I want to talk about a touchy subject today. Suicide.
If you’ve been dealing with a chronic illness or chronic pain for a while you may have thought about it some. Even if you don’t deal with pain or illness every day you may have thought about suicide during a stressful or lonely time in your life. I’ll admit that I have. It’s not something to be proud of but it is most definitely not something to be ashamed of.
There have been nights when I’m flaring for days or weeks on end and have been hurting so bad that a “normal” person would have gone to an ER already but I know I’d just be labeled a drug-seeker again. Death certainly seemed to be a better option. Or after I broke my hip, lots of pain then too, I was having to depend on my family for most everything. My husband would have to help me back and forth to the bathroom and my son was staying with my parents or uncles and aunts most of the time. I felt like such a burden to everyone then. My busy little guy needed me (and I him!) but I couldn’t even take care of my own daily needs. I was depressed and angry I couldn’t really do anything. I was so lonely because everybody else had jobs or other things they needed to do. Life went on while I just laid there contemplating how I could die with the least amount of additional pain.
You’re not alone!
It is normal to have these feelings and I want you to know that you’re not alone in this. In fact, suicide the 10th leading cause of death for ALL AGES in the US. There are approximately 105 people every single day who do commit suicide. However, there are about a QUARTER MILLION people in the US each year who are survivors.
When you add in a chronic illness, such as Lupus, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis or countless other conditions, the likelihood of having suicidal thoughts at some point increases. Between finding doctors that actually listen, having people tell you “it’s all in your head”, being isolated due to inability to attend social activities, possible financial burdens from being unable to work & medical bills and the physical effects of the diseases on our bodies like decreased mobility it’s no wonder those sort of thoughts creep in on us. In fact chronic illness or chronic pain are major factors in up to 70% of suicides. I was somewhat surprised when I read that and saddened that all those people had felt so hopeless they were able to follow through. It’s a rather sobering thought that someone we may have seen in a doctor’s office or on a Facebook group gave up their battle in this war against ourselves.
Know the Warning Signs
Don’t dismiss these thoughts and actions as “just a phase”. This is a serious problem that won’t “just go away.”
Help is just a call or text away
If you are having any of these feelings please call a trusted friend or family member. If you have hurt yourself or are trying to hurt yourself call 911 or the local emergency number. There are also several options available to be able to contact a trained crisis counselor.
If you are a friend or family member of someone who may be considering suicide help them find the appropriate help. If they have already attempted to kill them self or are in possession of a lethal means (a weapon, drugs, etc…) and you know or think they are in imminent danger of dying, CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY!
Be The 1 To…
The #BeThe1To movement has 5 action steps for helping someone with suicidal thoughts. These include: Ask – “Are you thinking about suicide?” and “How can I help?” Be non-judgmental and actively listen to what they have to say. Keep them Safe – Limit access to highly lethal means. This step is about putting time & distance between the person and their chosen method. Be There – Be there in person, on the phone, texting, Facebook, whatever way they need you if you are willing and able. Don’t make promises you can’t or aren’t willing to keep. Help Them Connect – Help them call the Lifeline number below for immediate support. Help them locate local resources like a mental health professional. Follow Up – Once immediate support has been provided for the initial crisis, it is important to continue providing support. Call or text them, ask if there is anything else you can help them with. I know that just a simple greeting card from a friend has brightened some of my darkest days. For a more detailed explanation of the 5 action steps visit http://www.bethe1to.com/bethe1to-steps-evidence/
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to speak to someone if you are experiencing an emotional crisis and having suicidal thoughts.
Counselors are available 24/7 to provide free emotional support.
Don’t feel like speaking to someone? Then text HELLO to 741741 to speak with trained crisis counselors 24/7.
Crisis support for veterans and their loved ones. Call 1-800-273-8255 Press 1
I know the going gets tough for us. Between life in general and lupus things can seem rather bleak but please, I beg you, never, ever give up hope! If you need extra support reach out to someone you trust or one of the above resources.
Please share this information so hopefully it will find the person who needs it.