According to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the United States, In the year 2010, more people died of suicide than in car accidents. The total number of deaths from suicide in 2010 was 38,364. But for others, that’s not where the story ends. They are given a second chance. This is about suicide survival, and where to go from a failed attempt and on forward.
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About Suicide Survival
On September 12, 2012, U.S Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin released the revised National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, The program stresses ways American citizens can prevent friends, family members, and co-workers from committing suicide.
The NSSP has 13 goals and 60 objectives. They state that suicide prevention should:
* Encourage positive dialogued publicly that counters shame, silence, and prejudice.
* Build support for suicide prevention.
* Promote changes in system policies that will help better the prevention of suicide.
* Use the state of the art knowledge base to foster suicide prevention.
From the revised objectives, the Action Alliance has four priorities that they hope will result in saving 20,000 lives over the next five years.
- Make suicide prevention a key component in health care reform.
- Revise health care systems until suicide is reduced greatly.
- Modify public stances concerning suicide and suicide prevention.
- Increase the timeliness of surveillance data about suicidal behavior,
In the year 2012, there were 487,700 trips to hospital emergency rooms for self-inflicted wounds. These types of actions can be classified as failed suicide attempts.
Below is a testimonial of a woman involved in suicide survival. Her story is an example of what can occur in a person’s life after making it through suicide survival.
“How did I get here? How did things get this bad? Why am I still alive?”
As I lay in the emergency room, this was all I could think. The lights were off, and a nurse was there with me because they were worried I might try to kill myself again. My entire body ached from hours of throwing up, my mind was clouded and all I wanted was sleep, and to be alone.
I had wanted to fall asleep and never wake again. I wanted the pain to end. I wanted my mom to not have to worry about the child she didn’t want. I wanted my friends to be happy and not have to worry about me. I wanted to disappear.
I was just 16 then, and I had spent years in a hell few can imagine. I grew up hearing that I was worthless. Then my parents divorced, and it went from my father beating me to my mother beating me and telling me she should’ve aborted me and I was the worst mistake she ever made. even though I took care of her. I had started cutting, drinking, doing drugs, anything to temporarily take away the pain. None of it really worked.
I didn’t leave a note. I didn’t tell anyone.
In the ER, the doctor knew to put a tube down my throat and pour charcoal down it. The psychiatrist told me I should have died, and left. Problem was, no one knew what to do with me. No one knew how to talk to me, how to touch me, how to reach me.
The day after I was released without having been committed, my mom took me to see my psychologist. I curled up into a ball on his couch and just stayed there. I don’t remember really talking. I nodded. I showed him where I would cut myself. I was still emotionally and physically exhausted. I sat and cried, and he sat beside me. He tried everything to help me feel less alone and isolated, but without me talking, he couldn’t.
I had no idea how to deal with the reality I was living in. I had no idea how to change any of it, and I found myself back where I had started: drinking, cutting, doing whatever blotted out my reality, even temporarily. A few months after my suicide attempt, I came home one night to find my mom barely breathing. She had attempted suicide. I called 911, and by the early hours of the morning she was committed to the psych ward. She spent a month there, and I spent a month bouncing from one relative to another. I wandered aimlessly through life until I found myself at 17 sitting on the edge of my bed, exactly where I had been just a year before.
I sat there and took a deep breath and closed my eyes. I kept thinking, “This is it, this is my only way out.” Then I exhaled and looked in the mirror and saw a girl far older than her years and thought, “There has to be something better.”
The next day, I went to my first AA meeting and then went to rehab for the first time. In AA, I found the family I needed. I got a job. Slowly, over many years, I got better. It wasn’t easy. Eventually, and ever so slowly, I did find my voice. I started working with an amazing psychologist who helped me break the pattern of violence in my life. I learned that not only could I say “No” to people, they had to respect my “No.” I learned that I am stronger than I think and that I deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
Eventually, I decided to go to college and pursue a degree. My psychologist, who had seen me cut my arms and thighs, who had watched me struggle with the traumas in my past, who had watched me curl into the fetal position in his office, suggested I major in psychology.
Now, 18 years later, I still struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts, but I tell myself, “Wait for tomorrow, something will change tomorrow.” I never could have done any of this on my own. I owe so much to my AA family and to my amazing friends who stayed with me in my darkest times. . My family still acts as though I never attempted suicide, and the few friends I retained from then get nervous if I ever try and talk about it with them. I still keep my family at arm’s length because I know the harm they can do.
I have learned from my past, but I will not let it dictate my future. And so today, I sit and look back at all of it and marvel at the woman I have become, and I am so grateful for those experiences and those mistakes, painful as they may have been.”
Suicidal ideation is a medical term for a patient pre-occupied with suicide. The range of behavior in the patient could be limited to thoughts, include detailed planning, and could involve planned failed attempts, or serious attempts that failed.
Suicidal ideation is often related to depression. Chronic occurrences can be tied to borderline personality disorder, a condition marked by impulsiveness and instability. A study showed that 73 percent of people with strong symptoms of borderline personality disorder have attempted suicide.
About Suicide Survival
It is generally accepted that a person attempting suicide is making a plea for help as much as trying to end their lives. The question becomes what happens to a person after surviving a suicide attempt. What drives a person to constantly fixate on thoughts of wanting to attempt suicide, and finally reaching a point where to go through with the process can be based on highly personalized situations and dynamics. But if the proposed patient is in the frame of mind to seek help, there are treatments available.
For a third of people who attempted suicide outpatient care can be a workable situation. They are usually facing interpersonal, social and practical problems, and are in a frame of mind to tackle their difficulties. More severe cases may require in-patient psychiatric hospital care. They are seen as a very high risk for suicide. To aid their recovery, they may need anti-anxiety and depression medication.