10 Warning Signs That May Indicate Someone is Contemplating Suicide

By Steve Johnson

Addiction and suicide are serious problems in our society today. But if you have a loved one experiencing these mental health issues, how can you help? To start, you can look for some of the signs that your loved one may be experiencing suicidal thoughts and/or addiction. Many of the signs listed below may also be signs of other mental illnesses, such as depression, which can contribute to substance abuse and suicidal thoughts.

10 Signs of Possible Addiction and/or Suicidal Thoughts

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  1. If a loved one is frequently mentioning or seems to have an obsession with death, they may be thinking about suicide. If they are talking about wanting to die, it’s a warning sign that must always be taken and treated seriously.
  2. If an individual is drinking alcohol more than usual or is taking drugs, there could be trouble. These are serious signs and help should be sought.
  3. If you notice that your loved one is sleeping more or less than usual, they may be experiencing depression or another mental illness. It is also possible that they may have some suicidal thoughts, likely impacted by their mental illness.
  4. If a loved one is acting more withdrawn from people or not wanting to see people they usually spend time with, this withdrawn behavior could be a sign that they’re having suicidal thoughts. People contemplating suicide may withdraw from those they care about in an attempt to shut off feelings of guilt or, in some cases, to break away from their loved ones sooner with the hope of making their death less painful for those they care about.
  5. When a loved one is experiencing serious mood swings, this is a sign that something may be going on. They may be experiencing depression and/or suicidal thoughts.
  6. A sign that someone may be having some suicidal thoughts or feelings is if they begin to give away their most valuable items. These could be items that they would never get rid of, but they want them to go to certain people when they die.
  7. Losing interest in activities may be a sign that someone is having some troubling thoughts and feelings, and in more serious cases, suicidal thoughts. These could be activities in the home or outside of the home, and they could be done alone or with others.
  8. When it seems that someone is suddenly feeling the need to get their papers in order, perhaps writing a will or sending letters to others, there may be some dangerous thoughts happening. Note that it’s important to distinguish this as a sudden activity without a logical catalyst, such as the death of an aging loved one. When it happens suddenly and seemingly without cause, and particularly when accompanied by other concerning signs, it may be time to have a talk to gain some insight into what’s going on.
  9. Eating more or less than usual can be a sign of depression or other mental illnesses, addiction, or suicidal thoughts. Depression can have significant effects on appetite, and in a severe bout of depression accompanied by suicidal thoughts, these changes may be extreme.
  10. It is a significant problem if someone talks about feeling hopeless, and/or expresses that they don’t think things will ever get better for them. These feelings, emotions, and words need to be taken very seriously.

Where to Seek Help

When a loved one may be experiencing suicidal thoughts or addiction, it is important to support them, and to help them seek professional help. There are many different options for help such as support groups, psychiatrists, therapists, psychologists, and even online help with therapists.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is one of the best places to start. You can find out where to get behavioral, opioid, or physician treatment. Also listed are many helpful phone numbers: the National Helpline, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Veteran’s Crisis Line, Disaster Distress Helpline, and the Drug-Free Workplace phone number. Remember that if anyone is in imminent danger, call 911 immediately.

Image via Pixabay by Unsplash

Steve Johnson co-created PublicHealthLibrary.org with a fellow pre-med student.The availability of accurate health facts, advice, and general answers is something Steve wants for all people, not just those in the health and medical field. He continues to spread trustworthy information and resources through the website, but also enjoys tennis and adding to his record collection in his spare time.

