• 06 Dec
    Aakanksha Bhatia

    Suicide: Not an intent to die but a cry for help!

    suicide prevention

    What are suicidal thoughts?

    Suicidal ideation, also known as suicidal thoughts or suicidal intention, is commonly understood as a preoccupation with deliberately ending one’s own life. It is a repeated thought to kill oneself in order to get respite from the intensely painful feelings or situations.

    It is also essential to distinguish suicide from ‘self-mutilation’. Self-mutilation is a deliberate attempt to cause harm without an intent to kill oneself. However, self-mutilation is associated with a high risk of suicide.

    Though most of us, at some point in our lives, experience suicidal thoughts it is not necessary that the occurrence of such thoughts will lead us to act upon it. However, falling into a habit of repeated, thinking about suicide could be potentially dangerous. Also, thinking about suicide repeatedly creates a false sense of comforting familiarity which leads to desensitization from danger. So instead of considering suicide as a threat to one’s existence, it becomes a relieving resort for escaping from the extreme pain and distress in life.

    Suicides are more common than we imagine. Suicide rates in India seem to increase at an alarming rate. According to WHO data, a suicide is committed every 40 seconds. Suicide is one of the top three causes of deaths and to particularly point out Indian scenario, deaths in India due to suicide is much higher than global deaths happening due to natural disaster and war. During 2004-2014, India witnessed an average of more than one lakh suicides every year.[1]

    Even after numerous efforts by various governmental, NGOs and mental health organizations, it is unfortunate that the consequences of stigma, misbeliefs and misinformation attached with suicides continue to rule. Suicide continues to be a taboo subject which causes lots of discomfort and hence discussions pertaining to it are often avoided. Such intense kind of stigma prevents people from telling others about their suicidal thoughts and seeking help.

    Who are at a high risk of suicide?

    Generally speaking, people who have suffered major losses like the death of a loved one, divorce, loss of job, are forced to migrate to another place and/or those who have faced sexual abuse, physical abuse and bullying are at a high risk of attempting suicide. Feelings of grief, alienation, hopelessness and helplessness may also increase the suicidal thoughts. Also, people with mental illness like depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia are prone to suicidal ideation.

    Apart from the above, suicides in India are caused by a variety of issues related to marriage, dowry, bankruptcy, poor academic performance, family problems, poverty, unemployment, failed love affairs etc.

     

    How should I fight with my suicidal thoughts?

    Contradictory to the popular belief, suicide should not be considered as a personal choice. It occurs when the distress and pain exceeds one’s coping mechanism and resources to fight with the pain. It occurs when the suffering becomes unbearable or the support systems and coping mechanisms are no more functional enough to combat the intense pain.

    Following are some ways to deal with suicidal thoughts -

     

    • Speak your heart out to someone – This is the first step of breaking the barrier by discussing about your suffering. Talking about how you are feeling to someone whom you can trust and depend on will keep you going in this tough phase. It is advisable to not expect a very ‘professional’ response as people may often react to such situations with their own knowledge and beliefs. But remember that if they react to it with anxiety, fear or shock, it is a reflection of their perception and it says nothing about you in particular.

     

    • Avoid all sort of potential risk – Prevent yourself from any event, memory, situation, person etc. that can potentially trigger a suicidal response in you. Also, make sure that you keep ‘things’ that can harm you far away from your reach. This avoids you to act impulsively during weaker moments. Don’t intake alcohol or drugs as they may weaken your capability to reason and judge, and you may act out impulsively under the effect of alcohol or drugs.

     

    • Ensure complete self-care – Try to indulge in a holistic self-care practice. While going for a body spa and head massage could be relaxing for your physical self, following some self relaxation exercises and yoga at home could help you relax your mind and spirit.

     

    • Listen/Read inspiring stories – Knowing that there were people in your position who were thinking about ending their lives but did not do so, is motivational enough to keep up the fight. You will derive a sense of hope from their stories of strong will power to live and determination to build a positive future.

     

    • Minimize isolation – Being in good company will help you alleviate loneliness and depression. While you are trying to socialize, remember that you have to let yourself get completely involved in the talks and discussions. Let your mind think about other things apart from suicidal thoughts.

     

    • Understand your suicidal ideation – It is a good idea to engage with your thoughts and try to decipher what makes you think about ending your life. When you try to indulge with your thoughts, make sure you do it as a third person so your personal biases and prejudices towards your situation doesn’t interfere too much. As a decision like suicide is irreversible, it is quite essential to rationally understand and argue whether suicide is the only and absolute necessity in your situation. Often a debate with your thoughts will lead you to come up with various alternatives to suicide.

