As you may know, last month I read/reviewed Romancing The Dark In The City of Light by Ann Jacobus and I really loved it. RTDiTCoL deals with a character who is an alcoholic, depressed and also suicidal. I felt that Ann portrayed the subjects very well and asked her to do a guest post for my blog on these topics. I hope you find this helpful.
~Alcohol, Depression and Suicide~
Let’s talk about suicide. Please.
If this makes you feel uncomfortable, you’re not alone. It makes most of us feel that way.
Unfortunately, when we’re the ones feeling overwhelmed and suicidal, it may be even harder to talk about.
So we don’t. And it gets worse.
We get high, or drink, because for just a little while it seems to help. Except that we have a way of doing things while high or drunk that make our situation suck even more.
In order to be mentally healthy, ideally we need, in no particular order:
1) good mental health genes and physical health,
2) the love and support of our family and peers,
3) lack of trauma early on or now,
4) lack of early abuse or negligence,
5) strong early attachments,
6) feelings of self worth,
and 7) coping skills for stress and emotional ups and downs that include good diet, regular exercise, communication skills, etc.
If any of the above are missing, let alone several, we’re more at risk for developing mental health issues such as depression, OCD, self-harm, anxiety disorders, and sometimes suicidality—the term for feeling suicidal. If we already suffer from mental illness such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, then the odds of suicidality are much higher.
Some of us are more sensitive to the world than others (like creative types) and are more likely to suffer from depression. But anyone can feel overwhelmed.
When we already feel overwhelmed and then have something happen that throws us into crisis—like a death, or a break-up, or a move—we can begin to feel suicidal. Someone who is contemplating death as a means to escape mental pain, is in a LOT of pain.
If we add alcohol or substance abuse when feeling overwhelmed or worse, when we’re near the breaking point, the chances of a suicide attempt go way up. We need help. Even a little support from our family or friends can make a critical difference.
If you’re worried, ask us, “Are you feeling suicidal?”
You will NOT be putting the idea in our head. If we don’t feel suicidal, we’ll say, “No, I just feel sad and stressed-out,” or “No, I’m just having a crap week.” If we are, it will be a huge relief to say so. “Yes. I’ve been thinking about killing myself.”
LIFELINE offers anonymous help and information—to support anyone. You don’t need to be suicidal
1-800-273-8255 or text “go” to 741 741.
Once we’ve said it aloud, we can talk to a teacher, a doctor, a therapist, a parent. If you can, be there for us. It’s still hard. It’s also pretty simple. We can get help and usually fix it, once we start talking about it.
But you have to talk about it. Thank you.
LIGHT (St. Martin’s Griffin/Macmillan) that’s about an alcoholic, depressed and
suicidal girl in Paris. She volunteers on a suicide crisis line in San Francisco where
she lives with her family.