 

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How I Began My Journey Into Suicide

It all started when I was just four years old. I had this small pain in my chest that wouldn’t go away. I don’t know when it started but it would never stop. It was a hurting that started out small then it kept getting bigger and bigger. It was a pain that felt like I had an open wound that was ugly and nasty and no one could see it. I thought someone would notice but no one ever said anything about it. No one would help it or try to make me feel better. So I thought if I could just die, the pain would go away. I needed a way to stop the pain. I wasn’t sure how, it just needed to stop.
I was out in the yard with my sister. We were running when we ran by the water meter plate and spotted some mushrooms growing. My sister thought we could eat them, but went inside to ask our mother if we could. I just stood there looking at them while she was gone. I didn’t really like mushrooms so it wasn’t important to me. She came running back and said, “Mom said don’t touch them they are very poisonous.” The minute I heard that I shouldn’t eat them because they were poisonous, I knew I had found a way out of my suffering. I sat down in front of them and deliberately ate about five of the Death Angel mushrooms. You see, even at that young age I had made up my mind that dying was better than living. In my very young mind I could only feel the pain and felt I had no one to help. The way I got to that point was my father. I don’t believe to this day he could be my real father, because I didn’t believe someone who was related to you could do that to a four year old. I had no way of reasoning as to why or how to escape it. To this day I cannot figure out how a small child being rushed to the emergency room because they deliberately tried to kill themselves could be an accident. That’s what my mother said. The doctor didn’t even say a word. No one ever looked into it. They just pumped my stomach, kept me overnight for observation, and then sent me home. I remember my mother saying when she got the bill, that I didn’t need to be costing them any more money. She also told me that I should feel very bad about making them have to pay for it. That really stuck with me.
I continued on in my life shrinking farther and farther into the abyss. I became very introverted and mute. I wouldn’t speak to anyone unless I absolutely had to. I had become one of the invisible people. I hid in crowds and no one saw me. I lived my life this way and fought the pain that was getting bigger and bigger. I was ill a lot and had a lot of fainting spells. Soon we moved to a new state closer to my father’s relatives. To my dismay it soon became apparent that I was going to be the topic of a lot of discussions, whether I wanted to or not. It ended up opening the door to what was to come.
Many years later at the age of ten I tried it again. One of my relatives came over to get some wild poke weed that was growing in our yard. Up until that moment I had never heard of it. Maybe my parents didn’t want me to know there was something lethal growing just a few yards from my house. Anyway, I had not been paying attention to this until my first episode had come up in conversation after they arrived. I listened very carefully to what was being said about it. The relative asked if it would be OK to get it even though I was there. Then it dawned on me again. Another way out of my misery. Mind you nothing had happened to improve my situation. I was still living in hell and didn’t know how to change it. I asked what it was and they reluctantly told me if you didn’t cook it first it was very poisonous. I asked if I could help and they said yes, (not very smart of them), that I could help in picking it. I went outside with them and helped to pull the leaves off the plant. Of course, when their backs were turned I hid the largest leaf I could find. It was 12 inches long. As they went back into the house I hung outside and waited for them to get busy cooking it. Then I washed the leaf in the hose to get rid of the dirt (why I cared about this I will never know), and started eating the leaf. It was bitter if I remember right and didn’t go down smoothly. I was able to finish the whole leaf and go into the house and into my room. I laid down on the bed and don’t remember much from there. The only thing I remember is throwing up on the bed and my mother running in and moving me to the bathroom. She asked me if I had eaten any poke weed at dinner, I said no, but she new something had happened by how sick I was. Then she began to pour large quantities of water down my throat and make me vomit. This went on for several hours and I remember passing out, then coming to several times. It is my guess that my parents didn’t want to take me to the hospital again to raise suspicion that there had to be something going on. I don’t remember how long exactly it took for me to get on my feet again after that, but I just know it was long. Then, I had to live with the fact that I failed and had every one in the immediate and extended family called me “the crazy one.” The pain just got bigger. I can’t understand why they couldn’t see that I was in pain. Or they couldn’t see the gaping wound. Not one person, not teachers, not relatives, or anyone ever bothered to find out what was wrong. That just furthered my belief that I was only going to sink into oblivion, never to be seen again. I started to try to push the pain down to try to stamp it out myself. I did my best to be dead inside, to try to run from the pain…(excerpt from my book, The Silent Suicide

I will continue to post more on my blog each day. I hope this will help someone to know they are not alone and there is someone willing to help. Please visit my website for more information.

Survivor

It’s all about surviving the trauma. Here is a good example of trying to move on with your life and not let the abuser win.

