Suicide Is Not An Escape Route

Suicide Is Not An Escape Route

Suicide awareness is so incredibly important and options to avoid it need to be known.
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Killing yourself is not a way out.

Suicide is a difficult topic to talk about, but even more difficult to witness.

I recently had a friend reach out to me to write this article in the hopes that no one else has to go through what herself and her peers have to go through. On November 14th, a Lake Minneola high school student came to school with a stolen gun and shot himself.

On December 4th, another student from the same high school hung himself. On December 14th, another student from the same high school tried to kill himself. This school isn't an anomaly, unfortunately, but a decent example of how often suicides occur. In reality, suicides happen so much more often than that every day.

I can't sit here and write this article saying that we need to bring awareness to suicide. Everyone knows what suicide is and what typically causes it. What I can and will do is talk about solutions and the effects of suicide. Most suicidal people see it as a means to end their personal suffering, but it isn't. It just moves your suffering and places it on someone else who is still alive. Suicide victims can create others to have a higher risk of attempting suicide as well out of grief. The grieving process (especially for immediate family members) can take years to overcome, if ever.

I have volunteered for Crisis Text Line (it's similar to the Suicidal Hotline, but you text instead of call. Free to everyone in the US, just text "HELP" to 741-741) for quite some time now and completed training on how to handle those who were contemplating on attempting suicide and/or self-harm. I don't think I need to mention this, but I will just in case. Never make someone feel stupid for wanting to act on these feelings. This will make them feel invalidated and cause them to shut down. Rather than berating the person, try asking questions to better understand what they are going through. Some examples include "I'm so sorry you've been struggling for so long. Do you want to talk about the reasons you feel like this?" or "It sounds like you're in a lot of pain right now. I'm wondering if you can tell me more about what's going on?" Open-ended questions (things you can't answer with a simple "yes" or "no") will not only show the person that you are genuinely interested in helping but will be easier for them to get things off of their chest.

Along with suicide, self-harm is a common occurrence and typically a warning sign for suicidal ideations. There are a lot of reasons for self-harm, and it can come in many different forms. The most common form of self-harm is cutting oneself somewhere on their body. Other forms of self-harm include scratching, burning, hitting/punching and pulling hair out. Less common forms are forms you may not think too much of. Eating enough to make yourself throw up, not eating enough and starving yourself, not putting a jacket on when cold, and not taking clothes off when hot are less noticed forms of self-harm. Some reasons for self-harm include anger, frustration, restlessness, sadness, depression, desire to focus, craving sensation, feeling depersonalized, dissociating, or just simply wanting to see blood/pick scabs. Identifying the emotion behind the desire can help in preventing a person from acting on their desire (refer back to the open-ended questions).

Some DIY activities for those wanting to self harm due to anger/frustration/restlessness includes hitting something physical that isn't directed at a living thing (pillow, bed, etc.), ripping up paper (old newspaper, phonebook, etc.), going for a walk/run, throwing ice in a bathtub or against the wall hard enough to shatter it, or getting silly putty and snapping it. For sadness/depression, doing something soothing (taking a bath), lighting sweet smelling incense/candles, listening to soothing music (not sad music ), rubbing lotion on the parts someone wants to hurt, or calling a friend and talking about the things one likes. For craving sensation/feeling depersonalized/dissociating, squeezing hard ice, biting into a hot pepper, slapping a tabletop hard, slapping one's wrist with a rubber band, taking a cold bath/shower, or focusing on how it feels to breathe. For the desire to focus, eat a fruit mindfully (notice how it feels in one's hands, try to mentally describe it, think about the texture as one eats it, how the inside is different from the outside, etc.), choose a random object and try to think of 30 different uses for it, or pick a random topic and researching it. For wanting to see blood/pick a scab, draw on oneself with a red felt-tip pen, paint oneself red with tempera paint, or get a henna tattoo kit (the henna can be picked off like a scab after it's dried and leaves a design underneath).

Much like the saying "you can lead a horse to water but can't make it drink", the same goes for those contemplating suicide. The best we can do is offer support, resources and a shoulder to cry on. You can't force someone who is suffering to talk if they really do not want to and you can't force them into therapy. The best one can do is offer and remind them how much you deeply care for them. If you believe someone you know is about to attempt suicide or seriously mentions killing themselves, you can actually call 911. Many people don't actually know that you can do this. Law enforcement will go the person's home and they may take them to be evaluated by a mental health professional. If they don't take them to a mental health professional, they'll talk to the person and try to get them into a safe state of mind. A good thing to ask yourself before calling 911 is to remember P.L.A.I.D:

Plan: Do they have a plan?

