Why Does One Commit Suicide?
The biggest question that suicide would leave behind for all the silent spectators is, Why? Why did the person kill him/herself?
Suicide is an act that most often is a result of depression or another mental illness
- Suicide is often a result of depression or another mental illness
- There is never a single determining reason that leads to a suicide
- Depression is seen to be the most common underlying cause of suicide
Suicide is the end point of what we all know as a situation that is intensely difficult to cope with. The feeling of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness is markedly associated with suicide. Suicide is an act that most often is a result of depression or other mental illness.
The biggest question that any suicide would leave behind for a silent spectator is, Why? Why did the person kill him/herself? What led to this extreme act of violence? What was going through that person's mind? Why didn't the person say anything before? Even when suicide notes are found, they fail to explain the deeper reason for it. This can create strong feelings of guilt for the family members and friends, left behind.
Also read: How To Get Rid Of Depression? Tips To Help Treat Depression
In my clinical experience, I have seen that there is never a single determining reason that leads to a suicide but a combination of factors coming together. Often, there seems to be a mix of internal and external factors. Traumatic life events, financial adversities, physical illnesses, interpersonal factors or a psychiatric/psychological illness are some risk factors associated with suicide.
Depression is seen to be the most common underlying cause of suicide. When a person is depressed, there is a pervasive feeling of suffering. The person believes that there is no escape from this pain and its permanent existence makes them feel helpless. A hopeless future furthermore diminishes the desire to continue to live this arduous life. When a person is depressed, he/she would begin to have many faulty thoughts about
1. Self, ("I am worthless")
2. The world/others ("people cannot be trusted)
3. Future, ("nothing will ever change")
Also read: After A Stroke, Her Decades Of Severe Depression Vanished
This vicious loop of negative thinking tends to play out continuously in the mind of a depressed person. Depression creates a negative filter in our brain. Due to this, the information entering the brain is also processed in a negative, distorted manner. It is like going out in the sun, wearing dark colored glasses and seeing everything as black instead of the actual, real colors. The person feels trapped in this web of negative thoughts and emotions. H/she feels like a victim of what is going on in the brain with little power to control or stop it. Unfortunately, simply telling the person to snap out of it never works. Blaming the person for thinking negatively, brooding over life and its misery, becoming critical of self and/or others, not taking charge of the situation or behaving like a weakling is only going to worsen the depression.
Also read: How One Mother Manages Her Ongoing Struggle With Depression
What we need to understand is that these are some classic symptoms of depression and we cannot wish them away. However, by taking note of these signs and finding the right professional help we would have provided the best form of support. Even the slightest hint of suicide should never be taken lightly or ignored. It may be a cry for help. Do not let it go unnoticed.
It is important that we educate ourselves about mental illnesses and spread awareness to arrest this growing problem in order to save the lives of our people.
(Dr Sanjay Chugh is a Senior Psychiatrist based in Delhi)
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