Never Make a Fatal Decision to Fix a Temporary Problem
Editor’s note: This column discusses suicide. Please find resources for help at the end of the column.
Living with a disability or an illness is difficult, not only for the patient, but for his family and his caregivers, as well, and it’s not uncommon for those dealing with a chronic illness to become so overwhelmed by symptoms that they begin to have suicidal thoughts. One of the best pieces of advice I received when I was struggling with my own illness was to never make a long-term decision because of a temporary situation.
I was reminded of this advice recently when I saw a post in the Cushing’s disease and pituitary gland tumor support group I am in that was left by a member who shared a goodbye letter she had written to her loved ones four years earlier when she had been suffering from her own symptoms. Because this person ultimately made the decision not to end her life, she was able to share this with the other members of the group. Not everybody makes this choice and that decision can have far-reaching consequences for many surrounding people.
Cushing’s disease can cause a person to suffer from mood swings, which can lead to him being overwhelmed by his own emotions. This is a common symptom, and it is not unusual for the person experiencing these changing moods to begin to contemplate ending his life. That doesn’t mean the person necessarily wants to end his life, but he might begin to think that no longer living would ease the burden his illness is placing on his family. This is easy to understand because someone living with a chronic condition knows that his disease affects more than him; his loved ones and family and caregivers are also affected by the illness.
I’m writing this to those people who, like the member of the support group, might think they are running out of hope, and also to the loved ones and caregivers for those people who are dealing with a chronic illness. Together, they might be able to help their loved one deal with mood swings or thoughts of ending their life. For someone who is battling suicidal thoughts or any unwanted thoughts, the following are some things that are recommended to help sort these feelings out and deal with them.
Keep a mood log
A mood log is a way to track changes in emotions, and it can also help a patient and his caregivers notice if there are any patterns of thought or behaviors that keep coming up and what might be bringing them on. A mood log is a good way to both catalog our feelings and to explore what might be triggering them, which can help us to process them.
Keep an accountability partner
A person experiencing unwanted thoughts can trust their accountability partner to help them to come to grips with any behavioral changes and difficult feelings. Ideally, this person should be able to point out any problems and also help to provide solutions for changing the patient’s outlook and behavior.
Maintaining a commitment to keep communicating and not shut down could be the one decision that can change everything for a person dealing with unwelcome thoughts or feelings of hopelessness. They should talk to someone they trust or to someone who is qualified and can offer sound guidance. There are also crisis lines available 24/7 and staffed by trained professionals who can speak to someone specifically about intrusive thoughts.
Anyone who is showing signs of losing hope or expressing suicidal thoughts should be encouraged to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Note: Cushing’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cushing’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Cushing’s.