PAPAS: When life seems to be too much
By Rev. Paul N. Papas II
Thu Sep 04, 2008, 01:51 PM EDT
Sometimes life can be a real bear. No one said it would be a rose garden. There are times when it seems like one dump truck load after another is being dumped on us. How do you handle life when one load after another is dumped on you?
Some healthy ways to handle the tough times are talking to a trusted person who will keep your conversation confidential, go for a walk, and exercise.
Keeping your situation bottled up inside and to yourself could cause you harm. Your situation will grow, snowball, and soon seem to become so large that you will not see a way out. It is like a pressure cooker that does not have a safety release valve that could eventually blow the entire pot into pieces. This self harming behavior could lead to various risky behaviors or suicide.
Some medications, such as some antidepressants have been linked to suicide.
In March 2004, the FDA issued a Public Health Advisory about monitoring antidepressants. The advisory requested people suffering from depression, family/friends, and clinicians to closely monitor people taking antidepressants for potential worsening depression and suicidal thoughts.
The FDA recommended close observation of adults and children who take antidepressants, especially when the person first starts taking the antidepressant or when the dose is changed from say 20 milligrams to 30 milligrams.
In October 2004, the FDA focused its warning on children taking antidepressants, but asked adults also be monitored.
In January 2006, a large federally-funded study of 65,000 adults being treated for depression found that 1) suicides were rare; and 2) suicide attempts dropped by 50 percent compared to the month before patients took antidepressants. While the results are encouraging it is still important to monitor patients.
Suicide is a risk for everyone who suffers from depression, whether or not they are being treated with antidepressants.
Each person’s reaction to any medication, not just antidepressants, is different. If a person suffering from depression has suicidal thoughts or behavior, or unusual changes in behavior, then you should contact the clinician right away.
Some symptoms for people suffering from depression or situations that frequently lead to it are:
· Thoughts about suicide or dying
· Attempts to commit suicide
· New or worse depression
· Feeling nervous or restless, such as being unable to rest, relax, or remain still
· Feeling a burning or itching sensation under the skin, like it is on fire or you want to get out of your skin
· Panic attacks, such as a sudden feeling of intense anxiety in addition to a racing heart, shortness of breath, swearing, and/or trembling
· Difficulty sleeping or staying asleep
· New or worse irritability
· Acting aggressive being angry or violent
· Acting on dangerous impulses
· Extreme increase in activity and talking
· Other unusual changes in behavior or mood
· Loss of a longtime spouse
· Loss of a close friend or family member to suicide
· Giving away possessions
· Lacking interest in future plans
· Increasing drug or alcohol abuse
· Large financial losses
· Trauma victims, such as rape, incest, abuse, domestic violence, or natural disasters
· Returning veterans
You can help someone who is suicidal. Suicide is preventable. If you think someone is suicidal:
· Tell them you are concerned they may take their life
· Ask them if they are going to kill themselves. If so, ask them if they have a plan (the more detailed the plan, the greater the possibility that they will act on that plan)
· Get help immediately. Call a suicide crisis hotline, such as 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or 911, or the person’s clinician
· DO NOT leave the person alone
There is help for anyone affected by suicide. For those who attempted, but did not complete suicide, and those left behind there are many people who are ready willing and able to help you through the dark days providing hope for your future.
In this state, as in others, we have a coalition of organizations, individuals, and government agencies to help prevent suicide which can be found at: http://www.masspreventssuicide.org. You can also find recourses for assistance. NAMI is a member organization.
Let’s celebrate life together and be part of the healing.
The Rev Paul N. Papas II is a Pastoral Counselor with Narrow Path Ministries (located in MA and AZ) and current President of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Greater Framingham. NAMI Greater Framingham has support groups for family and friends in Framingham and, a new support group for consumers in Marlboro, and various Education Meetings on the first Thursday evenings of the months from September through May www.narrowpathministries.org and www.namigreaterframingham.org