Suicide | Suicide Prevention |Talking about Suicide
The real truth about suicide is not that suicide rates are on the rise, but that it has been rising for some time now. If people did not notice before, they are paying attention now.
With the recent deaths by suicide of American designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef and culture journalist Anthony Bourdain, Social Media is gawking about why such apparently successful people would take their lives. Did they struggle with depression? Were there clues and signs given? And perhaps more important to those who live in fear that their loved ones will choose to take their own lives, could these suicides have been prevented?
Because I believe in honest and non-judgmental talk about suicide, the following post is a balance between understanding the statistics around the 10th highest cause of death in the United States, the care that providers are bound to give by license, and the personal experiences of this therapist, with any incidences or persons anonymized and depersonalized to protect the privacy of others.
Please check your own triggers before reading the rest of this post.
Suicides Are Not Always Preceded by a Cry for Help
With some 44,000+ deaths in the U.S. attributed to intentional suicide (versus accidental death), we need to understand that not all suicides follow a pattern of long struggle against mental health, followed by a cry for help that was not heard, ending in a suicide attempt.
Sometimes, cogent individuals take an assessment of their life and find it wanting. From the outside, observers say the person “had it all” — wealth, family, career, idyllic circumstances, friends, and other aspects of life that people cherish.
Because suicide is not always predicated by the usual symptoms of sadness, crying, isolation, and overt signs of disintegrating health, it can be difficult to predict.
Suicide: The Familiar Pattern
What we are most familiar with regarding suicide is when it follows a recognizable pattern involving the following signs, mixed with depression and/or anxiety:
sleeplessness or oversleeping
increased use of drugs and alcohol
talking about ways to end one’s life
talking about ways to seek revenge or make someone else feel hurt
talking about being a burden
insisting that no one would miss him or her when gone
feeling trapped or in pain that is unberable
grief and loss
financial loss or ongoing hardship
relationship stress or a breakup
depression and/or anxiety, usually for a significant amount of time
a long bout of illness, whether chronic or terminal
social isolation and withdrawal
We can recognize the above situations to make a suicide risk assessment. For practitioners, we commonly screen new clients and our current clients whenever any of them report these difficult life experiences or changes in their normal routines. And it is now expected that we write in our notes what the answers to our questions about a person’s current thoughts are regarding risk of self harm.
As a mental health counselor, I understand that this is a matter of caring practice; as a client, some people find the questions off-putting. “How could you even think I am contemplating suicide?” they ask. I’m going to ask the questions anyway, because it’s my role to err on the side of caution. I’d rather have a chance to explain myself as to why I ask, rather than to tip toe around a subject that doesn’t need to be handled that way.
We don’t need to tiptoe. We need to talk.
We Can Talk About Suicide
Today, we can talk about suicide, even when it’s painful, even if you experience a fear of being judged. We can talk about it, and people around us are thinking about it. Today, it’s not the elephant in the room. Not talking about suicide when someone is hurting — now, THAT is the elephant in the room!
Depression and suicide are no respecter of persons. As far as the statistics show, those who have taken their lives have come from all sorts of backgrounds. They are certainly not limited to those who have experienced profound violence or poverty, nor are there more suicides among brown and black people than white people, though many of us are trying to grapple with why the increase in suicides seems to be greatly focused on upper class white middle aged people, and particularly men.
Some of the stats may be a reflection of the method of death; that is, males tend to use guns and hanging to ensure a swift and irreversible death. Among females who chose pills, the amount of time it takes to die from an overdose allows for those individuals to be discovered and revived, and my suspicion is that some of these cases don’t get reported if the individual lives and does not seek hospital care (mandatory reporting occurs in any clinical setting).
All to say, any one of us — yes, that means, you and that means me — are at some risk of suicide just for the part about being alive in a changing, stress-filled world, and we need to understand why some of us choose to take our lives, and some of us, while struggling with the same issues and circumstances, do not.
Albert Camus wrote:
“The most important thing you do everyday you live is deciding not to kill yourself.”
