Suicide: The Final Straw

Some of them are lucky enough to survive suicide and drug overdose: singer Courtney Love (oxycontin), character actor Gary Busey (cocaine), young actress Lindsay Lohan (cocaine and pain killers), and just recently, comedian Owen Wilson (sleeping pills) and rock babe Amy Winehouse (mixture of heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine and booze).

But others succumbed to their desperation and no one was able to snatch them from the claws of death. Remember the legendary King of Rock & Roll Elvis Presley, screen goddess Marilyn Monroe, musician Jimi Hendrix (barbiturates) and very recently, bombshell Anna Nicole Smith (chloral hydrate, benzodiazepines).

What has driven these celebrities to take their own lives by way of suicide and drug overdose? Aren’t fame and fortune more than enough to make a person happy and contented?

People end their lives or attempt suicide to escape feelings of rejection, hurt, or loss. Or it could be anger, shame and guilt that forced them to believe that life is not getting any better for them. Still others might feel being worthless and a burden that dying seemed to be the only way out.

Everyone feels overwhelmed by difficult emotions or situations at some point in their lives. While most people can pull through their problems with determination and hope, some would simply resort to suicide or drug overdose. Some people are more resilient and better able to deal with life’s setbacks and difficulties. Others are more prone to wallow in depression and self-defeating thoughts.

Most people who commit suicide or overdose may be suffering from depression. Depression is a condition that leads people to focus on their failures and disappointments in order to understate their own capabilities or self-worth. People with severe depression have forgotten to look at their blessings. Instead, they wallow in self-pity and could not see through the possibility of overcoming their problems, desperately believing that things will never go right for them again.

Depression is like a dark cloud that veils a person’s mind, thus, affecting the way a person thinks and feels about the situation he or she is in. It distorts the thinking process. This is the reason why people who feel suicidal may not even realize thay they are depressed. They do not recognize that it is the depression, not the situation, that influences them to see things negatively.

Like most celebrities, people with alcohol and drug problems are at high risk for suicidal thinking and behavior due to the substances depressive effects on the brain. Celebrities are prone to substance abuse because of their environment and lifestyle. Abuse of these substances can definitely bring on serious depression.

The problem is, when people are depressed (and sometimes they are not aware of it), they turn to alcohol to drown out their problems or hook on drugs to have an escape without realizing that the depressive effects of alcohol and drugs have on the brain will only intensify their depression even more.

Alcohol and drugs can also alter a person’s rational judgment by interfering with their ability to assess risk, make good choices, and come up with solutions to problems. That is why most suicides happen when people are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, or caused by drug overdose.

There are people who plan and orchestrate a suicide in advance. They even write letters or notes to say their last words. However, there are many cases when suicide attempts happen impulsively without notice. Situations such as a breakup, a big fight with a parent, an unintended pregnancy, or being victimized (rape, sexual abuse) in any way can make someone feel desperately upset. Such eventuality, on top of an existing depression, could serve as the final straw.

Some people who attempt suicide really intend to die. But not all. Suicide attempt is just a way to attract attention; a cry for help; a way to express deep emotional pain. They can’t say how they feel, so, for them, attempting suicide feels like the only way to get their message across. Unfortunately, many people who really didn’t mean to kill themselves end up dead or severely damaged.

Consulting professional counselors and therapists for advice can provide emotional support and can help build coping skills in dealing with problems. Joining a support group with people who are going through the same problems can help provide a caring environment where one can talk freely about problems with people who share the same concerns.

Once depression is lifted due to proper therapy or treatment, the distorted thinking is cleared. The person is ready to face life once more in a new perspective and can find pleasure, energy, and hope once again.

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