Most of the world was able to tune in to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey. During the conversation, Markle made a shocking and eye-opening revelation about her mental health. “Look, I was really ashamed to say it at the time and ashamed to have to admit it to Harry, especially because I know how much loss he has suffered, but I knew that if I didn’t say it, then I would do it,” the former actress told Oprah. “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore.”
When you feel you have no ‘out’ or any support after a history of trying to seek it, sometimes you feel the hopelessness outweighs the hope,” she added.
Loneliness is already a recognized public health concern and empirically shown to increase suicide risk for those with and without mental health disorders. Experts suggest that you don’t have to have a diagnosed mental illness to have suicidal thoughts.
Reena B. Patel (LEP, BCBA), renowned parenting expert, licensed educational psychologist, board-certified behavior analyst, and author of Winnie & Her Worries, shared with HOLA! USA the factors that contribute to suicidal tendencies, what those dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts show and are feeling, and the warning signs.
Factors that contribute to suicidal tendencies:
- PTSD and trauma
- Feeling trapped no other way out
- Isolation and loneliness
What those dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts show and are feeling:
A smile can be misleading. What you see on the outside with smiles is not always what is happening on the inside. Many can mask and hide what they are thinking on the inside.
It’s not easy to share, especially when expectations are high. It is not easy to share and say that one is considering hurting themselves. It takes a lot of courage even to say, “I do not want to live anymore.”
Are you feeling trapped and suffocated with no outlet? Feeling trapped and suffocated is something internal no one else can see. Sometimes there is a breaking point and need for a way out.
Ashamed to ask for help. Embarrassed to even share that you need help is a society-led stigma. When you appear ‘put together’ or are in a high-profile career, it’s common to feel ashamed not to share. Thus, many may not share when they need help.
When support is not given when asked. If you do not get support, even when you do ask for help leads to a giant spiral, a feeling of no way out. Sometimes reaching out to someone outside of your circle is necessary. You can talk to your doctor, call helplines, reach out to therapists; these all can keep your thoughts confidential.
Feeling lonely and isolated with no connection. Feeling alone and not having a connection to normalcy or things that bring you joy over a while can lead to suicidal tendencies.
Know the warning signs and speak up when you have any thoughts. Say something — and yes! It takes courage.
- Talking about or thinking about hurting yourself.
- Seeking out lethal ways to harm yourself. Seeking access to guns, pills, knives, or other objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.
- Fixation on death. Unusual focus on death, dying, or violence. Also, writing poems or stories about death.
- No hope for the future. Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and being trapped (“There’s no way out”). The belief that things will never get better or change.
- No self-worth and Hatred. Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, shame, and self-hatred. And feelings that you are a burden.
- Saying goodbye. Unusual or unexpected visits or calls to family and friends. Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again.
- Withdrawal. Wanting to be alone or no longer socializing with friends and family.