The National Center for Health Statistics recently reported that the suicide rate across the U.S. increased 35% between 1999 and 2018, the last year with complete statistics. And now, during the global pandemic, mental health professional fear a spike as medical and economic stress increases to breaking point. Here’s hope and help:
Each year, more than 800,000 people worldwide die by suicide and 25 times that number attempt to take their own lives. (I, too, have had thoughts of suicide as I struggle with clinical depression.)
So, please know that you are not alone. And please know there is hope and help. Let me share how I’ve walked back from the ledge:
First, as someone who has struggled with clinical depression for virtually all my life, I understand the deep, dark hole. And, as early as elementary school I, too, have been tormented by thoughts of suicide. (The only thing that kept me from attempting suicide was knowing that if I did, my parents would kill me!) And what makes it worse is feeling depressed when things are going well. Then I pile on myself guilt and self-loathing for feeling depressed when things are going well!
Second, I want to assure you there is hope. Here are some things I’ve found helpful.
1. See a doctor as soon as possible. If you feel you can’t afford it, call your county health department. There are free services in every community. If it is clinical depression, there’s medication. For instance, yesterday morning I woke up feeling so depressed and suicidal. I realized I had forgotten to take my meds the day before. Anti-depressants do make a huge improvement! (You may have to try several different meds before you find the one that works for you and the one without some of the unpleasant side effects, but keep trying.)
2. Talk to a trained professional. If you feel you can’t afford it, call your county health department. There are free mental health services available. I have benefited greatly from therapy.
3. Consider a support group. You’ll find support and encouragement—and realize you’re not alone in your feelings. There are even online support groups, but be careful on the Internet as not all the advice is helpful or accurate!
Finally, I’ve found that my faith gives me hope for today. I know it may sound trite, but God loves you and wants to be with you through this painful journey. He really does! I know that even though I don’t always feel it. (I’m certainly not here to proselytize—especially during a traumatic time—but this post may be helpful: Looking for love.)
I care about you and if you’d like to continue the discussion, please feel free to email me at jim @ jameswatkins.com. And, if you need immediate help, please call 1 (800) SUICIDE (784-2433).
Meanwhile, you’re in my thoughts and prayers.
• If you or a friend are thinking about suicide . . .
• What about euthanasia’s “death with dignity”
• Do those who commit suicide go to heaven?
• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
If you found this helpful, please share on your social networks. Thanks!