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In this day and age, while depression has most certainly existed throughout all of human existence, albeit under different names and logic, it would appear that, in this era, more people suffer from bouts of depression and suicidal contemplation more so on average. It is not uncommon for someone with depression to have contemplated killing themselves at one time or another. While most people blend in, with varying degrees of success, to mask their true emotions and psychological state, others do not fare as well and will eventually deteriorate into more dangerous territory as they let on.
Those who cross deal with these issues and come across someone who also have fallen into that state of depression can typically smell out their own kind. Unfortunately, due the individualistic culture of western societies, it not easy to identify these suffering individuals in time. Now days it's extremely common for someone to have contemplated taking their lives at least once, which frankly is a serious problem. So to help identify these individuals as quickly as possible, here some signs to search for:
People who suffer from depression, no matter how hard they try to sleep, are always exhausted. Whether they get four or nine hours of sleep, they still wake up in a state of fatigue and find it unbearably arduous to operate throughout the day, constantly lacking sufficient energy and motivation, until they finally come home just spend their remaining hours of the day in abject solitude or meaningless distraction until they finally manage to achieve a few hours of peace, hoping to not awake into another day like the one before. There's not one single reason for why this happens. One might either sleep too much or too little, use drugs that either brings them down too low or too high, or none at all. Now of course this doesn't apply to every person who sleeps in too much. Of course this doesn't apply for every time you see someone who might end up sleeping too much to potentially be suicidal, but it's definitely one of the beginning stages. For example, we all know that one person in our lives who is extremely tired almost every time you see them. Someone who has trouble doing anything. People tend to avoid this person on a constant, even ostracize these people. Not even bothering to even say hello to these people. As time progresses you eventually end up crossing paths with this person and you realize they're not bad a person at all and soon you become friends. But still, you remain blind to what truly lies from underneath. The depression becomes such a strong emotion that the body physically feels like it's being weighed down constantly and in thus — have a hard time to find the energy to do anything else.
2. Lack of Concentration
It's well known that people who have suicidal thoughts tend to have a hard time paying attention to certain things. Their minds are in a different place, and given their current psychological state, there is a high probability that they are contemplating their depression, in an almost trance-like state, wishing they could be, or believing they should be, somewhere else. The pile-up and overflow of thoughts, built from over-internalization and guilt-ridden expiation, slug their way through their minds. So ingrained are they in their self-loathing, turning their attention and focus towards any other task proves to be more difficult for them than for anyone else not going though the same thing. The worst part is they think their is something actually wrong with them; thinking they're extremely stupid because they struggle to complete one task.
3. Lack of Appetite
Another red flag is when their meal sizes decreases to unreasonable portions or when meals are skipped entirely. Depression can cause a person to keep from feeling the need to eat. Even their favorite foods can be ignored. Some people will take a slow painful route in regards to taking their lives and allow their bodies to slowly disappear. It gives them enough time to say goodbye to those people that are still important to them. This is something that is actually quite common with people now —most specifically people who suffer from bulimia or anorexia. Keep an eye out for the beginning stages, and let that person know that they're so much more then what they see.
4. Lack of Interest
Not showing interest or losing interest in anything is something that is commonly mistaken for laziness when it comes to people who are potentially suicidal. They don't see a reason to try considering that they don't have anymore motivation to do much of anything. They don't feel capable of performing the task that has been given to them, or they think it is far beyond their abilities. The only thing they can do without an argument is lie down and contemplate their darkest thoughts, wondering whether or not they should bring those thoughts to fruition.
5. Loss of 'Inner Glow'
As time passes when dealing with depression, you will begin to lose colour to your face — from a lively, and bright individual into someone who looks like they could use year long vacation. They look over-worked and exhausted. Even though they do the same amount of work as another, it takes a lot more out of them mentally. They don't smile as much anymore. Life, within their eyes turns from a beautiful and colorful sight to behold into a cold stale grey scenery. Although, some people in appearance don't show this effect, but their eyes definitely will sell them out, if you pay close enough attention. They always slip up at least once.
6. Anti-Social Behavior
It's at this point where you have to be more alert and take notice. If you are at least somewhat familiar with someone who at first is full of life and extremely sociable and gradually they end up shutting out people one by one, until finally they just drift into the background, out of sight and seemingly out of mind. This is where the depression normally will start to take a serious toll on an individual and they start contemplating on not IF but HOW their life should end. Be wary of these individuals. This does not apply to every situation but it definitely is a a red flag.
7. Lack of Communication
When someone stops communicating in regards to simple generalized topics, this is normally because the depression has done an extensive amount of mental, emotional damage to the individual. They won't tell you how they're day is going, they stop making plans, they make vague remarks that leave you questioning if they're okay, and they start confining themselves into their bedrooms or any small space possible. The dark thoughts in their head have become so intriguing to them that, that is all they can really focus on now. Nothing else really matters. They think that no matter what happens outside of that room, their existence wouldn't affect anyone, so why bother moving about, interacting with people anymore? This is normally the sign of when you should be worried.
