Why Shouldn’t I Kill Myself?

Note from me: Today’s subject is HARD. This might be a post to skip if you think the discussion will affect you badly. Before we get started, here are some resources. Please, if you’re in any doubt, use them. 

US: 1 800 273 TALK [8255] Lifeline

UK: 08457 90 90 90  The Samaritans

Canada: Suicide Prevention (I cannot find a national phone no. Please comment if you can)

Australia: 13 11 44 Lifeline

Question: Why should I not kill myself? It’s what I have wanted for nearly ten years now and I’m sick of acting okay when I’m really not.

my honest answer: I really struggled with whether or not to answer this question. My first thought was, can I put a shout out on my blog to ask this questioner to e-mail me privately? 

And then I remembered I never respond individually to question posted on the blog. And then I thought, why should they contact me privately? Aren’t we here to discuss the hard stuff? 

And it made me realize that perhaps suicide is the last taboo. We talk about pretty much anything here, things that in years past would have been taboo – money, sex, spousal abuse. So why not this?

And the answer is probably thus: I am not qualified. I’m not qualified in any of this. I give my opinions and nothing else. And shouldn’t my first responsibility be to do no harm?

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the most harm would be in ignoring it. I have some limited training in this topic. The one thing that I thought I knew has been confirmed by some more research today:

You can’t make a person suicidal by showing that you care. In fact, giving a suicidal person the opportunity to express his or her feelings can provide relief from loneliness and pent-up negative feelings, and may prevent a suicide attempt.

From Help Guide

Talking about suicide* does not give anyone ideas. NOT talking about it makes people feel that, on top everything they’re struggling with, the very thoughts they are having are somehow wrong. That is not the case.

Because that’s what this writer is likely struggling with the most: the silence. It’s a hidden emotion. He or she most likely feels unable to talk about these feelings, to mention them to anyone, to ever acknowledge openly that they exist.

So if I were to brush this question under the carpet, to let it sit in my drafts folder and never publish it, wouldn’t I be added to the collective harm that the silence creates? Wouldn’t I be confirming to this person that no-one cares?

The problem with this question is that the VERY QUESTION, in and of itself, it goes against everything I have been taught, and all the literature I have read.

Because the one thing you DO NOT do with a suicidal person is tell them why they shouldn’t do it. That will likely just make them feel worse. Preventing suicide is about talking openly about feelings, not listing reasons why it’s a bad idea.

So, I can’t really answer the question, without potentially defeating my first aim of doing no harm.

What I can say is this.

I’m sorry that you feel this way, and have for so long. That sucks. (I say ‘sucks’ not to belittle your feelings, but because there are no words BIG enough, so everything I typed sounds insignificant).

The main, most pressing reason given for not killing yourself is that it doesn’t have to feel this way. Please go to your doctor and tell them that you feel this way. They can help you. They wan’t to help you.

If you’re sick of acting like you’re okay when you’re not, the solution is NOT to kill yourself. The solution is to stop acting like you’re okay when you’re not.

You’re not okay. You know that. Please tell someone in a position to help, or support you in getting help, that you are not okay.

Saying it aloud is the hardest part. You’ve already said it, albeit quietly. Just one more time and you can get some help to start feeling differently.

It not only doesn’t have to feel this way, it won’t always feel this way. Hold on, fight those feelings, get some help, and one day, you will come out the other side.  You’ve got to give yourself the chance though.

I understand it feels hopeless. But it won’t always.

If you did want to elaborate in the comments about your feelings, perhaps whether anything specific brought on these feelings, or changed around 10 years ago, please know that I am here to listen to you.

I am switching on moderated comments for this post, so that this is a safe place for you, or anyone else, to discuss their feelings. I will delete unhelpful comments. This means it may take a little while for a comment to go live.

I’ve listed some resources for the top territories where this blog is read. However, I don’t know where you are. If you are in a different country, tell me, I will find a resource for you.

And please know, I care. I might just be a stranger, typing away to anyone who’s listening. But I genuinely care. I’m going to list those resources again:

US: 1 800 273 TALK [8255] Lifeline

UK: 08457 90 90 90  The Samaritans

Canada: Suicide Prevention (I cannot find a national phone no. Please comment if you can)

Australia: 13 11 44 Lifeline

 

And for anyone who may be worried about a friend, here a some helpful guides. They are country specific, but the information they contain is universal:

Helping a suicidal person

Choose Life – Worried about someone?

 

*by ‘talking about it’ I mean in a responsible way, of course.

