The Six Reasons People Attempt Suicide

Though many of us don’t know anyone who’s killed him- or herself, many of us know people left behind by the suicide of someone close to them. Suicide often devastates those left behind: pain mixed with guilt, anger, and regret makes for a bitter drink, the taste of which can take many months or even years to wash out of some mouths.

The one question everyone who’s known someone who’s killed him- or herself 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 so they could free themselves from pain, 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 those reading this who might have been left behind by someone’s suicide, what follows is a description of how physicians are trained to think about the reasons people kill themselves. They’re not as intuitive as most think.

At the most basic level, 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 cardiac patient should be blamed for experiencing chest pain. It’s simply the nature of their disease. Because depression is often 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 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, rarely fulfill their original promise. Schizophrenics are just as likely to talk freely about the voices commanding them to kill themselves as not, and also 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 often 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. More than one teenager has died 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.
  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 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, this post has been offered in hopes that anyone reading it 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.

[jetpack_subscription_form title=” subscribe_text=’Sign up to get notified when a new blog post has been published.’ subscribe_button=’Sign Me Up’ show_subscribers_total=’0′]

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • “…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.


    • Thank you, Alex, for writing this article to help those left behind after a suicide understand a bit why our loved ones chose to leave our lives in such a way with no rational explanation for their actions. My life since the day my late husband ended his life has been fraught with anguish over what I missed before and on that horrific day but with no answer, so your article gives me some sense of closure because it gives me an idea of what was possibly going on within him that led him to make the decision he did. But it doesn’t make missing Terry any less because when he died he took a part of me with him.

    • Stressful consequences for immature and reckless behavior when I was a lost and broken soul have overstepped and are too much to live with and move into a healthy state of mind. The best therapy on the planet can’t buy a clean conscience or another chance to do things right.

      • Hey, I don’t know exactly what you’re going through, but I can empathize. I know how hopeless life can feel. The truth is there is hope that has nothing to do with therapy or medication. The only reason I’m still alive today is because of Jesus. The Lord has saved me from reckless mistakes so many times that in retrospect I look back and realize I must be here for a reason. But even more than that, the hope that I have in Jesus is the only reason I can survive day to day. God loves us so much that He came and died on the cross so that if we believe in Him and ask Him into our hearts we will have eternal life with Him in Heaven! I am overwhelmed at the love of the Lord and just knowing how much He loves me, even when it feels like no one else does, and knowing He has a purpose for me is enough to get me through. He loves you so much! You are precious to Him and He has a purpose for you and plans for your life. We humans are good at screwing our lives up: but there is nothing we can do that He can’t undo. The Lord works all things together for good for those who love Him. He will never leave our forsake us. He is a loving Father. I hope that you will find comfort in the hope of Jesus just like I have.

        • Just say NO to Jesus. Doesn’t work.

          • Sasha – your comment saddens me greatly. Although we all have a right to our opinons, and I do respect yours, I deeply disagree with you and wish you well in your future. He does work!!!!

          • Thank you! Following a cult of Bible thumpers is just another escape, relinquishing responsibility to this imaginary guy in this book.

        • Just stop with religion. Just stop.

          • I know, no one knows what happens when we die, lol. When we talk about suicide, we should care about its impact on what we know to be real—the here-and-now. Bringing religion into it only complicates matters for both the living and the ones who are contemplating it.

          • Absolutely Jesus and religion are the main causes of people being depressed. You’re told to pray to Jesus who has done nothing but destroy people’s lives.

        • Siarah, in one of your comments, you said that God loves us and Jesus Christ died for us. I’m partly feeling suicidal because I broke a commandment by accident, but because of that accident, I’ve made a habit of doing it, breaking the commandment. I know that I can’t break this habit on my own, so I prayed to God to help me. I keep begging Him every day, but He ignores my prayers. I’ve been repenting, going to church, praying, etc. but He casts me out from His sight and I am left to rot. The habit is only getting worse, and I’m starting to lose faith in God. I need all the help I need to recover from this. For the thing I made a habit of is so bad that I know that I’ll go to the OPPOSITE of Heaven. I deserve to go to down there after what I did. How can I say that God loves me, if He ignores my prayers! I just want to tell the world the I like ants a lot, and that ants are not pests and deserve more attention!!! But everyone is bullying me for liking ants! I need help!

          • The most difficult thing is to forgive yourself. I can totally relate because I too broke a commandment (won’t go into detail). However, if we continue to beat ourselves up with guilt, self-destruction is what happens. Praying for you and your situation! God bless!

        • I’ve never been so close to killing myself than this last week. I may have PTSD from someone else’s mistake, not my own. I was drinking, heavy smoking cigarettes, both of which I had quit 10 years ago. No sleep no eating no sex completely withdrawn into my own problems and self pity. For a week. I even was begging God the whole time to make it stop, but remember He does everything for our good. And it’s going to be on His time not yours. Then I prayed and I prayed and I prayed some more when I thought all hope was lost out of nowhere I was reading my bible and it left. It was telling me there was no hope you have no way to get better your going to feel like this forever you might as well just end it now. Kept whispering into my ear just do it!!! Do it like this or like that. The feeling of hopelessness was so bad. I had never felt like this before in my LIFE. And I have been through a lot. The power these demons have over our flesh is scary, to say the least. I never understood why somebody would take their own life until now. And that is something I will never joke about again. God has a plan for you and they know it. They want you gone. Out of the way. Don’t let it win keep praying keep praying and WAIT ON GOD. It just stopped the need for a cigarette or a drink. GONE!!! I thought I was going to be addicted to cigarettes again and end up an alcoholic like my father. And I thought that’s what you wanted didn’t you and it answered EXACTLY. So scary … and it’s just GONE out of nowhere the voice that was telling me to just do it. GONE. That is the power of our Lord and savior JESUS CHRIST. And Him alone. He deserves all the glory. God wants you repent fear him and honor him give him the glory for your life being where it is if you can manage those things you should make it to Heaven. I thought the whole time I can’t leave my 6 young children behind and what if I end up in Hell for killing myself. One of the only reasons I didn’t do it. I thought if I went to Hell, that would be even worse than this. And believe me it would. I really don’t know if God sends people that are so tricked by a demon or Satan himself to go to Hell, but I don’t want to find out. God bless you and if you would only keep praying and waiting for God having as much FAITH as you can “mustard” seed lol when you don’t even want to eat or sleep for two weeks go to work have sex do anything. Out of nowhere He will show you a miracle. I promise just hold on. And keep praying. It doesn’t work because of a lack of faith that it will work or maybe you’re just not his child. When I was young and dumb and drunk one night, I went looking for prayers to the devil to sell your soul and I prayed them all I never felt anything but I do believe God did something that night that led to me being a sinful man. I even thought that lately I was living for Him when really I was living for me. He woke me up and even though I don’t agree with how He did it I will FOREVER give him the glory. And even be grateful to Him. The lord GOD will reign forever and ever amen.

        • Heaven is an adult-made fairytale to get people to choose to be good, whatever that means. Prayer doesn’t work. I mean, how many times do you think a child has prayed to her loving Father for her dad or uncle or friend of so-and-so to stop sexually abusing them? Freewill, sure. But an innocent child? And then then abuser can be all, God, I’m so sorry. I repent! Forgive me of my sins! And then I guess he’s all good and the child’s prayers just weren’t answered.

          • I agree. I was very abused and a very sick child, and abuse never stopped. I continued oblivious to what I was doing. My relationships as an adult were abusive also because that is all I knew growing up. God, yes, many many nights, I prayed. Nothing. No answers, no help, nothing. It’s a hard life, and I’m living day-by-day waiting for it all to end.

          • I love you for this. That is all.

  • Not related, but:

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



    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.


  • 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.


    • I feel a lot like I’m running out of time. I’m living in a place not near anything, isolated at home, which is not my home. I live here with a daughter who has little sympathy for us. You see, my partner, her dad, has severe dementia. He also has a medical condition that I have helped him see doctors for. We lost everything 3 years ago: house, savings, cars, so I’m trapped here with no car, no friends, no money. I do all household chores. I try very hard, but I often fail miserably with my husband. He needs so much help daily. I am running on empty. I have no more will. I just want to end this misery. I feel every day I am on earth.

      • I wish I could help you but I don’t know what to say or do. Everything I want to say is advice I myself ignore. I just hope that it gets better for you, and you give yourself another chance.

        • I want to end my life. The pandemic has been too much for me, and I cry all the time; no desire to do anything; was hurt by my church group before pandemic. I already have issues with it but am exhausted; can’t sleep and feel unloved and worthless. Can’t take this emptiness and pain and can’t find a reason to go on.

          • You are not worthless, and though it may feel like it, you are not alone.

          • I am also sad, hopeless, and always cry. I am caring for my mom with dementia. Although very hard, I just close my eyes, take a deep breath, and really try to feel what it must be like for my mom with this disease and what it would be like for her without me. It stinks people are much worse off than us. You sometimes have to think about it. I’m sorry you are hurting. I will say a prayer for all of us.

