Ramblings from a suicidal individual about the act of killing oneself, with theories and facts discussed.
The link to life is, for some of us, extremely fragile. Proceed with caution.
Every 16 minutes, someone in the United States takes their own life. Not only this, but for every one of these successful suicides, there are 25 more attempted ones. What, then, do you think are the odds that you – yes, you – have encountered someone who has seriously thought/planned suicide, attempted suicide, or lost a loved one to suicide?
Why People Die by Suicide
The book, “Why People Die by Suicide,” by Thomas Joiner, has many useful tidbits and factoids between its covers. Perhaps one of the most useful things in the book is the reasons behind suicide that Joiner proposes. He states that there are three criteria that make an individual a high-risk for suicide:
- The acquired capacity for lethal self-injury through previous suicidal behavior, painful/provocative experiences, or ‘desensitization’ to suicidal thoughts or actions.
- A feeling of disconnection from others.
- Feeling ineffective or worthless, to the point of seeing themselves as a burden to others.
As a previously suicidal individual, I can certainly relate to and see the truth behind his theory. Classified as ‘high risk’ by my psychologists, I considered myself unimportant, worthless; I had lost all of my friendships within a short span of time, and was denied access to a supportive network of individuals I could feel connected to; and I repeatedly thought about suicidal behavior. I had attempted suicide once before, and regularly overdosed on over-the-counter medicines such as Ibuprofen and Tylenol in abortive suicide attempts.
The ‘3rd Variable’ Problem
It is important to note that there are other factors that contribute to the states of mind that can cause suicide, if not the suicide themselves. While Joiner presents a valid theory on why people kill themselves, he is not the only one to have proposed such a theory. In these other theories, there have been created lists that can directly or indirectly contribute to suicide, such as mental disorders, genetics, age, and family history.
To give an example, I have been diagnosed as having Bipolar II. This disorder is characterized by ‘downs’ (depression) and ‘ups’ (hypo-mania or mania). Because of this, I have experienced repeated, sometimes extended, mental pain for a great deal of my life. To alleviate this pain, I created a different type of pain to distract myself – this is called the act of self-injury, or SI. Of course, this example supports Joiner’s theory; however, it is also a key reason why mental disorders can sometimes contribute to suicide through a series of cause-and-effects.