LIFE RE-EDITED

I’m 9 years old.

My mom is at work for the afternoon and I just got home off the bus from school. He was sitting in the house when I got home and we started joking around and wrestling. Soon, he had his hand on me, in places that shouldn’t be touched by any man when you are 9 years old. I froze. I should have run to my mom the minute the door opened, but I didn’t really know what was wrong and what was right at the time, for Christ’s sake, I was only 9 years old.

When he heard my mom pulling up to the house he grabbed me and yanked me into a closet in my bedroom. He wrapped his hands tightly around my neck and told me that if I ever told anyone about what just happened, he’d kill me.

Imagine that, 9 years old…

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Practicing Mindfulness – Five Ways to Apply it to Our Lives

The definition of mindfulness is being aware in your mind.  The definition of mindfulness tells us what mindfulness should mean to us.  But what does it really mean?  How do we apply that definition to our lives?  Here are five ways we can use it to add meaning to the word in our daily lives.
Time To Take Action new
The number one thing we can do for ourselves is make a healthy morning routine.
Nothing takes us farther away from mindfulness than being rushed in the morning.  Waking to alarms, breakfast, shower, kids, school, and work fills every moment we’re  awake before we leave home.  Making a good routine helps everything runs smoothly, and stops any surprises from ruining the morning.  Remembering to slow down, and laying out everything the night before, are a couple of good ways to combat the chaos. Give everyone a list of what is expected of them to accomplished before they leave for work or school. You will find your mornings running a lot smoother and a lot more things getting done and not forgotten.
 The number two way to use mindfulness is to make good habits.
The more things you can make into a habit, the more things you won’t have cluttering up your mind.  Like in the routine you set above, making good habits helps you stay organized and calm when you need to be.  The old saying is, it takes 29 times of doing something before it becomes a habit.  That’s doing something every day for a month.  In one month’s time you could change your life forever. Start with something small that you want to do continuously, (like making the bed when you get up). Start with just making sure you pull the covers up when you get out of it. Then build on that. Everyday add a little more to it, (fluffing the pillows, straightening the bedspread), until you are making the bed. Apply that principle to everything you want to make a habit of until it becomes a routine. The benefit will be that all those little things that you have nagging at you will get done without any more thought.
The third way is to try to regulate your emotions.
This is a difficult thing for some people. But there is a way to help you get a grip on something that is running or ruining your life. Start by practicing being aware of what your emotions are at any given time. Start with while you are driving. This is a very difficult time for us. We have to pay attention while we are doing this, but it is the most active time that our mind wanders. During a commute to work, on a long trip, or taking the kids to soccer practice leaves us vulnerable to our emotions getting the better of us. Pay attention to where your mind goes and what emotions are attached to what you are thinking. If you tend to get angry a lot, pay attention to what you are thinking about to bring on the anger. The practice is not letting your thoughts go in that direction. When you start feeling the anger change your thoughts to something else. Don’t allow yourself to keep thinking about being angry and letting it grow. The benefit will be less stress and a healthier mind and body.
The fourth way is to straighten your posture.
How many hours a day do we spend in a chair?  Working, eating, listening, are ways we sit day in and day out. We need to start being aware of how we sit in a chair. Practice noticing, when you are sitting in a chair, how you sit. Is your back straight or do you slouch? Do you have places in your back that ache after a long day at work? Start being mindful of the position of your body as you are sitting. Bad posture reduces the amount of oxygen you take into your lungs. Practice sitting up straighter, taking more breaks, and stretch your muscles when you can. Try not to sit in the same position all day. Get a small stool or platform to rest your feet on and raise the elevation of your legs to increase circulation. The benefit will be better breathing, better circulation, and a better emotional outlook.
The fifth and final way is to be mindful about how you eat.
Start being mindful of the speed in which you eat. We all get in a hurry and need to do things fast, but eating shouldn’t be one of them. Eating fast causes problems with your digestion and your weight. We all get into the habit when we need to get somewhere and we are running late. We need to not let that set the tone for the rest of our meals. Paying attention to what emotions you are having while you eat will also help you with number three above. How do you feel when you are eating? Stressed? Fatigued? Also pay attention to what you are putting in your body. Be aware how you are chewing your food instead of wolfing it down just to get it over with. Spending a few more minutes chewing will help save time buying stomach medicine later to combat the indigestion the meal has given you. Bring your lunch to work or bring snacks to eat when you don’t have enough time to go out and get it. That will keep you from trying to eat all your lunch in 10 minutes. Remember to slow down at dinner too. Don’t be afraid to take the time to eat your food. Your body will thank you in the long run.
These are just some of the many ways to practice mindfulness. If you would like to sign up for my 30 day challenge email me at mg@wellwithlife.com. Also if you would like to make a lifestyle change contact me at www.wellwithlife.com for your free consultation.