     

    • Battling with suicidal thoughts – Though a person doesn’t have much control over the thoughts entering their mind, they certainly can exert a control over the damage done by those thoughts. Try not to use those thoughts as a measuring tool for how bad your situation is or how bad you feel etc. Try to break the pattern of those thoughts by distracting your mind or thinking about other positive things. You can also use techniques like positive imagery to distract yourself or do certain self soothing exercises.

     

    • Keep yourself busy – Try to keep yourself preoccupied and busy with other constructive work. You may not feel like going to work but try to push yourself to do some constructive work which will serve as a distractor as well as give you some happiness. It could be something recreational, professional or even volunteering. Getting involved in some work will offer you food for thought as well which will help reduce the occurrence of suicidal thoughts.

     

    • Plan to visit a therapist – Prepare yourself to visit a mental health expert. They are professionally trained to help and guide you to overcome the intense pain and suffering you are experiencing. They can systematically guide and initiate you on the road to recovery.

     

    • Make an emergency POA- Create your personalized plan of action for surviving suicidal thoughts. You can discuss it with your loved ones, friends, family or therapist (if you already visit one) and do the following:

     

    • Prepare a list of emergency contact numbers to call in acute distress – Please refer to the bottom of this article for some helpline numbers.

     

    • Concrete plan for getting professional help – It is essential to decide beforehand about whom you will contact and how to make emergency appointments with the concerned person. You can also request someone to do it on your behalf.

     

    • Resource reservoir – Create or collect some personal materials like pictures of loved ones, letters, notes to self, inspiring quotations etc. which can urge you to survive in the most distressing times. You could also think of writing or requesting others to write notes about how strong willed and determined you are, which may encourage you to hold on to life for some more time.

     

    • Distractors – While the help is on the way, you should also keep doing something to distract yourself from acting out on your thoughts. You could watch a movie, listen to soft music, read a book etc.

     

    • Make a promise of survival to yourself – Commit to yourself that you will not give up till the end. Promise yourself the best facilities, care, love and positivity to overcome the suicidal thoughts. Remind yourself of all the hardships that you have survived and came out strong. For the moment, consider this as just another one. Promise yourself that you will remain resilient to the best of your abilities and if you come across any weak moments you will immediately fall upon your POA.

    ESSENTIAL NOTE: It is crucial to understand that you may feel constrained to carry out these ways to combat with suicidal thoughts. However, you have to stay strong and determined. Challenge yourself to know what stops you from helping yourself and getting help from other sources. Stay motivated to seek out for alternatives.

     

    Surviving Suicidal Thoughts – Some Immediate Strategies

    • Enter into a Time Out mode – Give yourself at least a 24 hour to preferably a week’s time out period. Remember that just because you feel like killing yourself right now doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to act upon it instantly. Create some time distance between your suicidal thoughts and suicidal action. Realize that you can hold on to this feeling for some more time without actually acting upon it.

     

    • Follow the POA immediately – Resort to your plan of action immediately. Call to those people who were in your list to immediately seek help. In the meanwhile, distract yourself from those thoughts and just hold on while the help arrives. Remind yourself that ‘this too shall pass’.

     

    • Reach Out for help at the earliest – Even though you may feel that nobody can really help you but the fact is that there is always ‘effective’ help out there. All you have to do is give yourself a chance to seek that help. Reach out to a mental health expert (preferably the one you finalized in your POA) and discuss your thoughts and concerns. Remember that it is just a ‘feeling’ and it is transitory in nature. With change in time and situation you will feel like staying alive again.

     

    Process of Recovery

    To say the least, battling with suicidal ideation is mentally draining and traumatic. The process of recovery takes time. Seeking help from a therapist where your thoughts and concerns are addressed in a constructive way will enhance your psychological health and wellbeing.

    How can I help prevent a potential suicide attempt?

    If you spot the following signs in someone you care, please don't ignore. Suicide prevention starts by recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously.

    • Withdrawal from friends and family
    • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
    • Poor eating and sleeping patterns
    • Substance Abuse
    • Getting affairs in order
    • Saying goodbyes
    • Self loathing
    • Seeking out lethal means
    • Preoccupation with death
    • Hopelessness about future

    Suicide is a desperate attempt to escape suffering that has become unbearable. Blinded by feelings of self-loathing, hopelessness, and isolation, a suicidal person can't see any way of finding relief except through death. But despite their desire for the pain to stop, most suicidal people are deeply confused about whether to end their own lives.

