I recently visited friends in Montana. My friend told me that the suicide rate in Montana is the highest of all 50 states. Death of depression was all around us. Montana is so beautiful that I had a hard time believing this statement.
Looking out the window
One morning I woke early. I sat in her living room. It has glass all around, and the beauty beyond those windows is extraordinary. The grass was green. The hills and mountains extended forever. And the sky never ended.
It was peaceful, and the closest neighbor was a mile or more away. It was the dream of every person on earth.
As I sat in that window, I wondered what it must be like in Montana in the winter. I bet the snow is a wonder to behold. But I also believe the rate of depression in Montana increases in the wintertime.
The summers are short, and the winter days are dark and long. The average annual snowfall is 62 inches, which could be the dream of everyone who loves to snow ski.
I do not ski, and I do not enjoy the cold and snow. So, to live in a state with this much snow is not a dream of mine.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
One of the reasons I do not like cold and snow is because I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or better known as winter depression. When the winter days shorten and the sun is farther from the earth, I get depressed. I need long days, lots of vitamin D, and the sun close to the planet to produce serotonin in my brain.
In the winter months in the state I live in, I take an antidepressant.
In this year of 2018, antidepressants are more acceptable. It was not that long ago I could not comfortably tell anyone that I get depressed in the winter. Depression has carried a stigma, and people thought you were weak if you talked about how you felt. Many people are not as bold as I and not comfortable telling anyone about their depression.
Suicide In Montana
According to an article by the Nate Chute Foundation:
Montana’s suicide attempts and deaths are almost epidemic in proportion. The national average for youth suicide rates in Montana is close to double. Over the past 40 years Montanas ranking for suicide is in the top five in the US.
High in the Montana Range people have more access to alcohol and firearms. Montana’s high rate of suicide is because of isolation, mental illness, the feeling of being a burden, and the thought that depression is not acceptable.
I have never had suicidal ideation. I have a very supportive husband and take my medication during the winter months.
But many people are not as fortunate as I am. They have nowhere to turn. They have very little knowledge about depression or the medications that can help them. And they may not have the finances to afford the help they need.
If a person is in a bad situation in their life, they may feel all is hopeless. They may not see a way out except to commit suicide. When they get to this state, it can be all downhill from there. They then begin the stages of planning. They may feel there is nowhere to turn for help.
Have you ever felt this way? Maybe you are in an abusive life, or are you homeless? Or any number of other situations that you can not see the light at the end of your tunnel. All feelings of hopelessness unless checked and or treated can lead to thoughts of suicide.
Sadness creeps in
Depression creeps up on a person. It first starts as anger where something is wrong with everything. If a person is not aware of this, they may attempt to self-medicate. In a state like Montana, there is very little to do in the winter. A lot of people will spend time with friends drinking. They may be self-medicating with alcohol. Some people self medicate with drugs or self-mutilation.
Alcohol and drugs perpetuate the depression, and it deepens. You can not stop depression without help.
It is a severe heartfelt pain deep inside of you that wrenches your soul. It convinces you that you are not worthy, and the world would be better off without you around.
The pain becomes so intense that all you can think about is to end it all and stop your pain and worthless exitance.
Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D. wrote a book called “Night Falls Fast” that talks about suicide and depression. You can find this book on Amazon if you want to read it. I do recommend it as she states the feelings so well.
In times like these when it feels like all is lost and your self-worth is gone is the time you need help most. To allow these emotions to consume your being will only drive you deeper into the darkness.
Seek help! I know it is hard to ask for help. I know you feel like no one cares. But this is not true. I care and if I care and I do not know you then I know there is another who also cares that you are a very important contributor to society. Now is the time to reach out. If it is too hard to tell a loved one, then tell someone you do not know. Call a hotline and talk to a person who will not judge you for the deep dark recesses you feel in your life.
Suicide is a problem for all of us
Suicide is not just a problem for the mental health world. It is a problem for all of us. I am writing to help at least one of you to see that talking about depression is acceptable. Asking for help is necessary.
Your family will be devastated and lost without you. The thoughts of unworthiness and believing the world is better without you are false. Make a call. Don’t let the darkness of loneliness surround you.
Don’t sit in that glass tower looking out over the world, feeling isolated. Reach out to someone, anyone. Your life is meaningful. You are worthy and capable of such amazing accomplishments. Set your mind to live and seek help. If you don’t do it for you, do it for those of us who care about your life.
If you have questions or I can be of assistance to you, please leave a comment. Reach out.