The Six Reasons People Attempt Suicide

Though I’ve never lost a friend or family member to suicide, I have lost a patient (who I wrote about in a previous post, The True Cause Of Depression).  I have known a number of people left behind by the suicide of someone close to them, however.  Given how much losing my patient affected me, I’ve only been able to guess at the devastation these people have experienced.  Pain mixed with guilt, anger, and regret makes for a bitter drink, the taste of which I’ve seen take many months or even years to wash out of some mouths.

The one question everyone has asked without exception, that they ache to have answered more than any other, is simply:  why?  Why did their friend, child, parent, spouse, or sibling take their own life?  Even when a note explaining the reasons is found, lingering questions usually remain:  yes, they felt enough despair to want to die, but why did they feel that?  A person’s suicide often takes the people it leaves behind by surprise (only intensifying survivor’s guilt for failing to see it coming).

People who’ve survived suicide attempts have reported wanting not so much to die as to stop living, a strange dichotomy but a valid one nevertheless.  If some in-between state existed, some other alternative to death, I suspect many suicidal people would take it.  For the sake of all those reading this who might have been left behind by someone’s suicide, I wanted to describe how I was trained to think about the reasons people kill themselves.  They’re not as intuitive as most think.

In general, people try to kill themselves for one of six reasons:

  1. They’re depressed.  This is without question the most common reason people commit suicide.  Severe depression is always accompanied by a pervasive sense of suffering as well as the belief that escape from it is hopeless.  The pain of existence often becomes too much for severely depressed people to bear.  The state of depression warps their thinking, allowing ideas like “Everyone would all be better off without me” to make rational sense.  They shouldn’t be blamed for falling prey to such distorted thoughts any more than a heart patient should be blamed for experiencing chest pain:  it’s simply the nature of their disease.  Because depression, as we all know, is almost always treatable, we should all seek to recognize its presence in our close friends and loved ones.  Often people suffer with it silently, planning suicide without anyone ever knowing.  Despite making both parties uncomfortable, inquiring directly about suicidal thoughts in my experience almost always yields an honest response.  If you suspect someone might be depressed, don’t allow your tendency to deny the possibility of suicidal ideation prevent you from asking about it.
  2. They’re psychotic.  Malevolent inner voices often command self-destruction for unintelligible reasons.  Psychosis is much harder to mask than depression—and arguably even more tragic.  The worldwide incidence of schizophrenia is 1% and often strikes otherwise healthy, high-performing individuals, whose lives, though manageable with medication, never fulfill their original promise.  Schizophrenics are just as likely to talk freely about the voices commanding them to kill themselves as not, and also, in my experience, give honest answers about thoughts of suicide when asked directly.  Psychosis, too, is treatable, and usually must be for a schizophrenic to be able to function at all.  Untreated or poorly treated psychosis almost always requires hospital admission to a locked ward until the voices lose their commanding power.
  3. They’re impulsive.  Often related to drugs and alcohol, some people become maudlin and impulsively attempt to end their own lives.  Once sobered and calmed, these people usually feel intensely ashamed. The remorse is usually genuine, and whether or not they’ll ever attempt suicide again is unpredictable.  They may try it again the very next time they become drunk or high, or never again in their lifetime.  Hospital admission is therefore not usually indicated.  Substance abuse and the underlying reasons for it are generally a greater concern in these people and should be addressed as aggressively as possible.
  4. They’re crying out for help, and don’t know how else to get it.  These people don’t usually want to die but do want to alert those around them that something is seriously wrong.  They often don’t believe they will die, frequently choosing methods they don’t think can kill them in order to strike out at someone who’s hurt them—but are sometimes tragically misinformed.  The prototypical example of this is a teenage girl who—suffering genuine angst because of a relationship with a friend, boyfriend, or parent—swallows a bottle of Tylenol not realizing that in high enough doses Tylenol causes irreversible liver damage.  I’ve watched more than one teenager die a horrible death in an ICU days after such an ingestion when remorse has already cured them of their desire to die and their true goal of alerting those close to them of their distress has been achieved.
  5. They have a philosophical desire to die.  The decision to commit suicide for some is based on a reasoned decision often motivated by the presence of a painful terminal illness from which little to no hope of reprieve exists.  These people aren’t depressed, psychotic, maudlin, or crying out for help.  They’re trying to take control of their destiny and alleviate their own suffering, which usually can only be done in death.  They often look at their choice to commit suicide as a way to shorten a dying that will happen regardless.  In my personal view, if such people are evaluated by a qualified professional who can reliably exclude the other possibilities for why suicide is desired, these people should be allowed to die at their own hands.
  6. They’ve made a mistake.  This is a recent, tragic phenomenon in which typically young people flirt with oxygen deprivation for the high it brings and simply go too far.  The only defense against this, it seems to me, is education.

The wounds suicide leaves in the lives of those left behind by it are often deep and long lasting.  The apparent senselessness of suicide often fuels the most significant pain survivors feel.   Thinking we all deal better with tragedy when we understand its underpinnings, I’ve offered the preceding paragraphs in hopes that anyone reading this who’s been left behind by a suicide might be able to more easily find a way to move on, to relinquish their guilt and anger, and find closure.  Despite the abrupt way you may have been left, those don’t have to be the only two emotions you’re doomed to feel about the one who left you.

Next weekHandling Transitions

70 comments to The Six Reasons People Attempt Suicide

  • Anna-in-N.

    “…These people aren’t depressed, psychotic, maudlin, or crying out for help.  They’re trying to take control of their destiny and alleviate their own suffering, which usually can only be done in death.  They often look at their choice to commit suicide as a way to shorten a dying that will happen regardless.”

    Dear Alex,

    For many years I have thought about reason “number 5″ as a way for me to go, under certain circumstances. Right now, I am healthy and “hale.” However, I seriously hope, that I will be able to plan and follow through “the taking care of my own death,” should the need arise. I would prefer a fast and self-determined death and I think that this would be a loving end to my life, and also most loving toward those people in my life, who will live on. This is a subject I tried to discuss with friends and family over the years, but only rarely were we able to talk about it. I deeply appreciate your bringing it up in one of your weekly meditations.

    -Anna

  • Not related, but:

    Congratulations, Alex, on your recent piece in Psychology Today! We all got to enjoy “The Good Guy Contract” first here.

    cheers,

    Lisa

    Lisa: Thank you so much! I can’t tell you how much I’ve appreciated the support of readers like you who form what I’ve found to be one of the most thought-provoking and intelligent readerships of any blog out there in the blogosphere.

    Alex

  • Ann

    I am curious about something. I lost one of my best friends fifteen months ago to suicide. He was a running partner and we together had covered hundreds of early morning miles, discussing personal philosophies and solving most of the world’s problems. He was a supportive partner and never failed to congratulate me on finishing a simple run. Several years ago he suffered stroke, from which he gallantly fought back to his active lifestyle. A month or so before his suicide he became unable to do his job, often showing up, looking at his desk and then simply taking a sick day because he couldn’t figure out what to do with the stacks of papers before him. He made race plans that far exceeded his present running capabilities. (He had once been an accomplished runner.) The last week of his life, we wondered if he’d had another stroke, as his behavior became even more erratic. A series or trips to the ER followed, and he was eventually flown South for more thorough examinations at a major hospital. He committed suicide a few days before his appointment. We all wondered why he couldn’t “last” two more days. I really don’t see which of the six categories he would fit. And, yes, we still wonder why, and I still think of him on those familiar miles we used to cover together. Thankfully, much of the pain is gone now.

    Ann: Sometimes stroke itself causes severe depression; or perhaps he felt there was no hope for a meaningful improvement and didn’t want to live with the deficits you describe. Of course, I’m just speculating, but one of those two would be my guess.

    Alex

  • Ronnie

    Wonderfully stated. I personally have had failed suicide attempts while under the influence of alcohol. It was more of a Russian Roulette, a pistol with one bullet placed in my mouth and fired. I did that on numerous occasions. Greatfully, I never did hit the chamber that held the bullet.

    I can say I was in a state of emotional pain and the only way out that I could see was my own demise. Being in recovery for 24 years I have heard this theme at many recovery meetings. At that time there was absolutely no thought to how my death would affect others. They were not in the equation.

    In my second year of recovery I went into therapy. I was then treated for depression and a year later mania, which is now covered by the term bipolar.

    To sum it up, I felt during my darkest moments that there was no way out. I have since learned, “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” If an individual can just be shown that they can change, their life can change, and their misery be relieved the thought of suicide is gone. It is called HOPE.

    When I received the gift of hope (tho nothing had changed within me yet) I knew I would find moments of joy.

    I now view suicide as a final answer for a person who has lost all hope and is living in an eternal state of pain from which they believe there is no end.

    Alive today and glad to be so. Celebrating 24 years of recovery today with my AA group; yes today was a day of joy.

    Thank you for touching on a subject I am all too familiar with from both sides of the fence.

    Ronnie: I think you hit the nail on the head when you said for many thoughts of suicide are borne from a feeling of hopelessness. Relates to #1.

    Alex

  • JT

    “Because depression, as we all know, is almost always treatable…”

    The operative word being “almost.” I’ve been depressed since I was a kid.

    As an adult, I finally was able to go for treatment. I’ve taken assorted anti-depressants, seen psychiatrists and therapists, and I’m still depressed.

    I think about killing myself frequently. I don’t want to die; I just don’t want to live.

    JT: I’m so sorry to know you continue to struggle with such severe depression. I included the word “almost” quite deliberately. Some people have depression for which current treatments are just inadequate. That doesn’t mean their depression isn’t possible to treat, just that we need more effective technology. Everything has a cause, even a mysterious, long-lasting depression such as yours. While it’s true that discovering what it is won’t necessarily simultaneously result in discovering its solution, it sure would be a good start. I hope you do.

