The Truth About Suicide

Most of us will probably be touched by a suicide in our lifetime. In a world that fancies itself evolved, suicide remains a leading cause of premature death and is more popular today than ever before. There are groups and chat rooms dedicated to the promotion of suicide and it is not uncommon to hear of suicide pacts and self-inflicted copycat deaths. Some cultures create cultural myths and mores which promote, even glorify, the suicide act. Rock stars do it all the time.

There is so much misinformation and misunderstanding around suicide that it is difficult to know where to begin. I regularly meet clients and patients who have been devastated by the suicide of a loved one and subject themselves to self blame, recrimination, and second-guessing on a pathological scale. Sons are still mad at fathers who killed themselves twenty or even forty years ago.

How could someone do that to themselves? How could someone do that to their family? How could a sane person have ever convinced themselves that their children and family would be better off without them? Isn’t that insane?

You know it.

I thought of taking my life once, or rather, constantly for a single period of time.

I can look back at that Scott and see that he was an incredibly sick little boy. He was completely and totally off his nut (sorry for the clinical terminology). I look back at that Scott and I can see clearly how he could believe that he should take his own life. I can re-enter his mind and see what he sees, taste what he tastes. I’m back there right now as I write. He’s crushed, broken, deeply wounded and unable, even unwilling, to lift himself up. He’s insane with grief. Is he capable of believing that he should end it all?

Why not.

I did a lot of things I regret, once a long time ago. It’s easy to wallow in the guilt and the muck and actually believe that this insane, crushed, broken man was fully responsible and incapable of being forgiven. If health has taught me anything it’s that I need to be more gracious to myself when I was sick.

Back to our topic.

I have no idea how you are reading this article but it was intended to bring healing to someone out there who still cannot let go of the anger and the pain. Maybe it will help someone else become more empathetic, more understanding of those who are battling mental health issues. They were insane, and insane people do insane things. It was never your fault. It wasn’t even really their fault. People in their right mind do not take their own life. I know.

13 thoughts on “The Truth About Suicide

  1. I’ve tried to kill myself twice in the past seven years – unsuccessfully, obviously – and both times I was so stuck in my head in repetitive thoughts of worthlessness and uselessness that I never even thought to ask the people around me and the people who cared about me what they thought – I was sure I knew it already. It has taken months of intensive therapy to get to a point where I can discuss this with my parents without them blaming either me or themselves. The worst part, I think, was that everyone was so surprised by my attempt; I fooled everyone in my life, from my family and closest friends to my therapist, into thinking that I was fine up until I tried to kill myself.

    It has been pointed out to me how much influence my actions have had on the lives of the people I love, and how much my suicide attempts hurt them, and I have apologized to them for it.But I was so far from in my right mind that I have a tough time even seeing there from where I am now. I’m still depressed, but all my therapy has gotten me to a much better place. I only wish other people considering suicide could receive the same treatment; but sadly, nothing works for everyone.

  2. Awesome. I have a 12 yr old son in therapy. He’s never attempted suicide and never directly said he wants to kill himself, but he wants to die. In a therapy session where I was in the room, he said that the only thing that makes him NOT want to die is that he feels it would break my heart. And it WOULD.

  3. Great post Scott, I attempted suicide 2 years ago and obviously failed. I was at the lowest point in my life with an abusive ex urging me to kill myself because no man would ever want me anyway.
    His urging was actually what stopped me from trying again. I know he would get a huge ego boost thinking I killed myself because I couldn’t live without him.
    For two years I fought the urge to kill myself , living in conditions no human should live in with no running water, no sewer, no heat in winter. Every day I said,” I can not do this one more day”.
    Today I am the happiest I have ever been, I am buying my dream cottage right on a lake, I have made some really good friends and there isn’t a man in sight. I am happy with myself and I don’t know if I will ever be willing to share my life again just because I am so happy I don’t want anyone or anything to jeopardize it.
    I look back on that woman who took all those pills and my heart breaks for her, to feel that hopeless and alone that she would end her life.
    My mother said not long ago that people who try to commit suicide are just looking for attention. No shit Sherlock! Someone who feels loved, valued and important to others doesn’t kill themselves.
    Society as a whole needs to acknowledge suicide and take it seriously and not shame the person or minimize what the person is feeling.
    No one knows what the future holds, a person’s life can change over night, for the better and for the worst but nothing ever stays the same.

  4. Reblogged this on The Ability To Love~Recovery From Psychopathic Abuse and commented:
    This one was a heavy hitter for me, but I love Scott’s posts. They are a great source of healing for me. A close family friend committed suicide last November after being bullied at his new college because he was gay. I thought about him and another young man who also committed suicide early last year.