    They wish there was an alternative to committing suicide, but they just can't see one. In such times, a nonjudgmental and empathic listening ear, an assurance of a brighter future and a little hope towards life can save a beautiful life from coming to a tragic end.

    Remember they may not ask for help but that doesn't mean that help is not wanted. Most people who commit suicide don't want to die, they just want to get rid of the pain.

     

    DON'T IGNORE SUICIDAL TALKS OR BEHAVIOR, IT IS A CRY FOR HELP.

     

    Help is available: Family, friends and even at a professional level. If you're looking for a sign to not end your life, THIS IS IT!

    Please contact us if you are feeling low, sad, disappointed, frustated, we are here to help you out.

     

    eWellness Expert is not a medical service or suicide prevention helpline. If you are feeling suicidal, please call up a suicide prevention helpline in your area. We have mentioned a few below: 
    India- 
    Vandrevala Foundation Helpline - 1 860 266 2345 (24x7),   Aasra - +91 22 2754 6669 (24x7)

    USA- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255 or 911

    UK - Samaritans UK at +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90

    Australia - Suicide callback service at 1300 659 467

    Canada - Distress Centre Niagara Ontario +1 (905) 688 3711

    Singapore - Samaritans of Singapore 1800-221 4444

    We are not associated with any of the Suicide Prevention helpline mentioned above. The contact details mentioned can be outdated sometime, so please make sure to get their latest contact details from internet. This could be a good reference to find a helpline.

    References:
    [1]  http://ncrb.nic.in/StatPublications/ADSI/ADSI2014/chapter-2%20suicides.pdf

  • 02 Dec
    Oyindrila Basu

    10 ways to avoid Suicidal thoughts

    avoid suicide

    “When people kill themselves, they think they’re ending the pain, but all they’re doing is passing it on to those they leave behind.” – Jeannette Walls

    We cannot deny, that even the most rational and sensible of us, sometimes undergo thoughts which are depressing, wayward and dangerous to ourselves and to others. The mind is a complex maze and we surely don’t have the best of logics to support its decisions, all the time. There are days in our life, when we are not motivated, feel lonely and upset, do not have friends around and thoughts are so doomed that we may even think of giving up our lives.

    This may not be too frequent, but there are times we think that life is not worth living. What if this hopelessness looms your life and traps your irrational thoughts. In such major depressive phases, we find people taking rash decisions on their thoughts, and risking their lives.

    There are a few precautionary measures that can be taken to avoid these unfortunate accidents; if we can counsel ourselves and hold from falling apart for a short while, we can save from hurting self, or wasting our life.

     

    Promise not to act upon your thoughts immediately- We cannot control our thoughts. Suicidal thoughts can attack any moment when your mind is not at rest or peace. Make a general and hard promise that you will give yourself some time before acting on it, and stick to the promise when such thoughts appear. If you do this ritually, the time gap will distract your mind from the harmful thoughts.

    Avoid alcohol and drugs- If you are having depressive thoughts or feeling useless, intoxicating yourself is not the solution. In fact, any form of addiction or drugging will make the thing worse, your depression will increase. In the case of severe abuse, drugs or alcohol may cause induces hallucination leading to severe thought distortions. Better try to stay away from substances and be in your senses to prevent any further damaging thoughts.

    Indulge in some good health practices- If you are feeling lonely, anxious or depressed, divert your mind from these negative energies. Join a gym, Zumba, or swimming club to feel healthy and motivated. When you meet new people, do some exercise, and lose some calories, you tend to feel better in mind and body, as the level of serotonin increases.

    Keep your house as safe as possible- When you know you can get cranky at times, it is good to take precautions. Keep away, blades, scissors, knives or any sharp object out of your reach, if you tend to have disturbing thoughts of suicide occasionally.

    Reach out a friend- Remeber, you are not alone. Your pain can ease when you open up to a trusting friend. Call up your best friend or family, whom you trust, and let them know what you are going through. This is like a mental health first aid. Talking to them will make you feel better, and in itself, might change your mind. Moreover, he or she can be of great support when you lose track of yourself.