    Alex

  • Glenn

    Alex, re your #5: First, kudos to you for having the courage to advocate for the right of the individual to commit suicide.

    I would quibble with you about characterizing the choice as a “philosophical” one. Instead, I’d label it as a “pragmatic” decision (in the context you’ve outlined). But that’s not terribly important.

    What is important, I think, is the question of assistance for one who has made such a decision (and, yes, properly evaluated as you describe) but who cannot carry out their suicide without assistance. The able-bodied individual suffering irreversible agonizing pain or facing a pervasively increasing disability (ALS or dementia, come to mind) don’t need a mental evaluation or anyone’s permission or assistance to commit suicide. But the incapacitated individual, facing the inevitable and properly evaluated, may not be able to implement his or her decision without assistance.

    At that point, when the individual has rationally concluded that “happiness in this world” cannot be achieved, the cessation of suffering may be the best that can be achieved—with a little help from their friends.

    Of course, one might also rationally conclude that they want to hang in there, pain and all or even knowing that they are inevitably headed for dementia. That’s a reasonable choice too, I think. (Ram Dass once gave a nice little talk on the subject of experiencing the dying process as a means of personal growth—agony and all. I wouldn’t discount the possibility.) But I remain concerned that we don’t have a legal means or institutional structure to assist in the hastening of one’s rational choice to seek death as an alternative to pain, profound disability, or dementia. Hospice, although often a terrific alternative to a full-blown, hospital-centric raging against the dying light, seems too limited an alternative in some cases.

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

    Glenn: You raise an excellent point. Even when someone arrives at a philosophical decision to die, finding an able-bodied friend to help them when they themselves are not poses a tremendous obstacle. Our society isn’t comfortable with assisting this process in general. Further, whoever assists is potentially at risk for being charged criminally. And even then, as a physician, I can attest to the fact that allowing someone to die naturally by withholding action that could save them, though technically is no different from actively causing them to die, sure feels like it is.

    Alex

  • Julia

    Hi Alex,

    Thanks once again for a well-written post. I was actually at a suicide prevention fundraiser this weekend. One of the main points of the event was that people don’t talk about suicide and depression. It is still a very taboo subject, and the taboo perpetuates the problem. Getting help for depression, especially if one is suicidally depressed, is as frightening and upsetting as being ill in the first place. How many people slip through because they are afraid of losing their job, or the consequences that might result if they are placed on a temporary hold?

    I feel very lucky to be living in a period of time where awareness of the issue is growing. Hopefully, it will change the way people treat each other, and those who would otherwise be lost will have a warmer future.

    …just some extra thoughts on the subject, and thanks again for helping to shed light on the issue.

    Julia: I completely agree that depression remains a taboo subject in many instances and in many circles and that this greatly contributes to the difficulty depressed people find in asking for help. I couldn’t agree more as well that the more we all talk about it, the more we’ll create a culture in which talking about it is okay and encourage those who need to talk about it to do so.

    Alex

  • I once had a law student who committed suicide. I’ve always wondered whether I missed some cue I should have acted on. I was the supervising faculty member for a seminar on Ancient Chinese Law. When the day came for him to present, his topic was Buddhism. I came into the seminar room and saw that, as the first noble truth, he’d written on the board “Life sucks.” I’d been a practicing Buddhist for several years so, as my contribution that day, I talked about how that wasn’t an accurate translation of the first noble truth, that the Buddha was just saying that suffering is part of every life, but that it didn’t mean there wasn’t also joy. (Or words to that effect—it’s been many years since the event.)

    This student always had sad demeanor about him, but he didn’t seem to be isolated. He had friends in the student body. A few weeks later, he committed suicide. The students and faculty who knew him were shocked. No one had a clue as to why he’d do this (it was not an accident).

    To this day, I’m haunted by his “Life sucks” written in chalk on that board and wonder if I shouldn’t have had a private conversation with him after class and asked some of the questions you suggest in this post.

    Well, it just felt good to be able to share this. I don’t have any answers.

    Toni: Ugh. I tell myself the best way I can create meaning out of my failure to recognize my own patient’s distress that led to his suicide is to let my failure function as motivation to be more proactive in the future about following my instincts when I suspect someone is in trouble and broaching the subject with them. Which is why I wrote this post.

    Alex

  • Rosita

    I’m a retired Public Health Nurse, birth-to-death…have seen a lot. Really appreciate your blog, especially this one. After a lifetime of practicing high-level wellness I find myself with a poor prognosis. I would like to have the option of taking my own life, when it appears that is the clearly-thought-out and wisest choice. The problem is how best to implement this carefully considered decision. Surely there must be many educated and sensitive people out there who are thinking the same thing and wishing for “technical” advice. This is such a taboo subject, that even as an RN it’s hard to get good, specific, compassionate information. One must be fairly functional to carry out a plan by yourself. If it’s permissible—resource information is appreciated. In the meantime—after experiencing the aftermath of deaths (natural) of many and seeing how hard it is for the families to take care of overwhelming details—I am working very carefully at keeping my affairs (day-to-day details) in refined and simple order. That is a very satisfying, creative homage to life.

    Rosita: Unfortunately, I have no special connection to the information you seek. I would suggest, however, the Internet likely does.

    Alex

  • Jill A.

    @JT: I would urge you not to give up on treatment for your depression. If the antidepressants haven’t worked thus far for you, you may need a different combination of medications or you may be a candidate for neurostimulation treatment, such as vagus nerve stimulation. See http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vagus-nerve-stimulation/MY00183 for more information. New treatments are being developed every day; there truly is reason for hope.

  • Jill MacGregor

    That was beautifully written, Alex. Suicide has often times confused me…and taking debilitating illness out of the equation, I always wonder why those suffering don’t take the just “one more day” strategy? In hopes that a series of “just one more day” will lead to a resolution. But, of course, its not always that simple.

    I thought a lot about #6—They’ve made a mistake. I just published a piece on redemption today. I hope if anyone needs additional words of hope, they’ll turn to this: We Can Rebuild You, Steve.

    Best to you,
    Jill

  • Gregg

    A number of years ago I paid a call on a very good old friend only to discover that he had taken his own life. His note said he was unwilling to live the rest of his life in “pain and darkness.” He had had hyperglycemia that had morphed into diabetes and he was scheduled to lose his driver’s license because his vision was failing.

    We had worked together as laboratory scientists in the same department at a major pharmaceutical company. He was one of those wonderful people who always expressed interest in the lives, thoughts, perceptions and feelings of those of us who got together from time to time, yet seldom shared much about himself. He was one of the brightest, kindest people any of us knew—we all loved him and were devastated when he deliberately over-dosed on insulin to end his life.

    As one of those who found him, I volunteered to call his sister to give her the news. She exclaimed, “Oh no, we were worried about him—his father committed suicide too.” I wonder if there is data regarding the extent to which suicide is inter-generational.

    Gregg: There is. It’s well known that the offspring of people who kill themselves are at higher risk for suicide themselves, though whether due to some genetic predisposition or to a psychological predisposition, I don’t think anyone knows. What a terrible tragedy, your friend’s death.

    Alex

  • Gene

    PBS aired a documentary in March and repeated it this week on Frontline, entitled “The Suicide Tourist.” It chronicles the assisted suicide of a man suffering from ALS who travels to Switzerland because the Swiss government allows assisted suicide under certain conditions and makes it available to non-Swiss citizens as well. It is very informative and quite moving as well. Highly recommended viewing.

    Thank you, Alex, for this and all your posts.

    Gene

    Gene: I read about that man in the news. Very moving.

    Alex

  • Joan

    Particularly timely piece, Alex, particularly after watching “You Don’t Know Jack” this weekend on HBO recounting Jack Kevorkian’s struggle to assist those desperate to stop living without having to undergo weeks, months, perhaps years of an agonizing life.

    It has always seemed to me that quality of life far exceeds the benefits of quantity of life. I am certain that as a practicing physician those words may be troubling to you. I have, in fact, had that reaction from my own PCP. But I reason that, if I am unwilling to embrace the (in my estimation) unacceptable alteration of my quality of life that will result from the medical approach to certain conditions, why should I engage in the costly, painful process of identifying those conditions?

    While this may sound like a grossly selfish approach, my own thought is that I would far rather spare my loved ones the burden and expense of a grossly prolonged “battle” against certain mortality than to cling to a life that offers only misery to me and drains them of THEIR quality of life.

    Thoughts?

    Joan: Your words aren’t troubling to me at all, and in fact I couldn’t agree with them more. Physicians (and patients) can sometimes get so focused on increasing the quantity of life they forget that everyone dies eventually. The challenge, I have found, is knowing when to stop pressing forward with aggressive therapy that does or may have life-quality-sapping side effects and when to let nature take its course. I touched on my thoughts about this a little in a previous post, Decision Making At The End Of Life.

    Alex

  • Suzanne

    If I get Alzheimers I don’t want to live through to the end. But will I know when to take my pill stash or will I wait too long and forget where the stash is? I think about this too often.

  • My daughter was verbatim your #4. I was in the middle of a healthy and new relationship with another man after being divorced for 10 years. So a young woman, feeling angst at possibly “losing” her relationship with me to another man, took Tylenol and almost died.

    She had been stockpiling pills from the medicine cabinet for over a month. I got the final slap in the face when she refused to come home with me from the hospital and instead went home with her dad. I had no clue as to what the issue was about until we went to mandatory counseling the next day. She came right out and said she thought I was abandoning her to this new relationship.

