Does someone you know have suicidal tendencies? If you think you know the signs, then think again. I’m here to uncover ALL the indicators and save lives.
Most people hear the words suicidal tendencies and think of the thrash band with the same name. I know I did, and I feel a little guilty about it too. Suicide is no laughing matter, and it’s no subject to forget. If we don’t get better at this, at noticing when something’s wrong, we’re going to continue to lose some outstanding people to this monster.
The truth about suicidal tendencies
There’s a universal misconception about suicide. Unfortunately, taking your own life is seen as a cowardly move, and maybe, in some cases, it can be. But for the most part, suicide is something much different than that.
I’ve told a few people about a friend of mine who committed suicide. He was a handsome 22-year-old man with a beautiful girlfriend and loving family. He seemed pretty happy, for the most part, cracking jokes and always socializing. But there was a dark spot on his life, his mother, also at the age of 22, ended her life, with her son on her lap.
My friend, you might say, seemed marked by this suicide. It seems he heard the stories and maybe focused on this incident throughout his tender life. Whether he did or not, we may never know, but he is gone now, a victim of the same fate.
So, that’s my testimony, right? Wrong.
On an occasion about 10 years ago, I attempted suicide as well. I took a handful of pills and decided to die. I didn’t want to deal with my feelings, they were just too strong. It’s not that I was a coward because I had been fighting my entire life with mental illness, I was quite the opposite of a coward. I just didn’t see any point to anything anymore. Why endure the pain of living?
But I didn’t die, obviously. I won’t lie to you and say I never thought about it again either because, honestly, it’s a passing thought at least twice a week, even now. It never really goes away because it’s always that option waiting right there behind you. It’s horrifying.
Now, with that being said, how do you feel about suicidal tendencies? Do you think you could have prevented my friend’s death? Do you think you would have seen my indicators? People walk by me every day and have no clue of the content of my mind. They do this with everyone else too. You really have no idea what you’re dealing with.
Now let me pull back the veil and show you
Do you want to know how to tell when someone is close to the edge? Do you need to be able to pick up on suicidal tendencies? The raw truth is there is no 100% way of being certain of who is close to suicide and who is “just fine.” But, there are a few indicators that could get you pretty close to the truth, if you pay close attention.
If someone you love is being uncharacteristically quiet, then it could just be a change, or a lack of sleep, or a health condition. Or, they could be feeling numb and taking a much too deep look into their life and goals. This is not a bad thing, for the most part, but it is something that you might want to pay attention to. Remember, I did say “uncharacteristically quiet”. This doesn’t include introverts. That’s a different thing altogether.
Now, I’m not telling you to pester this person and ask them a hundred questions because, you know, they just might be trying to spend time alone. I’m telling you this, so you can take note of how often this happens and if it continues for weeks at a time. Also, it doesn’t hurt to make sure they know how much you care. Then, step back and give them space.
The topic of conversation
If someone is talking about suicide every day, or every other day, then you definitely need to be on high alert. I’ll just be honest, if someone even mentions suicide once a week or so, you need to be on alert. Talk to your friend or family member who entertains this idea of suicide. Ask questions, be present and make sure they know you love them. I know, I’ve said that already, but you just can’t say it enough.
It’s okay to talk with them openly about suicide, considering it’s their preferred topic of conversation. Finding a way to relate to this mood is also a way to connect and make sure they know they are not alone. Do not support the idea of suicide, but do not be judgemental either. Keep it neutral and allow your loved one to express their true feelings.
Feelings of hopelessness
Pay attention to certain words and topics when talking to your friends and family. Does your loved one talk about feeling worthless? Suicide often follows admissions of losing hope and feeling like no one loves you. If you hear certain indicators like these, it’s possible that your friend is contemplating death. Always listen closely and provide any support needed for them to feel wanted.
If you’ve noticed an increase in alcohol consumption or drug use, then you could be dealing with a high-risk situation. Many people drink in a social manner and even heavily, but a sudden increase in consumption of alcoholic beverages could mean an attempt to numb the pain.
In an instance such as this, if left untreated, the alcohol consumption could increase. This can be dangerous in more ways than one. First of all, an attempt at suicide could still occur despite the habit. The alcohol consumption could pose other risks such as automobile accidents and domestic violence. It is so important to pay attention.
If a friend is suddenly trying to push you away, you could be dealing with something serious. Now, don’t jump to conclusions, just be aware. If this friend was once a social butterfly, then something is definitely wrong. The only thing you can do is make sure you push back into their lives every once in a while, being careful not to push too hard. You just need enough to let them know you’re there. Otherwise, stay in the background but keep an eye out for danger.
Other signs of suicidal tendencies
- loss of sleep/too much sleep
- change of weight and appetite
- chronic indecisiveness and lack of focus
- loss of interest in otherwise enjoyable activities
- showing symptoms of mental illness and having a diagnosis
So, those are a few things to look out for. I hope it helps.
For now, this is all I will leave you with. Without being overwhelmed, I want you to think about the language you use as well.
Never say someone wants attention for talking about suicide, never say it’s a cowardly decision and never ignore someone who’s negative most of the time. I know it’s not the most fun thing to deal with, but when someone feels down, they need you to help them get back up.
Pay attention and show love. Oh, and stay educated on this subject because we’re going to save some lives!