Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Silent Killer

People who suffer from bipolar disorder or depression deal with a silent killer.  That silent killer is the potential that suicide might one day take their life.  As someone who has battled this silent killer for years, I know how hard the struggle can be each day.  I call it a silent killer because it seems that is the best way to describe it because many people suffer in silence without getting help.  Even in these times mental illness is still something that people feel ashamed of and don't reach out for help.

I guess there have been so many suicides reported lately that I am concerned we are not any better off than we were a decade ago.  Last month I found out about the suicide of Jeret "Speedy" Peterson.  He had spoken out often about his battle with depression and now we are left without another talented person.  I just read on the news today that former NHL player, Rick Rypien, took his own life on Monday.  He had battled with depression for over a decade.  Also on Monday reality star of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Taylor Armstrong found her estranged husband Russel Armstrong dead.  He had hung himself after dealing with a difficult divorce, being in the media spotlight for alleged spousal abuse, and financial pressure.  While I am an advocate against violence against women because I survived an abusive marriage I still am a huge advocate of preserving life. The thing that struck me about about all of these suicides is that they all told people in their lives that they were "fine" the last time they spoke to them. 

The key to warding off the silent killer of suicide is to have a support system that knows you very well and can tell when you are not "fine" and just giving lip service.  My family members know me so well now that they know a tone in my voice that gives away my depression.  While not everyone has as much support as I do I would encourage anyone that suffers from depression to find some type of support that they can reach out to when they feel suicidal.  Mental illness should be treated just like any other medical condition and there is still so much more that needs to be done to make treatment equal to any other health conditions. 

Patrick Kennedy is a key person that is trying to push for more research on the human brain.  As his late uncle President John F. Kennedy pushed for moonshot, he calls this his new "moonshot" into inner space.  In 2008 he pushed to have mental illness health insurance coverage the same as all health conditions.  Kennedy also wants to push for the medical community to create a detailed map of the brain so that we can better understand mental illness and have better treatment.  I believe this is a good step in the right direction but so much more needs to be done before we lose even more talented people.  I don't just mean celebrities.  I mean someones mom, or your next door neighbor.  There are so many lives that are devastated after suicide kills and we should strive everyday to keep that tragedy from happening. 

9 comments:

  1. This blog is a great source of information which is very useful for me. Thank you very much.

    BEST INFORMATION ABOUT BIPOLAR DISORDER.

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  2. Thank you for standing up and reaching out to others. I was recently diagnosed with bipolar and have decided not to suffer in silence but to reach out to others. I have had a "form" of depression all of my life. People are so mean and cruel about people with a "mental disorder." It really saddens me. This has been so hard to deal with and I am still trying to accept it. May God bless you on your journey!

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  3. I was suicidal all my life. I started taking Lamictal and I never think about it. In fact, it is unbelieveable and I can't believe how much easier your day goes. It's just you saying that bipolar is a silent killer bothers me. Yes, your right but everyone thinks "we are dangerous" to them. I have never thought about hurting anyone. I have only thought about hurting me and stop because I know it would hurt others. People are so afraid of us and every evil person is diagnosed either bipolar or schizophrenic and that really bothers me. Yes, my anger has been irrational but I drove off or screamed in a pillow. Maybe because I had only me to depend on and my job was all important. Or, I wanted to be loved.

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  4. Thanks for the post and I am sorry the title bothers you. Yes I know that a lot of people think we are dangerous to others because they only profile those very very rare cases on TV . I call it a silent killer fir that reason. If more people felt the freedom to come talk to someone about it, they might still be here. I know I spoke to mother earlier this year who lost her daughter to suicide and they never knew. I spend a great deal of time trying to fight stigma and educate others but I am sad to say we are probably a long way off. Just like will all these very tragic shootings , they assume they have a mental illness and we are all like that. I still have my bad days of wanting to kill myself but I have my support group of families and friends in place and that seems to help. I also know it would hurt so many people if I did that. I did start taking Lamictal but my suicide thoughts are still with me somedays. I am glad you have found comfort with it and I know a lot of people do with it.

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  5. What I dont understand is : why is depression given much importance? Yes, thinsg happen, we get depressed, hopeless, faithless, some things kills us but then that's life. And even you are dxd bipolar and go in a depression , there is trigger hidden somewhere in the sufferer's brain and that needs to be recognised and dealt with. A dependency on meds is an escapist's view, an easy way out. The problem, the trigger has to be recognised first, which is clearly something MEDS don't do. Therre is a need to identify he issue and do soemthing about it. And that will be a better solution.

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    1. Thank your comments but I have to strongly disagree. You may know someone who lives with this illness but everyone is different. Until you deal with this illness on a daily basis you really cannot quite get it. You do not think that I have tried everything possible. I have tried going without meds and tried herbs and a different diet as well as talk therapy. The bottom line is I HATE taking medication because the side effects are awful but it is the one thing after many different treatments that actually keeps my mood swings from completely disturbing my life. I think everyone has to deal with the illness with what works for them.

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    2. I must also add that viewing any of us that suffer with a mental illness as using medication as an escapist view is not truly understanding it and can be dangerous for those that need medication. I would say most of us do not like taking medication but it is necessary. You are correct stress is a huge factor that can bring on Mania but with clinical depression and I stress clinical depression I normally do not find an outside factor. Yes I do know what depression feels like that seems to be from an outside factor such as my very abusive marriage. There is a huge difference between the two. I had to go through a lot of therapy for that but the depression from my bipolar disorder does not feel the same way and no matter how much you try to make it go away it does not without help from a doctor. I have been guilty too many times of trying to do it without medication and that has never ended well for me. I believe in doing everything you can to keep the moods stable such as diet. exercise, support and working through issues. However for me taking medication with all of that is necessary.

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  6. But the underlying fact is : the depression is an outcome, the end result of a trigger, which needs to be idnetified and dealt with. A thing which MEDS dont do, MEDS are an easy way out, an escapist's view. I got BP friend too and its either the stress or just plain depression which is triggered by something...like a hidden monster in the past, you don't know about it but its there. Its probably the meds which blur your memory, but the effect is intense and recurrent even you don't remember and cant put a finger on it.
    Bottom line: your troubles are yours only, and escapists outlook never helps.
    What we run from is what haunts us.

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    1. The fact that you say that medications are the easy way out is hurtful and trust me is is not the easy choice. I respect that you have a friend with Bipolar Disorder but I must stress that everyone is different. Trust me this is one of the happier times of my life with very little stress but the medication is necessary for me as much as I hate the side effects. I find it dangerous to try to insist that medication is an escape and it makes a lot of people feel guilty and that they need to stop their medication because society condemns it as well as most living with a mental illness. The facts are that Bipolar Disorder is an illness that has an imbalance of serotonin. I wished and pray often that they could find better understanding of this illness and perhaps better treatment but this is just where we are at the moment. I can tell you how many times in my life that I was stable one day and then boom out of no where I would get sooo depressed and nothing worked except changing medications. I have tried a lot of different treatment and this is what works best. I could sit in therapy for a weak and have at times and it does not fix my serotonin. So please just try to understand there is no one great solution but do not condemn those that need medication.

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