If you decide not to kill yourself, he surmised, you might as well make the related decision to really live — that is, to embrace being the most alive that you know how. And then, it’s up to you to define what “really living” is.
We can learn from one another’s stories of times we were brought to that brink of decision, whether it was once, twice, or many times. What did you feel? What did you think? What did you do? How did you decide to proceed with the act of choosing to live?
One of the options practitioners like myself do with our clients is to make a contract with those contemplating suicide. In the contract, a plan is laid out that asks the client to contact the therapist, a trusted friend, or a closer loved one and tell them of the feelings and plans they have to end their life. By talking about it, an intervention can be made to prevent that person from acting on suicidal impulses.
Does it work? Well, it does work if the the person who is suicidal commits to telling someone what they intend to do. It does not work if the person hides their intentions, though the act of making the contract puts the known risk at the attention of others, reducing the barriers for that person to share what is going on. And the challenge with suicide prevention is one of disclosure — that is, when you are feeling the strongest about wanting to end your life, do you have the courage and willingness to hand over the control to someone else to help you get through that painful thought?
Some argue that contracting does not work because if a person wants to kill themselves, that’s what they are going to do and nothing will stop that from happening; meaning, if not this moment, then the next will be the one where another attempt at ending one’s life will be made.
I do not believe that the contract itself is the magic formula that prevents suicide. Instead, I believe it is the relationship between the suicidal person and the person s/he contracts with that wields some power. The trust that is worked between them is often what helps someone follow through with building support, limiting isolation, making connections with people, and accepting resources to help with learning coping skills and repairing the broken aspects one’s life.
In other words, it’s the relationship that heals. And it may be the relationship, the connection in that moment of need, that helps the suicidal person seek help.
Need Help Immediately?
Call the National Suicide Prevention LIfeline — 1-800-273-8255
Text the Crisis Text Line — Text CONNECT to 741741 in the United States
As SDC is not a crisis clinic with 24/7 monitoring, you should call or text the above numbers for immediate care from a trained crisis counselor.
Need Follow Up Help?
I and other counselors are available to help those struggling with suicidal thoughts or the aftermath of a suicidal attempt. Because my work is all online, I do screen carefully and will refer out those who I feel need more hands-on care than my practice can offer. I truly want the best for each and every person who inquires about suicide prevention care and counseling for depression and anxiety.
You make the first step — calling or emailing — and I’ll meet you virtually or over the phone to discuss your next steps.
One reply on “Talking about Suicide”
Regardless if you believe in God or not, read this message!
Throughout time, we can see how we have been slowly conditioned coming to this point where we are on the verge of a cashless society. Did you know that Jesus foretold of this event almost 2,000 years ago?
In the last book of the Bible, Revelation 13:16-18, it states,
“He (the false prophet who deceives many by his miracles–Revelation 19:20) causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.”
Speaking to the last generation, this could only be speaking of a cashless society. Why so? Revelation 13:17 states that we cannot buy or sell unless we receive the mark of the beast. If physical money was still in use, we could buy or sell with one another without receiving the mark. This would contradict scripture that states we need the mark to buy or sell!
These verses could not be referring to something purely spiritual as scripture references two physical locations (our right hand or forehead) stating the mark will be on one “OR” the other. If this mark was purely spiritual, it would indicate both places, or one–not one OR the other!
This is where it comes together. It is shocking how accurate the Bible is concerning the implantable RFID microchip. This is information from a man named Carl Sanders who worked with a team of engineers to help develop this RFID chip:
“Carl Sanders sat in seventeen New World Order meetings with heads-of-state officials such as Henry Kissinger and Bob Gates of the C.I.A. to discuss plans on how to bring about this one-world system. The government commissioned Carl Sanders to design a microchip for identifying and controlling the peoples of the world—a microchip that could be inserted under the skin with a hypodermic needle (a quick, convenient method that would be gradually accepted by society).
