Psychology

Reasons for Suicide



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The only person who is truly capable of understanding suicide, is the person who has gone through with the act of taking his own life. Sadly, the loved ones he has left behind have no means of communicating with him. Though they might attain some insight by examining his suicide note (if he chose to write one), his personal effects, and the behavior he exhibited in the days and months leading up to his death, such a journey into a loved one's despair would be immensely painful.

However, it is human nature to want to make sense of tragic events. It is believed that understanding can help in healing, and no matter how painful facing a loved one's desperation may be, most people affected by a suicide will seek answers.

Every situation is unique, but it is safe to say that most suicides, even if triggered by a painful event, are the result of an underlying mental illness. A person might take his own life if he is suffering from extreme grief, financial loss, or reasons unclear, but chances are he was also suffering from clinical depression.

Anyone who has experienced a prolonged depressive episode can attest to the fact that it is far worse than the most acute physical pain. It is a completely debilitating condition where the mind is consumed with negative thoughts, the body responds with a variety of unpleasant somatic symptoms, and life simply does not feel worth living.

The depressive individual experiences a symptom called dysphoria (the opposite of euphoria) wherein he is unable to take pleasure in activities he once found enjoyable. There is simply no means of "cheering him up" as he is literally unable to enjoy life's most treasured offerings such as love and friendship.

Often this is the result of a chemical imbalance and though medications do help in such situations, finding the right one and then waiting for its benefits to take effect can take a great degree of time. Sometimes, by the time the individual has found the best medicinal "cocktail," sadly, it is too late.

The suicidal depressive feels hopeless and trapped. He feels as if there is no possible way that he will ever get better. He has trouble remembering what it was like to feel normal, much less happy, and from his perspective, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. It seems to such an individual that the only means of relief from constant feelings of sadness, fear, and physical discomfort can be found in death.

The repercussions of a loved one's suicide are devastating. The most important thing - even more important than understanding the cause of the suicide itself - is to understand that no one is at fault for the event. Loved ones might contend with extreme guilt, wondering if they have said or done something to cause the suicide or what they could have done to prevent it.

This is never the case. Even if some such cause is identified in a suicide note, mental illness is the true underlying factor. Mental illness is a disease, just like any other, and no one can take responsibility for someone else's suffering from it.

If you have lost someone to suicide, this author sends her very deepest sympathies.

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More about this author: Meghan Rizzo

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