Suicide is a grim topic, a painful topic. When you start talking suicidality, there is a lot of controversy involved. People tend to get stuck in a discussion about the rationale behind it – assuming that there is a rationale, considering that mental illnesses such as depression can overshadow rational thinking. Also, no one person or situation is the same and thus it figures that no “rationale” is the same.
Head-space configuration – brain activity – is unique and individual for everyone. While it is possible to have a disposition towards chemical imbalances (like the lack of serotonin), it is also possible for some people to go through traumatizing events and yet survive without long lasting disorders such as PTSD. In this way, the manner in which we experience the world is, from birth, slightly randomized.
Keeping chemical imbalances and heredity in mind – the fact that mental illnesses are in fact, physical – the situations in which tendencies towards suicide arise can be varied to the extreme. Some persons might feel equally suicidal over a period of time, some may use these thoughts or harmful actions as a coping mechanism to handle mental or physical pain, and in some it might be triggered even when they were not suicidal.
Evidently I have never professionally studied this subject. The things I write are based on opinion. It is my impression that cases in which suicidality is “triggered” (i.e the person was doing fine and not suicidal until an event happened) are most probably based in preexisting mental illness such as PTSD, DID, Schizophrenia, and Bipolar Disorder (I am basing myself on this link). In these cases, there might be no “rationale”.
By which I mean that the part of our brain which directs immediate reactions (such as the fight or flight reaction) that are geared towards survival – basically, the primitive brain – is not very well known for its rational calculations of anything. The reaction can be either immediate or delayed, but in either case can cause suicidal behavior to “spawn out of the clear sky”, as it were, following a trigger.
The reason I am writing this, is because while in some cases trying to rationally turn the situation around, by saying: “it´s not that bad” and “try to employ a different perspective” might help, chances are this will not help triggered behavior. What is needed in that case (and this is based on my years of experience with people who suffer from complex trauma) is neutralization of the trigger and immediate grounding.
More about this in the second part of the post.