Something I didn’t know before starting to research this topic – We,ve all heard of Dr Kevorkian but did you know that on August 15, 1996, Dr Jack Kevorkian reportedly assisted in the suicide of Judith Curren, 42, of Pembroke, Massachusetts, an FM sufferer. Jan Murphy, another FM sufferer, also turned to Kevorkian for help; ABCNews.com later reported her assisted suicide in the summer of 1997.
“When you start hearing there is no hope, no treatment, and no cure over and over, you lose your will to fight,” wrote Jan Murphy in a eulogy read at her funeral. “What most people saw of me was a shell of what was going on inside.” Know the feeling?
In a survey of Spanish FM sufferers:
- 16.7% of them reported one to three previous suicide attempts.
- Drug poisoning was the most frequently employed method for suicide attempt (70%).
- No relevant differences were found between suicide attempters and non-attempters in relation to age, education and marital status,
- But a significant difference was found in relation to employment status.
Pain, poor sleep quality, anxiety and depression were positively correlated with suicide risk.
Anyone who has suffered with FM knows that it requires a huge adjustment, not only to the illness itself but to all the consequences it has on our lives. Chronic illness is likely to affect the way sufferers live, the way they see themselves, and how they relate to others. With the present state of world events, many people are feeling additional tension, anxiety, or sadness. But suffering with severe depression may be unnecessary. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, it’s essential that you know you don’t have to go it alone. Suicide is preventable, and there are a variety of resources that can provide the support you need.
Warning Signs of Suicide
- Talking or joking about suicide or statements about being reunited with a deceased loved one
- Making statements about hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness (“Life is useless” or “Everyone would be better off without me.”)
- Preoccupation with death (recurrent death themes in music, literature, or drawings)
- Appearing suddenly happier or calmer
- Loss of interest in things one cares about
- Unusual visiting or calling people one cares about (saying good-byes)
- Giving possessions away, making arrangements, or settling one’s affairs
- Self-destructive or risk-taking behavior (alcohol/drug abuse, reckless driving, self-injury or mutilation).
What you can do if you see possible warning signs of suicide…
- Be direct. Talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide. It’s okay to ask the person, “Do you ever feel so badly that you think of suicide?” Don’t worry about planting the idea in someone’s head. If someone has been thinking of suicide, she will be relieved and grateful that you were willing to be so open and nonjudgmental. It shows her you truly care and take her seriously.
- Be non-judgmental. Listen attentively, allow expression of feelings, and accept those feelings. Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong or whether feelings are good or bad. Never call someone’s bluff or try to minimize his problems by telling him he has everything to live for or how hurt his family would be. This will only increase his guilt and feelings of hopelessness. He needs to be reassured that there is help, that what he is feeling is treatable, and that his suicidal feelings are temporary.
- Take it seriously. Always take thoughts of or plans for suicide seriously. If someone admits to thinking about suicide, question the individual further and ask, “Do you have a plan?” “Do you know how or when you would do it?” If you feel the person is in immediate danger, you must make sure that he or she is not alone and can talk to a professional immediately. If necessary, call 911 or take the person to a crisis center or emergency room. Remove means, such as guns or stockpiled pills.
- Never keep a plan for suicide a secret. Don’t worry about breaking a bond of friendship at this point. Friendships can be fixed. A suicidal person must see a doctor or psychiatrist immediately.
- Offer support. If you feel the person isn’t in immediate danger, you can say things like, “I can tell you’re really hurting” and “I care about you and will do my best to help you.” Then follow through-help her find a doctor or a mental health professional. Offer hope that alternatives are available, but don’t offer glib reassurance.
- Get help. Seek support from individuals or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.
In Australia, call 13 11 14 Lifeline Australia
In the USA, call 1 800 SUICIDE or 1 800 273 TALK
In the UK, call 0800 068 4141
In New Zealand, call 0800 543 354