Blog 4: Chapter 12 (Suicide) + Awareness

After taking this course, I have more knowledge about issues concerning death and how it affects our lives.  What stood out the most to me was the chapter on suicide.  The discussion on suicide was well-done, but I feel that though this is a difficult subject to discuss, we should bring more awareness to this subject.  For the sake of brevity, I will focus this blog on adolescent/adult suicide and awareness. I will also draw from my personal experiences. My goal for this blog is to educate others about suicide, take away some of the stigma whenever suicide is discussed, and to uplift people.  Due to the nature of the subject, I will do my best to be sensitive in how I discuss this topic.  I ask that you do the same with your comments.

Mature Topic about sucide

Mature Topic about suicide

Life is hard, especially when one is trying to find him or herself in this world.  It’s even harder when you’re stressed and you have a difficult time coping.  Everyone should be aware of a few of the warning signs for suicide : depression, anger, thinking about suicide, recklessness, and more.  High school and college students have a lot of pressure to succeed in school, at home, and in life.  That pressure to do well can overwhelm people, along with the negative feelings when they don’t succeed or feel worthy.  It is important for us to notice these signs and be brave enough to ask if one has the desire to commit suicide.  What I would like to emphasize the most is for people to be slow to listen and quick to help when someone shares what is hurting him or her.

Everyone can learn to be aware of suicide.

Everyone can learn to be aware of suicide.

I have had to deal with suicide in my own life- my own suicide attempt when I was 17.  I don’t want to be arrogant and say that my experience was the same as another person’s.  It is demeaning to the individual and I look ignorant.  I can say that the loneliness and despair I felt was painful.  When I was 17, I had a lot of events happening in my life.  I didn’t fit in my school’s cliques because I didn’t act the way I was expected.  I was bullied, occasionally because of my race (I am of Hispanic and African American heritage) and because I chose to have friends who looked at my character instead of my appearance and I did the same.  I did have family problems as well.  During an argument that my parents had between each other, I tried to stab myself with a knife.  My mother took the knife away from me before I harmed myself.  She held me, and I realized at that moment, how much she would miss me if I had succeeded.  The police came to our house and confiscated the knives.  I wasn’t baker-acted or hospitalized (as I wasn’t hurt, thank goodness) though.  In the short-term, I was glad that my mother intervened.  We talked somewhat about the problems I’ve had and how they bugged me.  It took until college for me to better understand what I was going through.  Through counseling, I discovered that I had depression.  I could communicate with my counselor, who was understanding and didn’t shame me for being depressed or getting help.  At around the same time, I found God.  It took me a while, but I learned how special and valuable I was but how everyone else is special, unique, and valuable too.  Today, I still have to manage my depression, but I’m doing better.  I have a wonderful niece, a fuzzy kitty, a loving girlfriend, and others who are supportive of me.

I know that not everyone has a happy ending, so to speak.  That’s why we have to be aware and open our hearts when we hear or learn about suicide.  Looking back, I wish I would have had the resources that I have now when I was in high school.   We can make a difference and save lives.

 

You can make a difference in a person's life!

You can make a difference in a person’s life!

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Aaron’s Blog 3: Responsibilities of EOL

After reading “Taking Responsibility for Death”, I believe that Americans do have some level of responsibility in planning for end-of-life issues regarding themselves.  It would be very wise for Americans to make their wishes known concerning treatment and death while they are able to.  From there, the individual who made his or her “plan” should discuss this with loved ones and healthcare providers.    Having decisions like these made in advance can save families from heartache and frustration because they now know what a patient wants to happen to them.  Families of patients with advanced directives should respect the decisions made in said documents, but at the same time, should be consulted when they are made.  The patient’s healthcare providers should be informed of their advanced directives and respect the decisions made (provided they are legal, of course).  If the providers give their patients service that isn’t patient-oriented, it will be difficult to understand what their patients are asking for.  Family members should have conversations with healthcare providers, especially if their suggestions conflict with the wishes made in advanced directives.  The focus on being prepared for death is for patients to be treated with dignity, respect, and autonomy instead of being taken advantage of by well-meaning family members that are ignorant of their loved one’s wishes, and healthcare serves that emphasize a profit over people.

 

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Aaron’s Post 2: Medicine and EOL (Topic 2)

The article, “Letting Go” made me reflect on medicine and what it should due for end of life patients.  In my opinion, medicine and other treatments should relieve the physical pain of patients, but at the same time, it shouldn’t increase the physical or emotional pain that they are going through.  The patients in “Letting Go” received aggressive treatment in order to cure their illnesses, but were unhappy and experienced even more pain and suffering.  Talking about options for treatment when there is no chance for a cure can be frightening, but hope can be found in these situations.    I do agree with the article discussing how the goal of treatments changed from living longer to making the best use of the time the patients are alive.  With that new objective, the patients and their families managed to enjoy their time with each other in comparison to when they were receiving aggressive treatments.

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If I had to make that decision for myself or especially for a loved one, I admit that I would feel very afraid.  Once I am over the shock of dying, I would choose to seek pain relieve options over extending my life in general.  It would be another story for me to make a decision like that for another person.  When I read “Letting Go” I thought of Sara Monopoli’s situation and placed myself in my husband’s shoes.  It would be extremely distressing to see my wife (if I was married) in pain and worry about her impending death.  Despite my Christian faith and my own personal views of death, I would feel very afraid of watching someone I love die.  If my wife had made her wishes known about end of life treatment concerning herself,  I would choose to follow her wishes, regardless of my personal feelings, whether they be fighting the illness to the death (no pun intended), pain relieve, or other options.  If, for whatever reason, I had to make that decision for her, I would focus on enjoying the time we have together that remains.  Making a decision like this can be very difficult on the patient and family members.  Reading this article was informative and a tearjerker for me.

Enjoying one more beautiful sunrise

Enjoying one more beautiful sunrise