    She was totally embarrassed about the whole thing and refuses to talk about it to this day. But I took stock of how to manage all my relationships to make sure she felt safe with our relationship.

    Today we are incredibly close, and I thank God she never died.

    Maureen: A harrowing story that I’ve found all too common. So glad your daughter survived.

    Alex

  • Chuck

    Alex—A couple of comments…

    I have suffered from depression for many years, and have often got to the brink of both #1 and #4. I see suicide is a potential final way to end the suffering I experience. Or, at lighter stages of a depressive episode, a thought about (but never acted upon) way to reach out when I feel nobody cares if I live or die. But in both cases, the knowledge that I have that way out, if I choose to take it, is in fact comforting. This view drives some therapists and M.D.s up the wall. To them, suicide is bad, all the time, everywhere.

    I turned to Buddhism because it offers an alternative to relieving suffering; Buddhism as therapy as it were. I see real potential here. Meds and therapy are dead ends for me—I’ve tried them all with little or no effect. But Buddhism isn’t quick—it might take lifetimes of practice to get the relief I desire, if ever. That isn’t particularly comforting. Nor is the fact that suicide is nearly as frowned upon in it as it is in Christianity. No solace there either. But one has to do something right up the point it can be determined there is nothing left to try, your item #1.

    Regarding #5, I find it interesting that we venerate those who sacrifice themselves in battle for other; say the soldier who jumps on an enemy grenade to save his buddies. But many of the same people who would proclaim the soldier a hero condemn a stage 4 cancer patient as a “quitter” for ending their life as it became unbearable. Interesting dichotomy. I’ve known combat and heroism, as well as final stage cancer patients. All are heroes, regardless of their final choices in life.

    Chuck: I agree with your comments regarding the dichotomy between soldiers and stage 4 cancer patients. In the form of Buddhism I practice, suicide isn’t frowned upon (as it may be a compassionate approach to one’s own suffering as in #5) but it’s looked upon as an ineffective means to escape legitimate suffering that life brings you: once reborn, you will only suffer in the same way again until you change your tendency to suffer in that way (your karma, as it were). Nichiren Buddhism is practiced to enable you to do just that, to free yourself from whatever suffering you experience in life (without having to die, that is)—to solve on a fundamental level the true cause of your suffering.

    Alex

  • Marie

    I think there is room for a 7th reason—never learning coping skills. When dysthymia starts in early childhood, there is lack of setting any future goal to make life worth living. I think it was Frankl’s book that looked at why some people survived the Holocaust and others just gave up. He found those without a reason/goal for the future were the ones that gave up. I would venture that this attitude began in early life and there was no adult to teach coping skills so there would be alternatives to just wanting to give it up. When some people get tired of “just surviving and plodding along” and have no reason, external or internal, to look toward a future, suicide seems quite reasonable. These people do not fit the usual definition of depression per se.

    Marie: In my view, such people would fit into #1. Everyone has desires, which are in fact goals. If you aren’t excited about achieving them or don’t believe you can, that does fit into dysthymia, which is a form of depression. The people Frankl wrote about were clearly depressed, suffering from learned helplessness and a sense of powerlessness, which, while completely understandable given their circumstances, nevertheless did lead to the result you describe.

    Alex

  • indigo blue

    Alex,

    I’ve been reading your blog for some time and you always give me something to think about. Thank you for that.

    This time, I’d especially like to thank you for #4. Far too often when someone attempts suicide and survives you’ll hear people dismiss them as “just wanting attention.” (Especially if it’s a teen-aged girl.) I find myself thinking how much pain does someone have to be in to think this is a good way to garner attention? And how can anyone discount their pain so easily?

    Rosita, you might find some useful information at the website of Compassion and Choices, formerly the Hemlock Society.

  • Yes, Alex, you have a very committed and thoughtful readership, befitting the material presented. :) Thank you for your candor and your challenge.

    Namaste,

    Lisa

  • Shelley

    With respect, we don’t know why people commit suicide; on this, as on everything else, the dead are silent. We only have the perspective of those who didn’t succeed. I suspect that there’s a rather wide gulf between the two.

  • Cyndi

    Not mentioned was flight… escaping consequence or confrontation of a wrong deed. Just in the Oregonian today was a front page story about a cold case finally getting DNA evidence, and the suspect named and confronted chose suicide at the cusp of indictment. Still within the theme of escaping though.

  • Josh

    I’ve gone through periods of being very suicidal due to my struggles with panic and anxiety. When one is constantly in terror, being dead can sound like a relief. I’m guessing someone with psychosis or a bad LSD trip could feel the same way.

    I’m not sure where that would fit, though. Suicide to escape the terror of one’s own mind.

    Josh: I would suspect—though wouldn’t presume to say for certain—that it relates to depression. Often, people become depressed out of a sense of powerlessness over their plight (in your case, panic and anxiety). I wonder if you found a way to feel you could overcome these awful feelings your thoughts of suicide would disappear. Have you seen a therapist? Tried anti-anxiety medication?

    Alex

  • Josh

    Oh yes, I’ve utilized both therapy and medication, and have been helped very much. Especially by cognitive behavioral therapy. I was just remarking that, for me, overwhelming fear has caused suicidal feelings for me in the past.

    And yes, when the panic subsides, the suicidal feelings subside as well. Which is interesting from a Buddhist perspective…I have the ignorant delusion that I’m in control of my body and mind. During a panic attack, that illusion is shattered, and the whole world gets way too scary. What’s the real problem? The panic or the ignorance?

    Josh: I think the panic. I guess the critical questions are (which I’m sure you’ve asked yourself): what exactly are you afraid of and why? Panic, in my experience, is a reaction to feeling trapped in an unsafe situation (mental or physical) in which we feel powerless to protect ourselves.

    Alex

  • Erika Mitchell

    Alex,

    Your post hits home. Reading some of the responses, I feel that maybe I have something to add for those still suffering. I denied that I had depression for a very long time. My first suicidal thought was when I was 10 yrs old. I had recurrent bouts of crying myself to sleep, feeling a physical pain in my chest from sadness that I had no rational reason for and feeling that only in death could I make the pain go away. When I started my first real job the stress brought on another low. An astute and caring colleague knew I had a problem. He confronted me and mandated that I seek help. I loved him and hated him for it all the the same. I was incredibly embarrassed but thankful.

    I’ve been treated for two and a half years now with medication and therapy. It was very difficult for me to accept that 1. I had a problem requiring medical treatment, and 2. that drugs were part of the solution. Actually, I still have a hard time accepting this. But the reality is that it has helped. It’s not perfect. I still struggle sometimes. But without doubt, emotionally, I’m healthier than ever.

    I realized that depression is a chronic illness. Something I will have to manage my entire life. I realized that my perception of reality is altered, much like an anorexic sees herself as fat.

    I have begun studying Buddhism to help me rewire how I perceive the world and my life. I have begun to see things differently. I try to choose to be happy, where I once didn’t believe that was even an option. Understanding that there are good sides and bad sides to emotions has been enlightening. It’s not the emotion itself, it is how it is used and expressed. I can turn them around.

    There is hope. I know that now. And I want others who are struggling to know that too.

    Erika: Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    Alex

  • David

    I’m a member of SGI who recently failed at committing suicide, and I believe I can say that your list is thorough, yet missing one very important thing: the idea of empowerment.

    I know for me, I reached a state, not of depression, but of a sense of powerlessness and helplessness being triggered that was so deep it blindsided me and I didn’t have even a moment’s hesitation about pursuing a plan. The act was itself an expression of a will, not to live, but to regain control or power—even if only for one last time. Therefore, yes, misguided, but still the same essence of actually wanting to live, which is to say—to have an impact…to create a “cause.” The immediate threat was the sense of powerlessness, and the response was a huge rubberband-action in the opposite direction that strangely felt like life-or-death with death winning out, but nevertheless, there it is.

    I am thankful I did not succeed. I recently gave my experience at a discussion meeting just three weeks after the incident. I was living with no real awareness of the preciousness of my life—I was believing thoughts that just are not true and now I am on a better path in my recovery. I love this blog and your frank discussion of difficult, yet very real topics. Thanks!

    David: What you say makes complete sense. I believe the sense of powerlessness you describe lies at the heart of depression (and the life-condition of Hell) as I discussed in an earlier (and apparently controversial) post, The True Cause Of Depression. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Alex

  • W. Ying

    The ultimate reason is that he or she has lost the possibility to reach the goal of life — keeping DNA alive.

    (See articlesbase.com “Happy Life, Depression and Suicide are Managed by Instinct plus Wisdom” or amazon.com Kindle/paperback book “Is Your Happiness Valid?” )

  • CD George

    I have an unsympathetic response to my friend and mother-in-law by marriage’s suicide attempt. Her chronic CFIDs had her on a daily prescription diet of 5 morphine, Cymbalta, Diazapam as needed, Cymbalta, Lunesta or Trazadone or one other sleeping med that she could use in combo for sleep difficulty. Weeks prior to her unsuccessful attempt, she started taking something for anxiety; Xanax or Ativan, I think.

    She was also my son’s grandma. Now in her fifth month of recovery (and it looks like she’ll fully recover), she has shunned us, giving no reason or excuse; just silence. After sitting bedside for a week while she was unconscious and hooked up to a respirator, after praying and reading poetry, after stressing through the dialysis, we have been abandoned. We don’t get to know what hospital she’s in…we get piecemeal updates from her daughter…

    All to protect her poor, fragile condition.

    It’s like we are bleeding out, over here, hearts broken, explaining to an 11 yr old boy…!? But our feelings don’t factor.