Feel disconnected? Ways to reconnect…

Feel Disconnected? How Did We Get There?                                       Alone we can do so little.

First let’s look at how we got disconnected. Maybe it was asking for help and not getting it.  Or, it was not having someone to depend on, for example, one-parent households, parents who were ill or unable to function for themselves, being the oldest and being put in charge for whatever reason. We have learned that the only way to get things done is to help ourselves. We have just learned to help ourselves. We have learned self-help so well that we have become a nation of one.
The definition of self-help according to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary explains it this way: The action or process of bettering oneself or overcoming one’s problems without the help aid of others; esp: the coping with one’s personal or emotional problems without professional help. If we feel the need to be autonomous, it might be due to some hurt in the past that has caused us to give up on people. We feel it is easier to be self-sufficient and not be involved in dealing with others. Another reason we have become so self-sufficient is the Internet. We don’t even have to be present in each others lives to connect with one another. Social networks have filled the need to connect without any emotional connection. All we do is just publish almost every minute of our lives and feel that we have done our part to be apart of life as a whole without involving other people. Some sit in their living rooms and connect over the Internet and never have any real contact with other people personally. This has helped propagate the belief that we don’t have to have that connection in our lives.
We believe that is it because we are too busy. We reason in our minds that we don’t really have the time to reach out in our neighborhoods, schools, or the grocery store. But deep down we know it is because of the fear of rejection. It is easier to accept someone unfriending us on Facebook than it is dealing with losing a friendship in real life.

Learning Not To Base Our Present On Our Past

A lot of our reactions to people have been based on a lifetime of rejection. If we didn’t fit in in high school, then we are afraid of the idea that someone will think we are abnormal or weird. We feel if we put ourselves out there to let someone know that we require some help to change the way we live, we will be looked down on.
One thing we have to realize is that we are not in high school anymore and that there are lots of people who would be happy and qualified to help us. Everyone is not the bully we had to deal with, or the people who didn’t understand the way you tried to communicate with them, or the teacher who thought you were anti-social instead of shy.
We have to begin to realize that everyone has a problem communicating with someone. Just imagine that you are running for a political office and you want everyone to love you and vote for you. That is not realistic. It is not possible to have everybody like what you would have to say. It’s just not feasible.

We All Need Help Sometimes In Our Lives

We all need help sometimes in our lives. Physical sickness, birth, and death are all the ways we ask for help without putting limitations on it. These are physical things that we go through that we just deal with because it is physical. But what about our emotional selves. How can we just minimize something that controls the way we think and perceive others and the world around us.
Emotional well-being needs to start coming to the foreground in our everyday lives. It has so much to do with our physical bodies, our relationships, and our happiness. With not recognizing our emotional wellness, we put ourselves through a lot of pain and hurt that we could be avoided by getting help and having the right frame of mind.
Studies show, (read article from Psychology Today by Emma M. Sepal, PHD), that we need the connection of other people. It not only keeps us healthier, but also lowers anxiety and depression. We are made to be connected and to share in each others lives. We have a better chance of living longer, happier lives.

Emotional Wellness Cannot Be Ignored

Emotional wellness has been ignored and diminished to the point of causing major issues in the way we deal with ourselves. Physical aliments, suicide, depression, broken homes are the results of ignoring a very important part of who we are.

