Why would she do such a thing?   How could we have helped her?  Why would she leave her young boys?  Will she go to Heaven?  How will we live without her?  What should we tell her children?  What was she thinking?  Didn’t she know how much we loved her?

These are just a few of the unanswered questions Michelle’s husband, family, and friends may be asking in the coming days as they grieve the loss of their precious young wife, mother, daughter, and friend.  Unfortunately the answer for many of these questions may never be known.  Women like Michelle usually believe they are doing what is best for their children and loved ones, or are simply so overwhelmed in the moment that they are unable to think rationally…about anyone or anything…and simply need relief from emotional and mental pain and anquish.

WHY? Since the person who is gone can’t tell us why they took their own life, mental health professionals have to look for a pattern of similarities in people who make the decision to end their life.  There are several commonalities or factors that may contribute to suicidal thoughts and completion.

4 Factors that Contribute to Suicidal Thoughts and Completion:

1. Depression: This is the most common factor among people who experience suicidal thoughts and complete suicide.  Sometimes depression may be prevalent for long periods of time and sometimes it can be situational…only occurring during certain times of the year such as the anniversary of a loved one’s death, or resulting from certain situations like job loss or the birth of a child.

2. Guilt: People who have done something they regret or are innocent victims of abuse can be overwhelmed with feelings of guilt and shame.  These feelings can contribute to thoughts of suicide if they are not processed in a healthy manner.

3. Impulsivity: Suicide can be an impulsive decision that is made quickly in response to emotional upset like a spouse leaving you or financial stressors that lead to bankruptcy.  Most likely the person would not resort to suicide if they had allowed themselves more time to work through the difficult situation.

4. Irrational Thoughts: Some people are plagued by thoughts of suicide and death.  They may even hear voices in their head telling them to harm themselves.  Mental illness can be a factor in one’s inability to think in a rational way or react to situations with a normal response that lead them to commit suicide.   

Suicide leaves so many unanswered questions that may cause deep pain and anger for the loved ones of a person who completes suicide.  Those who have a loved one who has attempted suicide unsuccessfully usually live with a great amount of fear as well as deep pain.  If you are experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts, know someone who is, or have lost a loved one to suicide…there is hope and healing through counseling.  Seek a professional counselor who can help you process your pain and grow to a place of emotional health and healing.

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Article Written by Crystal Hollenbeck