Sunday, November 22, 2009

Major Depression

I want to preface this post by saying, I actually am holding my own right now.  It could be my attitude has shifted or the bottle of wine I just consumed, who knows.

Vincent van Gogh's 1890 painting At Eternity's Gate

The strongest risk factor for suicide is depression.  In the United States, approximately 3.4% of people with major depression commit suicide, and up to 60% of people who commit suicide have depression or another mood disorder. 

Does anyone else find this fact startling??  I did, until I almost became a part of the percentage. (It is estimated that there are at least 4.5 million survivors in this country.)

Chronic depression can lead to feelings of despair and hopelessness, and a suicide attempt is one way some people choose to express these feelings. Most people who attempt or commit suicide don't really want to die - they just want their pain and suffering to end. A suicide attempt is also not done to gain someone's sympathy, as those that attempt to take their life do it for internal reasons-they simply can't stand the pain they feel emotionally and/or physically. It isn’t to try and get someone to feel bad for them, that's the last thing they would want.

What is even more startling is the fact that, in my mind, I don't know if the suicide ideation will ever go away.  There are days when I am struggling really bad that I have to mentally talk myself out of harming me.  The constant mental chatter going on in my head can be down right scary.  I don't know if every one who is depressed and has had ideation before is like this or not.  However, I do know that each day that I awake I am thankful, because that is one more day that I have been blessed with.


Rook No. 17 said...

MJ, it really is staggering how many people suffer with chronic depression and because they blame themselves and feel shamed, don't get treatment. I'm not sure if you fit in to that category, and I'm not here to judge. I'll tell you personally though, that I suffer from clinical depression and have struggled to find the right medication for years, but finally have hit upon the right thing for now and it's made a world of difference.

Erin said...


I'm glad you posted this and I'm sorry I'm late to the party.

Depression is an important disease and often overlooked. I have had personal experience with it and it's not fun. You are very brave to share such intimate details with us.

I hope you have someone you can talk to when things get really bad. I used to think a lot about self-injury and you may have read some of my posts that detailed a bit of that (though I haven't blogged about it extensively)...when I get really down I still think about it sometimes, but my kids keep me from doing anything. I know if I hurt myself, I'd probably lose my kids.

I hope you are alright. I wish I lived close by.