    That’s a potential side for discussion. We have been rejected and we don’t know why. Her doctors and therapist have taken a protective, gatekeeper stance. We don’t know why. We’ve done nothing but love and adore her for 12 years.

    I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I think I’m done.

    I’m pretty sure I don’t want her in our lives. She has modeled destructive behavior for her grandson, and we just are confused about the lack of communication.

    So, anger is almost gone, but lingers. Confusion the order of the day. Hearts under serious reconstruction following amputation without anesthesia. But that doesn’t matter; SHE’s recovering from a suicide attempt.

    CD George: I can only imagine how hurt you must feel by both the suicide attempt and then the complete refusal to explain or communicate. Certainly I don’t know why she’s refusing to speak with you, but her doctors are prevented by privacy laws, and my best guess is that she’s still suffering horribly, is confused about how to stop, and is still in “survival” mode. She may perceive not speaking with you as a survival tactic, for whatever reason (and almost certainly for no reason that has anything to do with any of you). As difficult as I can imagine it would be for you, I urge patience and compassion on your part. You are, of course, a part of this story as well as the family of a person who tried to kill herself, and you must do whatever you perceive as correct to maintain your own health. But you don’t have all the facts yet. As much as you may be emotionally fatigued, and even if you choose to exclude her from your life, I urge you to pause in your judgment (perhaps even indefinitely) until or unless you discover the meaning of your mother’s-in-law silence. We are all no more than human beings trying our best to be happy and loving, often failing in major ways, despite our best intentions.

    Alex

  • JK

    Hi CD George,

    I just wanted to respond to your comment with the hope it might help with understanding. And Alex, please delete my post if you don’t think it is appropriate or helpful.

    After my attempt I completely cut a close friend out of my life. And still, years later, I regret it. However, it was necessary at the time. In some ways, the care of friends and family can be smothering. And it further increases the guilt a suicidal person feels over their inability to cope. I hated myself for being unable to handle my problems, or take care of family and friends the way I felt I should. That feeling kept being compounded again and again (especially the more care I was given). Hating oneself and being filled with guilt is not a feeling that is conducive to becoming a healthy person. For myself, it has taken me a few years to re-establish some of my friendships.

    I do not know the circumstances of your mother’s-in-law problems, so what she is going through may be completely different from what I experienced. And also, you need to protect yourself and your family. Though, perhaps with time things can change and heal. I can say from my experience that touching death can change a person for the better, but it can also leave very, very deep scars.

  • CD George

    Thanks so much for reaching out, and I hear what you say. I guess time will tell. I have to correct my timeline; it was 3 mos. ago, and the month prior was her distancing herself.

    I had my own feeble attempt at ending my life when I was 16; a handful of OTC sleeping pills. I was glad when I woke up in the late a.m. and realized that I needed to jump into survivor mode. I ran away from a physically and emotionally abusive parent. I do remember the desperation.

    Having said that, I just don’t want the strife anymore. Growing up with it and then grieving several losses in the past few years (dad, grandpa, my loving 18 yr.old pooch, a close friend to ALS, another dog), I feel like I need to make a better life for my son and myself. I don’t want this for him. I don’t want to always be “overcoming” some sort of tragedy. I choose not to.

    After she woke up and they took the respirator off of her, I told her I would wait for an invitation before I came back. I did send a couple of emails and made a phone call, but while I got to talk to her once on the phone—that’s been it.

    We have loved her and I wish her a joyful future. I hope it all comes around as it should…

    I just wanted to write about another side. Not the one that is understanding and sympathetic, but rather the ones who are left behind.

    Because, even though she is recovering and has survived, it is still as though she didn’t for us. And call it what you want to, but it is by her choice. I cannot put into words how much that hurts.

    Maybe this will help someone else, somehow.

    Thanks for accepting my position so gracefully :)

  • Mark

    Alex,
    Thank you. I’ve struggled with depression for as long as I can remember. Following the death of my father I had lost my faith as a young adult and had filled its absence with work and caring for my surviving parent. After being a primary carer for a terminally sick mother I found last year that my life situation had changed dramatically and I experienced a loss of meaning and purpose. I sank into a deep and painful depression but did my best to hide it. The anger and frustration i felt contributed to an estrangement from my life partner. Cumulatively, the pain, depression, anger and loss of meaning led me to attempt suicide. For me, at the time, it seemed like the only rational thing to do in a life that had become utterly confounding and terrifying. Fear that there would never be better days on the one hand and the constant pressure of a painful past on the other makes the present moment intolerable.

    The most fortunate thing happened—a chance encounter with a friend, a midwife (she had seen everything!), who could see I was in such a depression. She took me by the hand to my doctor who was sympathetic, prescribed antidepressants and psychiatric intervention. That was six weeks ago. It has saved my life so far. I can’t say it’s passed and I struggle still but I have to live now with the trust and hope that everyone is pulling for me to get better and find myself again.

    If my friend hadn’t known the right question to ask at that time I know that despair and the anger i felt that fueled my suicidal actions would have led me to my end.

    Mark: Almost nothing is as important to our happiness as a sense of meaning and purpose. If nothing else, having gone through the horrible depression you have now puts you in a unique position to encourage others who are battling similar emotions. It’s all about removing suffering and bringing joy to others.

    Alex

  • Ellen

    Hi, Alex,
    I have come across your site. I applaud all the people who have survived the attempts to commit suicide. Unfortunately, my husband did not survive. I only hope that for his sake that he did not try to stop it, because it would break my heart to think that he wanted life. He was always troubled from his childhood and though I begged and pleaded with him to seek help the more he defied. I then noticed that the older he got the further back in time he went with his troubles. We actually broke up 2 yrs ago; still doesn’t take the pain away. We were married 27 yrs. I live in Ireland, where suicide is still a taboo subject. It’s a pity that someone who has succeeded is unable to tell us and console those left behind that they are happy.

    Thanks

    Ellen: My condolences on your loss.

    Alex

  • Lonely me in Chicago

    I would never attempt to commit suicide if I was a healthy person because I think one can overcome any situation if one really wants too, but having a disease which doctors can’t figure out and being sick all the time really makes me wish every night before I go to sleep not to wake up the next day. But I keep waking up; I have thought over and over about committing suicide and I think eventually I will do it. I have an unknown disease which major hospitals and very well-known doctors in Chicago haven’t been able to figure out, but the symptoms are there. I have progressive brain demyelination, I have a swollen brain which makes me confused and disoriented all the time, severe headaches, major IBS problems, skins rashes, liver pain, pain in my testicles, urinary tract infections, lower back pain, joints and muscle pains and the list goes on and on. I have been tested and re-tested for every disease which could explain the symptoms and the doctors don’t have an answer for me; my insurance has been charged over 35k this year alone and the hospital bills keep racking up and to top it all off I have no friends or immediate family around me which makes the situation unbearable. Also my wife is not understanding at all and on the weekends she goes out with her friends and leaves me behind at home feeling sick which makes me even more depressed thinking that she’s not there to support me, but sure enough she is there when she needs money asking for it. I feel more like she is my roommate rather then my wife. Being sick and trying to have a normal life is really hard. My coworkers and friends don’t notice it but I’m always hiding the pain and the discomfort. I can’t take it anymore. I can honestly say that I can take some pain but the neurological problems are hard to deal with as much as you try if you feel confused you cannot function properly; sometimes I feel fine and I thank God for being alive and feel happy, but most of the time I feel sick and I really wish I wasn’t here; it is really scary to think about not seeing my parents, siblings, wife and friends and to think what a major blow this would be for them, especially for mother as she is a very loving person and I think she would fall in a long-time depression if I was dead especially since she is elderly and I’m the youngest in the family. Have you heard the quote “if you are not enjoying life you are not living?” This is what it feels like to me. I don’t wanna live unless I can be happy. I don’t ask for any material stuff in the world. The only thing I wish for is health; that’s the only one thing it would make me have a fulfilling and a happy life.


    Lonely: I’m so sorry to hear that you’re experiencing so much suffering. You must not give up hope. There are ideas and practices in the world you’ve never heard of that can help. Nichiren Buddhism, for one. If it interests you (I thought it might given your last few sentences where you describe your active desire to be happy) please click on the SGI link in my “About” page. Also, in a previous post, Transitioning To Illness, I mention a book by Toni Bernhard called How to be Sick that you might find helpful. The link to the book’s Amazon page is in the post. There are also numerous support groups for people with unknown chronic illnesses. Reach out. You very well may find them life saving.

    Alex

  • forever lost

    We have been depressed and lost in this world since we were very small. we are now 58 in calendar years but still two emotionally. We suffer from PTSD, depersonalization/derealization, anorexia, severe depression, dissociation, insomnia—overwhelming fear and feelings of abandonment. We are basically alone and think about suicide many times every day. We struggle to survive and weary of doing so when everything feels hopeless and lonely and there is an emptiness inside that seems impossible to ever fill. We do feel that it would be better if we were gone—that no one would truly miss us or care or even notice. Because perhaps we do not truly exist at all except in pain.

  • Glenn

    Dear forever lost,
    Most people in your shoes would have given up long ago. The very fact that you’ve maintained the struggle this long speaks volumes about your innate strength (as much as you might dispute that you possess such strength). What I think you might try is more experimentation. If what you’ve been doing hasn’t worked to produce the changes you seek, then you might consider some new strategies. Implement them (and give them time to give effect). Step 1: Lose the “forever” tag. Step 2: Get moving. It can get better (ask me how I know). Good luck.

  • (forever) lost

    Thanks, Glenn, for the response. Ok, you’ve got my curiosity—”How do you know?” We walk pretty much every day and try to do things but it is hard because we are shy and do not trust very easily since we have been hurt emotionally and physically by a lot of people we trusted over the years.

