Sadly, these people did not live to tell of its horrors – 16,467, aged between 45 and 85 +, almost half of the total deaths by suicide, across all ages, in the U.S. in 2014, making it the country’s 10th leading cause of deaths.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention believes the figure could be higher if some families were not hesitant or reluctant to report a suicide in the family. Already traumatized by the loss of a loved one, they didn’t want to be stigmatized as a family of loonies.
What drove them to end their lives? Mostly depression.
What makes it sad is that depression can be cured. What makes these deaths tragic and unnecessary is that depression usually starts from harmless “blues” we all experience in any given day. For failure to plug a leak, a deluge was created.
They didn’t recognize it coming or too complacent until things have gotten way over their heads. By then, they thought blowing their heads off was the only way out of their misery..
Can it happen to you? Will you become a part of this morbid statistic?
It depends on how you value life; on how you cherish your family who will grieve over your death, on how strong is your belief that no matter how bad things are, they will soon pass; that the storm ravaging you now will soon be pushed aside by sunbeams that will fill your heart and soul with joy.
It depends on your awareness that you are not alone. That somewhere, right now, others are also suffering as you are.
They, too, are:
o Feeling sad or low;
o Suffering from loss of interest in activities they normally enjoy doing;
o Having eating problems, losing or gaining weight for no apparent reason;
o Having problems sleeping or not wanting to get up;
o Feeling tired or lethargic;
o Restless (hand-wringing or pacing); slow in movement and speech;
o Having concentration problems or making decisions
o Thinking of committing suicide.
We all feel these things every now and then. Normally they will pass in a matter of days or a couple of weeks. They normally go away after a good sleep, a hearty meal, a good conversation with family or friends, or a change in scenery.
If they don’t, then do your darndest best to kill them before they kill you.
DIY Tools to Kill Depression:
It’s normal to feel down once in a while. It is not because of age but because our lives have become so routinary, so boring – like a hamster spinning in its wheel.
It is because we are so self-obsessed, forgetting that there is a whole wide world out there to learn, explore, experience, and conquer.
Depressive behavior is fed by your own thoughts, which puts imaginary barriers around you, making you see nothing but four walls closing in around you every day until it become a prison.
For some, breaking free from that prison is difficult, even impossible.
Those who did, did so by simply discarding their self-destructive thoughts; they simply unshackled from themselves from the chains of their own making.
I did it by picking the lock of my harmful thoughts using these simple DIY tools. You can use them, too
1. Do a Forrest Gump:
Remember the movie Forrest Gump? The movie revolved around Forrest, sitting on bench while waiting for a bus, and telling his story to anybody and everybody who came along to sit beside him.
Kind of stupid, but is an easy and cheap way of killing depressing thoughts.
My late Mom was a Forrest Gump, sort of. She visited me each time she felt the world crushing her in. The moment she got settled she immediately rattled off her problems, like a machine gun, while I just sat there listening to her.
When she was winding down, I offered her snacks. It immediately changed her mood, and set her off doting on my children (my daughter was her favorite).
Find someone you can be a Forrest Gump to. I am, to my daughter-in-law. It works all the time.
But you cannot do it all the time. Your sounding board may not be around when you need them, or you may bore them to death or, worse, infect them. Depression is as infectious as a virus.
So you need other tools to kill it…
2. Visit or call a friend who can pull you up:
Not just any friend. But someone who can pull you up, not press you down.
Avoid a friend who will make your innermost fears and insecurities become a part of the neighborhood’s breaking news the following day.
Keep away from a friend who will casually brush with an “it will just pass,” comment without helping you make it pass, or one who will cut you short by saying, “your problems are nothing compared to mine.”
Call or visit a friend who is interested to know how you made your garden the envy of your neighbors, or who wants to listen to your collection of love songs, circa Romeo and
Juliet, or who wants to leaf through your bookstand of cloth-bound books; someone who wants to cuddle your new-born grandchild.
A friend who finds value in you and knows how to take your thoughts off yourself and shunt them somewhere else.
3. Take a hike of discovery:
Go to the beach and take a dip, or just walk along the shore, barefoot, and feel the sand tickle the soles of your feet; pick up sea shells or bits of corals and ponder on the genius who sculpted them into such spectacular shapes and forms.
Then face the horizon and, with arms outstretched, fill your lungs with the salty breeze until it’s about to burst, slowly exhale through your mouth and say, “God, life is good. I am so blessed to be alive.”
If the beach is not your cup of tea, try the park.
Find a bench in the cool corner of your town park, under the shade of a giant tree, and fill your senses with the sights, sounds, smells around you.
For a moment be mindful.
Empty your mind of everything and delight in being on a tiny piece of earth where everything has a purpose – from the tiny ants scurrying about with bits of food between its pinchers, to the grasshoppers nibbling a blade of grass, to the butterflies and bees flitting from flower to flower, to the squirrels clambering up and down trees storing nuts, to the fallen leaves around your feet, to the tree under whose shade you sought refuge, and YOU.
Together, you comprise the delicate balance of Nature, of Life. Remove one and you offset the balance.
For a clincher, be a child again.
Take the swing, or ride the Ferris wheel, the merry-go-round, or throw Frisbees.
Never think, even for a moment, that these are for children. No matter how old we are, a certain part of us, buried under tons of adult things, remains a child.
Bring it out and be a child again. Have fun; laugh. You might save yourself.
About a month ago, I tried the hoverboard and the merry-go-round just for the heck of it. I looked silly (and almost twisted an ankle) but I didn’t give a hoot what others thought. I had fun and that’s all that mattered
4. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help:
If, after having taken all the Paracetamols you can lay your hands on, you still have the colds, see a doctor before you get pneumonia.
Depression is either “from the mind” or “in the mind.”
The above tools work well for the “from the mind” type, but can’t do much if it is “in the mind.”
If your depression lasts for long periods of time, say months or years, then that falls under the worrisome category of Mental Illness, and a close relative of anxiety, bipolar disorder (this drove Robin Williams to commit suicide), schizophrenia and many others.
It is “worrisome,” not hopelessly disastrous because modern science has the tools to help out, or cope with them. Provided you nip it in the bud.
So if you have been seeing blue for a long, long time, seek professional help to clear it out.