    Have a safety plan- If you are starting to have depressive or suicidal thoughts, it is better, you take preventive measures before things get worse. Consult a psychologist and attend counseling sessions to improve yourself. Self-coping efforts are encouraged but don't wait until its too late.

    Talk about your thoughts- When you are feeling normal, share your thoughts with friends are family, who are concerned about you. Talking out often helps a lot in depression and anxiety. Do not keep it to yourself.

    Do not stay alone- "An idle mind is a devils workshop". If staying alone gives you creepy thoughts, try to be in a social setting most of the time. Try to keep someone with you if you are prone to mood fluctuations.

    Take every opportunity- Do not shut yourself up within closed doors. Go to office, meet people, watch movies, take fun tours across the city to keep yourself moving. Every oppurtunity on the way will cheer you up. It will give a positive vibe and meaning to your living.

    Stay away from provoking things- You know best what is good and bad for you. You actually know, which objects, sounds, images or places remind you of your depressed state or make you think of suicide, stay away from such triggers. Engage yourself in more positive surroundings, be with people who are no way connected to your bad fate.

     

    Life is very precious and we all get just one chance to live. Make the fullest use of it, enjoy, breathe free and do everything that you have dreamt of. Do not let a single moment or phase destroy your chance to live a beautiful life on this earth. There is always a key to the lock; you will always find a solution to your problems.

    “But in the end, one needs more courage to live than to kill himself.”

    – Albert Camus

  • 01 Dec
    Oyindrila Basu

    Meditative breathing can cure major depression, which are not affected by medicines.

    sudarshan kriya

    India has always been the land of new avenues. When it comes to health and fitness, the biggest form of fitness training, the yoga came from our ancient ascetics and saints who meditated for years acquired the ability to control their breathing patterns which proved helpful for their physical and mental health, hence not only strengthened their concentration, but also longevity.

    The same breathing patterns were taught and practised by common people to promote better physical and mental health among mankind in the form of yoga.

    Today it has been found, that meditation and yoga gives better benefit to mental health than any other treatment.

    A breathing based meditation called Sudarshan Kriya helps control depressive disorders.

    The meditation technique, which is practiced in both a group setting and at home, includes a series of sequential, rhythm-specific breathing exercises that bring people into a deep, restful, and meditative state: slow and calm breaths alternated with fast and stimulating breaths.

    Earlier, the method was applied on people with milder depression, who were into drugs or alcohol addiction, and they responded positively to the breathing exercise, than they did to rehabilitating medicines.

    A randomized controlled pilot study in the department of Psychiatry at Pennsylvania, found out that the particular technique of meditation proved beneficial to many suffering from anxiety and depression. After two months of application of this yoga, the group cut its mean Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) score by several points, while the control group showed no improvements.

    The reports were published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

    It has been observed, that intake of antidepressants on a regular basis, makes you accommodative to it, and many, including 41 million Americans, stop responding to these pills after sometime, and even though they are suggested other treatment methods, they do not have much benefit.

    This yogic exercise of breathing was recommended to such people suffering from major depressive disorders, and most of them responded positively to it.

    According to Anup Sharma, who had performed the research at Pennsylvania, this breathing based meditation is a low-cost therapy, which is free from medication, and can better help people with depressive disorders.

    As per the pilot study, patients in the Sudarshan Kriya yoga group showed a significantly greater improvement in HDRS scores compared to patients in the waitlist group. With a mean baseline HDRS score of 22.0 (indicating severe depression at the beginning of the study), the group that completed the breathing technique for the full two months improved scores by 10.27 points on average, compared to the waitlist group, which showed no improvements. Patients in the yoga group also showed significant mean reductions in total scores of the self-reported Beck Depression (15.48 point improvement) and Beck Anxiety Inventories (5.19 point improvement), versus the waitlist control group.

    Yoga is always an effective way to keep yourself healthy in body and mind. Exercise helps you lose calories, makes you fit, which automatically reduces depression and anxiety, by increasing level of serotonin in the brain.

    Hence this can prove to be better than many medicines which come handy with a prescription

  • 30 Nov
    Oyindrila Basu

    Alpha men and Playboys are not smart; they tend to have Poor Mental Health.

    alpha men

    The concept of ‘alpha men’ creeped up during the early 2000s, though the tradition of being a sexist, chauvinist and misogynist, forever existed in patriarchal society.

    The term ‘alpha men’ precisely defined those, who believe they can control the mind of women and easily lure them, play with their hearts and destroy them entirely.

