Bringing Suicide Into the Open

A black and white portrait of young sad and depressed man sitting on a couch with his head in his hands

Suicide is an epidemic that is endemic. The thoughts of taking one’s life doesn’t just happen overnight. It is like an enemy at the door that keeps on knocking. Knocking. Screaming to be let into the psyche, and it’s literally breathtaking when it wins.

Its potent presence is something we’d rather not think about. Once in the impulses of the brain, there’s no relief from its call.

It’s true, there are people who don’t take the call, they know it’s there, and they choose everyday not to take the bait. Its call is not unlike the addictive quality of an opioid.

Fighting Suicidal Tendencies

Recently, Pastor Jarrid Wilson took his own life. I didn’t know him, yet his story is certainly compelling. If you read anything about him, his fight to blast the internal voice to end his life, was made public by him. He took it to the people he supported. He took it to his beloved church. He made it his cause.

Because he knew. He knew he had to attempt to quiet the internal angst by bringing it out into the open.

Externalizing what we want to hide often quiets the potency of its presence. When people experience anxiety attacks, one of the greatest fears is being seen in a moment of emotional duress. Yet, when the fear of embarrassment abates because they’ve chosen to share what’s happening with them, the anxiety often quiets. The anxiety is fed by a projection of how others will react or fear of losing control or feelings of humiliation.

Fear, anxiety, and suicide love partnerships. They are part of the emotional feeding frenzy of pervasive thoughts. The suicides we hear about in the news will often occur in clusters. As was the case with Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. Permission given. One minute, the pastor is eulogizing a woman who suicided, and it seems he found his partner, perhaps his permission giver, and the cry could no longer be ignored.

What a valiant effort to help others find relief while he struggled.

Support for Suicidal Loved Ones

Suicide is an epidemic that is endemic. If you have a loved one who struggles with life, please know that when someone makes up their mind, and the brain has latched onto the thoughts, it is hard to be released from those desires.

Keep talking to them, without begging them to be different. Be curious about what is going on in their brains. They are yearning for something, they are hungry, and even when there are offerings of food, they cannot eat.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, or have a sense that life is too hard, seek help. If you have a friend or loved one who you are concerned about, don’t do this alone. The 24 hour National Suicide hotline number is:1-800-273-8255.


Edy Nathan

Edy Nathan, MA, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and certified sex therapist with over 20 years of experience in the field of grief and trauma. She is a certified EMDR practitioner, regression therapist, and certified hypnotherapist. Her formal training as a psychotherapist integrates with her views on trauma, abuse, and death.