Depression and Suicide Links

By Jeenie Gordon:

This excerpt was taken from Too Soon to Say Goodbye, Healing and Hope for the Suicide Victims and Survivors, and used by permission from New Hope Publishers. Co-author Jeenie Gordon is speaker, multi-book author and  a marriage and family therapist.

As a marriage and family therapist, many clients have told me something like this: “The depressive is a horrible black hole. I’ll never be able to climb out.”

Over the years, I have visibly seen the signs of depression and heard the sighs. Not much is said about it by the client, as they are in so deep that expression is nearly impossible. They are a living zombie. No feelings, little thoughts, and despair envelopes them like a black thick cloud – one from which they see no escape or hope.

For them, it is overpowering and each day they sink deeper into the mire of hopelessness and helplessness. My concern is that sometimes depression and suicide may be linked.

As much as I try to empathize and encourage, it often does not get through. I sometimes wonder if they hear because of the cloudiness of their brain.

I recall what happened to a Christian medical doctor whom I knew personally. We were on a psychological leadership team together and knew each other quite well. He was barely thirty, had a thriving business, was highly intelligent, and fun to be with.

One day I heard him speak to a group of therapists on the topic of depression. He gave personal details of his lifelong struggle, especially during his adolescent years. They evidently were quite horrendous and filled with worry, self-doubt, and darkness.

As colleagues, we wrongly assumed those days were in the past, as we had never seen that side of him. He was compassionate and competent, and kept his depression well hidden. Some of the men had recently had lunch with him, as was their practice, and observed nothing unusual.

Shortly after the address, however, he carefully laid out a plan for his wife and children. Then in a rented motel room, he put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

Our group of professionals was shaken to the core. How could we have missed all the signs of depression and suicide? We were trained to know, trained to respond. Yet, we were unaware.

Spouses, parents, friends, and coworkers, to name a few, can miss the signs, as they are so well concealed. Other times, there are indications – statements of despair, giving away personal possessions, isolation, deep depression, among others.

In therapy when I encounter signs, I carefully and kindly ask the person about it. If they admit they have suicidal thinking, I check to see whether they have a plan in place. If they do, I step into action – possibly making a call to a family member, get them into a psychiatric hospital for a psychological evaluation, put them in touch with a psychiatrist for medication, or their primary care physician. Sometimes suicide and depression are indeed connected.

The good news is that medication for severe depression is a God-send and is available. I have seen scores of clients come out of the pit and begin to live healthy lives, leaving the suicidal thoughts behind.

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If depressed and suicidal, get help by dialing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a free, 24-hour hotline. IF IN IMMEDIATE DANGER of harming yourself or someone else, please call 911.1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or (in Spanish)
1-877-SUICIDA (1-877-784-2432).
Our blog, Thinking About Suicide, offers personal stories and prayers from those who have overcome the urge to commit suicide or lost someone to suicide. We also list resources related to depression, bullying, cutting and other mental health related topics or news.
Use our SEARCH box at the top of the page to find articles on specific topics. Our authors hope to encourage you and remind you that others in situations like yours have found hope and help. We hope and pray you do too. However, we also encourage you to get local help if you are suicidal: call a counselor or the suicide prevention hotline to connect personally with someone who can help you.

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