  • Glenn

    Dear temporarily lost,

    Nothing special, nothing profound. I just work at. Take minor pleasures as they come. Shy: Yes. Do not trust: Yes. Hurt emotionally: Yes. But I shift my focus. If I stayed focused on my shyness/distrust/hurts, I’d be lost too. And I lower my expectations. So if I don’t expect much, there’s not as much that disappoints. That may not work for you, but it works for me (at least as a temporary expedient—it’s not much of lifetime recipe).

    But if you’re walking everyday, you’re ahead of those who don’t get out of bed and those who are too afraid to leave their house. So you might start by taking some pleasure from the walks themselves. Nothing more; just look for reasons to enjoy today’s walk. Head up; look around; see what there is to see. Pick another route tomorrow and do the same. Continue to vary your route and identify your favorites and then try to identify what it is that you appreciate. Start small; build slowly; have no expectations; keep at it. And know that you’ll have relapses (we all do).

    Or decide that this doesn’t work for you and try something else. But try to take some pleasure from something and then keep trying. That’s what works for me. Again, TL, best of luck to you.

    P.S. If your situation is such that you are still being hurt physically, you must, repeat must, get out of that situation. You can’t build a life when there’s continuing physical abuse. Period. I hope Alex chimes in because you may need some wiser words on this point than I’m capable of.

    Glenn: No wiser words here than yours. If someone is being physically abused, whatever reasons they may have for staying or not fighting to end it, those reasons are simply poor and must be unmasked as such.

    Alex

  • CD George

    To Anyone (and forever lost: We? plural, or one?):

    It’s been almost a year since my person tried to kill herself.

    She’s alive and has excluded us, we, all of “our side” of the family (by marriage). Major “ouch” is an understatement. Complete and total rejection from my best friend with no explanation. Not just me, my son; a little boy. We loved her 150%. Everything we had, we shared. Now, all we have the fallout of her botched attempt to cover. Had it been successful, we’d still be left with all she shook from her shoes. It seems endless, and recently it’s been the family pets that she….. abandoned. She lives and works toward recovery (at a great price to the state of California: $750,000) and we get to take an old, ailing cat to end her suffering. We try to sustain the life of a loyal pooch that still waits for her return.

    Abysmal. The pain of us, those left behind and rejected without what seems a backward glance… well, I have truly reached the new LOW limits of esteem. For anyone considering an end to their life and wondering how those of us left behind will feel, I can’t describe it. It’s not a fond feeling for me.

    Value yourself, give to others and remember that for as bad as it is for you, others surmount more. The young man in the house next to me LIVES and he has lived his entire life in a chair, without motor skills or a voice anyone can understand, but no brain damage after an accident on the delivery of his birth. He manages to communicate JOY. So…

    Suicide is a form of narcissism and it’s punitive. That’s my case and apparently (check it out) I’m not the minority.

    Almost a year, and this is my struggle. I feel betrayed, abandoned and lied to. No fondness here.

    Harsh? Yes it is.

    I don’t feel sorry for you, I beckon you to work it out.

    CD George: Suffering, in one sense, makes narcissists of us all. But it is still suffering. I understand your pain, but unless the person you’re discussing was a narcissist by nature before attempting suicide, it sounds as if the pain that drove the attempt hasn’t yet been resolved. I hope they get the help they need and you can forgive them, for your own sake.

    Alex

  • CD George

    I obviously have a lot of work to do!

    I hope you and your readers will forgive me, as I really work to forgive and accept. I am conflicted about my posts, when I read them after the fact. I can only hope that turning the coin over, so to speak, will help readers see the pain of someone struggling to cope…to help provide a more complete picture of the impact it has when someone attempts to end their life. I will continue to educate myself and your post about forgiveness will be read by me.

    It may be hard to believe that I am a loving and gentle person. But I am. I have lost so much in the past 6 years. My natural father. We did hospice here at my house. I am grateful for the dedicated time I got with him at the end of his life. I cared for my grandfather 3 months after my dad died. He passed within 3 months. My loving adopted father a year later. The unexpected death of my dog. Then my little old-girl dog after that.

    Then my best friend tries to end her life. I don’t want to spew negativity, but it hurts so bad when someone leaves you voluntarily after so much loss already.

    I’m trying. Seeing her kitty to the end of her life and then picking up her dog before he was surrendered to a rescue unexpectedly brought the bitterness up full-force. It’s hard to cover the responsibilities she left behind, let alone to see my loved ones hurting by the loss too.

    I work to accept that this happened and I have much to do in order to heal. Sigh.

    Thanks for your patience, Alex. I’ll try to take a lesson from it.

    CD George: You’ve obviously been through a lot. I’m sorry you’ve suffered so. It’s hard to forgive anyone who we feel has contributed to our suffering, but everyone wants to be happy. Just some of us get incredibly confused as to how and end up hurting themselves and others in the process. It’s actually easy to believe you’re a gentle and loving person. Good luck to you.

    Alex

  • Forever Lost (still struggling)

    When we are in such deep emotional pain day in and day out and it never seems to relent and we see others around us with people they love and having a “life” that seems worthwhile we feel like we can never belong in this world, never be loved or cared about, will always be hurt, abandoned, rejected no matter how hard we try to be what we think people want us to be so we will be accepted. And so dying becomes a place that will end our suffering and “it feels” like no one will really care or even notice if we are gone. So, we don’t do this to hurt others but to take our worthlessness and what we feel as a “bother” to others to free them from what we perceive brings nothing of value to their life or the world we exist in. We are in pain that never ends, sadness and darkness and emptiness that is bottomless and all consuming and the tears and hurt are all there is and seems all there can ever be. Forgive us for our failure………we cry every day and feel discouraged and hopeless that there is anything better.

  • Cynthia

    Forever Lost,

    I am truly sorry that you still struggle. Rather than presume to tell you how wrong you are (it’s not my place), I will just say that I guess we all want to flee our individual torments. I have fled contact with someone I loved dearly in order to spare myself the pain. I can’t entrust my heart there; not to someone who would take a piece of it to the grave. She, and you, feel/felt the answer was to end life. It’s wrong and unfair to presume that such a decision is better for anyone else, other than yourself.

    Some of us felt, and were right to feel, that the love of us, and from us, was not enough. That’s a very hard bit to cope with.

    It’s really tragic on both ends.

    The only inept advice I would give is: find a way to value yourself. Do volunteer work with animals or young people, or clean up a small patch of space in your community by weeding and planting. You are needed, but no one will force you and folks will tire or trying to convince you.

    Best blessings and hope coming to you from me. Now, stop crying and go and DO something for someone else. It will help YOU.

  • rosita

    I have been following the comments to this post. A lot of the problem is due to people (with depression) not getting the right kind of help. I saw the same (distinguished, academic) therapist on/off for 25 years. It is only because of a “fluke” that I stopped going. It took me a long while (after) to realize this was not a helpful process and was in retrospect—harmful. Later, discovered an also very distinguished music therapist with advanced training in neuroscience, a masseuse, a martial arts teacher (willing to work with me privately/adaptively). All accepted a very sliding scale fee. None of this is covered by insurance. I would have been another suicide statistic without this amazing help from these unusual people. For some people “re-wiring” trauma and altering one’s biochemistry requires methods that are not part of established, insurance paid systems.

  • Mike

    At the risk of sounding simplistic and raising the hackles of many, I have asked myself many times, what is the purpose for me even being here? Once I decided my purpose in life was the attain heaven and that there cannot be happiness without unhappiness, many things fell into place for me. There is a reason for all this madness, and money, fortune and fame is obviously not the answer (i.e., Michael Jackson). I know many out there will not understand this, but for me, the tougher it gets the stronger I become because of my stated goal. I guess what I’m trying to say is, this life is only a pit stop. It ain’t supposed to be easy!!! I must admit, I do take solace in the thought that everyone get #$#@ on in this life !!! lol

  • Sherri

    I often wonder if falling out of balance in some way forces the universe to put us back into balance (much the same way as being knocked off ones high horse happens) and when this occurs people may become overwhelmed with guilt, shame, humiliation beyond reproach to the point that they are so pained they can see no other option. Do I think that the punishment in life should fit the crime? Absolutely… do I believe that unfair and unjust things can happen as well, of course. But I also believe that, unfortunately even for me, we sometimes force the hand of nature and balance by the things we do or neglect to do, or letting our lives or ideas get out of balance, leading to the consequences, naturally, that sometimes overwhelm us. I think that the prayer in AA sums it up best: “God or grace of knowledge, Give us the grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed (the past), Courage to change the things which should be changed, And the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.”

    I believe the reasons listed in this article to be so full of truth. I honestly think, that when a person is in the throws of despair, humiliation, shame, guild and overwhelming pain, they have lost the capacity to see or care how the finality of suicide can affect others and it becomes a viable option toescape those feelings.

  • Fouzia

    My brother who is also a specialist doctor took around 30 highly effective sleeping pills but his friend found out soon and got him immediate treatment. Its been less than 24 hours, we still don’t know how to start talking to him about it. Can someone please guide?

    Fouzia: This isn’t probably an appropriate forum for you to accept specific advice other than get him (and yourselves) professional help immediately and don’t act as if it didn’t happen or that something isn’t wrong. It very much is.

    Alex

  • Rob

    Treatable depression seems to me a delusion. I’ve been under treatment for nearly nine years. I’ve been on various anti-depressants and combinations. I don’t think any of them really work. The only thing that helped me feel better was to have a time to talk about what I felt, what I thought, and what I perceived. It might not actually lead to a breakthrough, but for quite a few days, it seemed to give me relief just to know someone actually heard me.

