One of the last things most people expect is that they will feel so downtrodden that life no longer seems like a viable option. But if you are considering suicide, you’re not alone. In the United States, there are over 47,000 suicide deaths a year, and suicide is the tenth leading cause of death.
So how do you know when you cross the line from sad to suicidal? The simple answer is the moment you see yourself no longer in the picture and it doesn’t scare you. If you are considering suicide, please know that the unbearable pain you feel is temporary. Major issues, such as financial problems, the death of a loved one, or an ended relationship, are rarely as difficult to overcome as they appear.
There are many options available right this minute to help you regain control of your emotions. These include calling a close friend or family member and checking yourself into the emergency room.
Signs of depression
Sometimes, you may be depressed and not even realize it. But early intervention is paramount to circumventing long-term consequences for temporary problems. According to DepressionHurts.ca, depression takes a number of surprising forms including:
- Unexplainable sadness
- Loss of interest in activities you previously loved
- Trouble making ordinarily easy decisions
- Extreme fatigue
- Excessive sleeping
- Unexplained weight changes
- Headaches, joint pain
- Shortened attention span
Types of depression
There are more than a dozen types of depression and each with different levels of severity. Bipolar depression, formerly known as manic-depressive illness, presents primarily with wild mood swings that quickly change from elation to hopelessness. Children may experience disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD), which is indicated by constant anger and irritability. Children with DMDD may strike out at their peers without provocation.
Depression is sometimes triggered by temporary physical or environmental factors. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and postpartum depression are two examples. SAD is activated by waning sunlight throughout the winter. This type of depression may be helped by lightbox therapy, bringing natural elements, such as plants, indoors, and by exposure to mood-boosting colors. Postpartum depression is a common form of depression among new mothers. It is likely caused by a combination of hormones, fatigue, and parental pressure. Postpartum depression is not the same thing as the baby blues and is a serious disorder that could result in overwhelming feelings of sadness that could culminate in thoughts of self-harm or infanticide.
Your overall health and wellness play a significant role in your mental health. In order to fully overcome depression, you must focus on your emotional health. Here are a few tips to set you on the right track:
- Engage with your social group and find someone with whom you can share your thoughts and feelings
- Learn to say “no” when you feel pressured to do something outside of your comfort zone
- Wake up each morning and remind yourself of the things you have to be thankful for
- Eat a balanced diet since your physical wellness can affect your mood
- Take some time to yourself each day
- Devote a portion of your time to doing something you enjoy, such as drawing, painting, or reading
- Spend plenty of time outdoors – exposure to nature is a proven mood booster
- Don’t focus on material possessions and know that the things that make you happy can’t be bought
If you’re currently a senior enrolled in Medicare, don’t hesitate to take advantage of your annual depression screening, which you can schedule with your primary care physician. However, you may be required to pay additional fees for any extra care you receive thereafter.
You are important and you matter. While it’s tough to see your value when in the throes of depression, you never know what tomorrow will bring and what contributions you will have. Martin Luther King Jr., a civil rights activist from the 1960s, attempted suicide at the age of 12 and went on to become one of the most influential people in history.
If you, you child, or someone you know is struggling or having thoughts of suicide or self harm, there are 24 hour resources available:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK(8255)
Crisis Text Line: 741-741
Thanks to Melissa Howard of stopsuicide.info for her submission.