          • Hannah is my daughter’s name. My eldest child and my only living daughter. Hannah’s identical twin sister died when she was a baby and I think she has always longed to join her sister in death. I worry for her happiness all the time. She is so special. A living miracle so lucky to be alive. I don’t know how to help her. I have demons of my own chasing me off a cliff. I love her so much and if I lost her I would he right behind her.

      • Hi Janice. I just came across your message online. We don’t know each other but I just want to tell you you’re not alone, even though it may feel like you are. Your situation sounds very challenging…I hope you are doing okay. Take care.

        • I want to die. This happens often. I won’t bother anyone with my sadness. I think they are tired of me. I won’t be missed. Why can’t we decide? If we know our desires and dreams are gone. We have nothing to look fwd to. To broken to help another. I’m so ready. I just don’t want to come back and repeat this life.

        • Hi! If there is anyone out there who is thinking of taking there life please read this: my son took his life two months ago. He told me in a text that he felt like he was a failure. I told him he was not and that I loved him. Couple days later he was gone. Please think about what you will be doing to the people you leave behind if you do this. It will be tragic for your loved ones. You might not think so, but you will hurt them more than you’ll ever know. Please get some help if you can.

      • Hi Janice,
        How are you getting on?

      • Janice, I feel your pain. I relate to much of what you said. Please don’t harm yourself. I care.


      • Janice, a bright future awaits you. Hang tough and you will soon see.

      • I hope you’re well Janice . . . thinking of you, so please know you’re not alone.

      • Hi Janice, My name is Holly and I live in Newfoundland. Where in the world are you? You sound very lonely. Maybe we could chat by phone? I can call you if long distance is an issue, or we can chat on video chat. I live with my husband, 4 dogs, and 2 ladies with intellectual disabilities who do not have family to care for them. While my life has its challenges, and my thoughts can get very dark, I’m surrounded by loving people. I would love to offer you some support. 709 765 4009. You can text or call anytime. Doesn’t have to be a chat about this; you can call and ask me about the weather if you like…. I hope you reach out.

    • I’ve been crying out for help and depressed, but all my family says is you need to get out.

      • They don’t understand the extent. Please go see a doctor and they will refer you to a psychiatric hospital for a 3 day evaluation.. they will help you find out what’s causing this…. get out and with your friends AFTER you take care of Aaron ❤ hang in there kiddo

    • I am suffering from a brain injury that has made me unable to do my job. It’s the disability, hopelessness, fear, loss of control over one’s health, anxiety over future health, that makes a person do it.

  • 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.


    • I attempted twice without success. I remember the first but not the second. The second took parts of my memory that now leave me confused. I don’t remember getting divorced or remarried and can’t understand why I would have married such a person. My life seems a lot worse than ever before. Oh well.

  • “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.


    • Actually there’s very exciting new research into treatment with psilocybin from magic mushrooms for the treatment of treatment resistant depression. It’s been being done at Jonh Hopkins University and a few others. You should Google it. They have changed the laws in Oregon to allow this treatment under the care and supervision of a qualified psychiatrist/psychologist and hopefully as they see more good results from both the clinical trials and the state of Oregon the FDA will approve this treatment. They’ve already approved Molly for use in PTSD thanks to the research into it!

  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • @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 for more information. New treatments are being developed every day; there truly is reason for hope.

    • I’m 52 years old and have been treated for depression and suicide attempts since I was 16. I’ve been married twice, had children, traveled around the world, had two decent careers, had friends, and had family that I loved me and I loved them. But I’ve always been sad, always wanted to die. I’ve attempted countless numbers of times. Hanging, a gun, overdose, crashing my car into a telephone pole the list goes on. The last family member that I lived for died on Sept 13th. I was excluded from the saying goodbye party, my daughter’s gender reveal party that was held at my grandma’s and denied from coming to say goodbye at all. There’s so much, I can’t write it all. My family would be happy and relieved if I was able to off myself. And for you idiots who are saying call the suicide hotline or go to a hospital: all I can say is it’s a waste of time and it makes things worse because people find out what you did and that it didn’t work and then say your just acting drama and looking for attention. I fell down the stairs about 5 days after my grandma passed (by accident). I had had back surgery and was dizzy and fell from the 15th step. I got a concussion, broke multiple ribs, injured my neck, and scraped up my knees. I was in the hospital for 6 days unable to walk or feed myself. Only my ex-husband came to see me; none of my family even called. I’m currently in nursing rehab where I’ll be for 20 days. So, no, no one will be hurt. Funny story, I went to college to be a counselor. Many people have thanked me for helping them change their lives. Why can’t I change mine? Anyway, I’m looking for solid ways to kill myself. If anyone can give me any answers I’d appreciate it.

  • 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,

  • 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.


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


  • 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.


    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.


  • 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—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.


  • 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,

    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.



  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?


  • 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,

    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.


  • 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.


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

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

  • 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.


  • 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.

  • 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 🙂

  • 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.


    • Now that people who live in chronic and intractable pain and could only have any quality of life with opioid pain medications are being denied treatments as a scapegoat for the young men who have always been using drugs illegally, there have been increasing numbers of suicides due to the torture we are being subjected to. All of the veterans were going to the VA centers and killing themselves not over PTSD but over the VA’s policy of rapidly force tapering them off the pain medication that allowed them to live lives with meaning and dignity! Unlike the junkies who are looking to get high from their drugs, the vast majority of people don’t ever get high from opioids; only around 1% of the population has a genetic flaw that allows them to get high. All of the rest of us simply don’t have as much pain and are able to live a more functional life. Do some people accidentally use too much pain medication and die? Absolutely and sometimes teenagers take too much Tylenol and die; people die from motrin too; nearly every medication over the counter or prescription needs to be taken properly to prevent overdose and unintended harm! But there’s no campaign for the removal of alcohol or tobacco despite them killing far more people with far fewer benefits! In the meantime, our society is now okay with the suffering of anyone who has cancer and not having top-quality insurance being denied pain medication at the end of life! People who are suffering from chronic pain having to choose death over the unbearable suffering because they are no longer allowed pain medication and you’d better hope you don’t need surgery or have an accident or develop an autoimmune disease because you are 1 accident away from suicide or suffering for the rest of your life with unbearable pain!

  • 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.


    Ellen: My condolences on your loss.


  • 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.


    • Lonely, I think you must be having some side effects from some pharma medicine or did you get any mri contrast? I am suffering from mri contrast side effects which are same as your symptoms. Neuro symptoms like brain fog, pain, disorientation. Also psychiatric drug withdrawal causes the same side effects.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.

  • 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.


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

  • 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.

  • 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.


  • 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.

    • Totally agree.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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–

  • –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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • Hey, Alex, it seems you have stopped replying to comments, which makes sense as this is quite an old post. It seems I’m stuck in a lingering state of eternal disconsolation. The thought of suicide scares me although I have attempted it before. I’m still not comfortable with it. It seems to be my only escape from this horrific world, though. I need help but I don’t know how to get it, and I’m feeling like I’m not a part of the world. Everything scares me. I’m extremely depressed and it seems never-ending. I could really use your help.

    Lauren: I’m so sorry to hear you’re feeling this way. Have you seen a therapist or talked to your doctor about this?


  • It is not within the power nor ability of man to dictate his coming into the world nor have control over his lot while in the world. Neither is man in control of his demise and the cause of his leaving time and entering eternity.

  • I recently came across a very relevant and deeply thoughtful book that might allow interested parties to understand and perhaps, revision the journey of life to death. It is:

    Suicide and the Soul by James Hillman.

    In it he narrates the early Greek thoughts of life and death and how Religion, The State and Medical authorities all have laid “claim” to and individuals soul, and how that impacts and divides the Psyche.

    A somewhat discursive excerpt of Hillman’s thought and perspective follows. . .

    The pronounced distinction between emotion and soul, between emotional man and psychological man, comes out in another of Heraclitus’ fragments (85): “. . . whatever it [Thymos] wishes, it buys at the price of the soul.” Thymos, the earlier Greek experience of emotional consciousness or moist soul did not belong in the underworld. (Pg 42-43)

    “What one knows about life may not be relevant for what is below life, what one knows and has done in life, may be as irrelevant to the the underworld as clothes that adjust us to life and the flesh and bones that the clothes cover. For in the underworld all is stripped away, and life is upside down. We are further than the expectations based on life experience, and the wisdom derived from it.” (Pg. 43)

    The other side of the mysterious identity of Dionysos within Hades says that there is a zoe, a vitality in all underworld phenomena. The realm of the dead is not as dead as we expect it. Hades too can rape and also seize the psyche through sexual fantasies. Although without thymus, body, or voice there is hidden libido in the shadows. The images in Hades are also Dionysian—not fertile in the natural sense, but in the psychic sense, imaginatively fertile. There is an imagination below the earth that abounds in animal forms, that reveals and makes music. there is a dance in death. Hades and Dionysos are the same. As Hades darkens Dionysos toward his own tragedy, Dionysos softens and rounds out Hades into his own richness. Farnell describes their fusion as a “mildness joined with melancholy.” (pg. 45)

    To be raped into the underworld is not the only move of experiencing it. There are many other modes of descent. But when it comes in this radical fashion, then we may know which mytheme has encased us. We are dragged into Hades’s chariot only if we are out in Demeter’s green fields, seductively innocent with playmates among flowers. That world has to open up. When the bottom falls out, we feel only the black abyss of despair, but this is not the only way to experience even this mytheme.

