Monday, December 6, 2010

How Far Do We Go

There was an article in the newspaper a few months ago, where a football player committed suicide. He was no longer playing football as he expected to be playing; 1st string, he was in debt, and he was only 23 years of age. He was an impressive football player in college and was growing in the National Football League. So, why did he commit suicide, after two knee surgeries, his finances squandered, with his family problems escalating? Why could he not find help, was life too intolerable for him? It is said desires are unconscious, in our young man’s case those desires could have been changed. I thought about this, his age, his career and began thinking what if he were 20 or 30 years older. We think of suicides of the young, the notables in society, especially amongst minorities, very seldom do we think about suicide in people who are in the mid-fifties and later on in life. There happens to be 17 deaths (suicides) per 100,000 people in the 75-85 years of age group and this may not even be a correct figure. There are silent suicides such as deaths from overdose, starvation or dehydration, these methods stemming from unworthiness, insecurity or low self-esteem. These emotions destroy the positive ideas and make positive the negative ones. The elderly have a greater rate of completing suicide, because they own firearms, this is usually found to be in double suicides, married couples, spouses whom have aged. What has this to do with a 23 year old football player? The elderly and those in their middle aged years have lived a long time, most without any notoriety and have raised families or never have. Our football player never gave himself the chance to envision and live life in a positive aspect, nor did he want to conquer his fears which had led to his untimely demise. What’s the reason for suicide in the elderly? Loss of interest, lack of self caring, refusing medical help, heartbreak, feelings of hopelessness, low self-esteem, even putting their life in order, there are lifetimes of memories with the elderly which can cause the one negative thought in life to change it all. The high risk groups are the aged, white males, and the divorced and the strongest factor is having a psychiatric disorder, such as depression which is often the culprit. Society looks at the suicide of youth as a tragedy greater than those of the middle age or elderly. So, why is it not preventable? One reason is that the public sees depression and suicide as normal when it comes to aging or even notoriety in youth. Seemingly treatment for depression seems to be the necessity to keep anyone from suicide and though there are many treatments for depression, the best thing anyone person can do if they realize a friend or family member is suffering, from sadness, grief or loss, even with temporary moods of depression, is to help them realize they should accept professional help with other family members that care and hope that psychotherapy and medication can help them recover from their depression, which in the long run is better than self destruction.

Written by Donald Sammons

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