Depression and Suicide
Depression is a powerful foe. Even with the best therapist, a great combination of medications and support from a loving family, depression can disrupt your life. Depression will make good days feel like bad days and bad days feel worse by adding cognitive distortions.
Cognitive distortions are the way depression changes your perspective. Cognitive distortions are skewed ways of looking at yourself, your relationships and the world around you. Depression fuels cognitive distortions to emphasize the negatives, discount the positives, jump to false conclusions and only see the world in “black and white” terms. Over time, cognitive distortions target your mood, your relationships and your hope.
Hope is such a valuable commodity in your battle against depression. Without hope, you have nothing to fight for. Without hope, it feels like all is lost. People that feel hopeless begin to consider suicide.
Suicide is an interesting aspect of depression. From birth, your only goal is survival. You cry to alert people you are hungry. Once food is placed near your mouth, your instincts take over and control your sucking and swallowing response. Babies have startle reflexes to keep them safe and easier to hold. Even as an adult, you duck when something is coming towards you. But depression overwhelms even the most basic human responses.
Suicide Warning Signs
Keeping yourself or someone you know with depression safe is the paramount mission. If there is no safety, there is no chance to build hope tomorrow. Here are signs to look for:
- Voicing thoughts of dying
- Looking for methods to die – buying a gun or researching ways to overdose
- Increased drug and alcohol use
- Unpredictable mood swings
- Voicing thoughts of being trapped or a burden to others
- Increased isolation
If any or all of these warning signs remind you of yourself or someone you care about, you should take action immediately by moving to prevention.
Next page: suicide prevention and coping with loss.