I’ve learned that doctors are trying to develop a predictive tool that could warn of a patient’s risk of suicide.
“We can identify those individuals with highest risk for potential suicide, but we can’t identify those who will commit suicide in the near future. In part, this is because the duration between the suicidal thought and attempt is usually only about 10 minutes,” said Dr. Igor Galynker, MD, PhD.
Suicide risk factors include psychiatric disorders, chronic physical illness, suicidal ideation, a history of suicide attempts, and poor social supports.
Galynker contends that the suicidal act itself is not a thinking process. Rather, it is an affective state.
In their clinical work, Galynker’s team has identified repeated themes. These include fear of entrapment and distorted and confused thinking. They also identified a distinct psychopathologic state or syndrome related to panic and psychosis.
Galynker and his coauthors describe the state as being “marked by ‘ruminative flooding’ (a confusing, uncontrollable and overwhelming profusion of negative thoughts) coupled with an acute ‘frantic hopelessness,’ in which not only is there a fatalistic conviction that life cannot improve, but also an oppressive sense of entrapment and imminent doom.”
All of this builds to an intolerable, confused state in which patients feel that suicidal action is the only conceivable route of escape.
I don’t know how effectively anyone can use this information but I know it is helpful to me. It may help you too, if you have lost a loved one to suicide.
While I was stuck in a dark well of misery, I blamed Max’s girlfriend for his decision to end his life. Even though he explained in a message he left that he couldn’t stand the chronic pain of his injuries and the complications that developed.
I blamed her and wanted her to suffer. I wrote about her here and demonized her without mercy.
Not too long ago, I realized how badly I had wronged her. I asked if she could forgive me.
Max loved her and felt their love was a kind of miracle. She loved him back and got this tattoo as a symbol of their love.
She loved him but couldn’t save him, just as I couldn’t save him. He would not be saved.
The other day, I confided to her that I don’t understand those mothers who go on after their child’s suicide and proceed to live a life as if it was just some chapter in their past. I cited Gloria Vanderbilt, whose son jumped out a window, right in front of her.
She agreed and suggested that Gloria Vanderbilt had simply managed to stay distracted. I said, “What, for sixty years?!” and she answered, “Yes.”
I think this is a piece of wisdom I couldn’t have found on my own.
I wish I could change so many things but of course I can’t. One thing I can do is apologize to Simone, and I’m doing it publicly. I’m sorry for hurting you. We are in this together, after all. xo