    I don’t talk to my handful of friends about it really. They have their own struggles, but talking to a more objective person helps me feel like I am not a total nutjob plus it does me good just to speak the words out loud. It is ironic that since I lost my job during the Great Recession and have not been able to find work that isn’t temp work, I cannot afford to pay for the therapy any more. I simply go every three months or so to my psychiatrist to check my meds and get new prescriptions. What I wish I could do is not take the meds and just return to weekly therapy sessions.

    I ran out of one of them, and since I don’t have the money to pay for a refill, I am in the first week of doing without. The copay is just too high. So far, I think about or visualize my death every day, which means no change. I was doing that already. I know for a fact that the mistake I made that led to my loss of a job is what has led to the destruction of my family’s financial well-being. I have found temp work, but not enough. I cannot stop this downward spiral we have entered except by dying. I don’t know that I want to die so much as I want to ensure my family receives the financial boost that my death would bring, which would allow them to get back on the positive side, out of debt, and my wife would be able to live fairly comfortably only on her salary. Our children are grown, which leaves my 14-year-old niece as the only minor in the household.

    I have done the math and it works. I die, and my wife gets a payout of about $150,000 U.S. She will be rescued from financial ruin and poverty, plus the loss of our house in which we raised our children, and which holds so many good memories. It seems pretty rational. Others might disagree, but no one seems to have any solutions that I have not tried. I cannot make myself be a younger man. I look my age of 58. I cannot get back my normal voice since the surgical mishap paralyzed one of my vocal cords. I see the change in expression when I am introduced to the thirty-somethings who are there to interview me for a job. If someone has a viable alternative, I would listen.

    Those well-meaning people who try to pray away my mental illness don’t seem to grasp that I do not believe in supernatural beings. I simply smile politely and say thank you. I don’t think god, Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Vishnu, or any other mythological beings are hiring these days.

    So easily treated is not so easy. Doctors don’t have time to spend talking to their depressed patients as treatment. A pill is mostly a talisman to create a placebo effect in depressed patients, but neither I nor the people I know who are actually clinically depressed feel happy or even satisfied. We manage to exist from one day to the next.

    Most of the depressed people I know, including me, don’t sit around sniffling or curled up in bed. We get up and go through our daily rituals of coffee, breakfast, news, radio traffic reports, attending meetings and conference calls at work. going to lunch, going home, talking to our spouses or significant others, talking to the kids, helping with dinner or homework, watching television, brushing our teeth, going to bed, rinse and repeat. We function, but visions of our nonexistence come and go all through the day. I often find myself daydreaming whilst doing chores about putting a gun under my chin and pulling the trigger. A nanosecond of noise then I am gone. No more feeling quite mad and no more thinking about how I ruined everything and my family is saved. It seems like a win win to me.

    Rob: I’m so sorry to hear how down you’re feeling. I’m distressed that the treatment you want—and probably rightly believe would do you much good—isn’t so readily available to you. I cannot agree logically with your argument for suicide, however. Certainly, your wife may be given a financial boost, but how happy do you think she’d be able to be living with the memory of your suicide and without you in her life? You may think she feels the same way about you that you do, but that’s the depression talking. I wish I had an easy answer for you. But just because you can’t see a viable solution in front of you doesn’t mean one isn’t available. Keep looking. Please.

    If you haven’t already read it, perhaps this might help you.

    Alex

  • Julia

    Hi Rob,

    I read and empathize with your post. I think you are correct that talk therapy is better than the medication. I have found that to be the case for myself. As a result, I always keep an emergency stash of cash for therapy. I’m also working the temp jobs, as I became unemployed in 2009 and again this year.

    It IS very difficult out there. I’m 31 and I’ve been trying to help my “seasoned” friends get jobs as well. It disgusts me to hear what my current supervisor has said about hiring older workers. My entire department was laid-off in March and most of the people I worked with are highly intelligent, dependable and dedicated employees. I consider it an honor to have had the chance to learn from them, and it makes me livid to see how they being discriminated against.

    Please keep seeking out help, especially talk therapy. There are counselors out there, including mine, who provide quality care on a sliding scale. My sessions are $50 per and I go twice a month. My closest friend was in very bad shape after cancer treatment and she found a retired Catholic Father who she visits in his elderly home. He is counseling her for free, and I’m so thankful to see the difference in her life. I’m not necessarily recommending a religious route, but I am trying to show there are alternatives to expensive medical care.

    If Alex is willing to share my e-mail (julia @ juliakoller . com), I would point you to my therapist. He also offers counseling via Skype. If he would not be a good option, I’m sure he could recommend other resources for you. He has over 20 years experience as a crisis counselor.

    From my experience, I guarantee that your fantasy of suicide will not save your family. Despite your good intentions it will terribly harm them for the rest of their lives.

    Hang in there and don’t give up on things. You are not alone with your struggles.

  • To me the best and reason is being TIRED. Of all the Lies, BS AND CRAP. WHY PLAY THE GAME?

  • Nyx

    This after a childhood depression caused by failed attachment the desire to free myself from the wheel of suffering is my heart-felt truth. I’ve been honest about my desire for 40 years and that’s long enough to suffer for my family; they can indeed deal and live with the result. I’m not a slave to my family nor my small social circle. What I needed to do I have done. I have no children, no legacy if not freedom. It is by far the most reasoned and reasonable cause to seek death when one rationally looks at life and its, and your own, suffering and are incapable of responding to that in a deeply true and passionate way, life is indeed hopeless. And without reason to live. The planet is overpopulated and full of humans destroying it death is a gift to life.

    There is nothing to be gained by living and only suffering to be endured. “Death is untying a over tight show.” The following statement fits perfectly:

    5. They have a philosophical desire to die. the decision to commit suicide for some is based on a reasoned decision often motivated by the presence of a painful terminal illness from which little to no hope of reprieve exists. These people aren’t depressed, psychotic, maudlin, or crying out for help. They’re trying to take control of their destiny and alleviate their own suffering, which usually can only be done in death. They often look at their choice to commit suicide as a way to shorten a dying that will happen regardless. In my personal view, if such people are evaluated by a qualified professional who can reliably exclude the other possibilities for why suicide is desired, these people should be allowed to die at their own hands.

  • Sheila

    I think there could be another category too.

    Some people are not seriously depressed, but they come to this conclusion that this world is not for them. So the person could be social friendly active even helpful to others, but inside s/he feels that s/he does not belong here. Does this make sense to you?

    Sheila: Possibly. But the self-preservation instinct is incredibly strong. Almost irresistible. Hard to imagine someone might conclude “this world isn’t for them” (meaning they can ignore their instinct to survive) without feeling some kind of significant, unresolved pain.

    Alex

  • Janet

    I was just released from the hospital two days ago after another suicide attempt. Four months ago on Tuesday, October the 26th I nearly died. I was in a coma for four days, and intensive care for six days, on day eight I yanked out the IVS and staggered home.

    I have severe PSTD, depression, lupus and fibromyalgia. My father raped me from age six until I was seventeen; my mother hated me for what he did to me. Instead blaming me. I was also raped by a neighbor from about age four until age eleven. Five years ago this Easter I went into cardiac arrest (my roommate found me); my doctor saved my life by calling 911 on Tuesday, October the 16th, as well as this time.

    I feel hopeless about the future, disabled, traumatized by flashbacks and falling apart. (I am extremely disassociative but the emotions build up and I shatter). I have been sober for four months. My problem is that each time I am surprised I am alive and grateful but it quickly fades into depression. She says I am not stable so we have made not much progress in the past five years.

    I was raped this past summer; she encouraged me to press charges but then I became too unstable for them to proceed. I have a social worker that I see weekly as well as my doctor weekly. I am on four different meds that work fairly well.

    My issue is that since I had the flashback of my father on me five years ago this Easter and fell apart (it was like a switch went off in my head and I knew I could not live. I calmly went and drank a full bottle of Tylenol and a full bottle of Gravol). I never know when that switch is going to go off.

    I have tried to commit suicide about ten times in the past year alone. I am frightened of myself. I was drunk, yes, but it seems my true feelings surface and overwhelm me. There were a few instances when I was sober that I did not know if I would jump in front of the subway or not.

    I am so sorry if the content of what I wrote is disturbing to others.

    When I was in the hospital up until the last two times the reaction of nurses was quite cold towards me. Since I am mainly numb to feeling I must have looked so unfeeling and impartial. I don’t know how to stop myself from getting overwhelmed by my despair. My doctor practices cognitive behavioral therapy and I feel quite close to her; she is the mother to me I never had. Other than her I am alone except for my two dogs and cats.

    I don’t have a reason or purpose or meaning in my life. I live in Toronto Canada. I don’t know what else to do. I know I must avoid alcohol. I was at a party on Wed I got triggered a few times and went home and fell apart. Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thank you.

    Janet: It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed as I read this list of horrors, a feeling that I’m sure only hints at what you yourself have felt living through them. I can only offer general advice: many times people are driven to do things not because they feel pain but because they don’t want to and won’t allow themselves to feel pain. People drink themselves into a stupor to avoid feeling anxious, for example. Or attempt suicide to avoid feeling depressed. But these actions cause far more damage than the feelings that drive them. In my book, I discuss a relatively new kind of therapy called acceptance and commitment therapy, which teaches people to view even their most painful feelings without judgment, to allow themselves to have them without taking any action to shut them out. In general, if you allow yourself to experience awful feelings, eventually, they will go away. It’s often our refusal to feel them that keeps them knocking at our door. Additionally, you must find a purpose for your life. If nothing else, think of what you have to offer people who’ve suffered in a similar way to you. I wrote about the importance of this—about the resilience that identifying your life’s mission can grant you—in my book as well. Your feelings are just feelings. As awful as they are, they don’t have to control your actions. I will continue to hope that you will find your way not just to peace but to a strength that enables you to not only help yourself but others who’ve suffered as you have.

