Living With Epilepsy and the Battle Against Suicide
June 6, 2016
“Hope is a necessity for normal life and the major weapon against the suicide impulse.” – Karl A. Menninger
Epilepsy and the risk of suicide is a serious matter. I didn’t grasp the full scope of the severity of the matter until two individuals reached out for help feeling as though they were clinging on to the end of their rope. That they had declared within themselves that they had nothing more to live for. No longer wanting to wrestle with the lack of understanding from family, no longer wanting to be a burden to their family.
Research from Denmark indicates that people with epilepsy are three times more likely to commit suicide than the general population, and women with epilepsy have a greater suicide risk than men.
Newly diagnosed epilepsy patients were more than five times more likely to commit suicide than patients who had been diagnosed more than six months previously.
“Even when mental illness and other suicide risk factors were controlled for, people with epilepsy were at increased risk for suicide,” researcher Per Sidenius, MD, of Aarhus University Hospital
There are over 65 million men, women and children all around the world on the very same journey with epilepsy. Some live it in a more challenging way than others, however, not a single one of us are alone in this fight.
Suicide is not the answer to the epilepsy problem. It only creates more problems and heartache for those who offer love and support. Suicide isn’t what any of us want to do to our loved ones.
How many have had suicidal thoughts or attempts along their journey? You are not alone if you’ve said yes within yourself or in the comment section. The most important factor is that you are still here today and that you keep on going. Suicidal thoughts and attempts have no place in your journey. Keep in mind, you are seeking a cure.
What Do Suicidal Thoughts/Attempts Do?
Slow your journey down
Prevent you from being a light in someone else’s journey
Hurt those who love and care for you
What Does Leaving Suicidal Thoughts/Attempts Behind Do?
Boost your motivation, hope and faith
Allows you to be a light in someone else’s journey
Comfort those who love and care for you.
Little known fact:
Many anti-epilepsy medications are known to cause suicidal behavior and thoughts. If you feel as though your anti-epilepsy medication may be causing or aggravating your emotions, speak with your doctor immediately.
Why Battle Suicide?
As a person with epilepsy, each of us are unique. We are blessed to be alive. We have a mission to advocate and educate the world. Fulfill our dreams to the best of our ability. Be a beacon of light to those traveling the same road and similar roads. Uplift our loved ones and friends who support and care for us. We have a mission and that mission does not include nor will it ever include suicide.
Have I ever had thoughts of suicide? Of course I have. I believe many living with epilepsy have. However, I know that God has a greater purpose for my life and silencing my life would only hamper his purpose for my life.
God has a greater purpose for each person living with epilepsy. Perhaps that purpose has not yet been fulfilled. Or is in the midst of being fulfilled.
Think about all of the celebrities with epilepsy. Olympic Athlete Dai Green, Actor Danny Glover, Former NFL Running Back Jason Snelling, Singer-Songwriter Neil Young, Singer Susan Boyle, Pawn Stars’ Rick Harrison just to name a few. Each of them did not allow epilepsy to stand in the way of fulfilling their dreams. Suicide was not an option for them.
If you are gripped by thoughts of suicide, reach out to a trusted family member or friend.
Also, you can call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. They are available 24 hours every day.
Remember that together, as each of us take the journey of overcoming epilepsy, we are stronger together.
I am a happily-ever-after wife, an Epilepsy Diagnosee, Advocate for Epilepsy Awareness (The Epilepsy Network), life lover & Christ inspired! Life is a journey and I'm loving every moment of it. Even the bumps in the road!