The dangers of assumptions

Recently, if you’ve read the news anywhere on the East Coast of the USA, you likely heard about Miss USA 2019, Chelsie Kryst, dying by suicide. After the story, I heard many people asking, “Why would someone who has it all jump from a window to her death?” This question assumes Chelsie had it all…One can hardly imagine she would struggle with depression or be affected by cyber-bullying.

I didn’t know her but I have known many who struggle with depression and anxiety. The reality is we all struggle with something. One of the most dangerous things we can do is assume everything is ok all the time. Often we are simply too busy or consumed with our own lives or selves to simply ask someone with genuine care and concern if he/she is ok or doing well. Maybe someone did ask Chelsie, but is seems as if for some reason she didn’t feel able to reach out for help.

Don’t let this be the case with those around you. There are some warning signs for suicide such as: talking about wanting to die or go away, asking about ways to kill oneself, communicating feelings of hopelessness, feelings of being trapped or a burden to others, increase use of drugs/alcohol, changes in sleep or eating habits, extreme mood swings or isolated oneself. These are signs you should look for, but let me share some that aren’t so obvious or listed on a prevention website:

-Pay attention to someone on social media and notice if people are posting a ton of negative things online about the person. Or is the person seemingly seeking to have a need met based on their posts.

-Consider if someone has increasing bouts of anger in someone you know.

-Is there persons making odd comments or displaying behavior that seems a little off for the person.

-Are you noticing changes in someone’s appearance.

-What about changes in performance or attendance?

-Honestly, any change is likely due to something the person is feeling good or bad. Ask what is different?

My biggest piece of advice for this is to pay attention to others. Be kind. Be compassionate. Ask uncomfortable questions about how others are really doing and give them a person to talk to-YOU. Be present, be available. In doing so, YOU may just be the person who prevents another human from ending his or her life. Make it a point to seek others out. Let others know they matter.

Finally, if you are the person struggling, please talk to someone and if you have no one, call this number 1-800-273-8255. You are important and YOU MATTER.

Dr. Atwell

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