    Alex

  • rosita

    This is very difficult to read on awakening after listening to “On Being” radio program with the Dalai Lama’s translator. But important. There are many people who cannot articulate these kinds of experiences—so I agree the writer has potential to help herself and others.

    The health systems, even in progressive Canada, are part of the problem. In my opinion (retired Public Health Nurse and my own serious experiences) it’s helpful to reduce life to basic essentials. The ideal is that a person could live in a very orderly, clean, attractive environment, establish strict routines of meditation (and I don’t mean just the sitting on the mat!!), exercise, healthy food, exposure to beauty/nature (gardening).

    The “monastery” environment comes to mind (vs the typical psychiatric unit). Also, we now know so much about brain “wiring.” Music therapy (and the creative arts), for example—can completely change brain functioning in a way treatment doesn’t for a lot of people. Unfortunately when in this state, the problem solving (executive) part of the brain doesn’t work well and that’s why health systems and providers need to reach out to people and provide options for help. It takes time to heal and it can be done. Thank you for your blog.

  • Jeff

    To clear up any confusion about what I am going to write, I thought it would be a good idea to start with the fact that I am under the age of 18.

    I have suffered with depression for the last 4-5 years of my life as a result of much sadness concentrated in a short span of time. My tragedies are not comparable to some of the horrible things that have happened to the people above, but I was a small child then, and it destroyed me emotionally.

    When I was 9, my parent got a divorce. My parents sat me and my sister down and told us about it, and then told us to go to bed. The next morning my dad was out of the house, and I was left in a daze. Later on that year, or maybe in the next year (I cannot remember exactly) my grandfather who was very close to me, passed away approximately 2 weeks before my birthday. I loved him dearly, and it hurt to see him gone forever. My father (who even though was not living with me I still visited with every once and a while) decided to send me to therapy, which if anything made my condition worse. The counselor that I was sent to treated me as an infant, and could not comprehend that I had a firm grasp on the world even at a young age. (I have always had the ability to comprehend situations beyond what is normal for my age.) A year and a half later I was out and depressed, though at this point I had not fully sunk yet. Two years later, I had a sort of traumatic experience (I would rather not say as it brings back pain) that really sent me into depression. I told no one about it in a childish belief that I could deal with whatever was thrown at me, and suffered through another 1-2 years of near crashing and mental breakdowns, until I finally snapped and started slamming my head against a wall one day. When my mother heard this she talked with me, and I had told her how I had been feeling depressed and it had gotten suicidal in the recent times. I was put yet again towards a therapist who treated me as unequal, in reality as someone far below him. They put me on medication this time, and it had little to no effect in the first 2 months, the only effect being to weaken my mental condition. After months of therapy I stopped again because I had gotten nowhere, and I was in high school and did not have time for much other than homework. I continued the medication, but something had started with the second round of therapy and the medication was a sense that there was no happiness even if I did survive my depression. I was still a logical thinker, and I had somewhat rational reasons of why I did not want to keep living. As you stated, it was not so much a wish to die as a wish to stop living. Well, my depression and suicidal thoughts continued till the present day when I am typing this. I still feel as if the only reason I am alive is because I am too weak to end it. Thank you for having this forum, it is a good thing to get all of this off my chest as none of my friends know that I am suicidal, and my own sister does not even know I am depressed.

    Jeff: My heart breaks to hear your story. Despite the fact that therapy has not only failed to help you but also perhaps made you worse, I would strongly encourage you to keep seeking help in that realm. There really are good therapists out there who will treat you as an equal and who can help you improve. There is a better life possible for you. Extremely rare is the person who is depressed for whom we can do nothing to help. Please don’t give up on the notion that happiness is possible for you. Continue to seek counseling until you find a therapist you can trust. They do exist.

    Alex

  • [...] You might find this educational to read: The Six Reasons People Attempt Suicide [...]

  • WTF

    Obviously your techniques to avert suicide failed as evidenced by your patient’s actions. You could, however, hope your patient has found peace. From personal experience I question how caring the people who he/she left behind were. Suicide doesn’t sneak up on someone. There’s plenty of opportunity to interact with the person, thousands of signs but people don’t want to deal. They don’t like the truth. Too many lies. Many wounds never heal. Many wounds are caused by the very people turned to for help. One or two or three bad choices can destroy a life and they don’t want to get back up cause they don’t see how it can get better (truth: some are scarred for life). I don’t know why you or anyone would try to force someone to live. You should help them go painlessly if that’s what they want and if they are an adult. Help them get their affairs in order beforehand. That would be Angelic.

  • Julia

    Dear feeling-like-WTF ,

    I recommend you read more of Alex’s blog posts and keep an open mind.

    It is true, we can all be wounded and never heal; but that doesn’t mean time and care can’t numb the pain and make it bearable. It took me four years before I felt the desire to live again, but unbelievably it happened. Had I been a successful suicide, I would never have had the chance to enjoy life again.

    Preventing suicide is not forcing someone to live. It’s allowing time for treatment to work and the crisis to pass. I guarantee that no matter how unloved a person feels, there is someone out there (probably more than a few) who would be devastated by the loss.

    Julia: Yes.

    Alex

  • WTF

    Julia,
    The writer admitted he didn’t save the patient. Who are we to say we know better than this person? You’re maybe projecting your experience onto someone else. It’s a bit silly to keep hearing about all these people in someone’s life that care—where were they??? And, also, some people really are alone. Perhaps the parents has passed and they have no family of their own—it happens. I believe a painless and dignified passing should be available to every free adult. Let’s stop making it taboo or try to convince the world they should continue suffering for these “other people that care.” I’m glad you’re happy and are at peace but others have a very different path which you could never know.

  • Julia

    WTF,

    You are right, I am projecting my experience onto other people. But I also know many people who are survivors of suicide. I believe that puts me in a good position to have knowledge about this.

    I know one woman, for example, whose father committed suicide before she was born. At 55+ years of age, she has never had an intimate relation with a man. Her loneliness, pain, and stunted emotional growth, are the direct result of her father’s death. They never met. Likely, he too believed that no one cared for him, or that his life was hopeless. Yet look at the life-long impact his suicide had on another person he never knew. You could even extend that out, to the people whose lives this woman might have enriched, had she been able to give and receive affection.

    It’s true, I don’t know the different life paths of others, but I also don’t think you’re being fair by holding onto the belief that some people, no matter how hard they try, are condemned to a life of loneliness and despair.

    It takes a lot of hard dedicated work to reach back into life and build relationships, but I would argue that this possible for everyone. We have one opportunity to choose life over death, why settle for defeat?

    P.S.—I’m not always happy or at peace, but I’ve learned how to live with the ups and downs. That’s a skill I never had before. If I had to measure I would say 40% happy, 60% sad. But that 40% sure is great.

  • Gail

    A person that kills themselves isn’t resigning themselves to defeat. Their just in so much mental anguish they can’t take the pain anymore. No one chooses to be in this much pain. For the past 7 months I’ve been in such despair I struggle not to end it. The pain comes in horrific waves and all I can do is take walks to get through the waves. My husband died 6 years ago and every time I think things can’t possibly get worse I get hit with something else. But I have 2 sons and if I die they have no where to go so I force my way through the never ending waves of pain because I don’t want them to have to live in the pain my suicide would cause them. Plus I am of the belief that if you give into the pain and kill yourself you will be immediately reincarnated to live a miserable life again. So with that in mind I struggle though the tides, my head barely above the waters of my never-ending painful existence. I lost my house right after my husband died; then within a year I lost my job, then my car. We live on his death benefits barely. But we don’t qualify for Medicaid or food stamps; don’t ask me how and every month is a struggle. Without transportation I’ve been unable to get another job. Our poverty forces us to live in a drug-ridden Latino neighborhood surrounded by people who hate us and don’t want us here but we’re too poor to go anywhere. The chronic stress and subsequent high blood pressure has caused me to go into heart failure repeatedly. Every time I go into an arrhythmia I just lay down and hope to die and finally have peace only to wake up swollen in congestive heart failure. I have a family but they refuse to help and there is no turning to them for emotional support; they only get angry that I’m annoying them. The only friends I had were at work; once the job was gone no one talked to me anymore. I don’t have a single friend to turn to. I literally have no one but my kids. I’m nowhere near a church so that’s out, so where am I supposed to go to make friends? I want to be happy or at least content but I’m stuck in this horrible situation with no possible way to get out of it. I’ve tried every possible thing I can think of to try to make myself well again for the sake of my kids but nothing works. I applied for social security disability but lost my case. They say that I worked 20 years full time with my bipolar 1 disorder so there is no reason I can’t do so now. I need help and I know it, but if go for help and it’s seen that I’m suicidal I’ll be thrown in a locked ward and my kids will get taken away. I’m not settling for defeat. I just keep losing at everything I try, each defeat causing me to sink ever further into the pits of despair. In 2 years the social security gets cut off and all I have to look forward to is being homeless in 2 years. Yeah I wish I could die so I wouldn’t have to hurt so much anymore. Wouldn’t you want to die if you were this heartbroken and lonely and you kept getting kicked down every time you tried to get up? I hide in my room and avoid my kids because I feel like poison and don’t want to burden or inject them with my sorrow. I haven’t had a man touch me in years. I gave up on online dating; the men just want to use me for sex and no matter how hard I try I’m so miserable men see that and never want to see me again. It’s so easy to sit back and judge a person that committed suicide as a quitter. But until you have walked in another person’s shoes no one has the right to judge anyone. A person doesn’t just give up and decide to commit suicide. They’re just in utter agony and can’t take the pain anymore. As for me I’m going to keep fighting against the tide despite my self-loathing out of love for my children.

