Monday, September 17, 2012

Suicide Prevention Awareness Week

We just saw the end of Suicide Prevention Awareness week yesterday. I put off writing because I didn't know what to write. Most of you have read my personal struggles with suicide and you know that fat acceptance and body acceptance have been a miracle balm. What I've decided to write about is the "it's not my fault" mentality. For years I hung around suicide forums in hopes that I could help people either struggling with suicidal ideation or someone who had lost or was in danger of losing a loved one to suicide. What I saw over and over were people who bullied, abused, and neglected loved ones who wanted reassurance that the resulting suicide wasn't their fault. And people gave it to them. A common thread is to say that nothing could have stopped them.

I don't know who started this line of BS but I want to set things straight. You can help prevent suicide. No, you can't prevent every case, but people who are suicidal aren't lost causes. They just want the pain to stop and, believe me, the amount of pain they're in is tremendous. More so, if you bully, abuse, or neglect a person who's suicidal then you are part of that person's pain and you are contributing, directly or indirectly, to their suicide. I'm sorry, but this "it's not my fault" stuff is fluff that people tell you to make you feel better. It's not truth.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline says " No matter who you are, you can help prevent suicide". This is the real truth. 

Tips on preventing suicide:

If you are suicidal:
  • Talk to someone. It doesn't matter if it's a school counselor, a therapist, a parent, a best friend, or the suicide hotline. Talking can help you to calm down and perhaps find long term help.
  • Take it one day at a time. You want to kill yourself today? Wait until tomorrow. Then wait another day. Then another. Every day is a battle and an achievement. 
  • Keep a journal or diary
  • Be around other people. Being alone only increases feelings of isolation and the feelings that no one would care. When you're around others you not only keep yourself busy, but you see how much your friends love you. 
  • seek out support groups and other resources on suicide prevention such as or
  • visit where you can call or chat with someone if you're in crisis. 
Personal tricks I've learned to help myself stay in a stable mood:

  • open all of the curtains and, when the weather allows, the windows
  • look up when you walk, not down
  • spend time in nature
  • exercise regularly and eat healthfully
  • If low self esteem at all revolves around your looks, seek out fat and body acceptance resources. 
If a loved one is suicidal:

  • Never dismiss or invalidate their feelings. They're feeling like this for a reason.
  • Take this very very seriously. 
  • Encourage them to seek help such as a therapist or school counselor. If you are a parent then it is your responsibility to make an appointment as soon as possible. 
  • Talk to them and really listen 
  • Remind them how much you love them
  • If you've been part of the problem or you have influence over someone who has been stop immediately. Whether it's bullying, teasing, verbal nit picking- whatever. If you're a parent and a sibling of your child is bullying them, intervene immediately. Perhaps get the bully into therapy as well. 
  • Visit 
Suicide can be prevented. Remember the old Smokey the Bear saying, "only you can prevent forest fires"? Only you can help prevent suicide. It's important to remember that suicidal people don't want to die, they want the pain to stop, therefore you have every opportunity to intervene and let them know that their pain isn't permanent and it can be helped. More so, I can't stress enough that the bullies and abusers (same thing really) of the world are responsible for the self harming actions of their victims whether it be self injury, attempted or completed suicide, or their mental well being. Don't say "it's not my fault", ask "what can I do to help?". 


  1. After speaking with the Samaritans for a while, they had finally convinced me to open up to my mother about how I was feeling.

    When I told her, she told me to just do it anyway and jump off a bridge.

    I sent this post to her, and that email is the last she will hear from me on the matter, or on any matter.

    No one tell me I didn't try. I'm so lonely.

    1. dwmt, wow, it sounds like you were right to cut ties. Ragen Chastain of Dances With Fat has a philosophy of setting rules and sticking to them and I like that philosophy when it comes to who you let into your life. You have to set an expectation of how you want to be treated and set your foot down on the matter. For her it usually has to do with how people treat her about her body, but I'd say the kind of brutality your own mother used against you counts as a major rule breaker.

      We all feel lonely sometimes. That's why it's so important to create a good network of friends and loved ones (which, admittedly can be really really hard). I'd say that you should talk to your school counselor (if you're still in school- a therapist if you're not) about how you're feeling. I know how you feel... i went through high school with undiagnosed bipolar disorder (yikes!). Please please please use the national suicide prevention hotline number or chat if you need to talk to someone anonymously about how you're feeling.

    2. Please try to speak to someone. Post again here if that would help you, dwmt.

      In a general way, though, maybe sometimes suicide really cannot be prevented because the person was too depressed to open up to anyone.


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