 


28 Responses to 'Why Shouldn’t I Kill Myself?'

  1. Theresa says:

    I think you have provided a very thoughtful and empathic response.

    I think the best advice here was to STOP ACTING LIKE IT IS OKAY.

    A close friend of mine lost her father to suicide last month. No one had any idea how he felt or that things had gotten so dark. No one had a chance to help him or for him to help himself.

    In most societies, mental health issues have become sadly so individualized, we blame the person for not being to ‘buck up’ and pull it together. People have to start realizing that a person’s mental health is a result of their surroundings, the people they love, the place they work, the community that nourishes or starves them.

    We also push this ideal that everyone should be HAPPY all the time. It is okay to not feel like an automaton and embrace your own true feelings. People shouldn’t feel like they have to end their lives because they can not live up to the unrealistic, and often unattainable, level of contentment our society pushes on us. Pretending everything is okay and pretending to be happy only makes everyone else’s life easier, not yours.

    I wish this person the best and I hope they can find the strength to show their loved ones how they really feel. They might be surprised at the result.

    For Canada suicide hotlines, try this page: http://www.suicidehotlines.com/canada.html

  2. Sarah says:

    I appreciate you addressing this question. I agree with Theresa, above, that the best advice is to stop acting like everything is ok. I haven’t dealt with suicidal thoughts, but I do know how miserable it is to put on a charade of ok-ness when you feel anything but. I hope the person who wrote this question – or anyone else in this situation – can find the strength to reach out to someone.

  3. mia says:

    I am 13 and well life is really hard. I have one sister and she and I are very different I am quiet, and shy then she is loud, really mean, and popular. so I tend to get left out in the family. At school I get bullied where people hit me and leave me mean notes in my desk and locker. Kids at my school are mean so I am always alone and I guess I am use to that now. I am also going through a really hard time at home my parents are divorcing my best friend died in a wreck. For some reason everything I really care about fades away like my friends my family and the only thing that keeps me going my dog peanut. At school everyone thinks of me as the super happy shy girl who smiles all the time but truthfully I am not happy I just put on that act because making other people happy make me happy. So I get used a lot…. I am also the tallest girl in my school and I skipped a grade so people pick on me for that. I am very mature for my age and I am the top in my grade so I stick out like a sore thumb. People try to beat me up but I have a sixth degree black belt so I tend to win a lot. The sad thing is though on the last day of school I cam home all beat up because it was 12 against 1 I had ripped clothes and cuts all over. I still beat up about 8 of the 12 kid pretty badly. But the fight got worse and worse so I ran as fast as I could and hopped a few fences and made it to an old friends house. My friend Jake got out a wash rag and bandages and fixed me up. I was very thankful for him and we just hung out for a while and talked about what happened then we played some video games. About 5 o clock he took me home and my mom freaked out about all the bandages and cuts in my clothing. I told her what happened and she was very upset I didn’t tell her what was going on in the school. Then she finally understood why at least 2 times a month I would come home with cuts and bruses. but when I cam home like that I would make up some story about how it happened by being clumsy. my sister was upset because for once in her life she wasn’t the star of the show so later of she said many mean and hatefull things. but every day just doesn’t seem to get better she is always being mean to me and something bad always happens. Each night I pray for a better day but it doesn’t seem to happen. but I am really worried about school next year because I am going to high school. I would just like some advice.

    • The Advicist says:

      Hi Mia,

      I am so sorry you’re having such a tough time, and especially for the loss of your friend. Your parent’s divorce must also be hard on you.

      I’m not sure if you’re going like my advice, but you asked for some, so here it is. You have to tell someone about the extent of the bullying you are enduring at school. You do not deserve it. In fact, you couldn’t do anything to ‘deserve’ what they are doing to you. You need to either tell your mom the full story, or tell someone at school – a teacher, a counsellor, whoever you trust. Your school may have an anti-bullying policy you can look up to see who you should go to.

      Jake sounds like a good friend to you, I’m so glad you found someone to look after you in your hour of need.

      And I know it doesn’t seem like this at the moment, but school doesn’t last forever. You’ll be amazed how quickly you move away from it all once you’re finished. If you’d like some inspiration, please look up ‘It Gets Better’ on Youtube. This is a series originally started in response to gay teen suicides, however, the message is very applicable: school is rough, but if you can hang on, it get better. I hope you can find some comfort, and a lot of hope, in hearing from people who have suffered horrible bullying, and come out of the other side to live very happy lives.

      And please, tell someone what’s going on. I hope things start improving for you really soon. I’m rooting for you so much, Mia.