  • rosita

    Gail, it’s a sign of hope that you found this website and wrote your eloquent letter. When your physiology and spirit are depleted it’s hard to be a creative problem-solver. Depending on where you live—”being thrown in a locked ward and kids taken away”—may not be accurate. Mental health and social service systems can be a bureaucratic nightmare or incredibly sensitive, caring help that really change people’s lives (I’ve seen both sides as a health professional). I’ve also found getting into a “system” (child or adult protective, hospital emergency room, foster care) can often be the ONLY way a person can finally get the help they deserve. Having someone you trust/responsible care for your children temporarily may give you the opportunity to calm your physiology and open up new pathways. If you had appendicitis or cancer it would be acceptable for someone else to help out with your children . . . and take the time to heal your body/spirit. Maybe your kids school has some resources? CREATIVE resources are out there—you never know what form they will take. There are many programs now for (re)training in health (and other fields) support professions (phlebotomy, pharmacy assistant, etc.). Getting back into the work force may give you a new perspective. A (special) yoga teacher (who accepts sliding scale or even free classes) can totally change your life. Getting a bipolar disorder in balance can also change things dramatically. In my experience, the body/mind/spirit needs rest, time, nurturance, creativity, in these kinds of situations and you will see life can change for the better.

  • Gail

    Actually it was the local hospital that I got fired from 5 years ago. During work when my blood pressure shot up and I landed in the ER it came out that I was on psych meds. Nurses gossip despite what the law says. It was shocking how people who knew me for years started treating me different once they found out I was a psych patient. I know that people in the medical field are educated and should know better. But I have a news flash for you: they’re just as biased if not more so. The only ones that treated me the same and actually were upset about how I was being treated once I was outed were the ER doctors. It didn’t take long before everyone working in the hospital knew I was bipolar. It still hurts till this day and I still don’t understand why my co-workers went together first to our boss then administration and didn’t just complain about me but made up outright lies and the stories that were made about about me were what an uneducated person assumes a bipolar acts like but the so called behaviors don’t correlate to actual bipolar symptoms

    One example is they had me changing personalities and acting like a 6-year-old child. Soon the witch hunt began. My boss had security watching my every move on the camaras. The security guards felt bad about it and told me. My work load was doubled so I could be complained about everyday no matter how hard I worked. Between knowing sooner or later that I was going to be fired and knowing my every move was being observed I became a nervous wreck. When the day finally came when I was called at home and told not to report to work I was actually relieved it was finally over. When I went to the administration and was being read the statements my co-workers made against me I had to ask them to stop because I was so embarrassed I wanted to die. That’s when the administrators who should have been educated enough to realize the statements being made were not consistent with bipolar symptoms said to me, it is apparent you have been off your medication. They put me on leave so I could stabilize and said to me that when you come back if we hear one more complaint about you, your job will be terminated then handed me a urine specimen cup. I’m not stupid. I never smoked weed before or during work. But once I came up positive I was fired; best of all because I was fired for a failed drug test I was not entitled to unemployment.

    I had my first in a series of nervous breakdowns walking out that door. I have a medical assistants diploma and a massage therapy diploma that they take money out of my check for. I applied for social security disability but was denied; the hospital seemed to go out of their way to make sure I was denied. I lost my car and I’m a shell of the woman I used to be. As for the system there is no way in hell I would willingly let my kids there. When I was 13 years old and started getting sick and hospitalized my wonderful parents decided I was a mental defective as they call me and signed me over to New York State. Because I defended myself too well against lesbians trying to molest me I was deemed violent which made it impossible to place me anywhere. So at 14 years old naive and innocent having never committed a crime I was placed in a juvenile detention facility.

    Not only was my illness never treated there but I was ganged up on and attacked basically daily for being a blonde-haired blue-eyed white devil. I’m still covered in scars both physically and emotionally from that wonderful experience. I have developed a heart condition in the last few years and have gone into 6 arrhythmias and subsequent congestive heart failure. I layed down and hoped to die but didn’t go to the hospital. So you see that even though those are all wonderful suggestions and I thank you for being kind enough to make them, none of them work for me. If it were only that simple I would have done those things years ago. As far as hitting up charity’s trust me I hit them all. Just like I can’t get food stamps or Medicaid because they say we collect to much in death benefit money all the charity’s say the same thing. I have a hard enough time coming up with the money I need to go to the doctor to keep up on my blood pressure medicine which I will die without. There is no way I can come up with even more money to pay for psych meds and yoga classes. I’m barely surviving and can’t even pay at a cut rate. I’m far from middle class. Hell we’re so poor the Mexican nationals around me feel sorry for us. If you truely want to save my life take a collection and get me a used car this way. I can get another job with insurance so I can take care of my own health issues. That’s all I need to pull myself up out of this nightmare. People give their teenage kids used cars everyday. But no matter who I ask or how much I beg and plead–

  • Gail

    –no one thinks I’m worth helping. My own parents would rather let me wither away and die. You have no idea how much this hurts. I’ve already been in heart failure 6 times. That has been confirmed by a doctor. Maybe I’ll recover next time or there is a very real possibility I might finally get my wish and die. Because I’m such a piece of crap that no one thinks I deserve a hand up. I’m not begging for money. I’m begging to be given the opportunity to be able to get up and provide for myself and my sons. But the painful reality is I’m never going to get the only thing in the world I need to save myself. No one thinks I’m worth saving. That’s why I’m so frustrated and depressed. I truly wish I was dead.

  • Julia

    Hi Gail,

    I’ve been following your thread this morning. It sounds like what your success is hinging on is lack of transportation.

    You said you live in California… is there public transit? I used that to get on my feet. It’s not as convenient as a car, but certainly doable.

  • Gail

    I live in AZ and public transportation is scarce and unreliable at best. And yeah that’s what has been holding me back hindering me and destroying my life.

  • Julia

    Hi again Gail,

    That’s definitely a challenge. I did a bit of research to see if I could find a program in Arizona that donates reliable cars to people in need. The best I could find was SHIFT by the Labor’s Community Service Agency.

    http://lcsaphx.org/?page_id=52

    I would be curious to know if they can help, or maybe point you to another organization that can.

    I’d like to know how it goes. If you’d like to keep in touch, my e-mail is julia @ juliakoller dot com.

  • Sissy

    Gail, I truly feel your pain as I have been going through pretty much the same thing. I was wrongfully fired from my job after 11 years. They are fighting my unemployment and I cannot find another job. I lost my car to a title loan company to pay my rent and now I have no money to pay my rent and the judge ordered me evicted by the end of this year. With no job, no unemployment benefits and the state of Texas not assisting with benefits or even food stamps… I will be completely homeless in a week.

    I am bipolar with PTSD and social anxiety disorder. I have been dealing with these conditions and diagnosis for over 30 years. I have been through way too many Thomas for one person and it should have been the Glee dad about 14 times already by the hands of the guys over accidents…I just pray to God and ask why out of all those times I couldn’t they have finished the job so I wouldn’t have to go through this anymore. My family has disowned me and will not speak to me for about a year and a half. The very few friends or people I thought of as friends I did have took all of my belongings worth any money and any savings I had and now are nowhere to be found. I have not spoken to another human being in over a week since no one calls me or texts me or anything. All I have is myself and my three dogs, who have been with me through everything for the last 10 years. I really am at peace with the decision to just go ahead and commit suicide. I don’t want to go through anymore…but it hurts me so bad not to know what will happen with my babies once I’m gone.

  • amal raj

    Comitting suicide is not wrong. You can end the only thing in the world that’s yours…but if you have a choice (I know it’s difficult),forget about all your worries and lead a carefree life for some years and think about suicide again if required.

  • Scary

    I likely arrived the party too late, but I have a question for Gail. You said you went into congestive heart failure 6 times? Are you not being treated for your enlarged heart? Dependent on your ejection fraction, a diagnosis of cardiomyopathy qualifies you to obtain disability benefits. I know this because I have CHF & my job is to stay alive. I don’t get the impression that you’ve received any ongoing care for your condition or any care beyond what you received when hospitalized. I apologize if I missed reading that you are, but if you aren’t…

    You NEED to be. CHF is fatal if not treated & it’s far from a nice, easy death. Your condition qualifies you to receive Medicaid also. And Medicaid will cover the ongoing medical attention, education, tests, etc. & the meds that you need to be taking to keep you alive! You don’t have time to want to die; you need to work on the task of living before dying is no longer your option & becomes your certainty!

  • Timina

    Hi there,

    Thanks for your reflections. They ring so true and make you want to join in. I too tried to commit suicide many years ago and became better once I made a conscious decision to leave that stress. The meds didnt work for me as it made me hyper.

    Since then I have had bouts of depression and chronic suicide ideation. At its worst stage, I feel I don’t get self destructive because I have dependents, parents, etc. who I cannot let down. I don’t take any meds for it. I just kind of go through a fog and most of the time it is unnoticed at work.

    Still it’s a hard life, but I just have to just accept and cherish the moments of happiness that come by when I am ok. When I am sad, I just acknowledge it and hope that it will pass.

    Hope this helps.

  • Timina

    One more thing Gail: CHF doesn’t just go away. It needs to be managed aggressively so I am not sure why you have not received any state benefit. You won’t need to get aid for bipolar; the CHF qualifies, if that helps?

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