It has been a heavy week on Betty’s Battleground.
Last Wednesday I posted the letter I didn’t write when I attempted suicide on my birthday last year.
On Monday, I kicked off my guest post series “Tales From the Other Side” with a beautiful and heartbreaking letter written to the sister Connie Hulsart, from the blog Essentially Broken, lost to suicide.
I know, this blog has not been the easiest to read this past week. Nor the easiest to publish, believe me. But it is important to understand suicide. The mentality behind it, which I showcased in my letter; the complex effects and aftermath, which Connie demonstrated with grace and raw honesty in hers, and also how to recognize suicidal behaviors in others and what to do about it.
Suicide is very serious. It is the 10th leading cause of the death in the United States, and, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, there are twenty-five more attempts for every single completed suicide. And that’s just what’s reported. We have no way of quantifying the attempts, completed suicides, and ideations that occur unreported or unrecognized. According to the World Health Organization, over 800,000 people die from suicide each year. It is approximated that someone, somewhere on the planet, completes a suicide every 40 seconds.
Let that sink in.
Every 40 seconds. That means that in the time you have been reading this, at least one person has died by his own hand.
Suicide merits understanding.
I am not a psychological expert. I cannot replace the advice of professionals. But I have been there. Many, many times. My most serious attempt was in 2016, but it was not my first. Besides my other attempts, I have considered suicide on numerous occasions. I have spent years in a suicidal state, mostly due to my PTSD. I am going to wrap up what has become “Suicide Week” on Betty’s Battleground with a Suicide Survivor’s Guide to Recognizing Suicidal Behavior, and some suggestions on how to help. Some of these are research based; many are based on my experiences with being suicidal. As I said, I cannot replace the advice and opinion of a psychological expert. If you believe that you or someone you know is suicidal, it is a good idea to talk to a professional. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. In my opinion, it is always beneficial to combine the knowledge of experts with the knowledge of experience, so here is what I have learned from being suicidal: