Suicidality and suicide wish

Value of life

Everyone must have uttered these words at some low phase in their life: ‘Oh God, I’m fed up; this life is just not worth living.’ These are momentary and transient thoughts that change as soon as the situation changes, and then suddenly life appears to be livable all over again. However, for some, this thought may constitute a suicidal ideation, which can easily progress to a suicide plan, suicide attempt, and sometimes, completed suicide. Suicide is a dangerous act, which is consciously undertaken with the attempt to harm oneself with full and complete awareness and consciousness about consequences.

Risk factors

The risk factors associated with suicide include life stresses, a weak social network, impaired family ties, depression, low resistance to strain, and oversensitivity to rejection. Everyone faces setbacks, many have endured failure; but still emerged strong. There are few who have never experienced emotional catastrophes. However some people’s supply of prowess fails to meet demands of the stressors. These people are at risk for perceiving stressors as overwhelming. They presume there’s no way out of it. Major psychiatric illnesses like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, some of the personality disorders, and virtually all mental disorders can raise the possibility of suicidality.

Do they mean it when they say it?

A suicide threat is never to be taken lightly. Contrary to the popular myth, those those who say it will not actually do it; completed suicides are common among people who have voiced their suicidal idea. At the same time, non-fatal suicidal behaviours also exist. These range from an extreme intent to die to varying degrees of cry for help. These people are looking out for a helping hand and want a way to end their suffering, not essentially their life. Needless to say, one must always pay attention to distress signs among dear ones to prevent devastating consequences of neglect.

Extreme stress

Stressors masquerade in multiple forms and faces- financial troubles, work related issues, relational tribulations, adjustment problems; all of them tend to overpower the individual who stands helpless, dejected and has exhausted all psychological defenses and coping mechanisms to bear the pain anymore. Such people lose hope, cannot look beyond their grief, and want to escape. Suicide seems like a viable option to them since they see no other feasible choice.

Psychological argument

There are people who know they can make it ahead in life. Survival is no challenge and they are willing to face it. They have no suicidal thoughts. Like Shakespeare put the options in Hamlet: ‘To be’. Then there are those who feel they cannot, will not and do not want to survive. They usually end in self-annihilation. They want: ‘Not to be’. And then there are also some who are unsure about it: ‘To be/Not to be’. They have the incomplete suicide attempts at self-harm. They are the ones who want an escape from life, but not essentially seek death. Some of them may have casual last conversations with loved ones and go ahead and end themselves. It becomes very difficult to understand the mental state of the one who did what he or she did, to never come back.

Hopelessness to hope

MINDFRAMES believes in the importance of building defences and strengthening coping mechanisms to bear with the stresses and strains of life. Instilling positivity and enabling people to deal with stress helps build their resilience and prevent their suicidal move. At the same time, supportive psychotherapy and crisis management aim to generate more positive perceptions and perspectives in life. Everyone needs and deserves a shoulder for support. It is quintessential to enhance family and friend support for people who find it hard to cope with stressors, help them find purpose in life, and make them see its worth.

Watching for risk factors

In oneself as well as loved ones, it is worthy to keep a watch for conditions that can mitigate symptoms of hopelessness

  • Frequent mood fluctuations
  • Impulsivity and aggression
  • Major chronic physical illness
  • Previous suicide attempt(s)
  • Family history of suicide
  • Significant stress in life
  • Loss of job or a loved one
  • Access to lethal means
  • Isolation and lack of support
  • Media exposure of suicide

Frequently Asked Questions

What drives someone to end his or her life?
It’s a combination of multiple factors: chemicals in the brain, setbacks in life; poor perceived social support; and above all,, hopelessness. When hope dies, one is left with very little to look forward to & positivity just ends.

Frequently Asked Questions

When I am very stressed I feel I want to vanish from this world, is that abnormal?
It is normal to feel the pressure at times. All you really want is some relaxation. If your thoughts get directed towards ending your life then it is abnormal and you must consult a psychiatrist and get assessed for these thoughts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Isn’t it cowardly to end your life? Why would one do it?
When one feels he cannot bear the pressures of one’s existence anymore, and sees no hope; one may get suicidal. Life is like a duty; a responsibility towards oneself which one must fulfill duly and responsibly. It’s not about being brave or being a coward.