    They claim themselves to be playboys; extra smart and devoid of human emotions; they think they are manipulative enough to fool anybody.

    However, such men who feel they have more power over women, are prone to different kinds of mental illnesses.

    Men having sexist attitude are actually suffering from some insufficiency or lack of self-worth; sometimes, it has been seen, that they have a tormenting past or a suffered childhood, which turns them emotionally cold, and they want to stay away from natural humanistic behaviour.

    In the year 2008, an inside questionnaire test was performed on a group of 50 individuals, in the psychology department of Bethune College, Kolkata.

    It was a Personality Assessment Test featuring 50 questions per set. The results clearly determined, that men or women who, in general, believe in manipulating others, or think are over smart and can easily play with emotions, were detected as slightly neurotic or having medium neurosis.

    Those who are not so much traditionally patriarchal in attitude, are much more normal and mentally stable according to the test scores.

    YJoel Wong from Indiana University, conducted a mental analysis of 78 research samples, out of which people conforming to general masculine trends or norms were found to have negative mental health, than those who differed from the clichéd male theories.

    "The masculine norms of playboy and power over women are the norms most closely associated with sexist attitudes," said Wong.

    Hence, those who think they are smart because they jump in and out of relationships with women, beware! You never know, you are actually suffering from mental health dysfunction;

    you are actually lacking self-worth and confidence in your abilities and hence you are trying to prove yourself through nasty tricks over women, which never deserve any respect.

    A proper counselling at the right time, can cure many and bring them back to normal health, same applies for alpha men, they need to identify their weaknesses and deal with them at the right time to secure a better future.

    Responses 1

    • Ayushi Jolly
      Ayushi Jolly   Jul 11, 2017 12:18 PM

      Very well written and precisely picked up on the class of 'kewl' boys who think that being a Starboy gives them superiority. Little do they realize that it drops them off further in the scales of humanity.

  • 26 Nov
    Oyindrila Basu

    How your obsession or depression can help you in your focused thinking.

    a beautiful mind

    We have a notion, that mentally unstable people are not able to perform tasks properly, in fact, their cognitive abilities are weakened.

    However, on the contrary, a depressed person is more focused, or concentrate better on any work as deduced by Jonah Lehrar who writes in the New York Times about her research in this field.

    A depressed person can make a better mathematician, and the analogy between the two states of mind are almost the same.

    A depressed person is focused on believing his/her melancholy as the truth, and the mathematician need to be focused on formulas and techniques to solve problems.

    Let us see how this analogy is drawn.

    A person who is a good mathematician need to have an obsession for numbers, formulas and derivations; and a person in depression holds the same kind of obsession for a selective person or situation; the broken hearted person is concentrated on each and every detail of his/her pain and humiliation, such that he/she cannot get out of that depressed phase.

    Depression is a state where a person is very focused on the pain and hence cannot recover from it easily; the same kind of dedication or obsession is required for mathematical theories to solve problems. In certain cases, you also need to be imaginative about your steps while problem solving, like a depressed person imagines his/her grief to a different level, unique to the world.

    Professor John Nash was a genius, a gem of a mathematician and we all know he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and acute depression. #ABeautifulMind gives clear example of how an obsessed person, who visualizes his passion, becomes excellent in the field.

    This great mathematician was disillusioned, yet he solved algebraic equations and in-equations like a magician. He was depressed because of his lack of self-knowledge and struggle with illness, yet he was exceptional in his academic skill.

    He solved arithmetic on the window panes, he could visualize his numbers with the power of his mind, the focused quality of his mind, made him imagine a friend, and the same gave him the ability to invent the ‘game theory’.

    Cognitive functioning follows the same mechanism for a person who is focused and for a person who is depressed.

    For e.g. if a person is depressed, because he has had a break-up; in this situation, depression draws from the fact, that he is concentrating all his energy on one person who has left him, and he desires to get her back; he doesn’t give up; he focuses on every detail of his painful feelings, how he feels rejected, humiliated, insulted, ditched, betrayed and the like; every minute expression of the heart come alive for a depressed person.

    The brain of such a person is not weak at all, in fact, it is very productive which gives him this amount of dedication and concentration on a particular individual, the same quality of brain is required for a mathematician to exceed normal limits, and hence we can conclude that depressed persons, if they try to work out on problem solving, can do great.

    They just need to be provided with the path, so that they shift their focus from their pain and grief towards a calculative outcome oriented task.

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