SUICIDE PREVENTION

SUICIDE PREVENTION

A growing concern all over the country is the increasing suicide rate especially with teens and young people.  Almost everyone has known of someone or maybe a loved one who has taken their life.  Generally, it is not fully understood why this heartbreaking issue is so rampant.  A lot of scientific studies are conducted to try to determine reasons why this is happening but of course, no volume of research is going to bring back a loved one that has committed suicide.

Today, we have a society that is fast moving and full of quick fixes.  If personal problems exist, we want to fix them in a hurry and find quick answers.  Regarding depression, it may take some reasoning over time to sort out effective answers.  Some people have real legitimate reasons to be depressed and others are just depressed for no apparent reason.  None the less, suicide should not be an answer to any issue but it's difficult to explain that to a person who wants to end the problem by ending their life.  The mental pain often can be even more excruciating than physical pain.  It's often difficult to sense what a person has going on in their mind so we don't help because of the lack of transparency.  Sometimes there is no outward indication of depression or suicide.

Jean-Claude Killy the famous downhill skier of many years ago would stand at the bottom of a ski slope and vision himself going down the mountain approaching each gate.  He would "practice" this mentally over and over until he sensed what each slope was like going through each gate.  It was mental practice.  I laid in bed one night in my teens, closed my eyes and pictured realistically what I was going to experience the next day during my first attempt at surfing in the ocean.  I literally went over the scenario again and again in my mind until I really knew how it would feel.  The next day, I got on a surfboard after paddling out and stood up with no problem the first time.  I felt as though I had surfed before.  In my mind I had surfed before the actual event and was successful!

What do these mental examples have to do with suicide?  As we think or experience any act, it literally burns a mental pathway in the brain.  Kinesthesis (muscle memory) obviously occurs in the body but in the mind as well.  As we practice any activity over and over, the activity becomes vivid and we know it.  The old saying about "practice makes perfect" is not necessarily true.  "Good practice indeed makes perfect".  Chemical pathways in the brain are established by thinking or doing things.  The mind has incredible recall abilities because of this brain pathway or chemical pattern given to it.  Some athlete's brains and bodies are so trained with accurate repetitiveness, they will be very consistent with their respective activity.  Granted some sports are always going to have some variables that can throw off this perfect mental and physical theory because of outside influences and equipment.  But good practice does make perfect.

That being said, if a mental pathway of suicide has been burned into the brain so heavily, nothing else matters.  No consequences, no family, no friends, no anguish, no pain, just an effective escape plan in their mind.  We all have varied amounts of tolerance to outside influences.  Chicken Little cried, "The sky is falling, the sky is falling"!  Other people may think calmly, "That's okay, let's get out of the way into a shelter".   We all accept trauma, drama, emergency, and other problems in life with varying degrees of attention and emotion.  Can you imagine the exhilarating freedom of barely escaping a burning building with no injury?  Yet some will say it was their destiny to live and treat it with no emotion. 

How a person accepts negative outside influences is difficult to determine because of a lifetime of training or no training.  If we have never experienced the trauma, we may not know how to react.  If an escape plan of suicide is contemplated over and over, it overrides all else.  There is no other escape in their mind.  The chemical pathway has been established and it is going to require a serious intervention to change to another pathway.  Anyone that has contemplated suicide should seek help from a trusted person (A professional, a clergyman, a friend, a family member) to burn a new alternative pathway.   

Just like the olympic skier, good thoughts and patterns can be made in the brain by experiencing good habits and seeking uplifting thoughts.  Negative elements brought to mind over and over need to be erased.  The suicide pathway gets forgotten over time by going down a different effective path.  The new chemical pathways will override the old negative ones.