Today’s post is re-posted in memory of one my favorite NFL players, Junior Seau, and in hopes that those contemplating suicide or encountering anyone with suicidal thoughts will find inspiration from this article to seek help. Now, while I never met the man, I always enjoyed seeing him play [like a LION!!!] and the things I read like (CLICK), seemed consistent in that he was a very funny and cool human being.
Rabbit trail (side note)… Depression and suicidal thoughts can hit anyone, anytime. While I never really considered it, understanding that Jesus is sufficient for all my needs, there were times when I thought I understood why someone would choose to leave this earth. …more: Most men are defined by their work and their ability to provide. My moment came about 14 years ago during my first marriage. I was laid off from Nextel when they merged with Sprint and downsized. The day I had to face my ex with this news, was the day I would’ve preferred death…really. So, no one is exempt. Keep this in mind. A true testimony came out of this and i became a much better and stronger Christian as a result. I choose to be an open book sometimes…as embarrassing as it may be…I choose to share with hopes of helping at the risk of allowing you the reader to know that …well…I just ain’t not superman…LOL! …Hey maybe my tombstone will read…“He won’t not SUPERMAN…but he did try to help!”
Anyway, getting back on track here. I sat down with the Doc to discuss suicide. Join us for the conversation.
Chuckie: Hey Doctor of the Mind type woman of virtue, tell me before we start How are you gurl?
Dr.Dee: I’m doing just fine, I always choose to see the glass as half full, so whatever is going on, God has it under control!
Chuckie: Preach Gurl! Watch-out now we gon have some “CHUCH” if we not careful!
Chuckie: Doc, I recently read that although we might think that more people would tend to commit suicide in the dark days of winter, in fact, the peak seasons for suicides happen to be early spring and early autumn. Further, that in the United States, suicides for both men and women peak in April and May, while suicides in women alone show a rise in September and October. Why should there be such seasonal variation?
Dr.Dee: That is a question that many have tried to answer, and the answers folks come up with depend largely on what specific research questions they ask, and how they actually study the problem. From what I can tell, though, much suicidal behavior depends on the kinds of opportunities that are available during certain times of the year. For instance, drownings and jumping off bridges and such would be more likely to occur during the warmer months, because opportunities exist to do those things. You don’t get much of that when its freezing cold outside. Also, those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder, depression that occurs during the winter months, are probably beginning to come out of it and are gaining more energy as the days get longer. One of the most dangerous times for a depressed person is when they are coming out of the depression. The energy level is increased but that depressive thinking may still be present. Others have hypothesized about hormonal fluctuations, and meteorological phenomena. One thing we know, though, is that there are seasonal fluctuations in suicides, and they are universal depending on the hemisphere one happens to live in. one hemisphere shows the reverse pattern as the other.
Chuckie: Does the production of testosterone and estrogen and the accompanying changes in these systems have anything to do with mood, particularly in a person with affective illness.
DrDee: Yes, some have hypothesized that hormonal changes can contribute.
Chuckie: Can one suicide trigger other suicides. Even though suicide of course is not like the flu, can suicide be contagious, like one suicide of one person possibly encourage copy cats?
DrDee: Well, yes and no. One person’s suicide can certainly end up being the first of a few more, but generally, a publicized suicide will not cause someone who was not thinking of it to begin with, to go ahead and kill themselves. Usually a copy-cat suicide is someone who was thinking about it already, and just took courage to go through with it after hearing about another person doing the same. In a few cases, you might have someone suicidal who wasn’t actually depressed, but had some other mental disorder that caused them to somehow “envy” for lack of a better word, the attention the other person got for killing themselves. They may commit suicide just because they are thinking they could get that kind of attention, too.
Chuckie: Do people who experience mixed states–fluctuating between depression and mania or hypomania–become most at risk for suicide. (Again, because they have the energy, while a severely depressed person might be too lethargic to end his/her life.)
Dr.Dee: Chuckie, anyone who has problems with deep depression can be at “most risk” for suicide. Yes, people with bipolar disorder can be at risk, but usually when a person is manic, they are not depressed, and when they are depressed, they are not manic. It can happen, but that’s not the norm. Manic people, however, can be impulsive people, and that also increases the risk of suicide.
Chuckie: Is this a somewhat factual statement that worldwide there are more deaths due to suicide than to accidents, homicides, and war combined.
Dr.Dee: Well, according to the World Health Organization statistics for 2001, in developed countries you had about 500, 000 suicides and about 670,000 car accidents. Homicides and war were not on the top ten list. For developing countries, suicide was not on the top ten list either. More deaths, worldwide, are due to illnesses of various kinds. In developing countries, almost 3million people died of HIV/AIDS, and in developing countries, 3.5 million died of Ischaemic Heart Disease alone. The other thing you need to keep in mind is that suicide rates vary according to age groups. So while suicide rates as cause of death for young kids is very low, suicides for young adults and for elderly white males is much higher.
Chuckie: Suicidal individuals often talk about suicide directly or indirectly using statements like, “My family would be better off without me.” Is this factual in that they might talk as if they are saying goodbye or going away, and may arrange to put their affairs in order. And, are the following signs of contemplating suicide which might include giving away articles they value, paying off debts or changing a will. If so, what other signs should one be on the look-out for?
Dr.Dee: Sometimes people give warning signs like you mention above, but a significant number of actual suicides never leave any warning signs. They just do it. So looking for signs of depression is important, and asking the person if they are thinking about suicide is just as important.
Chuckie: Last question Doc which deviates from our topic, suicide. I have a friend who is about to die of terminal illness (true story). Having only recently found out, she has not told her husband or children. Of course her discussion with me centered around how to do this. Can you help me/her with this one? Trust me, this is one question I wish I did not have to call upon you for.
Dr.Dee: Chuckie that really depends on the person you are talking about, and the nature of her relationship with her husband, and the age of the children, etc. We dealt some with this during an earlier interview, and those recommendations will hopefully be helpful. She may want to have someone with her as she broaches the subject. She may want to do this with the doctor present, so the medical questions that her husband will surely have, can be answered. She may decide she is most comfortable writing about it, and handing it to her husband to read in her presence. The ways to share this kind of information are as varied as the individuals who have to share it. Having support, having a source of medical information, even having clergy present, should she so desire, or doing it in a therapists office, can be options. Its important, though, that she try to be as honest as she can, and that she allow the other person to react or respond in his or her own way. Expect tears or anger or shock and numbness. All of these are normal responses to truly horrible news.
Chuckie: Epictetus (Greek Stoic philosopher) once said that He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. One of the things I truly rejoice over is your have an office here on the train and allowing us to visit you each week, so my pretty little frain, let me close this week, not with a joke but, with a simple note of appreciation for your time and wisdom. Love ya Doc.
Dr.Dee: Thanks, Chuckie!