    For instance, Hekate was supposedly standing by the whole time, listening or watching. There is evidently a perspective that can witness the soul’s struggles without the flap of Persephone or the disaster of Demeter. In us is also a dark angel (Hecate was also called angelos), a conscious (and she was called phosphoros) that which shines in the dark. (Pg. 49)

    These circular states of receptiveness, turning and running in the gyres of our own conditions, force us to recognize that these conditions are our very essence and that the soul’s circular motion (which is its native motion, according to Plotinus) cannot be distinguished from blind fate. It is as if the should frees itself not from blindness but by its continuing turning in it. Ultimately, if the spontaneous mandala heals, it does so because it compels a recognition of the limitation of consciousness, that my mind and heart and will turn only in a circle, and yet that same circle is my portion of an eternal necessity.

  • My boyfriend shot himself in the head in front of me. We met while both in unhappy marriages. We left our spouses and were struggling to be together. He had lost his job and his ex-wife cleaned him out financially. The stress was overwhelming and I stopped doing the things that he fell in love with. He said I ruined his life, but I had not been the one to bankrupt him or make him loose his job. He was about to be evicted. I think he could not handle any more loss. I would have done anything for him. He changed the last few weeks before he died. I saw some strange things the night he blew his brains out in front of me. Since then I have lost my business, my finances are in ruin and I cry every day. I can not reconcile my life without his love. I know I will never be close to the person I was before. 1st he made me beautiful then he made me look old and ugly. Such an impact. I can’t help but believe there is a purpose. I think he might have shot me first but as he pulled the gun he tripped and it went off piercing through his brain wishing into the wall beside where I stood. Most days I am angry he didn’t take me with him. My life is empty without him. I often think of suicide but can never go through with it. I’m afraid of the pain or the possibility of an outcome worse than death. How can I let go of someone who meant so much and is irreplaceable?

    Victoria: Your thoughts now are more a reflection of your grief and depression, coming from the magnitude of your loss and the horrific way in which you lost it. If you aren’t already, please, please get into therapy.


  • Well. Personally in my own life I have learned that the thoughts I was having about ending the pain was from sheer hopelessness. Frustration from attempts to better some of the worst situations imaginable. And the feeling that when you can’t help it or change it that you have done something wrong when in fact you haven’t. I also think that there is a seventh reason that was left out on that list. Losing a loved one’s love. If you take a look at all of our centers and the effect they have on all of us you will be able to plainly see that our centers are who we are and when you loose such an integral part of who you are regardless if that something is not you. You in turn loose your sense of self and if you will your reason for being you. I will tell you from my own experience and being as close as I believe anybody can possibly be and still be here is a true miracle. I thank my family and true friends that knew me well enough to struggle with my depression and help me through it.

  • I have gone to some therapy. It doesn’t seem to help. My depression and reflections on the event seem to consume who I am now. No longer the wild fun-loving risk-taker I used to be; just a sad shell of the person I once was. Thank you for your blog as I have no one to talk to. Peace.

  • You can add one more reason to the list:

    “He is 45 years-old with intelligence, looks, personality, talent and natural charm but has never had sex with anyone because he was told by his 3rd grade teacher that he has no confidence and therefore must go back to 2nd grade when in reality she was punishing him for telling her she is pretty. He was also molested at the age of 16 by a stranger that he assumed to be a friend since his restrictive upbringing has taught him to trust all and only the members of his religious community. He also was likely molested at 12 years of age but only remembers waking up in the middle of the night stark naked with his pajamas, undershirt and underpants on the floor next to him. Finally in his early 40’s he came in contact with what could have been the greatest love of his life and a beautiful friend but he managed to screw that up too. His ‘OCD’ and ‘bipolar’ disorders had made his ‘friendly’ life a living hell in which he can not properly function in a job position or normal dating scenario. Even prostitutes turn him down. His sexuality, soul, and sheer will are slowly dying a desperate and painful death.” What would you do?

  • Dear Alex,

    I’ve stumbled across this blog page by accident. I’ve read all of the comments and I’m thrilled in a peculiar way to read how many different people there are in the world suffering as I do and am currently. I was actually looking for a site which would give me information with regards to helping end my living existence.

    This may sound odd but being able to die has been my safety net from the age of 5 when I realized what was actually happening to me. I was taken from my birth mother at the age of 3 in need of care and protection. I went to live with two people who abused me from the age of three until 14; this included constant beatings around my head, being called names such as wog and nigger, saying that because of my colour I would be a failure and amount to nothing. They used to make me strip naked in front of a window and wash myself in a sink. My baths had to be freezing cold. They wouldn’t give me bus fare to get to school. Therefore I had to run 5 mies to get to school and if I didn’t get home in time they would beat me again and lock me under the stairs. However when my social worker visited or friends they would dress me up, smother me with hugs and kisses. I tried to speak to certain adults; however they did not believe me. Even when the witnessed me being locked out in the snowy weather in my pajamas. The list of abuse is endless.

    Someone finally listened when one morning I had been beaten around the head so badly with a frying pan that the blood was still pouring from my head when I arrived at school. By this time I had been lying and able to cover up my injuries by saying I fell over bumped into a door etc. This time my teacher did not believe me and called the police.

    I then moved around from foster homes. I lived in many as I found it hard to communicate and bond with the families I lived with; it was not an unusual sight for me to see my bags in the hallway on my return home from school… the same reason I was unable to communicate with the family and fit in.

    I always thought: “Never mind. I can always end my life, I will just try and live for today and get through it.” Which I did.

    I’ve travelled the world (solo) and now have a good business. However I have attempted suicide four times. I can cope with people—mainly adults whom I employ. I’m unable to keep a relationship going as I do things to end it in fear of the person leaving me. I think this is my problem with my employees.

    This last year I’ve thought about suicide every day. I’ve written my will and carefully tried to plan my exit. I really do not want to exist.

    I’ve recently contacted Dignitas and I’ve a feeling I don’t meet the requirements for assisted suicide; therefore I’ve been looking at other options. Hence my stumbling across your page.

    I feel alone incapable of loving or attachment to another human being, even though I’ve achieved a lot financially and materialistically as everyone knows this is not the true source of happiness.

    I just want to get rid of these inner pains. I’ve been on medication which I came off after 6 months as I believe it’s not actually solving the problem but masking it. I’m an athlete and that seems to help although as medication it’s temporary. I still wake up every day wanting to end my existence. I’m not afraid to do so.

    I just cant find a suitable way to do it.

    Previously people have mentioned the pain we cause those we have left behind. I have no family at all so it doesn’t matter, and friends I have very few. And they have lost loved ones in the past; time will heal them.

    It’s so easy for people to say don’t do it, look what you have in your life, we will miss you, etc., but until they have walked a mile in a sufferer’s shoes they truly do not understand why we feel this way.

    Carole: Heartbreaking to hear your story. My only comment is that it seems clear to me you don’t want to end your life so much as you want to end your pain, and have decided that suicide is the only reliable way to do that. But I wonder: have you really tried all viable options? You say medication didn’t solve the real problem. But could it make you feel better enough to help you address the real problem, which could take years. One thing I know for sure is that with suicide, any chance that you could have resolved your pain and led a meaningful, satisfying existence will vanish. I wish you all the best of luck.

  • Carol, some people treat their ailments by facing the biggest fear that they have, whether it be heights and jumping from a plane, or bugs and holding a tarantula. It seems to me that you face your biggest fear every single day and every minute of it, just by living.

    My story is a mere fraction of yours. Yes, there was physical abuse and an almost constant demeaning of my existence throughout my childhood. That was so hard for me and crippling. Multiply my story by 10, and we have your story.

    All that I can say is that when your mind can finally align itself with your successes, both big and small (did someone smile at you today? Did you get through work? Were you able to feed yourself or someone else? Did you help someone? Did you wake up and put one foot in front of the other? Did you…?) then maybe you will start to dismantle the brainwashing of your worthlessness. That dismantling is so humbling, it’s like standing naked in front of a clothed world—finally realizing that you MATTER. Finally believing that your very existence proves that those evil people were wrong. Finally KNOWING (instead of objectively thinking) that they are, indeed, EVIL. It might make you feel more vulnerable than you do, even now. For me, I figured it out when I saw a very young child being treated as I was, at her age. My heart went out to her. It bothered me all day, until I later broke down because I realized that I had never given MYSELF the sympathy and generosity of spirit that I would give to any other child. That child was, and will always be, ME.

    It hurts. I’m middle-aged, and it still hurts. Always will. But it helps me love myself. No more darting around like a feral animal, hiding so that I won’t be seen. Biting everyone who would reach out because I can’t trust anyone. Running away, so that I won’t later be cast out or discarded.

    It took me this long, to finally get here.

    No one can really take away your ability to end your life; there are millions of ways. You are the only one who can, and has, decided to save your life for just one more day. I don’t know you, but I love you for that. Because I love me, and you sound like me. I’m so happy that I can finally say that.

    Bless you. You are so compelling. I hope you stick around.