  4. mia says:

    Recenty I have told my self people hate you shake you and break you but what makes you is how strong you are willing to be. so now each day I have some hope and I still pray for a better day

  5. mia says:

    Thank you for the advice. I have tried before to talk to my mother about it but it just makes her angry. Though its not like she needs anymore weight on her shoulders. But I just cant wait till I am out of school I only have 4 more years then I am out of this place going into college. It will probably be a lot nicer and I wont have to deal with as much family stress. I have also told my school councilor about the situation and she didn’t seem to do much about it. She told me that it is my fault that I am treated this way and that high school will not get any better. Which really hurt because the only thing that got me through school this year was telling myself that high school will be better. I still have hope that it will be better and I will cling on to that hope no matter what that she devil says to me. I will become stronger and I wont let people walk over me ever again I will stand up for myself

    • The Advicist says:

      Hi Mia. It makes me so angry your school counsellor didn’t support you. Are there any other teachers that you get on well with that you can talk to? Even just having someone who knows it all and understands can be a huge help.

      You’re a brave and strong person; I can see that from your writing. Four years seems like a long time, I know, but if you can hold on you will be surprised by college life, and how good it is. Just yesterday I was reading the blog of someone who suffered terrible bullying in school, but found her college peers to be much more accepting and friendly. Here is the link. I’m hoping that reading the story of someone who hated high school, and then found life afterwards to be so much better will bring it home to you more than I can.

    • The Advicist says:

      MESSAGE FOR MIA:

      Mia, I read your new comment. I am sorry things are so tough at the moment. I have not published your comment because it contains a lot of identifying information, but please know I am listening.

      Your situation sounds dangerous, and I think you need specialised help in dealing with it. I do now know where you are. If you are in the UK Childline has trained counsellors ready help on the phone or in an online chat at http://www.childline.org.uk/Pages/Home.aspx.

      If you are elsewhere, http://www.childhelplineinternational.org/ has a list of resources. If you leave a comment telling me where you are (city / state / country) I will not publish it, but I will reply with any resources I can find.

  6. Olivia says:

    I’m 12 years old and I’ve been feeling really depressed lately my parents are fighting like crazy, all of my cousins hate me because I’m fat, the popular kids at school call me a nerd, freakshow, weirdo ect. ,my best friend moved away and says we can’t be friends anymore because she’s to cool for me and another one of my good friends says we can’t be friends anymore because I’m not her religion. I really just feel sad I’ve tried to commit suicide by dehydration and poisoning with nail polish remover but those didn’t work out I have tried seeing shrinks they didn’t help and I just keep trying to pretend its all ok but it just ends up hurting more. I came to the conclusion that it wouldn’t be a big deal if I died because no one would miss me so what difference does it make I feel like I’m just wasting space that other people who needed it could use I would be nice if I could get some advice on how to deal with this

    • The Advicist says:

      Hi Olivia. Firstly, I am so sorry you feel this way. Please know that you are not alone, and people do care. Me, for one. I found a blog just yesterday regarding youth depression which you might enjoy http://www.itsokcampaign.co.uk/

      As for advice, all I can say is that you need to get help. And I know that is so hard. You’re depressed, for goodness sake, getting a bowl of cereal is hard. Fighting for your own mental health feels impossible.

      Please keep going to the ‘shrinks’. Talk about how you feel. Not how you think you should feel, or what you think they want you to feel. It will only help if you are truly open and honest with them.

      You don’t mention how much your parents know about all this, but if you can tell them how desperate you are, they may be the support you need to find the help that can save your life. If this isn’t the case is there anyone else you trust? A teacher? An aunt or uncle? A family friend? Anyone you can tell, honestly, completely, how you are feeling, without sugar-coating it?

      There are two other things I’d like you to read http://www.theadvicist.com/2013/06/14/2-things-i-want-you-to-read-if-youre-feeling-desperate/

      And this post, which deals more specifically with youth depression and suicidal thoughts http://www.theadvicist.com/2013/06/06/im-15-why-shouldnt-i-kill-myself/

      Also, I don’t know where in the world you are, but if you are in the UK Childline is available 24 hours a day, and is staffed by caring qualified people who can help 0800 1111 http://www.childline.org.uk/

      If anyone has any similar youth resources for other countries, please do share them.

  7. Cameron says:

    Hi,
    I just stumbled upon your page while seeking advice as to dealing with my suicidal thoughts and feelings.

    Thank you. Thank you so much for your compassion and desire to help those if us struggling with very difficult challenges in life.

