Ethan felt as if there was no point going on with life. Things had been tough since his mom died. His dad had two jobs and seemed frazzled and angry most of the time. Whenever they talked, it usually ended in yelling.
Ethan had just found out he'd failed a maths test and was afraid of how mad and disappointed his dad would be. He always talked to his girlfriend - the only person who seemed to understand. But they'd broken up recently and now he felt he had nowhere to turn.
He knew where his dad kept his guns. But as he was unlocking the cabinet, he heard his kid sister walking in. He didn't want her to be the person to find him, so he put the gun back and went to watch television with her instead.
Later, when he realised how close he'd come to ending his life, Ethan was terrified. He decided to talk to his dad. After a long chat, he realised how much his dad cared. All he could think of was how he'd almost thrown it all away.
Most teens interviewed after suicide attempts say they did it because they were trying to escape from a situation that seemed impossible to deal with or to get relief from very bad thoughts or feelings. They didn't want to die as much as they wanted to escape from what was going on.
And at that moment death seemed like the only way out.
Some people who kill themselves or attempt suicide try to escape feelings of rejection, hurt or loss. Others are angry, ashamed or guilty about something. Some are worried about disappointing friends or family. And some feel unwanted, unloved, victimised or as if they're a burden to others.
We all feel overwhelmed by difficult emotions or situations sometimes, but most of us get through it or can put our problems in perspective and find a way to carry on. So why does one person try suicide when another person in the same situation does not?
The answer lies in the fact that most people who commit suicide have depression. The condition leads people to focus mostly on failures and disappointments, to emphasise the negative side of their situations and to downplay their own capabilities or worth. Someone with severe depression is unable to see the possibility of a good outcome and believes that things will never go right again.
Depression affects one's thoughts in such a way that one does not see that a problem can be overcome. That's why depressed people don't realise that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. A teen with depression might feel as if there's no other way out of problems, no other escape from emotional pain or no other way to communicate their desperate unhappiness.
Sometimes people who feel suicidal might not even realise they are depressed. They are unaware that it is the depression - not the situation - that's influencing them.
But with proper therapy or treatment, distorted thinking is cleared and one can find pleasure, energy, and hope again.
People with bipolar disorder are also more at risk. Sometimes they are very depressed and at other times they have abnormally high bursts of energy. These extremes affect and distort their mood, outlook and judgment.
Teens who abuse alcohol and drugs are also more at risk. Substance abuse has depressive effects on the brain and can bring on serious depression, especially in teens who already have a tendency to depression because of biology, family history or other life stressors.
The problem is worse when depressed people drink or take drugs. Substances also alters judgment. Many suicide attempts occur when one is under the influence. This does not mean that every depressed person with a drink or drug problem will try to kill themselves. But the conditions, especially together, increase the risk for suicide. - Kidshealth