Carl Sanders, with a team of engineers behind him, with U.S. grant monies supplied by tax dollars, took on this project and designed a microchip that is powered by a lithium battery, rechargeable through the temperature changes in our skin. Without the knowledge of the Bible (Brother Sanders was not a Christian at the time), these engineers spent one-and-a-half-million dollars doing research on the best and most convenient place to have the microchip inserted.
Guess what? These researchers found that the forehead and the back of the hand (the two places the Bible says the mark will go) are not just the most convenient places, but are also the only viable places for rapid, consistent temperature changes in the skin to recharge the lithium battery. The microchip is approximately seven millimeters in length, .75 millimeters in diameter, about the size of a grain of rice. It is capable of storing pages upon pages of information about you. All your general history, work history, criminal record, health history, and financial data can be stored on this chip.
Brother Sanders believes that this microchip, which he regretfully helped design, is the “mark” spoken about in Revelation 13:16–18. The original Greek word for “mark” is “charagma,” which means a “scratch or etching.” It is also interesting to note that the number 666 is actually a word in the original Greek. The word is “chi xi stigma,” with the last part, “stigma,” also meaning “to stick or prick.” Carl believes this is referring to a hypodermic needle when they poke into the skin to inject the microchip.”
Mr. Sanders asked a doctor what would happen if the lithium contained within the RFID microchip leaked into the body. The doctor replied by saying a terrible sore would appear in that location. This is what the book of Revelation says:
“And the first (angel) went, and poured out his vial on the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore on the men which had the mark of the beast, and on them which worshipped his image” (Revelation 16:2).
You can read more about it here–and to also understand the mystery behind the number 666: https://2RUTH.ORG
The third angel’s warning in Revelation 14:9-11 states,
“Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.'”
Great hope is in our midst, and is coming in a mighty way–the greatest revival for Jesus in the history of the world where we will see the most souls come to Him of all tribes, tongues, nations, and peoples (Rev. 7:9-10); for we have this promise in God’s Word in the midst of these dark times:
“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years (not literal–rather a spiritual label for time spent in eternity); and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while (when the Antichrist and false prophet will rise up and God will test the world).” (Revelation 20:1-3)
“The coming of the lawless one (the Antichrist) is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)”
Who is Barack Obama, and why is he still involved in politics?
So what’s in the name? The meaning of someone’s name can say a lot about a person. God throughout history has given names to people that have a specific meaning tied to their lives. How about the name Barack Obama? Let us take a look at what may be hiding beneath the surface.
Jesus says in Luke 10:18, “…I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”
The Hebrew Strongs word (H1299) for “lightning”: “bârâq” (baw-rawk)
In Isaiah chapter 14, verse 14, we read about Lucifer (Satan) saying in his heart:
“I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.”
In the verses in Isaiah that refer directly to Lucifer, several times it mentions him falling from the heights or the heavens. The Hebrew word for the heights or heavens used here is Hebrew Strongs 1116: “bamah”–Pronounced (bam-maw’)
In Hebrew, the letter “Waw” or “Vav” is often transliterated as a “U” or “O,” and it is primarily used as a conjunction to join concepts together. So to join in Hebrew poetry the concept of lightning (Baraq) and a high place like heaven or the heights of heaven (Bam-Maw), the letter “U” or “O” would be used. So, Baraq “O” Bam-Maw or Baraq “U” Bam-Maw in Hebrew poetry similar to the style written in Isaiah, would translate literally to “Lightning from the heights.” The word “Satan” in Hebrew is a direct translation, therefore “Satan.”
When Jesus told His disciples in Luke 10:18 that He beheld Satan fall like lightning from heaven, if this were to be spoken by a Jewish Rabbi today influenced by the poetry in the book of Isaiah, he would say these words in Hebrew–the words of Jesus in Luke 10:18 as, and I saw Satan as Baraq O Bam-Maw.
The names of both of Obama’s daughters are Malia and Natasha. If we write those names backward (the devil does things backwards) it would be “ailam ahsatan”. If we remove the letters that spell “Alah” (Allah being the false god of Islam), we would get “I am Satan”. Coincidence? I do not believe so!
