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Why do people attempt suicide when they appear to have been feeling so much better?

Sometimes people who are severely depressed and contemplating suicide don't have the energy to carry it out. But, as the disease begins to "lift," they may regain some of their energy but will still have feelings of hopelessness. There's also another theory that people just kind of "give in" to the anguished feelings (the disease), because they just can't fight it any more. This, in turn, releases some of their anxiety, which makes them "appear" calmer. Even if they do die by suicide, it doesn't mean they chose it. If they knew they could have the life back that they had before the illness, they would choose life.

If a person's "mind is made up," can they still be stopped?

Yes! People who are contemplating suicide go back and forth, thinking about life and death...the pain can come in "waves." They don't want to die, they just want the pain to stop. Once they know they can be helped, that there are treatments available for their illness, that it isn't their fault and that they are not alone, it gives them hope. We should never "give up" on someone, just because we think they've made their mind up!

Is depression the same as the blues?

No. Depression is different from the blues. The blues are normal feelings that eventually pass, like when a good friend moves away or the disappointment that a person feels if something didn't turn out as expected. Eventually the person will feel like his old self again. But the feelings and symptoms associated with depression linger, and no matter how hard a person tries to talk him or herself into feeling better, it just won't work. People can't snap themselves out of depression. It's not a character flaw or a personal weakness and it doesn't have anything to do with willpower. It is an illness.

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Why do depressive illnesses sometimes lead to suicidal thoughts?

There is a direct link between depressive illnesses and suicide. The #1 cause of suicide is untreated depression. Depressive illnesses can distort thinking, so a person can't think clearly or rationally. they may not know they have a treatable illness or they may think they can't be helped. their illness can cause thoughts of hopelessness and helplessness, which may then lead to suicidal thoughts. They just can't see any other way out. That's why it is so important to educate people on the symptoms of depression and other depressive illnesses and on the warning signs of suicide so that people suffering from these illnesses can get the help they need. People must understand that depression and other related depressive illnesses are treatable and that they can feel good again.


  • Suicide Awareness Voices of Education

next: How to Help a Suicidal Person
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