  • I lost my mother on April 7, 2015. Today—80th day—still I am crying. I want my mother. Every minute I am asking my mother come back to me or take me with her. Every day she comes on my dream. But she is not taking me. I want to go to her. After I did so many researches I realized that I have to commit suicide. But I don’t know whether I will reach my mother. Please advise me if I suicide can I reach my mother. There is no words to express how much I love my mother. I think you will understand my situation.

    Shan: You will not reach your mother by killing yourself! Please know that the grief you are experiencing is entirely normal. It is also entirely normal for it to fade—it will just do so slowly. In fact, there are good studies that show resolution of grief is the norm. You just have to hang in there until the pain ebbs, as it will. Please reach out to your doctor, to your friends, to support groups for help during this terrible time. My father just died in February so I know exactly what you’re going through. I promise you, it does get better. Don’t give up on life!


  • Sometimes it is not because a person has had something done to them but rather they have done something unspeakable to someone else.

  • I came across your post by accident and was most interested and so glad to read your reason number 5. It is difficult to put into words and get people to understand that you don’t need to be in depression in order to want some control of the end of life, especially if you anticipate that the end will be drawn out and you have nothing of value to contribute anymore (please, no cliches about the value of allowing others to learn from your suffering). I feel that when the time comes, I will know that I have lived life to the fullest, have accomplished most things I wanted to or could do with the hand I was dealt, had many wonderful relationships, loved, have been loved, etc. When the time comes that I become incapacitated, am nothing but an emotional and financial burden to my loved ones, have nothing more to contribute,….. then I would want to be able to end my life painlessly and quickly. I have given it much thought and found an organization that would quietly and discretely provide the cocktail which I would then keep in a safe place for just that purpose when the time comes. Knowing full well that life almost never does what you expect, I am probably wrong and will end up not able to control this, hahaha. Anyway, it is something I can at least plan for, for my own peace of mind.

    FYI, I am 71 years of age, a recent widow, have wonderful kids, an interesting life, but unfortunately, I have pretty discouraging physical obstacles which make me want to plan ahead.
    I am grateful for the opportunity to put into words that which occupies my mind and which I find difficult to share with friends/relatives, who immediately worry that I am suicidal, which I most definitely am NOT so I just don’t even try. I love my family and friends way too much to hurt them like that and would only carry out my plan when only positive can result from it.

    Peace and blessings.

  • Forget about “terminal illness”…terminal illnesses are easy. Non-terminal illnesses are torture, they are the REAL problem because they cause slow, uncomfortable suffering. Any long-term physical or mental intolerably uncomfortableness is reason for justifiable suicide. The only thing worse than a terminal illness, is a non-terminal illness that does not have the decency to end the discomfort and suffering that it causes. AND it does not have to be an illness at all! The very drugs used to “treat” depression and schizophrenia sometimes create such horrible intolerably uncomfortable side effects like medication induced obesity, tardive dyskinesia, cognitive impairments/memory loss…that some individuals seek out euthanasia or suicide TO ESCAPE the overall quality of life that is too intolerably uncomfortable & the joke of medication swapping, dosage changing, supplemental medication adding to thwart the fact that medication side effects sometimes make quality of life so uncomfortable that it’s worse than the original mental illness or even death, suicide, or euthanasia.

    I don’t like the way you wrote number 5 because it infers anyone living with depression or anyone who has recurrent clinical depression automatically does suicide out of depression rather than due to a justifiable reason long term intolerable discomfort (like to escape dementia). You can live with depression for 60 years, not do suicide for 60 years, and then do suicide to escape dementia or medication side effects like tardive dyskinesia or obesity that causes too much discomfort (like number 5)—if that is the case, DEPRESSION SHOULD NOT BE BLAMED FOR THE SUICIDE & psych wards/antidepressants should not be forced on those individuals but rather subpar quality of life or “justifiable suicide to escape long term intolerable discomfort” (dementia or ALS or medication-induced obesity/tardive dyskinesia) should be blamed for the suicide attempt.

    If you are doing suicide for warranted reasons, and you live with depression but never do suicide AS A RESULT OF the depression [e.g., “the world would be better off without me”] then you should not be forced to a psych ward or forced on antidepressants. All suicide is not the same, just because you have depression and do suicide…that does not mean that the suicide is from the depression; all suicide is not a long-term solution to a short-term problem, not all suicidal people “want to be saved” or “want to be stopped.” If someone is doing suicide to escape long term intolerable discomfort…let me tell you, they do NOT want to be stopped, ESPECIALLY if they are known to have a history of depression, because then they will be forced to a psych ward, even if they are not suicidal because of their depression but are trying to escape long term discomfort like medication induced problems or dementia.

    If you have a history of recurrent depression, but never do suicide because of it—you have to be secretive about being justifiably suicidal (to escape tardive dyskinesia or dementia)—otherwise you will be forced against your will to a psych ward or told to take antidepressants even though the depression is not the problem but the upcoming dementia and quality of life from tardive dyskinesia is the problem. That’s hell.

    That is why suicide needs to be differentiated & the reason WHY someone is doing suicide needs to be heard—regardless of whether they have history of depression, psychosis, terminal illness, whatever. It is a huge mistake to blame depression for causing suicide attempts that are actually caused by other things, like wanting to escape long term medication induced health problems or dementia or ALS or terminal cancer.

  • I’m 37. I’ve never been happy. I have severe depression. I’m on medication have been for 22 years. My husband just dropped dead while having sex with another woman. There were 4 others. His family is blaming me for his overdose and cheating. They won all of my assets in a trial due to Nevada and its screwy laws. I’ve been waiting for my parents to die (I’m an only child) to off myself but given the death threats, the fact I owe $80K in legal bills and $10K for medical bills from a psychiatric admittance after my husband died, I just want to scream “enough let me go!”

    I really hate it when people say suicide is selfish; it’s not. It’s selfish to allow someone to cry every day of their life, feel so ugly and discusting they don’t want to be seen in public, it’s selfish to not just let that person go.

    People are cruel. I’ve been bullied my whole life and can’t even hug people. My grandma was verbally abusive and so were my parents. I can’t even go to the grocery store without lots of Valium. Because I know people are talking about how disgusting I am. So no it’s not selfish to commit suicide. My husband had PTSD, 5 long years of counseling and he was still 80% disabled and was no longer a brave soldier but a scared paranoid frightened mess. I’m happy he’s at peace, his mental decline was the worst thing I’ve ever seen. Why can’t anyone allow me the same compassion?

  • The next-to-last response (posted by Ma) is a wonderful submission, as it steers clear of the over-used “depression” as a primary cause for suicide. All too often, there is a primary illness (or sadly, illnesses) which leads to a secondary depression. Thus, if such persons are treated for depression, it is like talking to a burning house. Fix (or improve, or for heaven’s sake, just listen to!) the primary illness, and this might give the one who suffers enough strength and courage to go on for another week, or a month, or longer. A person who ends his or her life after years of suffering is akin to those poor souls who jumped from atop the burning world trade center: they did not want to die, and yet they reached their capacity to endure extreme suffering. What courage and strength: to jump rather than be consumed by flame! Those of us who must choose each day whether to continue to deal with frequent, ongoing suffering or whether to finally “jump” from this life have a similar dilemma, one that plays out over years and decades instead of just minutes and hours. And sometimes, all it takes is a kind word or a quick smile to help keep us going, and more importantly, help to keep us wanting to go on, for another day, or month, or year. Life indeed is wonderful: we just want to be in it, or at least inhabit a small part of it, with less suffering.

  • I want to die because my therapist abandoned me and I have no one left that cares…

    Barbara: I’m so sorry to hear this. I wish you luck in finding another therapist quickly.


  • I googled “do happy people ever kill themselves” and this blog came up somehow. This might be a little different fromsome of the other posts and by writing about my experience I don’t mean to trivialize the topic or anyone else’s painful experiences.

    Your blog rang true for me. I had periods of blackness in my student days, but it wasn’t until I had a serious operation and went back to work (in another country) too soon that I suddenly found myself thinking, “I don’t want to be.” (It was my Hamlet light bulb moment because as soon as I thought the words, I realized why they sounded familiar and I suddenly understood that soliloquy a whole lot better.)

    I recovered and, while I still had occasional bouts of darkness, the feeling of not wanting to be never came back.

    In fact, my work is going well, I’ve had the chance to travel to many places with friends and family, and I’m more confident about who I am and what I want from life.

    My life is not perfect but I feel fortunate in many things.

    But sometimes in moments of happiness–maybe even joy–I’m struck by the thought that it’s time to end it all. The thought comes in the space of seconds. There’s no sadness attached to it, no sudden blues, no feeling of fear that happiness is about to be snatched away from me. It’s just a weird peacefulness of knowing when the time comes, I might decide to no longer be—and that doesn’t scare me or bother me. (At the time.)

    Only … once the moment of fancy has passed, I’m left wondering how I can feel this way. It doesn’t seem normal. Which perplexes me.

    I’ve never acted on the feeling, so I have no way of knowing if it’s a potential indicator for actual future behavior.

    Do other people ever have these strange thoughts?

