Suicide Prevention Awareness Month was in September, but as many of us know, people who have suicidal thoughts experience an ongoing struggle.
Many of us suffer from suicidal thoughts. You are not alone, so let’s travel together and find a breakthrough.
Recently, I had the fantastic opportunity to speak with author and editor Ashley Booker-Knight, owner of Word’s Unite bookstore. In part of her interview, she shared an anthology of letters compiled from young girls who share their stories that can help other girls go through similar experiences.
As Booker-Knight’s book “Here I Am” shares in part, the collaborative efforts of young people who wanted to tell their stories were undoubtedly striking. It compelled me to write about suicide in this column. The unresolved issues that crossed my mind were alarming, and they made me realize where I was in my life and seeking help before sinking so deep into depression. “No More Silent Tears”, which is also a TV show on KPLE-TV Spectrum Channel 45, was born out of my journey following my abusive experience. I am a woman who overcame depression after being abused years ago.
I’ve been through the most excruciating times a survivor can go through, beyond trying to make it day to day. I was lucky to have found the help needed before the seeds of suicide were planted. My experiences led me to others who had experienced similar scenarios or other abuse than me. I have met so many beautiful people who are still surviving. I also knew many who had not survived their abuse. Some could no longer bear the pain. Over the past few months I have helped other people who have been abused or had life troubles that have taken them so far into their depression that they have become very suicidal. I realized that no matter what your battle for survival is; it can lead you to mental anguish and feeling helpless, wanting to get rid of the pain.
I was on the phone for hours talking to a mother about ways to help her child who had attempted suicide and had been going through it for years. Her child cuts his wrists to get rid of his violent past, and it was the first time the mother discovered the pain her child had suffered, which had been hidden for years.
If you learn that someone has gone through an abusive past that has not been resolved, please get involved and find professional help for that person. If the child has been abused and is afraid to tell anyone, it can lead to more problems. Many people I’ve spoken to have complained about taking medication to help them deal with racing thoughts and suicidal thoughts that clutter their minds or make them feel like zombies: either they stop taking the medication prescribed before it can be acclimatized in their system to work, or they don’t want to feel different from others because they have to take medication to counter their suicidal thoughts.
What are you doing to help yourself or others who may be having suicidal thoughts? During Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and throughout the year, let’s remember those who are suicidal and crying out for help. Thoughts are minute by minute for someone who is suicidal. It’s a daily showdown. Some days the desire to live outweighs the desire to give up, and vice versa. Traumatic events further intensify the impact of suicidal thoughts. Educating ourselves about suicide prevention can help with prevention techniques and raise awareness in our community. There are helpful ways to help clear up more of the problems that come with suicide. Learning about your mental health and understanding that treatments are available to help those in need can be beneficial and recommended.
A therapy known as dialectical behavior therapy. or DBT, is designed to find healthy ways to cope, build healthy relationships, and normalize emotions. This helps in many ways people who may face brutal ways of coping. During my research and class assignments, I learned that this therapy was also known to help treat traumatic stress disorder.
Please speak with your qualified, licensed professional who is knowledgeable in this area to help meet your individual needs.
Another element is to use mindful skills, which teach ways to live in the moment and not in the past, which is where the pain originated. DBT also affects sensory and emotional aspects. Staying focused involves paying attention to what you see, smell, hear, and feel.
Please consult a professional if you are experiencing a suicidal crisis. You are not alone and there is plenty of help available.
Schantel Thomas is an advocate for domestic violence and mental health awareness. She teaches youth classes at Central Texas College and hosts a weekly TV show about these issues on the Spectrum 45 channel called “No More Silent Tears.” Thomas and her husband, an Army retiree, have lived and served in Killeen for 16 years.