Suicidal thoughts and superman (+5 coping tips)

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In this article, we will discuss two stories written about superman in which he prevents two women, both on the ledge of a building, from committing suicide. The article will explain what is suicide ideation, what a person that has been thinking about it goes through, the risk factors that can cause a person to commit suicide, how to prevent it, and how people close to them can help.

Superman talks down a jumper, twice!

Superman, the hero from DC comics appears in two short stories helping people that are considering suicide to not do it. In the first story, in the comic “All Star Superman” he discovers he is going to die from the solar radiation, and because of that, he wants to do as much good as he can with the time he has left.

In that, he meets a woman that is on the ledge of a building, and by talking with her and by showing her that she is much stronger than she thought, he manages to prevent her from jumping the building. 

In a second story, called “Superman: Grounded”, Superman sees a crowd gathered in front of a building and discovers that it’s police officers trying to prevent a woman from jumping.

He reaches out to the woman who says that since her mother died she’s been hit with the notion that life isn’t as good as she thought it would be in her high school years, and that all that is left is suffering and death. 

Superman stands by her and talks about how we all might get to a moment in life when there is no hope, but if we consider there is a chance of at least one happy day ahead, then there is still something to live for.

Let’s discuss why people tend to contemplate suicide and what causes them to plan and act on it as the women in the stories. And what a person can do, as Superman did, to help them through it.

What is suicide ideation?

Suicide ideation, or suicidal thoughts, is what happens when a person is contemplating suicide. It might be that they come out of the blue, or are thoughts a person has been having frequently. They can happen because you think the world would be better without you, or as a way to stop the suffering a person is going through.

People that are having suicidal thoughts tend to see the future as without hope, they also tend to be hard on themselves, have a lot of concerns about death, have intense mood swings, seem agitated and anxious, aside from a change of sleeping pattern and increased isolation.

What can cause someone to have suicidal thoughts?

A person may have suicidal thoughts as a result of a mental illness condition, and they usually feel like they had enough and can’t cope if a situation anymore. Other times it can be a reaction to a traumatic experience the person went through.

People who abuse use alcohol and drugs also tend to develop suicidal thoughts. It might be hard to determine the main cause of why a person is considering ending their own life. What is extremely important is to understand how deep in that thought the person is.

A person can be passively considering suicide, consider if people’s life would be better without them and if someone would miss them. But not plan anything or trace a concrete idea to it. At that moment, it is important to support this person, show they have other options.

But in certain situations, the person is not only thinking about it, they move to action. Start thinking of what to do with their belongings, how would they manage to kill themselves, if it would be through medication, throwing themselves from a building, as the Superman stories, or other forms, and the person goes to action. If someone reaches this point, it is important to find a mental health professional.

How can I cope with suicidal thoughts?

The way of coping with suicidal thoughts can change depending on which stage you are in. If it’s something you’ve been thinking about or if you are going from thought to action. If that is the case, get in touch with one of those suicidal helplines, a close friend or family member or, if you are being treated by a psychiatrist or a therapist, you can get in touch with them.

Getting in touch with those people, while in a crisis, might be a great support to take you off the ledge. It is of great importance to be in touch with people that will stand with you, hold your hand, and then maybe, the same way the Superman story shows, give you another possibility to live.

Now, if the person is contemplating, some day-to-day activities can help the person to cope with the suicidal thoughts that can appear.

Talking to someone you trust

If you are experiencing fleeting but frequent suicidal thoughts it might be good to share that with people you trust. It might be a sensitive subject to share, but having people beside you that are compassionate and show you that there is more to life than this can be of great help.

Ask for help

An important thing to do once you are dealing with suicidal thoughts is to look for professional help. Having someone that can help you navigate those thoughts and feelings can help you understand what might be triggering those thoughts and how to cope with them.

It might also be important to start medication treatment, and for that, the person needs to be followed by a psychiatrist.

Keep yourself safe

If you have been experiencing suicidal thoughts, try to keep yourself in an environment where you feel safe. Aside from that, take from the place where you are things that one might use to kill themselves with, so that, in a moment of despair and impulsivity you can’t harm yourself.

Distract yourself

Keep your mind occupied with other things, it can be talking to friends or watching a show you love. This can help occupy your mind with other thoughts rather than thinking of suicide.

How can I help a friend with suicidal thoughts?

Although helping a friend or family member deal with suicidal thoughts can be hard, some things can be done to show your support. Let’s that a look in what ways you can help.

Ask

By directly asking them if they are contemplating suicide you make it okay to talk about it. It might be a relief for them to have someone open to listening and not judge. If you notice they are about to harm themselves, look for other people that can help you deal with the situation.

Be present

Be present, physically or even through text. Show them you are supporting them. Feeling connected to people is something that can prevent a person from actually trying to commit suicide.

Keep them safe

Try to make their environment as safe as possible. If they are in a crisis, it is better to not leave them alone, take knives or other things that they can use to harm themselves out of their sight.

Get them in touch with the help

Try to show them that having a professional help them through this might be a good idea. They would feel cared for and also be safe.

Frequently asked question (FAQ): How did superman talk a jumper down?

If a person tried suicide once, can they try again?

In fact yes, people that try suicide once can try it again. Not only that, people that have tried it before, have a higher risk of trying it as compared to people who have never done it before. Another factor that can make a person have a higher risk of trying suicide is having experienced the suicide of someone close. According to research going through that is like opening a door in which suicide turns into an acceptable possibility.

Do women suicide more often than men?

Although women have double the chance of developing depression as men, research has shown that women are less susceptible to try suicide. That might happen because women seem to be more flexible with their decisions, meaning that even if they tend to decide to commit suicide, they can change their minds, while men usually stick to their plans.

Are all people that have suicidal thoughts depressed?

No, not all people that are having suicidal thoughts are depressed. Some of them might be in endless pain, caused by a traumatic experience, such as the end of a relationship, or a problem they are going through, like some legal problem. To those people, thinking of suicide might be a way to end the pain.

What is the age at which people suicide more often?

Although recently suicide attempts have gone higher in all age groups, it is in the age group of 45 to 64 that most the suicides happen. After that, the group from 25 to 44 seems to be the second higher in suicide, followed by people 65 and over. Lastly, teens and young adults, from 15 to 24 seem to be the fourth in commiting suicide.

What are the emotional factors that can cause a person to consider suicide?

Some factors can make a person consider suicide, it could be because they feel isolated from the community they are in, they might also feel like a burden for people around them.

Feeling more anxious, or feeling trapped with no other possibility can cause a person to think suicide is the only answer. People that are considering it might also become more aggressive and show a lot of anger.

Another important factor is if the person is thinking or planning a future. Someone that is thinking of ending their life tends to not have any positive expectation of the future or any hope.

Conclusion

In this article, it was discussed the cartoon stories in which Superman talks two women out of attempting suicide. It also explained what could have caused them to consider suicide as a possibility, and how do people come to have suicidal thoughts.

The article also clarified how a person develops suicidal ideation, how they can cope with it, and how people that are around them can help deal with that.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write in the space below.

Reference

Harmer B, Lee S, Duong TVH, Saadabadi A. Suicidal Ideation. 2021 Aug 6. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan–.

Murphy GE. Why women are less likely than men to commit suicide. Compr Psychiatry. 1998 Jul-Aug;39(4):165-75.

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