    Lam: What it sounds like is simply an intrusive thought, the kind that people have all the time for no clear reason. If it carries no emotional weight with you–that is, you’re not depressed, you don’t want to die but rather are simply accepting of the fact you one day will–I would simply note it and ignore it.


  • Really interesting post, and site in general, look forward to reading more. However, I would perhaps add another reason (factor) in why people commit suicide and this would be from the effects of psychiatric drugs themselves. I experienced this first hand, from Seroxat (called Paxil in the US). This drug has been proven to make under 18’s and young adults (up to 29) more suicidal. That’s not even to mention the other side effects from psychiatric drugs, like SSRI’s, which can also drive people to the edge, such as akithesia, personality changes, emotional numbing, etc etc.

    Truthman30: Interestingly, one thought about why some antidepressants can increase the risk of suicide in some patients is that the vegetative symptoms of depression often improve before the mood disorder—which means, essentially, that patients often get their energy back before their mood improves. Depressed mood + the energy to act on it may = suicide attempts.


  • I was googling about suicide not being about someone being sick but about someone being depressed. Your article mentions several reasons but I find one missing. What about just not being a part of society? I suffer from depression but it’s situational. I was an abused child, rejected then by extended family, had an abusive partner, left him, now alone, unable to have children, friends just never become family, boundaries never end. I am always someone less, someone that can be let go at any moment. I’m sad. I don’t belong. If I was to commit suicide I would be dying of loneliness and of sadness, not of mental illness yet people would say I was obviously sick. So even in death I would not be understood.

  • What do you do if a spouse is depressed but refuses to get help? I believe my husband is OCD. The rest of his family is—no question (diagnosed)—and he shows signs of it. He’s always been a “worrier,” but he won’t go to any kind of doctor unless he’s practically dying, and he thinks shrinks are quacks. He won’t take any medicine and would never take psychiatric drugs. One time he had a really bad anxiety attack along with high blood pressure, and we were on vacation, so he took some Paxil that his mom’s doctor prescribed. It just made him sleep and he didn’t care about anything (he was so easy-going when he was awake!). So now he thinks that he can’t take those drugs because they would make him sleepy, even though I’ve told him that he could get a smaller dose and then his body could adjust to them. He thinks that his anxiety helps him in his work because he can anticipate anything that might go wrong and plan for it. But now he’s in a job that he probably shouldn’t have taken; too late to go back to his old job now. It pays a lot, but the company looks like it might go under any year now. He’s trying hard to get another job but so far hasn’t. He’s convinced he’s too old, too fat, etc. He was always a big drinker, but since we moved here, he drinks himself to sleep every single night for the past 2+ years. I’m very concerned about his physical and mental health, but he won’t go to a doctor no matter what. If I push him on it, he tells him me to move out. We’ve been married over 30 years. He’s really smart, and very well educated, and I think even if he lost his job, we’d manage just fine, but nothing I say can convince him, and he’s said numerous times that if he lost his job, he’d kill himself. (He’s never really been poor and doesn’t think we can live on what savings we have left, and he wouldn’t want to start over). If I thought leaving him would help, I would do it, but I’m not sure if it would. We only have sex about once a year at most. It’s difficult to get him to go out to do anything aside from drinking. He’s clearly an alcoholic now, and depressed, but I can’t get him to help himself. Yet he’s not suicidal RIGHT NOW so I can’t exactly get him committed, either, if that sort of thing is even possible any more. One of the things he hates/fears more than anything is being embarrassed, so I can’t really tell his friends or family or else I fear what he might do. An “intervention” would not help. I’m very worried and scared; I have no idea what to do. I’m not the type to worry or be depressed at all, just the opposite, so this is hard. I grew up with an alcoholic dad so I hate seeing this happen. Thanks for any help or suggestions. I enjoyed the article.

  • A very thought-provoking post on some of the reasons for committing suicide. In Asian Countries there are a host of reasons why suicides are committed such as harassment meted out to a bride due to insufficient dowry, youth who fail to bring good grades in school or college are some of the common reasons.

    However, no matter what reason, one finds a rainbow at the end of the horizon where he/she can hope to make his/her life better. Life is a gift of God and being positive will motivate to find a good reason to live and enjoy life.

  • For me it’s pain. I managed to get myself shot some years back and I wish I would have died then. I really don’t want to die, but there are times where the elements are right. My last attempt involved some drugs, liquor, and a train. And just my luck the police got there before the train did…

    Of course it looked at as if the drugs and booze were the reason, but no: they just help making the choice easier. I have all kinds of things going on that are truly overwhelming and I can’t do anything about them while a constant, on-going pain from my gunshot makes me ponder the purpose of every day. I will say it’s this little flame of hope (more like wishful thinking) that makes me want to see change. In reality it will probably never happen, and through my previous attempts I realized what I did wrong: I was where I could be found…

    Doctors I’m seeing now are finally—at least i think—taking my situation seriously instead of trying to tell me just to tough it out. I would like to see them take 2 rounds to the back and just tough it out. In the city this happened and the doc said I should be in a wheelchair. Sometimes i think I would have been better of if I had been. I even told the guy that shot me to finish the job, and he looked me in my face and said “don’t die.”

    I can’t work because of this. Been without insurance for so damn long, and social security (boy, lets not go there).

    If, if, what I’m doing now doesn’t happen, I would rather die than keep going through this agony. And this time it will be absolute. I might even take someone with me just to share the pain.

  • Education is the answer to immortality I guess. All education is not created equal. Mis-education could be the very reason some people commit suicide.

  • Would like some opinions/advice from someone with a similar experience that our family is going through. My son tried to kill himself, used hanging, was revived with permanent brain damage. His literacy and most thinking skills are intact but he suffers severe myoclonus and seizures. He can not walk without a walker. Has no balance and can severely hurt himself when he falls. Friends were around for a while but have all but disappeared. We live with this nightmare daily. Hard to cope. Is there a future for him? He wants to rejoin society but how can he?

  • What this list, and lists like these, seem to ignore is that life can be pretty damn bad for some people. The author here is starting from the assumption that the suicidal individual already has a good life, they’re just depressed, or psychotic, or are confused.

    Unfortunately, there are people out there who live lives of excruciating pain due to illnesses or trauma, and these things aren’t always curable. So would you ask these people to spend the rest of their lives living in unending pain, with no end in sight, with nothing to look forward to?

    “Well you’re mistaken because my life’s good, so your life is just as good but you don’t see it!” Really?

    I don’t want to die. But sometimes the pain of what I’ve lived through is too overwhelming. And I’m not lucky enough to have family or friends to support me; which also means there are no family or friends to leave behind if I did kill myself.

    Life can be pretty tragic sometimes.

  • The precursors/catalysts for each of the first five reasons (and arguably the sixth) may be a level of social disconnection that leads one to feel life is a burden to oneself and/or those cared about, and no intervention is likely to change that fact.

    In this way suicidality causes depression, irrational thinking, impulsiveness, crying out for help, and rumination on one’s sufferings (Which those of us with a philosophical bent may explore analytically, and those of us more impulsive may chose to explore more practically.)

    That’s my thinking at the moment. (Extrapolating from Jointer and other sources.)

  • I want to commit suicide because I feel like no one likes me and everybody hates me and I am the one always getting in trouble by my parents because of my older sister.

  • My wife shot herself while I was away for the weekend visiting someone who I fathered a child with outside of wedlock. This happened almost 2 years ago. I would kill myself right now, but I don’t deserve that. I deserve the pain she went through.

    John: I’m so sorry to hear about such a tragic and devastating series of events. This may sound hollow to you, but I’d encourage you to look into the emerging literature on self-compassion. You may have condemned yourself to a lifetime of suffering, but such a sentence seems extreme for the “crime” you committed.


  • While, I agree with those six principles to why someone would want to commit suicide, I also feel there is a 7th and maybe it borders along with the depression factor.

    When someone is violated is such a severe way that they have lost everything due to the collusion and crimes of others—sometimes suicide seems like the only answer to end the pain and suffering—and it isn’t caused because of the person’s mental state, because they’re psychotic or anything—it’s because every element of their privacy, anything they’ve come up with as an idea or thought is taken so that others can reap monetary gains, and everywhere they go others harass them and taunt them—and even their own family seems to deny them the answer.

    So after loss of career, friends, life, dignity, respect and everything else and being forced to live under the lies of others—well…that’s reason number 7 for a person wanting to commit suicide… and it almost seems like that’s the reason for the group mobbing and psychological manipulation—is to drive the person to suicide, it’s the best way for them to get away with it.

  • My brother hung himself to dead yesterday. He didn’t leave any note behind. We are all surprised by what would have happened that he took such a big step and ended his life. He wasn’t depressed neither was he psychotic but he was alcoholic and whenever he was drunk he always use to say that his life is meaningless and that he wants to end his life. Why did he leave us so soon…? I wonder what is the life after death!

  • I am sorry to hear of people losing people they love.

