Archive for January, 2012

Is there reason for concern as December 21, 2012 rapidly approaches?  I’m not talking about the end of the world as we know it, or even the Mayan calendar that is said to end on that date (although how a round calendar can end is beyond me).  It’s the perception of eminent world destruction that has me worried.  I’m concerned that with all the predictions, the sensationalism, the bad Hollywood movies, and the not knowing will cause some people to panic.

When Harold Camping predicted the rapture, it didn’t surprise me that there wasn’t a huge increase in suicides around the predicted date.  After all, his warnings had a Christian lean to them, no matter how twisted.  Of course people weren’t going to want to commit suicide right before the big date; it would have been breaking a huge Christian taboo right before the final exams, so to speak.  There was, however, one suicide by a young girl who feared being left behind.  She killed herself on the predicted day of destruction.  Camping should be ashamed of himself.

When Y2K rolled around (you do remember that little bit of panic, right?), it was predicted that there would be mass suicides on New Year’s Eve 1999.  In fact, there was talk of suicide parties with Jim Jones’ punch recipe, or murder/suicides as the new year was rung in.  Not surprising, none of this happened.

Now, with 2012 looming up and everyone offering an opinion about what’s going to happen, from new age gurus to NASA scientist, the warnings about suicides have once again started to surface.

It is doubtful that there is any validity to the fear of increased suicides as we approach 12/21/2012, certainly not mass suicides, but there is still the possibility that on a person-to-person basis, the fear of 2012 could be the tipping point.

The difference here is the predictors of mass suicides are talking about otherwise rational people – people who are not depressed – killing themselves because of a calendar that is thousands of years old.  I’m talking about people who are already depressed or mentally ill being pushed over the edge.

Either way, it’s important to keep an eye out on at-risk folks and learn to recognize the signs:

  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Expressing feelings of hopelessness.
  • Talking about suicide.
  • Planning suicide (i.e. buying a gun or researching poisons).
  • Setting one’s affairs in order (giving away personal items).
  • A sudden reversal of depression (many times, when a person has made the decision to die, he becomes happier, his mood lighter, because in his mind there is an end in sight).
  • Loss of interest in things that once brought happiness or joy.
  • Saying good-bye (visiting relatives and friends one last time).
  • Withdrawing (wanting to make the “break” easier).
  • Becoming reckless or careless with one’s own life.
  • Increase in substance abuse.

If you see these signs in a loved one, please do not hesitate to call a professional to take him or her in to the emergency room.  Trained mental health professionals are available to help assess and diffuse the danger.

If you are having feelings of suicide, please talk to someone you can trust or take yourself in to the emergency room.  Most likely the cause of these suicidal feelings (a change in brain chemistry, a change in living situations or other personal issues, the loss of a loved one, or even the fear of a doomsday prophecy) are temporary, and help is available to get you through the rough patch.  There’s no sense in taking a permanent step for a temporary problem.  The last thing I want is for your family to have to call my company in to clean up.

Take care of yourselves and one another.  I predict I’ll be seeing all of you in 2013!