Obama’s campaign logo when he ran as President in 2008 was a sun over the horizon in the west, with the landscape as the flag of the United States. In Islam, they have their own messiah that they are waiting for called the 12th Imam, or the Mahdi (the Antichrist of the Bible), and one prophecy concerning this man’s appearance is the sun rising in the west.
“Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.'” (Revelation 14:6-7)
Why have the words of Jesus in His Gospel accounts regarding His death, burial, and resurrection, been translated into over 3,000 languages, and nothing comes close (the Quran about 110 languages)? Because the same Spirit of God (YHVH) who created all people likewise transcends all people; therefore the power of His Word is not limited by people; while all other religions are man-made, therefore they tend to primarily stay within their own culture. The same God who speaks to all people through His creation of the heavens and earth that draws all people around the world likewise has sent His Word to the ends of the earth so that we may come to personally know Him to be saved in spirit and in truth through His Son Jesus Christ.
Jesus stands alone among the other religions that say to rightly weigh the scales of good and evil and to make sure you have done more good than bad in this life. Is this how we conduct ourselves justly in a court of law? Bearing the image of God, is this how we project this image into reality?
Our good works cannot save us. If we step before a judge, being guilty of a crime, the judge will not judge us by the good we have done, but rather by the crimes we have committed. If we as fallen humanity, created in God’s image, pose this type of justice, how much more a perfect, righteous, and Holy God?
God has brought down His moral laws through the 10 commandments given to Moses at Mt. Siani. These laws were not given so we may be justified, but rather that we may see the need for a savior. They are the mirror of God’s character of what He has written in our hearts, with our conscious bearing witness that we know that it is wrong to steal, lie, dishonor our parents, murder, and so forth.
We can try and follow the moral laws of the 10 commandments, but we will never catch up to them to be justified before a Holy God. That same word of the law given to Moses became flesh about 2,000 years ago in the body of Jesus Christ. He came to be our justification by fulfilling the law, living a sinless perfect life that only God could fulfill.
The gap between us and the law can never be reconciled by our own merit, but the arm of Jesus is stretched out by the grace and mercy of God. And if we are to grab on, through faith in Him, He will pull us up being the one to justify us. As in the court of law, if someone steps in and pays our fine, even though we are guilty, the judge can do what is legal and just and let us go free. That is what Jesus did almost 2,000 years ago on the cross. It was a legal transaction being fulfilled in the spiritual realm by the shedding of His blood with His last word’s on the cross crying out, “It is finished!” (John 19:30).
For God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23). This is why in Isaiah chapter 53, where it speaks of the coming Messiah and His soul being a sacrifice for our sins, why it says it pleased God to crush His only begotten Son.
This is because the wrath that we deserve was justified by being poured out upon His Son. If that wrath was poured out on us, we would all perish to hell forever. God created a way of escape by pouring it out on His Son whose soul could not be left in Hades but was raised and seated at the right hand of God in power.
So now when we put on the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14), where God no longer sees the person who deserves His wrath, but rather the glorious image of His perfect Son dwelling in us, justifying us as if we received the wrath we deserve, making a way of escape from the curse of death; now being conformed into the image of the heavenly man walking in a new nature, and no longer in the image of the fallen man Adam.
Now what we must do is repent and put our trust and faith in the savior, confessing and forsaking our sins, and to receive His Holy Spirit that we may be born again (for Jesus says we must be born again to see and enter the Kingdom of God in John chapter 3). This is not just head knowledge of believing in Jesus, but rather receiving His words, taking them to heart, so that we may truly be transformed into the image of God. Where we no longer live to practice sin, but rather turn from our sins and practice righteousness through faith in Him in obedience to His Word by reading the Bible.
Our works cannot save us, but they can condemn us; it is not that we earn our way into everlasting life, but that we obey our Lord Jesus Christ:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:21-23)
“And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.” (Hebrews 5:9)
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’
Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’
And He said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.'” (Revelation 21:1-8)