him/her."
Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, wavering until the very last momemt between wanting to live and wanting to die. Most suicidal people do not want death; they want the pain to stop. The impluse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.
- "People who committ suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help."
Studies of suicide victims have shown that more then half had sought medical help within six month before their deaths.
- "Talking about suicide may give someone the idea."
You don't give a suicidal person morbid ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true -- bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.
SUICIDE + PREVENTION LINKS
WHEN THE WORST HAS HAPPENED
When the worst has happened and you have lost a loved one to suicide there is little that can be said to comfort you. The following book may be helpful. It does not take it away, but it has helped people understand and correct some of the wrong info we all have about suicide.
- Suicide: Survivors - A Guide For Those Left Behind
by Adina Wrobleski
Suicide: Survivors is probably the best, most accurate book ever published on suicide/suicide grief. Adrina Wrobleski is an expert on suicide, having spent many years studying the subject, after her daughter died by suicide. Reading this book might be a good "first step" for someone beginning the arduous journey of trying to work through suicide grief.
IT'S OKAY TO GRIEVE: The death of a loved one is a reluctant and drastic amputation, without any anesthesia. The pain cannot be described, and no scale can measure the loss. We despise the truth that the death cannot be reversed. It's okay to grieve.
IT'S OKAY TO CRY: Tears release the flood of sorrow, of missing and of love. Tears relieve the brute force of hurting, enabling us to "level off" and continue our cruise along the stream of life. It's okay to cry.
IT'S OKAY TO HEAL: We do not need to "prove" we loved him or her. As the months pass, we are slowly able to move around with less outward grieving each day. We need not feel "guilty," for this is not an indication that we love less. It means that, although we don't like it, we are learning to accept death. It's a healthy sign of healing. It's okay to heal.
IT'S OKAY TO LAUGH: Laughter is not a sign of "less" grief. Laughter is not a sign of "less" love. It's a sign that many of our thoughts and memories are happy ones. It's a sign that we know our dear one would want us to laugh again. It's okay to laugh.
Grief is as old as mankind, but is still one of the most neglected of human problems. As we become aware of this neglect, we come to realize the enormous cost that it has been to the individual, to the families and to society, in terms of pain and suffering, because we have neglected the healing of grief.
Essential to a grieving person is to have at least one person who will allow them, give them permission to grieve. Some people can turn to a friend or to a family member. Some find a support group that will allow one to be the way one needs to be at the present as they work through their grief.
Dealing appropriately with grief is important in helping to preserve healthy individuals and nurturing families, to avoid destroying their bodies and their psyche, their marriages and their relationships.
You can postpone grief but you cannot avoid it. As other stresses come along, one becomes less able to cope if one has unresolved grief.
It requires a great deal of energy to avoid grief and robs one of energy for creative expression in relating to other people and in living a fulfilling life. It limits one's life potential.
Suppressing grief keeps one in a continual state of stress and shock, unable to move from it. Our body feels the effects of it in ailments. Our emotional life suffers. Our spiritual life suffers. We say that the person is "stuck in grief."
When a person faces his grief, allows his feeling to come, speaks of his grief, allows its expression, it is then that the focus is to move from death and dying and to promote life and living.
The majority of this page's information was provided by:
Suicide Awareness\Voices of Education
SA\VE is an organization dedicated to educating the public about suicide prevention.
This page is dedicated to MARY KAY BERGMAN, her family, friends and fans.