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3 Things People With Depression and Thoughts of Suicide Should Know

3 Things People With Depression and Thoughts of Suicide Should Know

On July 14, 2014, Conrad Roy killed himself after reaching out to someone when he was fighting thoughts of suicide. The local authorities released a series of text messages between him and his girlfriend at the time, Michelle Carter. Unfortunately, instead of helping, she encouraged him to kill himself and then held an fundraiser to honor his death. If Conrad was given either words of encouragement or hope when he went to the person he trusted the most, maybe this situation would have had a different outcome. (You can find more about the case here.)

Here are some points that people with depression and thoughts of suicide should know.

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1. Your thoughts matter.

You may not always feel like it, they do. There are many people in the world that care what you are thinking about and your opinion on things. They don’t have to be thoughts on big decisions like buying a house — but it’s the small things that count, right? Even your laughter at a dumb joke means the world to someone in your life.

Everything that you do on a daily basis: the kind things you say, the smiles you flash people, and the conversations you have based on the thoughts that are going on up there in your noggin, shows that you matter. Your thoughts matter because a spark of an idea in your brain may turn into research for a new treatment for a disease, or may relay a song that someone holds onto when they’re contemplating taking their own life.

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2. You will always have at least one person to talk to.

I know there are times when you feel alone, but you are not. There is always someone that will be there to talk to you if you need them. There are plenty of people dedicated to volunteering their time to help out. There are places like Lifeline which offers the option to either call or chat depending on what is easier and best for you when you feel like you don’t have anyone to talk to about your thoughts about suicide. There are also hotlines if you are feeling depressed; you can find the list here. Most of these organizations depend on volunteers, so they want to be there for you and they want to hear what you have to say.

They are there because they want to be, not because they have to be.

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3. By staying alive, you encourage others that aren’t as strong to stay alive as well.

There was a study done in 2014 that shows that a parent who committed suicide while their child was under the age of 18 increased the likelihood of the child committing or attempting to commit suicide in the future. By staying strong throughout your depression, you are able to give your child the strength to carry on as well. (You can read more about the study here.)

Remember, as Josh Billings once said: “Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well”. Even if you are not a parent, there are people in your life that consider you a strong person. They may not say it out loud, but they think that if you are going through what you have to each day, then they can keep going too. Your strength is strength for those who do not have as much as you.

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No matter what you are going through or how alone you feel, there will always be someone out there that cares and that is willing to spend the time to talk to you. According to Save.org there is one suicide in the U.S. every 13 minutes. I hope that by knowing these three things, that you do not become a part of that statistic.

Your thoughts, your emotions and your life matters.

Featured photo credit: 98 Browse more: abstract, blowball, blowing, dandelion, girl, nature, sunbeams, sunnyTest Drive image Take a look how this image can be used! Girl Blowing Blowball/Dandelion- Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Margielyn Musser

Event And Volunteer Coordinator / World Traveler

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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