A traumatic experience!

I had just finished a meeting with an acquaintance and was on my way out of the building to pick up my child from daycare. Then I remembered I didn’t take my phone charger along and went back to the meeting room to get it. Approaching the exit door, I heard a loud shout at the same time I saw a human figure falling from the sky certainly from the building.

This person landed on their head and the impact on the floor was a loud thud. I screamed and ran to the person. Saw there were still signs of life but there was blood coming from the nostrils. I looked up to see the height from which this person fell, It was from the second floor as I saw some people looking down from there.

Other people had arrived at the scene including those on the same floor where the victim fell from. We rallied around and got a vehicle to take them to the emergency department. The victim was confirmed dead a few minutes after arrival. I was traumatized by this experience of witnessing a suicide, so much so that I avoided passing through that exit door for several months.

Depressive illness can make a person take their own life.

What could have made this person commit suicide? Were family and friends aware? Was there a suicide watch? Was this person seeing a therapist? What action could have been taken to prevent this unfortunate turn of events? This was a case of depression with suicidal ideations that were probably overlooked by those that were aware or maybe never voiced out by the victim.

Why do people become depressed?

Depressive illness is triggered by life events ranging from events that may be considered trivial to major life events such as the following:

  • Loss of a loved one, finances, or belongings,
  • Grave medical diagnoses such as terminal cancer,
  • Rejection,
  • Unreciprocated affection
  • Physical pains
  • Grief over unfulfilled expectations.

The scientific basis of depression has to do with some chemical imbalances in the brain of depressed individuals. Some people experience major life events, grieve for sometime and snap out of it. Others find it difficult to snap out and end up with depressive illness or a depressive episode.

The difference between the person who snapped out and the one who became depressed are the presence of a good support system, primary temperament and general outlook on life, genetic makeup, etc.

When do you urgently get to the emergency room

Depression becomes an emergency when a depressed person starts acting on their suicidal thoughts and ideas. At the emergency room, they are referred to and adequately treated by the appropriate doctors and therapists. More often than not, the person will need to be hospitalized for treatment.

If you are a trusted friend or ally, s/he might tell you and if you probe further, you will discover that the individual has it all planned out. Other ways you can hazard a guess that the person is most likely planning suicide are:

  • They talk about how life is worthless and they are better off dead.
  • They start to send apologies to people they hurt in the past.
  • They start reassuring their loved ones of their forgiveness. This may be a subtle way of saying goodbye.
  • They send out appreciation messages to people who had been helpful to them in the past.
  • They might write a suicide note . You would be lucky to find this before the action is completed.
  • They start hoarding tablets and other harmful substances.
  • They have a failed attempt at committing suicide. If this is not properly managed, they will plan another and are more likely to succeed the second time.

The person might not be truthful if you were to ask the question about being suicidal directly. These clues can help an observant person catch on to the plan. On the other hand, some people do not leave any cues at all.

Depressive illness can take a toll on both the sufferer and their loved ones. As a caregiver, being observant and constant reassurance can help reduce the likelihood of acting out suicidal ideations, thereby preventing suicide.

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