    I know that abuse is very painful and it can fill us with hopelessness and despair, especially when it’s in the pathological extremes that we’ve been exposed too. If you’re feeling this way tonight, please think twice, call a crisis line or someone who loves you instead. They deserve to have your presence…

  5. I have thought about suicide in the past. In my current situation, it’s easy to think about it. Abuse brings a lot of despair and pain. But even while I think about it, during a moment or two of hopelessness, it’s my children and those that love me that would prevent such an act. They’ve been hurt enough by me, they certainly do not need to be traumatized further. While I understand why people do it, what I can’t understand is how they could follow through, knowing it would wound, potentially forever, those that love them. Last year, a friend of mine had a nephew who wrote on his face book profile to call 911 and not to believe anything that ‘she’ says about him. When they got there, he was dead from a gunshot wound to the chest.

    He was a gifted and wonderfully empathic, compassionate young man and an only child of two parents who adored him, so many friends….

    Over a girl. And no one knew he was distraught…if he was THAT sick, why didn’t anyone know? And that’s what those left behind, beat themselves up over. What they didn’t see that they thought they should have….mental illness…

    1. Abilitytolove, as someone who did attempt suicide I know everyone would have said they didn’t see any signs but I did tell people. ” I don’t think I can do this any more” “I just want to die”. Etc. But I got platitudes back, “Hang in there, things always get better”. “things happen for a reason” and worse; no reaction at all. I am not saying it was the same with your friends son, my son attempted and failed about 5 years ago over a girl. He was living 5 hours away and I rushed to be with him. I made him sign a pact with me to give his life time to straighten out, one year. Then I told him I understood the pain he was in but I was angry. I said, “you know I would die for you, you know to lose you is my worst nightmare.

    2. Oops, anyway I told him that I couldn’t help but be pissed right of at him. As my son I waz worried and would do anything for him and I understood he felt hopeless but he had to understand he almost took my boy away from me and that makes me so angry I can’t think straight. I told him that I had been a single mom for most of his life and gone through tough times but never would have killed myself because i wouldn’t leave him with a legacy like that and to please love me enough to live.
      A year later I swallowed handfuls of pills of every description and when I couldn’t move any more laid down and went to sleep. I hallucinated that everyone in my life came into the room one by one to tell me not to go and say I love you and goodbye. I kept telling them that it was ok, I was tired and just couldn’t do it anymore. I had sent my ex a text asking him to pick up the dog in the morning and never heard back but as I heard the footsteps coming through the door and each person came and went I waited for him to come. I was sure he wouldn’t let me die alone. But he never came and he didn’t come the next day or call. I had a friend stop by the next day and he could tell something was very wrong from the way i was acting. (it took 4 days for the effects of the pills to wear off) I told him what I had done and he stayed with me that night and then he showed up with his g/f the next two nights
      they text messaged me every day for weeks just to say,”you are loved”, “God loves you”, “I care”.
      I didn’t write suicide letters to anyone because I was so distraught, so consumed with sadness I couldn’t put words to it. Far to depressed to seek help for myself.
      Suicide is a selfish act that I never thought I would put my family through but that night I just could not take the pain and loneliness any more.
      I don’t even know that woman now, I can see her sitting on the couch looking at a bottle of pills a broken woman and my heart breaks for her, I can hug her now and she has hope. I have never been happier than I am right now, my life has done a complete 180, and now I struggle to live because all the stress of the abuse left me with heart failure, I can’t work, have no money, but I am happy, I have hope, I look forward to the future.

      1. Carrie,

        I”m really glad you shared that. I’m in a really weird place of hopelessness and despair, yet I’m not. It fluctuates. I feel very precariously balanced. I’ve worked really hard on my recovery and the peace and joy I’ve found I feel I’m going to lose with my home and any hope for stability. I have physical disabilities and PTSD that severely limit me too and opportunities that I once had I don”t now, not to mention my age.

        I can’t make it. The focus of my recovery has been independence. THe financial piece is the last one for me to put it all together for stability and there isn’t opportunity. It’s frightening to me. I don’t want to lose hope, but I feel my emotional feet shifting. It’s so hard, so very hard not to think about it…

  6. Hello Scott! :

    When I attempted suicide at 14, I was completely out of this world. Totally mixed up kid that had endured heaps of sexual abuse. 3 years ago (42) you would have had no idea I was capable of doing such a thing. What’s normal anyway! What does that even mean?

    Pain is a hard thing to hide and when you do it for long enough…something has to give!
    Is that insane? I’m not so sure either!

    What I am grateful for is that we are both here to have this discussion. Love and light to you! Have a great weekend. Hugs Paula xxx

  7. I’ve realized that people kill themselves for all kinds of reason. Some people kill themselves out of anger–as a form of revenge on those who love them. (“See how much you wish you’d been nicer to me now!”) Some people act impulsively. One day or one week or one minute is simply overwhelming and suicide, like any other crazy thing, seems like the best possible escape at that moment. Some people are filled with self-loathing and want to punish themselves that badly. Others are crushed under ongoing despair.

    In other words, it isn’t as simple as the ads make it out to be. It isn’t as simple as “recognizing the signs” and getting someone help. Sometimes there are no signs. Sometimes our loved one does not want help. But whatever the reasons that person we loved chose to do it, it wasn’t our choice. As the living, our job is to live. The best way we can.

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