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Middle Aged Women and Their Risk for Suicide

Rates of Suicide Increasing

The mental health toll of the pandemic is only beginning, and we have yet to see the full impact of it. The National Center for Health Statistics recently reported that suicide rates increased by 35% between 1999 to 2018 in the USA alone, and it continues to rise.

Suicide Among Middle Aged Females

Among females, suicide rates were highest amidst 45 to 64 years of age with excessive rates being in urban areas. It's a worrying trend for women, and pinpointing the reasons is challenging because the causes are so complex. Risk factors include mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, substance use problems, and chronic pain. A previous history of childhood abuse or trauma can be a risk factor. Environmental factors such as unemployment, a financial crisis, and a divorce can influence the decision to commit suicide. However, the constant and accumulated stressors of life can be a factor as well; situations, circumstances, hardships, and other problems that pile up on a daily basis. There are many reasons for suicide; it's not easy to understand, either, because there are so many influences and everyone is different.

Increased Risk Factors

So how does a woman try to stay mentally and emotionally healthy or sane in a pandemic? With the added stress of children being home full time and having to home school them, increased responsibility of multitasking work and home life, isolation from helpful family members or friends, increased spousal tension or even violence, or a decrease in finances, it makes it increasingly difficult to feel like you are above the water's surface.  

My Dark Days

When my mental space is not on right, I can get in to some really dark places, and rather quickly. I've also noticed that problems never seem to come in ones. Once the flood gate opens up, several come crashing in. I've always struggled with depression and anxiety, and I can crash like a bad train wreck. It's a mess from the dominoes effect. What's really crazy, is how quickly I can go there - to those dark places of contemplating suicide. It's that feeling of worthlessness that begins to plague me again. It's never a slow step-by-step process; it simply arises, and like a vacuum sucks me in. 

Pattern of Thinking

I know it's from the chronic trauma I had experienced during my childhood years, and I know it is also a pattern of thinking. I've studied this for years; learning how to get better - mentally and emotionally. I also know that you not only have to manage your mind, but you have to "train" your mind to think a different way, and that's where the real work comes in, especially when you have such a rigid personality like me. 

It's funny; I say that I have or had a rigid personality, yet I am so tolerant and accommodating. I am very flexible and adaptive in many ways. It's not that my outward personality reflects this rigidity. It's my mental state concerning how I think about myself - my self worth.

How to Keep Your Mental State Healthy

The best way to keep your mental state healthy, is to keep checking in with your self. Reflection is key. No matter how hard it is to stop thinking and get out of your mind, you have to! You have to get out of your head and go inward. If this is difficult for you, start listening to your breath first. This strategy of listening to your breath was the first way I learned how to get present. I would get so caught up in my mental state that my body froze into inaction. A deep, hard breath forced me out of my rigid state and got me conscious. Try this first if you struggle with PTSD or C-PTSD as well; it is the first step to get present. Some people pinch themselves; others may yell out; whatever it is, the first step is to get conscious to your state so that you move out of your head and into your body. You can then objectively observe what's going on rather than be caught up in the emotional and mental chaos of what's going on.  

You will realize life is worth living once you get passed the darkness. Reach inward, and if you are having a difficult time reaching inward, reach out to someone.

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Emergency State

If you are not only in suicide contemplation but in the thought process of planning your suicide, please reach out to someone you trust. Call your local help line, now!    

Greater Vancouver BC (604) 872-3311
BC Wide 1 (800) 872-0113
Canada Wide 1 (833) 456-4566 or Text 45645
USA Wide 1 (800)-273-8255



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