Depression and Suicide
by Bekke Abe
Depression is real. We have all experienced the pain, the burden, and the hopelessness. We have all been in that valley of darkness. Depression is not selective, it hits all different people from all walks of life; the poor, the middle class, the rich, the famous (i.e., Robin Williams, Avicii, Kate Spade, etc.), the spiritual (i.e, Rick Warren’s son Matthew), and the list goes on.
Biblical figures such as Moses, David, Jonah, Job, Elijah, Jeremiah, and Jesus struggled and battled through hopelessness and depression. David expressed his weakness in Psalm 38:4 (NIV), “My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.” Jonah, in his anger, cried out to God in Jonah 4:9 (NIV), “I’m so angry I wish I were dead.” Job in his suffering and despair cries out in Job 3:11 (NIV), “Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?” and he continues in Job 3:26 (NIV), “I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.” Jesus, in his anguish, cries out to his father in Mark 14:34-36 (NIV), “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death…” and he seeks his father to see if there is another option by stating, “Everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
In the article by Alex Young, he states that Avicii’s family reported that Avicii “struggled with thoughts about Meaning, Life, Happiness. He could not go any longer. He wanted to find peace.” (Young, A., “Avicii’s cause of death revealed…”) We are all in a search for meaning of life, hope, and happiness.
Figuring out how to handle past traumatic experiences, conflicts, death or loss, major life events, genetics, certain side effects from medication, serious illness, and other personal problems, can trigger depression and/or suicidal ideation.
So, how do people handle their depression and/or suicidal ideation?
- They display increased disengagement from family, friends, and/or loved ones
- They express loss of interest in things that they use to find pleasure in
- They express feelings of fatigue or lack of energy
- They express feelings of worthlessness, self-blame, guilt or shame
- They express feelings of hopelessness
- They express directly or indirectly about either wanting to die or no longer existing
So, how do you handle depression and/or suicidal thoughts?
How to overcome or fight depression and/or suicidal thoughts
Psychology Today’s article, “Fighting Suicidal Thoughts” provides some helpful tips:
- Make a list of positive things about yourself.
- Make a list of positive things about your life.
- Make a list of your accomplishments.
- Find things that interest you so to help distract you from depressive and/or suicidal thoughts.
- Seek help to make a safety plan.
Natural ways to overcome depression
- Adopt a pet or volunteer at an animal shelter. In recent survey, it was noted that “74% of pet owners said having a pet improved their mental health.” (Mayer Robinson, K., “How pets help manage depression.”)
- Schedule one day out of the week to spend time with a friend or friends. Depression can cause one to isolate from others, “but making friends and expanding your social network can provide you with needed support as you deal with your depression.” (McCoy, K., “How making friends can help depression.”)
- Find time to exercise. Research has found that exercising not only helps with a number of health problems but can also improve mental health challenges, such as depression and anxiety. (Mayo Clinic Staff, “Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms.”)
Fighting depression without medication
- Schedule a massage at least once a week. “Practitioners believe it can help ease feelings of depression. They suggest that touch releases hormones in your body that create a sense of emotional connection.” (Healthline, “Massage therapy for depression.”)
- Change your diet by looking for foods that boosts your mood. It has been noted that “certain eating plans or foods may not ease your symptoms or put you instantly in a better mood, a healthy diet may help as part of your overall treatment.” (Wedmd.com, “Depression and diet.”)
- Some vitamins can help with depression. There are natural supplements that can help but as always, do some research or see your primary doctor before self-administrating medicine and/or supplements.
Find a therapist who works with depression and suicide
- Therapist that utilizes an intervention that helps individuals create skills to stay alive.
- Therapist that collaborates with individual’s primary physician and/or psychiatrist over antidepressant medication or medication that causes depression.
- Therapist that pays close attention to emotional and mental state of patient.
Huffington Post reported in their article that “Kate Spade felt unable to seek help or discuss her mental health because she feared this might damage the brand she created.” (O’Sullivan, C., “Kate Spade feeling unable to seek help with her mental health reminds us stigma can affect anyone.”) It is a sad misconception that going to therapy means that one may be “viewed as crazy, lazy, weak, or bad.” (Cook, J., “Kate Spade’s apparent suicide demonstrates US needs a mental health care overhaul.”) I have lost family members to suicide and have seen the lasting impact it has had on the family system. I agree with the statement that “Early intervention and prevention of mental health problems needs to be a priority in this country.” (Cook, J., “Kate Spade’s apparent suicide demonstrates US needs a mental health care overhaul.”) It needs to be a priority in every country, as we all know about the loss of Avicii back in April 2018 due to suicide.
If you have done everything to try and conquer those feelings of pain, burden, and despair, and still feel hopeless. If you are looking for a safe space where you need help to address some of the challenges of depression and/or suicidal ideation, Sync Counseling Center provides that safe space for you to talk and explore those challenges.