To begin to heal our broken lives we need to take the first step and ask for help. Whether it be from someone close to us, or someone who is a professional, we need to set aside our fears and misgivings about people not being there for us.
There are many organizations just waiting for you to take the first step. If it seems to overwhelming to talk to a professional, start small. Find a group, meetup, or function that will help you ease back into coming in contact with people on a personal level.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

Let’s explore some solutions to help you get back into the human race.

Connecting With A Group or Individuals

  • Meetups in your area, (go to http://www.meetup.com to find a group you can work with).
  • Mentoring someone, (sign up to help tutor college students).
  • Volunteer Work, (local hospitals, elderly care, food banks).
  • Local Schools,  (after school programs, tutoring, PTA).
  • Mental Wellbeing, (crafting clubs, painting lessons, hobbyists, and courses at your local colleges).

Deeper Levels Of Help To Reconnect

  • Life Coaching, (contact us at Well With Life to find out how we can help you).
  • Family Therapy, (with a licensed therapist)
  • Individual Therapy, (if you know you have something specific that you are dealing with)
  • Medication Doctors, (to help with serious disorders, mental and physical)
  • Mental Health Organizations (specific to depression, PTSD, etc.),(see Help Page)
  • Grief Counseling-Maybe you have suffered a loss and have withdrawn from doing the things you like to do.

We now more than ever need to connect and pull together as a human consciousness. We need to reach out and be connected with each other and learn how to be a community. Let’s start today and do our part to change the world.

Individual actions can help.
Individual actions may seem insignificant but together the small steps of many people can have an astonishing impact-live simply
We must all help others.
Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day-Sally Koch

So Many Ideas, So Little Time

Do you ever have days when you have so many ideas, but can’t put them all into words? When you scramble for pen and paper hoping that you can write them down before they get away? In the day of technology it seems impossible, with mics on your phone and memo programs everywhere. It does happen.

You reason it out in your head, maybe it’s just that your bashful and can’t see yourself talking into your phone. Maybe it’s because your in a room full of people when an idea strikes. Many good ideas have been lost this way. You came up with an idea of pet rocks back when you were in the fifth grade and didn’t write it down. Then someone else came up with the idea and became a rich person. (A very simplistic example.)

The idea I am presenting is motivation. What could we become if we could just get motivated? What are we missing out on?  In the world of writing it is missed deadlines, books not written, stories that could have helped someone. In sales, it’s the one that got away, frustration, lost income. In the world of manufacturing, it’s inventions not completed, products not produced, lost wages.

The one recurrent theme there is loss, loss to yourself, loss to the community at large, loss to the world in general. LOSS NOT GAIN. There in lies the problem. We are losing. I hear people talking everyday about what they don’t have. They do not realize what the problem is: MOTIVATION. Here are some ideas on what you can do if this is you.

First, start out small, find one thing in your day that could be different if you were just motivated. Taking five minutes of your time to tell your kids that they are special, and you know they are going to well at school today because of it. Benefit: building confidence that will last a lifetime.

Second, take five minutes of your time at work to tell a colleague at work that you appreciate the extra time he or she spent on writing that report. Benefit: a happy, less stressed workplace.

Third, take a little time out of your day to thank people. the person that brings you coffee, does your dry cleaning, or sacks your groceries. Practice it for the people you come in contact with in a thirty minute time period. Making a mental effort to do this will making you realize how often you may just grunt at people, or avoid eye contact and walk out, or just ignore people when they say this. Benefit: a happier you, a general feeling of well-being for such a small amount of time.

These are just a few ideas that you can start with to get your brain into the mode of creating ideas again also. Just remember to start small so you don’t get overwhelmed and give up. Try to build on it everyday or every week add something new. This is a good way to bring motivation and ideas back into your life. These two seem to work together to help you become a more successful person.

So, are you motivated to start something? Let’s get out there and see what we can accomplish today. Let’s make your world a better place to be. Good luck!