    I’m 19 and have suffered from clinical depression for many years. Suicide by depression is, in my eyes, one of the worst ways to die. You are worn down day by day, bit by bit until you break and can no longer cope. Things seemed to be going well this year, I had a job, girlfriend, house and all the crap that goes along with growing up. However recently my depression took a turn for the worse and landed me in hospital. I then lost my job and girlfriend in the 2 weeks after and loss of job also meant loss of house.

    Anyway, I moved city and decided on university. I had it all figured out. Enrolled in uni, got a part time job, was in a relationship with an amazing girl that I cared for dearly and was staying at an old family friends house.

    Well once again, last week my depression started coming on again(it comes in waves). Totally unrelated to how I felt my girlfriend has said that we will probably be splitting up and she wants to talk to me face to face. The lady I live with has said I need to find somewhere to go because she was tired if me living here and thought I was stealing for some strange reason. My suicidal thoughts have come back quite strongly, something which hasn’t been apparent for years.

    I just wanted to share my experience with you and let you know that just reading this made me feel a little better

    Cheers

    • The Advicist says:

      Hi Cameron, thank you for your kind words. Hearing this page has made even the smallest difference to you means the world to me, it really does.

      I hope that you start to feel better soon. If you are not under medical care, please seek help now, it will only get harder if you leave it. There are services there ready and willing to help. People care, and depression lies.

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Cameron,
      I felt compelled to reply to your post, as I am familiar with these “waves” you’ve mentioned. I’ve been dealing with this type of depression my entire life. I can be doing fantastic in my career, relationships and life, and suddenly for no reason at all, I get hit with a wave.
      I finally got a proper diagnosis last year. The psychiatrist I saw sai I have MDD, major depressive disorder. Once I read a bit about it, it started to make sense. Helped take away the feeling that I am alone and crazy and wrong. The waves can last from just a few minutes to weeks at a time for me. I found it helpful to learn about my particular mental illness. Helped me understand what was happening to my brain was not my fault.
      I know that it doespass, but it’s hard to see a light at the end of a crooked tunnel.
      It is terrible when the people around you who you care about seem to vanish when you need them the most. I found this too. When I’m feeling that darkness surround me and I just need to talk or be near some kind, caring and understanding soul who loves me no matter what, I spend time with my cat. She knows all my secrets and will never tell. She knows everything I’ve done that I feel guilty about, and she loves me anyway. I find her nice soft purring cuddles help to calm me down and refocus my thoughts.
      I hope you find some of this helpful.

    • Bailey says:

      Cameron, Honey, focus on study, hobbies. You need to know yourself better. You’re rushing, feeling hurried. You MUST mindfully take life in smaller than baby steps. Seek the pleasures that are in front of you. No big purchases or relationships. You can’t find yourself this way. You know you are not shy to relationships so you can feel comfortable, now breath and slow down. Cheers.

  8. Mia says:

    Thank you for all of the advice! My mom is working things out they are going to a counselor now. I still haven’t seen much improvement but over time it will hopefully get better. She also has set a date for when she will divorce him if this doesn’t get better. I am going to a new school as well. I am really exited for the new school year and hopefully it will be a better one. I as well will be going to a counselor soon So I can sort things out .
    Thank you so much for every thing and I really appreciate how you created this website to give advice for people.

    • The Advicist says:

      Hi Mia, I’m really pleased about your new school! And that your parents are getting help. Thank you for your kind words. It won’t always be plain sailing, but I know you can do it.

    • Milan says:

      Hi Mia,

      I’m just a random guy somewhere in the eastern Eruope who was reading this top for let’s say an hour.So i stuck up when i read your 1st comment.I thought i am the only dude on this world that has mean people in school constantly bullying me.(Funniest thing here is that no boys,no adults,just girls.Girls are constantly bullying me). So i stoped reading your problem in the sentece where you say you have that dog.(if i understanded right you have a dog) I myself have a dog called Farkie.Now considering i have a similar problem,here,i wanted help.So i see you have a close friend and a dog.I myself have my bff,my dog and most importantly here, A basketball ball and a hoop in my yard. And whenever i felt like i need to talk to somebody i talked to my dog(Since i can’t with my parents because they are mostlikely away from home because of their job). And i was sitting next to him,just talking talking talking…And suddenly he just smiled.That smile made me smile.What made me feel better.And whenever i felt angry and wanted to manifest my anger,i just shooted a ball at that hoop barely,non stop.Untill my anger leaves me.Complitelly.