    I feel suicidal, but nobody would miss me. I can’t seem to make friends or have a intimate relationship (17 yrs now)—so many abusive situations with “friends” or even with family. My best friend and cousin told me to find someone to help me commit suicide (assisted); she admitted later she was so tired of hearing me depressed. We reconnected for a bit after I stopped talking to her due to these comments. And she gave me accolades for being “upbeat”…….I have learned to be “upbeat” and not “depressed” because I have no chance with people when they know or hear about my depression. I also have childhood PTSD and complex PTSD….it is so hard to relate to people. I can fake things real well. It is hard to get a job, but once I do, I am told “how good I am with people.” I can put on a good face. But it seems so hard to make friends other than casual acquaintances. My family members ignore me for the most part. I do talk about suicide sometimes. I am doing that less, yet the thoughts are just as strong. I just put down my “emotional support dog”; she had separation anxiety to the point that she injured herself at a kennel following my sister-in-law letting her dog attack my dog (after I requested that she not mix them, as my dog also had fear/aggression from past attacks. It’s been 2 weeks. I go out to the field where I played frisbee with her and cry her name. I want her back so. I “put her down” after her injury. I had worked years to try to help her (meds, thunder jacket, training with behavioral experts). She’d made much progress. However, after my sister-in-law let her dog mingle with mine and I told her and requested she not to do this, it is so much more insane than I can explain. Anyway, I could never “get Rhetta back” and she about killed herself in 2 kennels from separation anxiety. I think she was so afraid of other dogs when I left her so I could go to work for just a few hours, they kept her separate, but she would destroy the area she was in. I am evaluating if I want to “check out.” There really is nobody that would miss me. Now I come home to an empty house.

    Suzanne: I am so very sorry to hear about your dog. I hope you can connect with someone—a friend, a therapist—who can help you sort out your depression.


  • Labels…labels…labels…pop psychology always throwing labels of people around. Typical American philosophy.

    Take an African child for example. Forced to watch his parents murdered. Then made to join with the men who killed them. Then consistently raped by the leaders of the group for the next 5 years. Then he wants to kill himself. You people would call that “depression.”

    Or take a solider from war. He is happy and celebrates when he and his fellow soldiers win a battle. Then months later he is depressed because he lost a battle and lost friends. You people would call that “bi-polar.”

    Most psychology is up for debate and is based not on science but on opinion. There’s only one reason people attempt suicide. They don’t know what else to do to seek help. Just like there’s only one reason people commit suicide. What lies ahead is worse than the unknown.

    And for all you religious people out there who “think” you know what comes after life. YOU DON’T. You only make assumptions out of fear so you can comfort yourself.

  • So I can’t find any answers, but I’m jumping mainly because I’ve lived a satisfied life. I’m 22 and have done everything I’ve wanted. I’m happy with life, just bored. I’m not super rich but have been wealthy, and I’m just super curious on what’s next. Is that wrong?

  • Alex, I think it’s simplistic of you to distill the reasons people kill, or try to kill, themselves down to these six reasons.

    The will to live, and the circumstances around which we are able to muster or manage that will are far more complex than can be fully described in your ten paragraphs. Not the least of which is the fact that we shouldn’t have to live just because we are supposed to.

    Sometimes “exiting” is the logical and even reasonable choice, not because you’re depressed, or psychotic, or impulsive, or are trying to get attention (cry for help), or because you have a terminal illness and deserve the right to choose when and how you go, or that you’ve made a mistake through thrill seeking. When you’ve done what you wanted to do, when you look at your options and realize that they are no longer acceptable, when you’ve had your fill of all of this world, you have every right, and perhaps the responsibility to take yourself out of the action.

    Yes, it is a shame that those left behind feel guilty. But, that is on them, not on the one who has died. And did anyone think that maybe they actually have something to be guilty about? Do we have some obligation to other people that extends to actually staying alive for them? Only if we are parents to small children. But eventually, we won’t be able to stay alive for anyone because age or accident or illness will take us out anyway. Staying alive is a promise we cannot keep. Nor should it be an obligation. Whose life is it anyway?

    I believe it is everyone’s right to decide whether they want to keep living or not. And no one, not family, not society, not religion, should be dictating whether or not we get to take our last breath.

  • I would do it if I didn’t fear death as a last resort.

  • Have tried, and sometimes I wondered maybe I have not done enough to get what I desire. Have graduated over six years ago, have proceeded in academic career but the connections required to get job are just too difficult; no single member in my family can raise his head to help.I labour for little change, but I don’t keep it to myself, I also share with the poor.

    Moreover, I have prayed, I have trekked, I’ve sent many resumes to different companies. But I live in a nation where corruption and connection is order of the day.

    Hmm, I can’t pay the bills and can’t even satisfy my loved ones.

    I don’t know maybe this topic is good or moral, but if things get on like this, it may be the option.

  • I think there is another reason… Linked to number 5…. To get heard or get justice… This is my reason… Or maybe to be loved… Maybe if I am dead people will finally start to love me.. But I won’t be here to enjoy it.

    No one listens… And there is the thought that if I am dead, the abusers, the nasty people, bullies etc, might finally realise what they did was wrong, and might finally regret that.

    But the emotional pain of them living happy lives. And me living in pain is more than I can bear. And the only way to both stop the abuse, and also get them to see what they did… Is suicide. I have tried everything else I possibly could..

  • What about:

    Evolutionary speaking, suicide is a part of natural selection?

    That in my case, I simply, very rationally, think that I’m going to die anyways why not choose my own end?

    Of course it’s illegal, but I’ll be dead. My material positions, horded money, debts, etc, will all be meaningless. I will no longer simply exist. I will feel nothing as I no longer exist *in this context*.

    What I know is, I don’t want to die because of anyone or anything. I spoke to my 93-year-old grandfather shortly after he found out he was going to die in the next few hours. He was so filled with color and spirit! There was no sorrow, no heaviness. The journey had reached it’s final destination. He was almost ecstatic with joy. The journey had finally ended.

    Suicide is simply one path. IMHO the best path, if really you have no other options. It’s a stupid path if you have other options.

  • I’m number one. Help me.

  • What should I do if I still love my ex after a week of breaking up and all that comes in my head is killing us both????

    Jason: Take a deep breath. It’s never a good idea to act emotionally and on the spur of the moment, especially when such action is so drastically irreversible as what you’re considering. More will be revealed with time. Your happiness is not dependent on whether you are able to be with your ex. Don’t do anything until you have the perspective of time to rightly evaluate what this breakup really means for you.


  • Dear Alex,

    I once spoke to my friend about suicide. We talked about people asking themselves “If I died, would anyone care?” and “What is the point of living when all I feel is pain?” A while ago, I started asking myself those same questions. Now, they’re statements. “No one would care if I died,” and “There is no point in living.” I’m still pretty young, I’ve got my life ahead of me, but I can’t see the point to it. I hate myself, and I don’t see why I should keep living if all it’s going to be is hate, judgement, and insults. What’s the point of living without love? Because quite honestly, I’m living without love. All this to say, I am open to receiving treatment, but I want to make sure I’m getting the right type of help. And I need to make sure getting treatment is the right choice. I have been driven to contemplating death all because of a few people, but I can’t put up with them anymore. I can’t keep living if they are going to be here, too. What is your opinion? What can I do? Where can I go?

    McKayla: My answer is yes, you definitely need to seek treatment. If you’ve come to believe no one would care if you died and that there’s no point in living, most likely you’ve developed clinical depression. Start by finding a therapist. You can look on the Psychology Today website for good ones near you who take your insurance. If you don’t have insurance, or have insurance that not many therapists take, call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 to learn what resources are available to you. There is help out there. Don’t let your negative thinking convince you there isn’t, or that it isn’t worth trying to find. You can be helped to get to a better place.


  • What about abuse? Severe psychological manipulation, bullying, gaslighting, discrediting, cults, mind control? Are these not other reasons for suicidal idealation?

    • Wouldn’t these fall under depression as they generally lead to depression and a lack of self-worth?

      I have a friend who says she was molested by a brother as a child and the pain and depression from it is too much to bear. Judging by things she has told me, I sometimes wonder if some of it isn’t also for attention.

      In any case, we are all broken in some way.

      As for me, I probably fall into a couple categories, but primarily the first. Then impulsive–as both attempts were spur of the moment decisions despite contemplating and planning other methods for some time. I have found meds and talk therapy have helped considerably. It hasn’t “cured” me, but it has cut the frequency with which I contemplate suicide and has encouraged me to believe hope is out there somewhere even if I can’t currently see or feel it.

  • My late husband Terry’s death by suicide came as a shock not just because of how he died but because there were no signs, NONE, to indicate he was planning to take his own life. The factors I think went into his decision to end his life were his mental state after finding out he was so far in debt and having no way out, the pressure on him from his family to make a decision to end his marriage and in exchange his debts would be taken care of, as well as cerebral palsy that made him vulnerable to suggestive thought. So with everything pressing in on him, I can understand why he chose to end his life. Although understanding and knowing are two sides of the same coin of rational thinking, there is no way I can explain why he did it. But no matter what he was thinking that led him to choose death over life, my life will never be the same.

  • My fiance tried to commit suicide about 4 years ago. He survived and is struggling to get disability from the government! It’s been almost 4 years and nothing! He cannot work! HELP!

