Two celebrity families have each sadly lost a child in the span of one week. Last Friday, March 19, TV host Toni Rose Gayda’s son succumbed to his injuries after he fell two floors from the family apartment; early this morning, actor Cesar Montano’s son was found with a bullet through the head as a result of a supposed suicide, although further investigations are still underway, according to Pep.ph.
Rumors of suicide have also surrounded the death of Gayda’s son, James Edward Lim, but Pep.ph reports that both the Eat Bulaga host and her husband Moonie Lim insist the fall was an accident. Gayda’s son (also the grandson of legendary actress Rosa Rosal) was 27 years old; Montano’s son, Christian Angelo Manhilot, was 23.
Whether or not the deaths of these two young men were deliberate or accidental, the fact is that suicide claims countless lives all over the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) shares that close to a million people commit suicide every year—that’s almost 3,000 deaths a day, or one suicide every 40 seconds. A recent WHO study has also shown that young adults suffer a high risk of taking their own lives, with suicide being the second largest cause of death among persons aged 10-24. In the US, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) confirms that although women attempt suicide more often, men are more successful in taking their own lives.
One of the leading causes of suicide is depression, a mental disorder marked by a prevailing mood of dejection, obliterated self-esteem, loss of interest, and hopelessness. Because victims of depression are racked by often-inexplicable feelings of worthlessness and anxiety, many of them view suicide (or at least attempted suicide) as one of two things: either it is a desperate cry for help, or it is the only way to put an end to all the misery. Depression.com notes that women are two times more likely to become depressed than men, but men who suffer from depression are four times more likely to commit suicide than women.
Do you think you might be depressed? Or do you know someone who could be suffering from the disease but won’t admit it? This About.com article cites nine depressive symptoms to watch out for.
As the term suggests, a person who is suffering from depression will experience chronic periods of sadness. Feeling “down” all the time and crying frequently for no apparent reason are some of the first manifestations of depressive tendencies.
DECREASED INTEREST OR EXPERIENCE OF PLEASURE
Major depression is marked by anhedonia, or the inability to find pleasure in events or activities that would normally be pleasurable to a person. Loss of interest in longstanding hobbies or important parts of one’s life could also spell depression.
Significant changes in a person’s weight (either a loss or gain of 5 percent or more), especially if he or she is not attempting to do so, is one physical indication of depression—the victim either starves or binges in order to cope with the difficulties of the disease.
In the same way a person’s weight can indicate the disorder, fluctuating sleep patterns can also signify a depressed state of mind. The persistent inability to fall asleep, or on the other hand, drastic oversleeping which results in a person’s not getting out of bed for days, are also symptoms of depression.
AGITATED OR LETHARGIC MOVEMENTS
Since mind and body are intrinsically connected, the effects of a mental disorder inevitably manifest in bodily functions—psychomotor, specifically. A person who suffers from depression will experience changes in the way he or she moves: movements will suddenly become jerky and restless, or observably languorous and retarded.
Depressive tendencies can be so crippling that they physically exhaust a person. Perpetual tiredness or loss of energy, despite getting a full night’s rest and avoiding stress, is a sign that a disturbed mind has caught up with the body.
Mental disorders like depression diminish the strongholds of the mind in the same way as physical attacks on one’s immune system make the body susceptible to illness. Difficulties in thinking, concentrating, and decision-making, also known as "brain fog," are commonplace among depressed people.
STRONG FEELINGS OF GUILT OR WORTHLESSNESS
A depressed person is often racked with guilt or plagued with his or her own insignificance in the face of the world. This is a dangerous phase in the cycle of depression, because it is when increasing bouts of recklessness with one’s life begin to occur.
THOUGHTS OF DEATH
The contemplation of suicide is nothing out of the ordinary among victims of depression, but when suicidal thoughts recur so frequently that they make death by one’s own hand seem inevitable, this determines that depressive tendencies have reached their unfortunate peak.
Don’t risk losing yourself or your loved ones to depression. It is a medically acknowledged condition, and it can be treated. There’s no need to be afraid or even ashamed to reach out for help—that’s what family, friends, and well-trained medical professionals are here for. No matter how difficult life may seem, suicide should never be an option—remember that.
(Photos courtesy of Pep.ph)