A Hurtful Myth About Suicidal Thoughts
There is a hurtful myth about those with suicidal thoughts I experienced firsthand. This myth is that a person depressed enough to take his or her own life will likewise be willing to take the life of someone else. Hence, not only is he or she a threat to him or herself, but a threat to others as well. However, depression does not equate psychopathy.
According to the World Health Organization, a person commits suicide every 40 seconds, totaling nearly 800,000 global suicide deaths in a year. The WHO likewise says that there are about 20 failed attempts for every successful suicide. That is a sad and sobering statistic. Now, if suicidal people were likewise psychopathic, consider how much higher the homicide rate would be! Could it be that the only reason we even equate the potential for murder with suicide is because of a “if-it-bleeds-it-leads” news media?
Psychologist James Ogloff states that murder-suicide occurs among people who are angry at the world or a particular group of people. Therefore, murder-suicide is rare. I realize that this fact does nothing to comfort the family and friends of the victim of such violence, but the point needs making. Those with severe depression bear enough stigmas without people acting fearful towards them as well. If the suicidal person feels isolated, he or she will only feel more greatly isolated when being treated as a potential threat by others. Could such treatment serves as the final push off of that ledge?
My details are unimportant. Suffice it to say, my strong religious convictions made me too fearful of ending my own life. Fearing the judgment of God for taking my own life, I was not going to go on a killing spree. That would only make that judgment worse. Not everyone has such an anchor in his or her life, however. Hence, there but for the grace of God, I would have ended myself.
Dear reader, if you are so depressed that you are contemplating taking your own life, please know that your suicidal thoughts do not make you defective. Others have felt suicidal but have overcome those feelings with treatment and therapy. You can conquer your thoughts of suicide too.
If someone tells you that you are a ticking time-bomb about to go off, killing other people in the process, do your best to tune out their negativity. If they state their fear that you will kill them, it may be a subconscious reflection of their guilt that they have done something to cause or deepen your depression. If such a person is selfish, that previous statement seems more likely.
So, what provoked me to write this post today? I heard the incoherent ramblings of a particular high-profile individual running for political office to veterans of our armed forces. This individual seemingly equated PTSD with the rape and murder of a woman walking her dog. (If this incident truly even happened at all, that is.) For some reason, that incident caused me to reflect on my own negative experience of being falsely accused of harboring violent thoughts toward others because of severe depression.
PTSD is an entirely different issue from “typical” suicidal thoughts due to depression. Yet, PTSD does sometimes lead to suicide because those who have PTSD can experience negative thoughts and moods. One with PTSD can also become emotionally detached from others. Hence, PTSD can catalyze severe depression. 24% of those in the armed forces suffering from PTSD and depression have admitted having suicidal thoughts. (I refer to military personnel because of its connection to my article’s impetus. Yet, PTSD can stem from many traumatic events.)
In closing, if you are contemplating suicide, please know you are not alone. Others have considered suicide as well and defeated those feelings. You are also not a threat to others. So, please do not isolate yourself further. Isolation can be detrimental to your mental health. Please find someone in whom you can confide and with whom you can talk. It may be that what you are experiencing is chemical, requiring medication to help. So, seeing a healthcare professional about these feelings is also a good idea.
If you a spiritual person, seek to build your faith. I believe God made each of us in His image. I think He has a purpose for us all, even if we struggle to figure out what that purpose is. Furthermore, God loved us enough to allow His Son to receive the punishment we deserved. And God’s Son left a community on earth (i.e., the church) serving as a family for all those sojourning on this earth. Faith can help you overcome the remaining obstacles untouched by therapy and pharmaceuticals.
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Hi, my name is Brent. Christian. 親日. ENFP. Music lover. I've channeled my ADHD into becoming a generalist. I enjoy writing and illustrating.