  • I think you missed a major category. While depression is a factor in many suicides, a sense of having been “done wrong” coupled with an overwhelming need to punish the ones who hurt them are often prime motivators in actually taking one’s life. Look at suicide notes; how often are they full of things designed to make people feel guilty? “You’ll be better off without me” is a common theme. Look where they kill themselves; where loved ones will be the first to find them, or where society (whom they may see as their enemy) must watch, or even become an active participant, in the gruesome process. It should be called the Tom Sawyer Syndrome. Remember Tom daydreaming about his Aunt Polly crying over his poor lifeless body, while she declared she shouldn’t have treated him so poorly? Unfortunately, some people take it that one, last, irreversible step.

  • This is all so distorted from the real reason people end their lives: it will only mess with the survivors even more. I have my date set, the how’s, etc. But don’t think your education can begin to even guess the real reasons why I’ve decided to take my own life. You have a bigger set than I do in your assumptions. And I’m the one going to actually do it.

    Anthony: Whatever your reasons, I beg you not to kill yourself. Please get help.

  • I use to be suicidal with many attempts, two of which no one would normally survive from, and none of your six reasons even come close as to why in my situation. Not even close.

    • What is the reason, psychological/physical trauma inflicted upon you by one or more people?

    • Distorted thinking, and other simplistic explanations of what torment drives people to suicide is so distressing for those who have simply had enough. Talk therapy, meds, feel good books, and those awe inspiring quotes like: “Fake it until you make it,” or “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem,” or “You just haven’t found the right therapist or med” exemplify the lack of understanding of those with the good intentions of helping others. Those good intentions are great for many, but for those who truly want to check out, they are so frustrating to hear. What is left for those who have given up and live in misery, day after day, year after year? There should be a compassionate exit. For those who are triggered by these comments, seek help.

  • You fail to mention people that live in severely abusive situations with no other options.

  • I found your article very helpful as I still deal with anger. My situation was different in that my husband planned to blow up outr house, and I escaped. He shot himself in the head while I was driving away in our front driveway. The items he left in the house were disgusting. His plan was to leave lots of money to his children with life insurance but nothing to me. Had no will so what a daily battle inheriting his estate has been. I clearly didn’t know him and think he was very stupid to think that I’d honor him publicly after he left in such a disgusting manner. I can relate to those that have a bad taste in their mouths. Frankly, I wish I never met him as he was a pathological liar as well.

  • Or maybe their wife cheated for 6 months and destroyed our family, kids and all. I will kill myself eventually for sure. I just can’t make a comeback, I’m so lost in depression. Not a kid actually. I’m 50ish. Can you fucking believe how weak I am? I won’t always be a coward. One day soon I will be. brave.

  • I think the problem is there are so many studies on “THESE people” and less ways to helping them figure out how to feel included.

  • First of all, you have zero idea what you’re talking about. I’ve had severe depression, two anxiety disorders, and PTSD for over 12 years. I’ve been on a shitload of medication, which only worsened my mental and physical health, caused me in a span of 7 years to put on tons of weight (being someone very active and fit). And 5 times I had to lose a tremendous amount of weight and the only thing proven causing the weight gain was the medication. Eating did not change and I eat very healthy. I was hospitalized over 12 times, one of them after my first suicide attempt. I’ve seen a ridiculous number of mental health professionals, and I’ve never recovered but only gotten worse, and I barely survive every day. Not everyone is some happy magic recovery story, some of us don’t ever get better.

  • I completely agree with what you have written. I hope this post could reach more people as this was truly an interesting post.

  • Who are YOU to state suicide is senseless? Read numbers 1 and 5 again!

  • There’s a myriad of reasons people kill themselves. Usually it’s a calculus of struggles, not just one idea. We like to think there’s one reason for everything but there isn’t. Some people have incurable body odor and they smell like a barnyard no matter how much they bathe.

  • Why were they so mean? Why did they laugh? I was 11 and a weakling, I couldn’t do ANY pullups, and I was straning to get over the bar and then it happened: I blasted out broken wind to the amusement of everyone at my school and the principal. Why did they laugh at me? My whole life has been straining to get over the bar only to fart and lose at the last minute.

  • What about 7. The compulsion to rid the world of my destruction.

  • Thank you for writing this article. I’m sitting here wailing and crying in pain as if it just happened. The phone call . . . my mom, she said, “Hello, Kira?” I knew something was off, so I didn’t even answer her. Again she said, “Kira?” With a shaking voice and I said, “Yeah?” She said, “Uncle Gary is dead he hung himself.” I screamed the whole day. I had just seen him a week prior. Father’s Day fell on my 40th birthday, and it was the next day that he was dead. Almost two months ago to the day. June 21, 2021 date of death. You see, the signs were there and I’m a psychology graduate from University of Miami and the situation was strange because he is my mom’s boyfriend’s brother who I have known for 20 years. When my mom told me, I started screaming at her saying I fucking told you he had to go to the hospital. She asked him the day before, but he said “no.” The worst part is it’s a mixture all of the above. He was depressed, on OxyContin for back surgery, said that God did not want him anymore and that he knew he was going to Hell. I don’t know how to get over this. I knew and still do because I wasn’t an immediate family member. It just hurts bad because my mom and I are feeling the worst. His wife has moved on. His brother never like he did anything wrong by asking yet I am in a lot of pain. So sad. I had just told my husband that when he kicked the ladder he must have known he had made a mistake. I feel things like that. Sorry to ramble. Thanks for listening.

    • June 22nd, 2021. This day will most likely haunt me forever, as I woke up to a phone call from the police saying that my dad hung himself in a garage at his workplace. In 1.29 minutes, my life was all but ruined, and I was left alone. It’s been almost two months now and I’m still searching the Internet on reasons why people kill themselves because I can’t seem to grasp the severity of what he’s done. He was stressed at work over a job that he could have done in his sleep. He knew he was depressed, everybody knew he was depressed, but he didn’t want to do anything about it, let alone get help. He left no note, no sign, no goodbye. I, his only family left, am feeling like I never mattered, like he never gave a damn about me… because of all the deep understanding I have that depression is an illness and suicide is the final symptom… I can’t help but take it personally. I’ve never felt this angry, to the point of rage, this sad, or this betrayed. And I know these are all normal feelings in the grief process. But I feel actual pain going through my body whenever I imagine him hanging, whenever I wake up in the morning and I keep telling myself that my dad hung himself in order to not forget and be taken by surprise…

      Kira, if you ever get to read this, I feel you, I feel everything that you said. Be strong. And for anyone thinking about suicide… please get help. I know it is hard to accept, deal, and heal, but you’ll never kill just yourself; you will be killing all the people that you leave behind. Some of them will heal in time, and others will be defined by what you did, shamed and isolated by friends who will either not get what they’re going through, or who won’t be able to handle it and be supportive. The image will haunt them forever; they will have suicidal thoughts, and some might manage them whilst others may not be so lucky. You won’t end your pain, you’ll just be passing it on to somebody that cares deeply for you. Please get help, there is always hope.

  • What about study pressure? Every parent wants 90%. If a child gets even 85%, it’s not good for our parents. But the main thing is it doesn’t matter that we get 85 or 90%. We still get passed. If I will be able to be a father (if I’m alive), I will tell my children not to worry about your exams; enjoy your life; just pass. Don’t worry about your percentage. Just chill.

  • Number 5 is the way I think.

  • My son shot himself in the head in front of me on 06/08/21. He died in my arms in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor. He was my only family. My only child….he had Asperger’s now looking back, which was misdiagnosed as ADHD. Not only did I witness it, I was forced to clean up the aftermath of the tragedy. I went back to work on 06/14/21 and was promptly fired 2 days later. I am suffering from PTSD and can no longer remember or concentrate. I just received a 7-day to pay or quit and if something doesn’t happen for me after applying to every agency that there is … I too will take my own life. Why? Because I can barely function daily; the only reason I get out of bed is for my dogs. Which I am trying to re-home now. What’s the point really no one cares … I am being left with the non-ability to take care of myself due to my son’s suicide. If this is how he felt, then I can completely understand why.

  • Want to understand suicide? Avoid these amateur writing attempts and read Durkheim. This is just another article that misses the point and makes baseless judgements about those who choose to exercise power over their existence. Not worthy of serious criticism although I found “they are impulsive” as a reason for suicide to be so misdirected that I laughed out loud. Does the author actually think this dribble helps anyone???

  • You forgot a very important reason… they are sick.. or have a condition that makes their life miserable… chronic illness…that nobody can do anything about… old.. alone.. no help… no family… and sick.

  • Articles like this kind of piss me off. They attribute suicide to psychological disorders and neglect to also articulate the reality that some people choose suicide due to unbearable life conditions. When you leave that out it negates the real experiences of people who are suicidal over bad life circumstances. It makes us invisible to people who read these articles by erasing our realities from sight. Unbearable life circumstances should be #7.