Lethality: Is this plan truly lethal? Could they die from this plan?

Availability: Do they have the means to carry out this plan?

Illness: Do they have a mental or physical illness?

Depression: Do they have chronic depression? Or depression brought on by (a) specific incident(s)?

If you can answer yes to all of these, actions may need to take place whether it's getting a trusted family member/friend to intervene or calling 911. If it's a family or friend, remember to not seem pushy for the person to get help. Refer back to the open-ended questions and hear them out. Anyone and everyone is capable of helping those in a bad state of mind, but don't forget to take care of yourself.

Resource Links!

Resources for those affected by suicide victims include:

SOLOS, AFSP, Bereaved Parents of the USA, Cope Foundation, and Heal Grief.

Resources for those who have self-harmed or are thinking of self-harming include:

The Trevor Project, SAMHSA, Active Minds, AsIf, To Write Love On Her Arms, Recover Your Life, and SIOS.

Resources for those who have attempted or are thinking of attempting suicide:

The My3 App, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, Save, SPTSUSA, the Suicide Prevention App, and the Buddy Project.

Activities when having thoughts of suicide or self-harm:

Alternatives to Self-Harm, The "Hurt Yourself Less" Workbook, The Butterfly Project, 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Exercises, Journalate, Kindness, Neon Flames, Penzu, Grounding Exercises, SuperBetter App, Therapist Aid, This Is Sand, Time Managment, You Feel Like Sh*t, Your Life Your Voice, Silk, andthe Virtual Hope Box App.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is that people live in between those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead.

You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Tanya Gold, Your Fatphobic Article Is Uneducated And Arrogant

BREAKING NEWS: Women come in all different shapes and sizes!

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Just recently, Nike released a plus-size mannequin at one of their stores in London that showed off their plus-size leggings and sports bra. And, because we live in a world where being fat or overweight or obese is somehow the worst thing in the world to some people, this has sparked a lot of discussion.

Tanya Gold wrote an article for The Telegraph saying that this mannequin “cannot run" and is “likely pre-diabetic" and “on her way to a hip-replacement." Not only is Tanya's article uneducated and poorly written, it's completely fatphobic and embarrassing.

What I would like to know is this: why can't plus-size women work out in Nike clothes just like a size 2 woman? People want to scream from the rooftops that plus-size women are fat because they don't exercise and when companies FINALLY start catering to plus-size women with clothes they can EXERCISE IN, people lose their minds and think that they're promoting obesity.

What are plus sized women supposed to work out in if they can't even wear Nike leggings without being fat-shamed?

Would you rather them wear jeans? Overalls? A parka, maybe? What about a garbage bag?

Let's also discuss the fact that being overweight doesn't equal being unhealthy, just like being at a “normal" weight doesn't make you healthy. Did you ever stop to think that some women have diseases that make them gain weight that they, in return, can't lose? Some women can eat salad for every single meal, seven days a week and they still can't lose weight.

Let's all say this together: SIZE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH FITNESS. Being thin doesn't equal being healthy and being overweight doesn't equal being unhealthy.

Everyone (and yes, I mean EVERYONE) should be able to be comfortable in their own skin AND in their clothes.

You can't sit and pout saying that fat people don't care about their health and then when they want comfortable clothes to wear while they're EXERCISING, hell has frozen over and how dare Nike cater to people who aren't a size 2.

Tanya, be honest with yourself. You aren't anywhere near a size 2, either, so where is all of this coming from? Are you self-loathing? Do you have some kind of internal fatphobia?

Pick a side, Tanya. You can't hate people who are overweight because you think that they aren't exercising and then when they do exercise and they get clothes that cater to them, it's all of the sudden wrong and horrible.

We are damned if we do, damned if we don't. As if women (and men) weren't already being shamed enough for being plus size, we're now being made to feel bad because a brand caters to our size so we can wear the same clothes all of the other sizes can wear.

Thank you, Nike, for making your brand more inclusive for all shapes and sizes so we can ALL feel confident in our clothes.

I think it's worth mentioning that Nike released their plus-size line in 2017 AKA 2 years ago... Why weren't you mad then?

Oh, and, Tanya Gold, you might want to stop smoking since you're all about being healthy, right? You don't want to get lung cancer or anything, do you?

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