The precise relation between depression and suicide isn’t always easy to determine. Though the link may seem obvious on the surface, depressed people don’t always take their own lives. How exactly do the dots get connected between feelings of depression and serious suicidal thoughts? Here are some of the key factors:
- Catastrophizing. A depressed person has a strong proclivity for making mountains out of molehills. He dwells on negative thoughts, views the slightest problem as a potential disaster, and finds reasons to abandon hope in the smallest details of life. The heavier this burden of fear and anxiety becomes, the greater is his inclination to escape by putting an end to it all.
- Isolation. Depressed people tend to withdraw. When your daughter is left alone with her own morbid thoughts, she loses the capacity to think about anything but her own misery. Eventually her outlook narrows to the point where she can no longer imagine how a self-harming or self-destructive act on her part might impact the feelings of others.
- Lowered resistance to negative input. People in groups—especially young people—have the tendency to encourage one another to take greater risks. There’s no denying that adolescent suicide is on the rise, and the idea that everybody’s doing it can play a significant role in motivating depressed teens to entertain suicidal thoughts.
- Altered perception. When you’re down, the world looks different. You see everything through the lens of your own self-loathing. It becomes easy to perceive hostility and rejection at every turn. The idea that “Nobody loves me, and everybody hates me” is common in suicidal thinking.
- Psychosis. When pushed to the limit, altered perception can precipitate a complete break with reality. This state of mind is what psychologists and psychiatrists refer to as psychosis. Once an individual crosses that line, there’s no telling what he might do.