    Too often advice like go get professional help is thrown around. As you are aware, medical costs in America are obscene. After one night in the hospital (for physical non psychiatric reasons) years ago I was sent a bill for $22,000. Due to unaffordable medical bills my credit has been ruined. I can’t rent an apartment, lease a car, or quality for anything now—before I had decent credit. I was uninsured (still am). Many in America are uninsured and get financially eviscerated due to outrageous medical costs. Many jobs nowadays do not offer health insurance (especially working-class jobs). If they do, then you are battling insurance that is expensive or with ridiculously high deductibles until you can even use it. Biden offered government health insurance, but when employers low ball or stagnate employee wages and with astronomical inflation costs even accessing government supplied health insurance is unaffordable. ln America. There are states where Medicaid has not been expanded and if you are in one of them, then you can’t even get Medicaid.

    I left am taking care of a completely disabled medically frail elderly relative. I work around the clock literally. Kid you not, I literally work 17-22 hours per day 7 days a week. Medicaid will only pay for 8 hours a day and they pay almost $5 an hour under the living wage for the area. I have to buy many of my own supplies (while already making almost $5 under a living wage) because benefits do not cover everything my relative needs. They won’t adjust for inflation; I have asked. My wage has been the same for 6 years despite inflation and COVID inflation. Money doesn’t stretch to make ends meet. Me working 17-22 hours per day 7 days a week yet only getting paid for 8 per day for 5 days per week is Medicaid and it’s an open secret. Though I am working around the clock to attend to my relative’s medical care, the perverse irony is that as a caregiver they do not even offer me health insurance.

    Life is a misery-go-round. I stay with my relative in sub-standard HUD housing run by a slumlord. There is no recourse because it is a private property who uses HUD for rent subsidies, so it is not HUD that penalizes them. The slumlord manager got her job through religious nepotism, so she likely would not be replaced if reported and then there is the risk of retaliatory eviction for reporting. She has already done illegal things, so it wouldn’t be beyond her to start a retaliatory eviction. We can’t risk my relative losing her place to live so we keep quiet while we are made to live in deplorable conditions: things in the apartment and on the apartment complex left unfixed, insect infestations and repeated issues of neighbors with bed bugs that infest other apartments, illegal entries (manager will literally just take a key and open a resident’s door and walk in on them without proper timed warning), drilling, hammering, etc. begins at around 7 am, near constant noise all day, everyday, apartment infested with mold that they won’t fix, shower and sink drains don’t work properly half the time, multiple COVID outbreaks at building because manager won’t enforce rules on many who don’t wear masks. Even if I had a different job that paid decent money, you are not allowed to have more than $2,000 in savings to remain a resident at the building. Most apartments in the area we are in rent at that price range (regular not luxury apartments). We would literally have to break the law to have the money required to move out because of the no more than $2,000 in assets rule HUD has. HUD housing keeps people in poverty because of this while creating a steady stream of revenue for themselves because they know people cannot move out.

    Then on top of this due to low income I literally can only afford to eat 3 times per week (not per day) and if I am lucky and no emergencies gobble up the little money I have, then I can eat once per day. My relative gets needs met but there is not enough money to pay for her medication, supplies, and food and then also for me to eat. I go without. Things are going wrong with my health and because America views healthcare as a capitalistic opportunity and not a human right, I am shit-out-of-luck to be able to afford fixing any of the problems (even if I worked a traditional job with the often insufficient insurance provided if an employer even offers it at all). I drive a car that is over 20 years old and constantly breaks down leaving me without transportation for months (because I can’t afford to fix the car and because unaffordable medical bills have trashed my credit score and report so I do not qualify now to lease a car or take out a loan). The car is literally dangerous to drive it just shuts off randomly. I risk my life every time I go to get groceries or run errands.

    I am literally stuck. I live a constant misery-go-round of extreme unrelenting stress, physical pain because of lack of access to medical care and chronic starvation due to lack of money. Then we have to deal with the cruel unrelenting realities of living in a HUD building managed by a slumlord and we cannot speak up or afford to escape. Every day of my life feels like I am climbing Mount Everest during an avalanche with a gun to my head and a time limit while falling into quicksand and trying to power through weak from hunger and in physical pain.

    I want to commit suicide. I wouldn’t want to end my life if things were different but they are not and there is very little reality for a way out. Like many, I cannot afford to get professional help. I literally cannot afford it. Staying in a mental health facility would add enormous debt to my already unaffordable medical debt which has already stolen my economic mobility because it has destroyed my credit completely. All the counseling and reframing techniques in the world are not going to help if the problems are not escapable. I need a living wage so I can eat, I need to live without threat and chronic unrelenting stress due to living in nightmare public housing ran by a slumlord in a rigged system so that you can’t escape it. I need medical care. A person cannot live under all these conditions at the same time and not collapse at some point. There really seems to be no way out and if there is a way I am too busy doing poverty calculus to survive, handling poverty-induced emergencies and conditions like being weak from chronic hunger and pain to even access them. Suicide seems really like the only plausible road to make the problems go away. Human will can only persist for so long until a person just can’t take anymore. Some people live in horrendous circumstances where death truly seems like the only real accessible option for relief.

    People also commit suicide for reasons that have nothing to do with being psychologically depressed. There are people who commit suicide because they just can’t take anymore of excessive unrelenting rotten circumstances and pressures.

  • I was just released from prison 43 days ago. I spent 8 yrs incarcerated. Prior to my incarceration, I was a raging alcoholic and I’m proud to say, I’m still alcohol-free. During my drinking years, suicide was always an option that I thought about, just because of various reasons. Right now I’m jobless and actively looking for jobs every day. I feel so useless right now because no one has given me a chance in terms of employment. Even though I’m sober, I now think of suicide constantly. That would be selfish and unfair to my wife. Days ago I was on top of the world, but now I’m not. I want to reach out to someone but I don’t know who. My wife took care of me through my incarceration and she still is. All I can ever tell her is, “I’m tired” (mentally). I need help.

  • You left out reason number 6…

    This person sees everything…the disgusting and disease-like traits that people exhibit…while there may be good sides to people and life….the bad sides far outweigh any good that may linger…so based on what they see and experience, have little to no desire to exist any further….and they make a conscious decision to end their life….sometimes there are no mental issues involved in someone’s suicide…it just simply is what they want. The problem with psychology and those who “practice” it the same problem a drug counselor who has never experienced addiction in any form has….nothing you do…or study will ever allow you to correctly identify and or properly diagnose someone’s mental state…because you are the one that needs help…

  • Very accurate article. A very well-written piece.

  • If you have to ask why? Consider yourself lucky. Those of us that have faced the darkness and continue to face it know.

  • How about the guilt that is associated with something that they did. They feel that if they remove themselves permanently from the situation, it will be over and everyone involved will be able to go on with their lives.

  • There is a major reason not mentioned here as far as I see: They have a physical illness that either is terminal or causes constant pain and decide that the amount of possible pleasure to be gained in life does not outweigh the amount of certain pain to be gained.

    In some cases, it can just come down to not having enough money to pay for treatment.

    Examples can include cancer, open wounds, toothache, etc.

  • I’m pretty much all of these except for #4 as I don’t like asking for help and would much rather try and deal with things on my own.

  • The reality of what humanity has done to Earth’s biosphere, essentially as a part of our evolutionary development (we are like a cancer, a rogue species broken away from the whole), is not ethically acceptable. If one values all life on Earth over just human life, suicide is a logical response to the nature of our existence. I would never tell someone to kill themselves, but I do believe it may be the only truly ethical decision a human can make.

  • I’m a failure, and I hate my life right now. What can I do?

  • Humanity as a whole needs to change. Every system needs to change. Currency, health, education, justices, and “jobs” need to change. No one is really living. We have health problems because humans aren’t living with greater purpose; read that again. You’re told how to live and what to do as soon as you’re competent enough to understand language. Our main purpose is quite simple. Live and let live, love will follow. Selfish humans have ruined everything. If education was free, imagine all the amazing doctors (etc.) we would have. If healthcare was free, imagine how much the world and people would thrive. If currency didn’t control everything in the world, imagine the opportunity every human would have. The answers are here. I think people will see/wake up someday. We need to forget the asinine systems we’ve created and create new/fair functional ones that fit HUMANITY. I’m not saying everyone can do whatever they want. I get that society needs structure. But the structure right now (for a long time now) is terrible for the majority. Great for the people in power controlling it but not for humanity as a whole. Everything we’ve created is pointless and useless to each other. Money is pointless. Bills, taxes, fucking credit scores: it’s all pointless. So pointless. We should be here to take care of each other and love each other; everything else is utter nonsense. We need a complete world reset. Call me crazy, (I’d call you brainwashed), but ultimately I just want every human here to be able to live life fully and be happy and healthy doing it. There’s plenty of resources for everyone; people need to stop being selfish. I hope there are other people out there reading this that somewhat agree. I have hope that we can come together and make the world better for everyone in it.

  • I do want to die. Staying here because someone says they love you, however, is never a reason to stay. Being told that you are being selfish does not work anymore. I have been severely depressed for 30-plus years. Alcohol has created deviation. I am 58. Old enough to make up my own mind. If the authorities find out you get stripped of clothes and thrown in a cement room for 7 days. Leaving this Earth hurts no one but hospitals and doctors.

  • It’s incorrect that “depression is often treatable.” It isn’t. If it was, it wouldn’t be the leading cause of suicide.

    “To shorten a dying that will happen regardless.” Aren’t we all in that state? You say that as if we’re not all (terminal) inevitably going in die.