By CATHY THOMAS BROWNFIELD
Family Recovery Center publicist
"Those who are considering suicide are feeling sad, desperate and hurt," said Eloise Traina, executive director of Family Recovery Center. "They believe they are alone in the world and nothing can ease the pain. They feel like the walls are closing in around them, and they honestly can see no other way out."
Things happen in our lives. Good things like babies, weddings, birthday celebrations, fishing at the lake, roller coasters at an amusement park, vacationing at the beach, visiting with family and friends we haven't seen in too long bring joy and gladness to us. We are connected and feel the love for and acceptance of our love for each other.
Bad things bring sadness, sorrow, isolation and loneliness unemployment, loss of loved ones, isolation and loneliness, divorce, negative self-talk that stops us in our tracks. We become disconnected from the people who love us.
Can you see why depression can affect anyone at any time? It's not a weakness or a character flaw. It's something that happens when life overwhelms us or a chemical imbalance happens in the brain.
Some of us get a little blue for a few days but then we bounce back, ready to wrestle with our realities again. But some of us struggle with problems longer and fall into a deep, black, bottomless pit of despair and need a little help to get back out of it.
"When we learn that a star as beloved as Robin Williams, who seemingly had it all, has been battling depression and alcoholism for so many years and was ultimately unable to fight off his demons, it 'humanizes' the issue a bit more," Traina said. "It doesn't matter how much money you have, how many people admire you, if you are depressed or have substance abuse issues, you are going to be fighting those demons every day of your life."
Help Hotline (www.helphotline.org) advises that over half of all suicides are adult males ages 25 to 65. Signs of suicide are:
Ideation thoughts, threats
Substance abuse increased
Purposelessness no reason to live
Anxiety agitation, insomnia
Trapped no way out
Withdrawal from life
Mood dramatic changes
What you can do
Take this person seriously. Talk openly, ask questions, let them know you care and stay with them. Share the burden, tell someone else and get help immediately.
But do NOT ignore the problem. Don't avoid the issue. Don't react with shock or jokes. Don't disagree or argue with the person in crisis. Don't delay action and don't leave the person alone to handle the problem.
"Perhaps the death of Robin Williams can serve as a wakeup call for those who are suffering but are afraid or ashamed to admit it," Traina said. If you are battling depression or substance abuse issues, or you know someone who is, seek help. Depression is very real and there is no shame in admitting that your feelings are more than you are able to handle on your own."
For immediate help in a time of crisis, contact Help Hotline at 330-424-7767 or 800-427-3606.
This crisis intervention agency serves Columbiana, Mahoning and Ashtabula counties and is the after-hours contact for county mental health agencies. The volunteers who man the phones are trained and supervised by on-staff professionals. There also is the Survivors of Suicide Support Group.
Family Recovery Center promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities with education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral health issues.
For more information contact FRC at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, email@example.com. FRC is funded, in part, by United Way of Northern Columbiana County.