This week the unthinkable happened when a man murdered his wife and five children and then committed suicide. The couple recently lost their jobs and in an act of desperation allegedly developed a suicide pact which resulted in the demise of the entire family. Many people are shaking their heads in absolute shock and amazement as they try to make sense of this tragedy. Regardless to what caused the couple to lose their jobs, it is believed they felt helpless and hopeless about their situation. One of the classic signs and symptoms of depression is hopelessness. It is apparent that the husband did not see any other options available to him. In my book “The Things that Make Men Cry” you will discover that men who are unable to provide for their families are at much greater risk of suffering in silence.
This tragedy helps to underscore the need for people to get help immediately when they begin to feel boxed in. Also, it is of equal importance for family members, friends, and even acquaintances to begin to recognize some of the signs that people are beginning to unravel, especially when they are faced with major losses and traumatic events. Some of the signs that people are in trouble are sadness, appetite changes, thoughts and talk about suicide, hopelessness, and irritability. People may not say they want to kill themselves or their families, but they may speak about leaving here, or begin to give away things of importance to them. When people are depressed they may isolate themselves. Therefore,as a family member or friend, you may have to go rescue loved ones who have expressed the desire to be left alone.
What can people who are suffering in silence do? Scream out for help! Stop suffering in silence. Connect or reconnect with your spiritual source for help and strength.This includes meeting with your minister or support groups within your church, or other places of worship. Your situation may look hopeless to you, but all things are possible with God. Seek professional help when you are not thinking right, even if the professional is your primary care physician.
What can family members, friends, neighbors, churches, and communities do? When you learn that someone has lost a job, home, child, spouse, or other important person, place, or thing, reach out to that person immediately, even if they do not want you to. Don’t be a pest, but do not leave them alone either. Listen to what they are saying and if you are not sure about what they are really saying, it is probably time to get help for them. Offer to go with them to see their doctor. If they talk about harming themselves or others, call 911 immediately. It is better for your loved one to be angry with you later, than for you to live with the guilt of not saying anything. If you know your loved one has weapons or other means of harming him or herself and others, insist they remove those items or make their doctor or law enforcement aware. Pray for one another, and love unconditionally. When you know someone is in trouble, try to contact other family members and friends, and develop a schedule for checking in with them.
We are our brother and sisters’ keeper and we must do a better job of checking on one another, especially during this critical time when so many people are suffering because of a failed economy and an exhausting and devastating war. Do not judge a book by its cover and make the faulty assumption that people are incapable of doing such a thing. When people lose all hope and do not see their way out, they are capable of doing the unthinkable. This year let’s make a greater attempt to take better care of ourselves and others. You never know when someone will be writing about you or someone you know and love. If you are suffering in silence, suicide is NOT an option. Help is available so seek help NOW.