Phil Wickham When My Heart is Torn Asunder

Monday, February 28, 2011

Suicide and the Mentally Ill

This blog has been neglected during this recovery period from my surgery. I apologize to those of you who have been faithfully reading. As I think over the possible topics I might cover right now; there is one that I feel is demanding attention. It is one that I've personally dealt with both as a friend and as a participant...and one that is difficult to talk about, both personally and socially, as it touches on the deepest and rawest part of our lives and emotions. And this is, as you've guessed probably from the title of the blog; suicide and the mentally ill.

Now, I'd like to explain this title a bit. I believe honestly that in some degree, everyone who commits suicide is mentally ill. Suicide is not a response that is naturally built in to our makeup....It is something that completely thwarts and opposes the very strong survival instinct that we have as creatures, designed by God. And I think therefore that whether or not it had been apparent or active prior to "the act, " that the person who does this, is ill. Now in the case of people leaping from a burning Twin Tower, no; those people were merely exchanging a possibly lingering and worse death for a quicker one...But there, the situation was probably hopeless for them, and so their actions were probably logical or based on panicked impulse.

However, this post will not be about suicides that appeared seemingly out of the blue. This is about the risk of suicide among those who suffer with pre-diagnosed mental illnesses, especially those amongst people with bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia. I will not deal so much with suicides amongst those suffering from medical depression, because, almost every suicide can be classified as springing from that problem.

The following is a quote from the website: Schizophrenia.Com. -which btw is a great resource for info and support on and for those involved in some manner with this disease.

"Suicide is unfortunately one of the leading causes of death for people with schizophrenia - but it is highly preventable! Upwards of 40% of people that have schizophrenia will attempt suicide at least once. Males with schizophrenia attempt suicide at a much higher rate than females; approximately 60% of them will make at least one attempt. The result of these attempts is that between 10% and 15% of people with schizophrenia have historically committed suicide."

Here is the link on the article where this quote may be found: http://www.schizophrenia.com/suicide.html

There is one more quote from this same article which I would like to include here:
"Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain." and then that article goes on to give a list of resources where people in this situation can go for the augmentation of their own, possibly scanty ones.

That article lists three specific "danger points" in the life of a person with schizophrenia when the threat of suicide is highest. And basically, as I read them it occurred to me that EVERY TIME is a dangerous time for a sz person except when they've had it for quite a long time and are well-adjusted and well-managed on medications which they find to be helpful and tolerable. And even then, especially for someone with sza (schizoaffective disorder which is a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, a concurrent diagnosis); there is always a danger for a person to slide into that pit of hopelessness and despair that the chronically ill face as they realize the finality of their diagnosis and live year after year without ever being free from it.

I do not wish to make this article a cut and dried list of statistics but want to share from my heart and experience about this topic and am finding that what I want to say, far exceeds the normal length of a blog. Perhaps I will work on some articles and place them on a permanent page to be found at the top of the homepage. Keep an eye open for them coming soon.

But I would like to say, that if you are feeling suicidal at this time and you were maybe drawn to this article because of that; PLEASE go to where there is help. And there IS help, regardless of how you are feeling at this present time.

If your depression is based on a chemical problem, there are medications which can make an immense difference in how you are feeling, and will alleviate your suffering that this regard. If you don't have insurance and cannot afford these medicines, there are other avenues, such as state medical assistance; and the drug companies themselves will often, if approached by the patient or the patient's doctor or representative with a description of the need for their medicine, they will often offer free or greatly reduced in price medications. Obviously they cannot probably do this in every case or everyone would do this, but I personally know of several people who have gotten this type of assistance. And there are other resources, I'm sure, as well.

If your depression is based on problems like awful negative symptoms (which are things like tiredness, lack of energy and motivation; great difficulty in doing anything, including self care and the like, difficulty in taking pleasure in anything, poverty of thought or speech etc) which I often feel as as hard to live with than are the positive symptoms (hallucinations and delusions); then take heart. I struggled horribly with negative symptoms for quite a while, and finally got "sick and tired of being sick and tired" and studied up on various medicines, spoke to people in forums such as those offered to people who are diagnosed with sz on schizophrenia.com, and decided for myself which medicines I felt might possibly help me. Fortunately I have a doctor who was open to trying this with me and she gradually switched me over to these medicines. And thank God!! They worked! My negative symptoms are HUGELY improved. And I've been able to lose 60 pounds of the weight I'd gained from meds and so forth.

In other words, "Don't choose a permanent solution for a problem which may be temporary or correctable." Fight for yourself. You are worth fighting for...regardless of how you feel now. The things you are feeling about yourself are things which your ILLNESS is telling you. I know you HATE that illness....so why listen to it?? Why take its advice??
In the side bar of my blog are some resources you should look into. And there are more listed in the article I linked above.
Blessings.
Cynthia
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