8. Night Owl Behavior
Once suicidal individuals reach this stage, it means they're getting closer to making the choice of how they plan on passing. Now of course as I have said before, this type of behavior doesn't apply in all cases but in the cases that it does, they feel more alive during the night time, the dark sky and mysterious and/or possibly gloomy feeling they receive from the night is what makes them feel like their inner mindset is presently around them physically. They take that chance to head out during the night and have fun in a way they deem comfortable for themselves. For example, a jog in the night, exploring the woods (if in the area), going to the rooftops, breathing in the night air and gazing at their surroundings, heading to the bar to drink their troubles away, or even staying up reading or watching television at night while everyone else has gone to bed. This type of behavior is common for anyone who spends a considerable amount of time alone. Some would find this quite awkward and/or extremely eerie depending on what extent the individual would take it. This is normally when the suicidal thoughts have taken it's tole and now have a hold on you. If this sounds familiar I do recommend you be worried.
9. Dramatic Personality Changes
At this stage, the depressed individual is completely unsatisfied with him or herself and their current state of life. Some may react angrily or become more sensitive in regards to things they would normally either brush off or laugh at while others may on occasion while trying to socialize take two minutes for themselves and wallow in their depressive state for at least a moment by crying, just staring blankly into space or something, recollect themselves and then join back into the lighter mood with the rest of the people around them. Most people don't tend to notice these things at first or even at all. Slowly but surely it becomes noticeable if the individual doesn't take time to be by themselves for a moment. This is one of the slip-ups that may occur.
10. Fascination with Death
Once this stage the individual has probably decided what course they will take in regards to taking their own lives. They have looked at things in regards to death repeatedly, multiple times a day, almost every day for at least a minimal of four to eight months at least, if not, for quite a few years. This stage normally hits after a few years for people who have at least tried to treat their suicidal tendencies, but nothing changed, or the individual's situation in their personal life has not subsided and has taken the depression to a whole new level. Sometimes they even go to stores where certain items that would claim their death are sold to at least just look at them or even contemplate if that's the way the wish to go, cause their opinion might change based off of just holding the weapon in their hands.
11. Acceptance In Decision
This is one of the final stages towards a potential suicide. The individual has finally accepted their decision and is sure that they want to die. they've come to terms with how they plan to go about it and no longer feel the need to cry or mope around any longer. No more, locked doors or extreme questionable behavior. The beginning of their end is now what they face. If there is a person who has popped into your head that fits all the criteria thus far, I do suggest that you reach out to them as their is a good chance that they have already set a date as to when they plan to leave this world behind.
12. Sudden Happiness
This is the one stage MOST people fall for. If you are familiar with it, this will worry you extremely because this is when their "end date" is near. To the average human being, they would say that a person is getting better or seems like they will be okay, but a good chunk of the time, that is nowhere near the case. The individual is just happy that the pain they've been going through will finally come to an end. They will no longer have to feel anything much longer. For a suicidal person, this is something that they crave on a constant basis. To no longer feel the heavy weight that they carry on a daily basis is the only happy thought they may be able to think of, but doesn't necessarily mean it will be strong enough to keep them from doing so.
13. Search For Final Stage
For those who are extremely close to their resting place, they normally will go out for long walks, seemingly taking in some fresh air, but they will travel no matter how far if the place is important enough to them, until they deem it fit for their final moments. If you do end up seeing someone do something like this, I do recommend you sit them down and listen to what they have to say. There is a good chance at this point, they will no longer hide their plans to those whom they trust not to speak out. And even if they don't say it blatantly, you will hear an almost eerie or unsettling undercurrent to their voice. You will feel unsettled by it. You're gut will try to warn you of something. Listen to it. This is when it might be your last chance to save this person....
14. Giving Away Important Momentous
At this stage, there is a good chance it's too late to change this person mind. They will give you, if you are that important to them, something significant that could leave a mark saying they were alive and that you meant something to them. They don't expect you to really care much about it, frankly, they don't even expect you to hold it with any significant value. They just wanted to say that you mean something to them. This could even be something as simple as possible changes to their Last Will and Testament. These types of acts that occur are something you should always take seriously and never shrug off. Always, in this moment you should ask why.
15. Saying Goodbye
This is when they've done all they wanted to do down to the last task on their to-do list and finally as they close their eyes about to take their lives, they might actually smile for a change, a smile that might touch their eyes for the first time in a while, for possibly the last time. And in that moment they take that step and in possibly few moments later, they're gone...
These signs are not hard to notice, you just have to open your eyes and really take a look at what's really happening around you. I definitely, for one, have seen too many friends leave this life because I didn't pay enough attention. And lord knows that I regret not doing so. Maybe if I had just reached out a bit more, instead of just focusing too much on the things within my own little bubble, I would've been able to stop them from doing so, and I wouldn't feel as alone as I did now. These people are normally someone who has been there for you at one time or another in important moments. Moments that made you smile when you thought you couldn't or moments that changed your life significantly and you know that if they hadn't been there, you might not have been able to be where you are right now without them. Or maybe it is someone who cares for you on a daily basis. Someone who helps you keep moving. Always let someone know that you care. Especially those who are close to you. Do all that you can so that you have nothing to regret. These individuals will appreciate you being there for them, even if they don't potentially show it at first. Within time, you will make an impact and save a life.