Suicide Isn’t Always Maladaptive: 5 Ways To Think About Suicide
If you had to discuss the topic of why someone may consider suicide would you be able to? Would you be prepared or completely caught off guard?
My experience has been that most people struggle to even conceptualize why someone would ever consider suicide, much less be able to discuss it.
Broaching the topic of suicide with a young person can feel like one of the most difficult things to do. I hope to change this by offering practical information in my new book.
This video introduces important aspects of my book (publication 2/1/18 for Kindle & Nook. 5/1/18 for paperback)
What motivated you to write another book?
While working with adolescents in a residential treatment facility for over 2 years at the beginning of my career, I had the opportunity to talk to many of the adolescents in the program who has struggled with living in the community for a lot of years. Most of the teens struggled with mental and behavioral health problems since age 2. With a long history of challenges and a complex family dynamic, it’s no surprise these kids considered suicide multiple times in their lives.
Many of these kids felt suicide was their only hope of ever experiencing peace of mind. For these kids, suicide was a “ticket” to a better life. Sadly, the majority of adults in society fail to recognize the nature of suicidal thoughts and tend to get caught up in the fact that suicide is a “bad word.” Most adults try to get rid of the thoughts or force kids into treatment without considering why the thoughts may be “adaptive.”
What do you mean by adaptive?
Adaptivity is the ability to adapt to whatever is occurring in our lives. It is the ability to be flexible and move along in life with the “tools” we have. Most kids who are struggling with mental or behavioral problems tend to struggle with adaptation. It isn’t easy to adapt to life when your depression is so bad that you cannot get up every morning. It isn’t easy to adapt to the changes in life when you are a 14-year-old girl with severe depression and chronic suicidal thoughts. The only way to “adapt,” even if negative, is to consider a way out and that often includes suicidal thoughts. Suicidal thoughts serve a purpose in the life of teens who feel helpless. We need to understand this before we try to correct the thoughts, change them, or even “treat” them in therapy.
I believe there are 5 ways we, as adults, should look at suicide. Instead of seeing them as a maladaptive, negative, and unhealthy way of living life, we need to see them as adaptive for the teen at this time.
5 Things to keep in mind about suicide is that:
- It is adaptive and a way to “cope.”
- It may be the only thing that makes sense to the suffering person.
- Therapy may not treat suicidal thoughts because they tend to be existential, spiritual, and philosophical.
- We should not shame, blame, or make the individual experiencing thoughts feel “strange.” Rather, we should allow them to invite us into their thought processes.
- Although depression may be a major cause of the suicidal thoughts, there is typically more to the story than just depression. We should be open to the individual sharing multiple reasons for why dying makes more sense to them.
To learn more about my book, watch the video here:
Looking forward to sharing this book with you. Please feel free to post comments or questions in the comment section below or on Youtube. And please hit a thumbs up on this video to make it available to others who may benefit.
Take good care