Suicidal thoughts due to financial stress? Clinical Psychologist Ms Priyanka Varma shares tips for detecting these symptoms.
What is Suicide Awareness? It's an attempt to shed light on supporting those struggling to cope with the pressures of life and the importance of reaching out. While there is no particular reason for suicide, it is often because of a culmination of life stressors, severe and untreated mental illness such as schizophrenia or depression. Nonetheless, it is essential to remember that everyone with a severe mental illness does not attempt suicide and often people without a severe mental illness may even commit suicide.
Contemplating Suicide: Silent Sufferer
- An individual who is contemplating suicide often suffers in silence. Just like a person with depression, they often hide behind a mask of smiles and laughter.
- People who attempt suicide often experience an unimaginable amount of mental agony and pain. It has been noticed that individuals who are contemplating suicide usually talk about the purpose of their existence. They appear to be engaged and lost in a lot of existential thoughts; there is a sense of doom when talking about their future. They may even view themselves as a burden to others, and find feel it would be better if they did not exist.
- Daily functioning becomes difficult, and they often feel helpless and hopeless. Their emotional pain is too intense, and this disrupts their ability to reason about their situation. This impairs their coping skills and finding hope.
Are you struggling to find hope?
- It is noticed that when individuals struggle to find hope, they often engage in unhealthy and maladaptive behaviours. They may isolate and withdraw themselves from others and want to process their pain alone. This is unhealthy and leads to a negative spiral.
- An erratic change or disturbance in their daily functioning, moods, sleep, appetite, and motivation levels, often caused by the spiral, are a sign of suicidal ideation. They may appear to lose interest in activities they previously enjoyed.
- There seems to be a lack of care of concern for them and often engage in risky behaviour and substance abuse. A noted increase in alcohol consumption, drug abuse or even a drop in personal hygiene is an indicator.
What are these changes reflecting upon?
Ms Priyanka Varma, Clinical Psychologist, Founder: The Thought Co., states that "these changes are often a reflection of their inner stresses and ability to cope with it. The pressures in life may often trigger strong reactions and may act aggressively. They may be experiencing prolonged-lasting sadness or feelings of despair. They tend to start closing their accounts and putting their personal affairs in order – it starts to feel like an empathetic apology and a final goodbye."
However, it is essential to note that any sudden traumatic external events like an academic failure, relationship problems, loss of loved one, accident etc. may trigger such feelings too. It is essential to understand that people who attempt suicide do not view suicide as a “choice” but as a “last resort”. Thus it is necessary to bring the conversation of suicide to the forefront as this openness increases awareness on suicidal risk factors. Lastly, suicidal prevention is a global challenge and demands collective efforts.
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