Go to the therapy! Take your medicine! You’ll feel better when you get a breath of fresh air. It seems easy to say, but what if that person was in sinking sand with demons around them constantly pushing them further in? How easy is it to reach for your medicine or peel yourself off the couch to go to therapy then? I have no idea the “demons” that people with suicidal ideation fight every day, but I would like to understand at least some of their struggle.
For some people affected by suicide they don’t see it coming, for others every day might be like sitting on pins and needles. According to research there are characteristic behaviors or temperaments such as withdrawn, avoidant, negative, difficulty controlling their mood and not handling stress well that lead to developing depression and anxiety which when not managed well can result in suicide. Along with these characteristics these individuals also have a history of being abused in the past or did not develop a good relationship with their caregiver.
The aggressive temperament type is more prone to risky behavior and impulsivity. People with this temperament can be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder or show some behaviors like it. As children these individuals also have a history of sexual abuse. Research indicates that an individual’s temperament type is related to genes that control the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, the chemical messengers in the brain, and serotonin. Another influencing factor is the environmental stressors as mentioned before, relationships with caregivers, ability to self-regulate during stressful situations, or abuse as well.
When our bodies are under extreme stress it under goes a process commonly known as “fight, flight, or freeze” which biologically speaking are increased levels of cortisol. Sources indicate that high cortisol levels could affect the mood regulating neurotransmitter serotonin, which would in turn make it difficult for serotonin to get to the brain and neurotransmitters.
All of this to say that whether genetically, biologically, or environmentally suicide has the potential to affect all ages, ethnicities, and gender. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America, and each year 44,965 Americans die by suicide. For more information please visit https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/. The statistics are climbing, and it saddens me to know there are so many lost and hurting people that perhaps don’t know how to communicate what is going on in their minds, but are screaming for someone to see them and help them climb out of the sinking sand. Another source I used was https://www.mentalhelp.net/articles/becoming-suicidal-biological-contributions/. Join me by understanding what’s behind the mind of a person who does this and join a cause that advocates for empowerment. Don’t let another Mac Miller or Anthony Bourdain pass by as just another day.
Melanie Mosbarger is a therapist that works with trauma-related issues as well as other mental health disorders. She uses a trauma-focused approach to help children, adolescents, and adults find the hope and healing they are seeking in their lives. For more information on her treatment modality click here.