Today, we are going to be talking about a difficult, but very important and relevant subject – we are going to be listing 11 signs that someone is feeling suicidal. If you have decided to read this article, we recommend that you read it until the end, because it may help you recognize suicidal signs and tendencies in yourself or someone close to you. Our hope is that this article will provide you with some knowledge and motivation to get help that you need or to help someone else who is desperately in need of that help.
Close to 1,000,000 people die of suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds. It is estimated that for each adult who died of suicide, about 20 other people have attempted to take their own lives. Suicide is regularly in the top leading causes of death globally.
These numbers are just that – numbers. Numbers and statistics do not paint the complete picture of what the act of suicide actually does to the victims and their communities alike. Those are not just numbers – they are about a million unique compositions of hopes, dreams, aspirations, sufferings, regrets. They are a million of someone’s children, neighbors, friends, spouses, colleagues. And they are gone forever.
It is almost a cliché to point out that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. To people who are in severe pain and are sufficiently emotionally distressed that they are showing signs of being suicidal or contemplating suicide, that “temporary problem” seems like an eternity of staring into a dark abyss. This is why it’s extremely important to never judge a person with suicidal thoughts and ideas, but to offer them as much help and compassion as possible.
People who are feeling suicidal are or were facing problems that seemed irresolvable. One of the most frequent states that can help us predict whether someone is suicidal is their proneness to depression and various kinds of depressive moods. As is well known, depression is often characterized by feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and the belief that some problems are just too difficult to overcome.
It is exactly these feelings that usually start something that is called suicidal ideation. Suicidal ideation consists of persistent thoughts about wanting to die and thinking of ideas for ways to take one’s own life. Suicidal ideation is contrasted with suicidal intent, which refers to the explicit goal of performing the act of self-killing. It is critical to be aware of this terminology in order to assess the severity of the problem.
People who are feeling suicidal usually show the following signs that will be listed by their severity starting with the most obvious and dangerous ones.
1. A person is researching the ways to take their own life and is making a plan to die. Nowadays, people who are feeling suicidal will usually thoroughly research every dark corner of the internet to find a way to execute their plan to take their own lives. Unfortunately, in these corners of the internet there is a dark undercurrent of nihilism and lack of appreciation for every human life.
This empowers people who have already decided to take their lives to follow through with their plan, and they are offered various elaborate suggestions on how to execute those plans. Friends and family members may be able to see the search history of the person who is feeling suicidal and talk to them and seek professional help.
2. A person is talking about wanting to die. This is a very serious sign that a person is lacking motivation to keep fighting and solving problems, that they have started to feel that living and searching for constructive solutions to problems is futile and that they are probably contemplating suicide. This sign should be taken very seriously by anyone who is close to the person who is feeling this way.
3. A person is isolating themselves, saying goodbye to people and/or making a will. If you notice this pattern, be aware that the person might be literally saying goodbye before they decide to end their life. Social isolation is also a very good predictor of suicidal thoughts and feelings, so what is needed in this case is for the person to remain within a group of close family and friends and feel that they actually have social support that can help them get through difficult times.
4. A person is experiencing unbearable emotional or physical pain. This sign is an obvious indicator that a person might be inclined to take their own life. They might lack adequate coping mechanisms and need psychological or psychiatric help if they are experiencing emotional pain, and medical assistance and medication if they are enduring physical pain.
5. A person is talking about being a burden for others. This sign is a reoccurring theme in depressive mood disorders, so when a person says that they believe to be a burden for others, they are likely contemplating suicide.
6. A person is engaging in dangerous, risky and/or self-harming behaviors. These behaviors may include fast driving, getting into fights, excessive alcohol use and drug abuse, buying weapons, having unprotected sex or engaging in other risky and potentially harmful behaviors.
7. A person has gone through a significant life transition or trauma. Psychological traumatism and crises that usually follow major life transitions are very often a fertile ground for suicidal ideation, so people in these situations, especially if they are already prone to depressive mood or self-harming behaviors are at significant risk of taking their own lives.
8. A person is dramatically changing their behavior and/or appearance. A person who is considering suicide may display a sudden shift in their attitude and speech, such as speaking or moving with unusual speed or slowness. They might also suddenly start experimenting with their appearance. This may indicate their desire to be in someone else’s skin, so to speak, and not be themselves, which would provide them with temporary relief from their suffering until they decide to die.
9. A person is expressing rage, agitation or extreme anxiety. It is well known that anger in all its variations, from slight agitation to extreme rage, followed by aggression, is very often a catalyst for the act of suicide. In essence, psychologists hold that the desire to take one’s own life is actually aggression turned inwards instead of outwards.
So, in essence, when a person is angry, and that anger is followed by aggression, that aggression may be turned onto oneself, which could result in suicide. It is important to keep this in mind, especially since people with suicidal tendencies, when examined by medical professionals, are also assessed for their homicidal potential.
10. A person is eating or sleeping too much or too little. Healthy eating and sleeping habits are essential for our physical and psychological well-being. Significant changes in these habits are often indicative of a problem. Problems with eating and sleeping are most commonly manifested in depression and in some other mood disorders.
As we’ve already established, there is a significant correlation between depression and suicidal thoughts, so it is logical that suicidal ideation would be closely related with dramatic changes in sleeping and eating patterns. These changes can be easily observed by family members and even friends of the person who is displaying these changes, and it is crucial that they insist that the person in question undergoes a psychological evaluation in order to minimize the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
11. A person has developed a positive attitude toward suicide. Psychological research suggests that the more positive and permissive attitudes a person has toward suicide, the more they will be likely to have suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives. Some people may rationalize and intellectualize their suicidal tendencies with elaborate philosophical arguments, usually informed by nihilistic, pessimistic, and antinatalist philosophies.
This might make therapeutic attempts at removing their suicidal ideation more difficult since this kind of thinking tends to be more firmly rooted in their belief systems. It is important, however, to pay close attention if a person suddenly develops a positive attitude toward suicide – it may be a warning sign.
If you notice any of these warning signs of potential suicidal feelings and thoughts in yourself or others, please, inform an emergency service near you as soon as possible.
This was our list of the 11 most common signs that someone is feeling suicidal. We hope you found it informative.