We’re nearing the end of our suicide myth busting. To recap, we’ve covered some pretty important stuff. We’re now fully aware that most individuals who are experiencing suicidality desperately want to live; they just don’t know how to live with their pain and distress. Talking about suicide will never cause someone to suicide. Suicide is a complex behaviour, not a response to one problem. It can occurs across all age, economic, social, racial and ethnic boundaries and whilst it is more common in people experiencing a mental health disorder, this is not always the case. And, the people who do die by suicide usually tell those around them about it first.
Excellent sleuthing. We are getting through some of the complexity of the facts.
Today’s myth-busting comes with much hope. There is absolutely no truth behind the statement – once someone is suicidal, they will remain suicidal. Thank the baby cheeses!
People who want to kill themselves will not always feel suicidal or constantly be at a high risk for suicide. They feel that way until the crisis period passes.
We can think about suicidal thoughts, feelings and behaviours occurring on a spectrum from low to high risk. Heightened suicide risk is often short-term and situation-specific. Someone may experience a period where they are of high risk of suicide. After receiving help to overcome this pain, the pain and distress may reduce and they could go on to live rewarding and meaningful lives, never again seriously contemplating suicide. For others, a current suicidal crisis may be overcome and the risk of suicide significantly lowered or eradicated for a period of time. This period of time can range from minutes, hours or days, to possibly months, or even several years.
Whilst different for everyone, suicidal thoughts or behaviours are not a life sentence.
Like all thoughts, suicidal thoughts are not permanent.
Similarly, the feelings of distress and pain associated with suicide, whilst overwhelming, debilitating and isolating, are still just feelings. Which are also not permanent.
Our bodies and brains are resilient vessels for survival, with incredible capacity for change. This is where the hope lies. I’ve worked with many remarkable individuals who have at points, desperately wanted not to be alive; only to transform into people expressing sincere gratitude for still being here. That’s magical.