All people have periods in their lives when everything seems to go wrong. Hardships pile up, one misfortune follows another, resentment and frustration become too harsh to bear, and at some point, a person may feel that he or she cannot take it anymore. Every individual has his or her own coping strategies for such periods: some find relief in alcohol, others indulge in compulsive behaviors such as excessive shopping or eating, while some try to stay in one place and wait until the streak of failures runs to its end. However, there are people whose psyche, due to various reasons, is too fragile, or worn out, to be able to withstand hardships. If life hits them too hard, they might find no other choice than to commit suicide, in a radical attempt to solve all their problems at once—or, rather, to escape from them. However, life complications are not the only reason why people choose to kill themselves; in this essay, we are going to take a look at some of the factors pushing a person towards this fatal decision.
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Perhaps the first and foremost cause of suicide is depression. Due to the nature of this disease, people suffering from it often find living, performing everyday routines, working, having relationships, and so on, totally unbearable. Even the simplest actions require immense psychological effort, because one of the questions undermining the psyche of a depressed person sounds like, “What is the point in all this?” The lack of sense may be devastating; usually, every person can name at least one reason to continue living: family, duty, career, self-realization, art, their loved ones, and so on. For a depressed person, none of this matters. Instead, they delve into devastating thoughts such as, “Everyone would only be relieved if I am gone.” This is completely irrational, but such is the nature of depression: it makes a person believe he or she does not matter anymore, that his or her situation is hopeless and is never going to get better. Tired of constant mental suffering and the seeming fatuity of life, depressed people may continue living alongside with their relatives or friends, and plan suicide without anyone knowing about it (Psychology Today). Sometimes, people close to a depressed person may not even suspect that he or she is suffering from depression. If you suspect you or someone you know has this disease, or has suicidal intentions, it is important to remember—and let the person know—that depression is always curable, that there is a way out. Almost always, sincere support, care, attention, and psychotherapy combined with medical treatment flushes out depression.
Along with depression, there are several other mental illnesses that can lead a person to suicide. For example, bipolar personality disorder turns the life of a person suffering from it into an emotional roller coaster, the ups of which are always full of joy and activity, and the downs often make an individual indulge into severe episodes of alcohol and drug abuse, sexual escapades, and even suicide. Schizophrenia—one of the most severe mental illnesses known today—may significantly impair an individual’s ability to live a normal life, since hallucinations, accompanying depression, and cognitive dysfunctions often make it almost impossible to deal with everyday life situations; as a result, up to 40% of people with schizophrenia might have attempted suicide. Finally, mental disorders related to anxiety may also lead an individual towards contemplating suicide as an option. Generalized anxiety disorder, different forms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, various social phobias, and panic attacks may exhaust a person to such an extent that it may seem easier to take his or her life away than to make it through yet another day full of suffering (Mental Health Daily).
Yet another reason for suicide is an emotional impulse. You have probably seen this in movies: one of the characters goes through all kinds of misfortunes and failures, but still tries to hold on; finally, there is that one little thing that breaks him or her—a child gets an F on a paper, or the boss criticizes work done—and this character goes, “I cannot take it anymore,” grabs a gun, presses it against their temple, and pushes the trigger. In real life, cases like this can occur as well, but most often impulsive suicide occurs under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. When sober, a person may have no suicidal thoughts; but, when under the influence of substances, an individual may get an impulsive thought of killing himself or herself, and actually do it. Substance abuse, along with underlying psychological processes and certain traits of character, may cause this kind of suicide; so, if there have been signs of a person behaving recklessly when under the influence of alcohol, these signs should be addressed with all the appropriate attention (Kevin MD).
Suicide attempts can often be a masked cry for help. Due to the peculiarities of upbringing and education, for some people, it may be difficult to ask for help directly. Rather often, such people try to indirectly hint at others about their needs, indulging into psychological manipulations. In some cases, a person may run out of such hints; desperately trying to draw attention to their feelings and problems, such people may find no better option than attempting to kill oneself. A classic example is a teenager suffering from bullying or unrequited love, or trying to keep romantic relationships from falling apart. “If you leave, I will kill myself, because life is not worth living without you”—this is not just a popular motive in all kinds of romantic movies and books (even Shakespeare described this behavior in his “Romeo and Juliet”), but also the message teenagers attempting suicide try to deliver to their loved ones, parents, peers, and so on. Sadly, such attempts often succeed, and even when they fail, they are often followed by health-related consequences (Kevin MD).
There are many other reasons why people commit suicide. Bullying and cyberbullying at schools (and sometimes in grown-up surroundings) may provoke suicidal thoughts; terminally-diseased patients suffering from cancer or other incurable illnesses causing severe pain may opt for suicide in order to get rid of it; PTSD, psychological traumas from childhood, repeated episodes of physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse may provoke the desire to kill oneself; existential crises and loneliness, financial problems, and genetics—these, as well as other factors, cause thousands of people all over the world to commit suicide. The list can go on and on; sometimes, even prescription medications can evoke suicidal thoughts and intentions: for example, it is well known that drugs used to treat depression may, at some point, cause suicidal desires—this is why it is strongly recommended to take them only under the supervision of a psychiatrist (Mental Health Daily).
It is crucial to know that suicidal thoughts, intentions, and tendencies are not a death sentence. Modern medicine—specifically, psychiatry and psychology—has an effective means of treating such psychological conditions. There is always a way out from any situation, even though a desperate and broken person may not be able to see it. Attention and care from friends and relatives, trust and a kind attitude, psychotherapy, carefully-prescribed medications, and time, are effective cures against depression and other factors leading to suicide. Mental disorders can be treated or coped with: even patients with schizophrenia—perhaps the most severe mental illness known nowadays—are able to live normal lives. Great examples of this are Cecilia McGough, Eleanor Longden, and many other women and men who have managed to learn how to coexist with their condition. They give lectures, create organizations supporting people with the same diagnosis, pursue their goals, and are no different from “normal” individuals. The same applies to bullying, financial problems, substance abuse, and many other issues: suicide is not the only way to overcome them. Even terminally-ill people may find comfort and peace of mind; many stories about this can be found on the Internet, and sometimes it is enough to look around to find such a person in your surrounding. Life, with all of its complications, miseries, and unfairness, is also full of joy, beauty, strong emotions, and happiness. With a little help, all of this is available to anyone.
Lickerman, Alex. “The Six Reasons People Attempt Suicide.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 29 Apr. 2010, www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-in-world/201004/the-six-reasons-people-attempt-suicide.
“15 Common Causes Of Suicide: Why Do People Kill Themselves?” Mental Health Daily, 23 July 2014, mentalhealthdaily.com/2014/07/23/15-common-causes-of-suicide-why-do-people-kill-themselves/.
“6 Reasons Why People Commit Suicide.” KevinMD.com, 3 Jan. 2015, www.kevinmd.com/blog/2010/06/6-reasons-people-commit-suicide.html.
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