  9. Rob says:

    By chosing to go ahead and answer this question, you’ve done an incalculable amount of good in the world. I’m not a regular reader of your blog, but google pulled up this page when I searched “Why shouldn’t I kill myself.” I greatly appreciate your advice, and I’d like you to know that your words brought me some comfort while dealing with my own suicidal thoughts. There’s no telling how many people will find this page the same way I did and then hear your message. Good on ya.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I stuggled with suicidal thoughts since I was 5, Im 37 now. I tried to kill myself when I was 33. Ive tried every remedy to make me feel better over the years…drugs, alcohol, sex…but it wasnt until I got sober, took meds, and found spirituality that I started progressing to a more positive outlook on life. I still have my days where the depression creeps in, like tonight when I found out my ex is in a relationship…BOOM, instant dark cloud…suicide looks oh so good, but I pray and ask for help and the thoughts pass. Thank God for God, may you find him NOW.

  11. Michael says:

    I’ve struggled with suicidal thoughts for most of my life. I’m 37 years old now and about the only thing that keeps me from killing myself is my mom. She’s always been the one thing that’s kept me going and I know she’d be devastated if I killed myself. Her whole life has revolved around doing for me. Sure there are others who’d be upset and miss me but I honestly don’t feel like that matters. My mom is the only one whose feelings matter enough to me to stop myself. She’s older now and needs me around and she’s done so much for me over her life I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t tough it out for her sake. The problem is… what do I do when she’s gone?

    I’ve been unhappy for the past 20+ years and all the “things can get better!” pep talks just don’t pack the same punch they used to. Things haven’t gotten better in the past 20 years. They’ve gotten worse. And now I’m getting older, the youth is fading and I have little to look forward to. So I ask myself, if not for my mom, why should I be forced to keep going through the motions every day just cause someone else would be sad? I’m sad right now. Doesn’t how I feel matter too? Why should I have to suffer just to make other people feel better?

    I can see in my imagination the life I will never get to have and it taunts me day in and day out. I honestly wish I didn’t have such a vivid imagination. I’d rather be ignorant of what I’m missing. Unfortunately I know all too well all the things I’m never going to have and there’s nothing I can do about it. So I ask why I should stay? I know it sounds selfish but really, why should I stick around if it’s just going to be another 30 to 50 years of this? Should I stay just on the slim chance SOMETHING might happen to change things when most likely nothing will change? And what do I say to myself at age 50 and 60 when it still hasn’t changed? Do I apologize to myself for making myself suffer through it all this time?

    I know I haven’t really gotten into the details of why I feel the way I do but that really isn’t what matters. What matters is I feel this way and, barring a miracle, things just aren’t going to change. The short and sweet of it is I got to have a taste… just a tiny taste of how good life could be… and then it was all gone and I never recovered. A good analogy for me is a pretty jar filled with brightly colored sand that was dropped and rolled down a hill spilling its contents along the way. Now I’m at the bottom of that hill cracked and missing a lot of who I used to be and I don’t think there’s any way to fix me or if there is I don’t feel as if I have it in me to do what needs doing to fix me.

    How do you stop from killing yourself when you don’t have any hope for the future? When life repeatedly tells you through constant bouts of misfortune and unpleasantness that “it’s not going to get better”, “you’re going to keep suffering”, “you’re dreams will never come true”. How do you find a reason to live through that when it keeps happening for decades?

    • Anonymous says:

      I can’t believe no one replied to your comment. Your thoughts sound very familiar. I am struggling with the same kind of thoughts and I am idealizing suicide, but will not truly consider it mostly because of my mother. I want to learn to be happy because of my mother. However, I have no idea how I am going to be happy because I don’t really find joy in anything anymore. All I can focus on is all the shitty things I have to do and sleep is all I want. I have to work to make a living and pay my bills, but it all feels unbearably meaningless because I don’t desire to have the things I need to pay for. Everything feels like necessities. I have no goals, no dreams, no aspirations. BUT, the one thing I do find helpful is exercise. Although many of the thoughts still are there, my mood gets better and I become more confident after giving myself a real workout. Exercising makes me feel more alive, but only temporarily. I hope you find some meaning in something.

    • Bailey says:

      Michael,

      A couple of years ago I was walking along a bridge near where I lived as a child. I couldn’t walk as close, now there was a safety fence. But something prompted me to ask myself, what would I say to someone who was just about to jump. All of a sudden just posing the question made me feel glorious. Odd hah? So here’s what I would say, first I’d spread my arms to take in the sky, I would straighten my back and give the most perfect posture and then I would yell, “Why die now, wait it out, you’ll die sooner or later. Come join the WTF club. It’s a good club, lots of people in this club. You just have to get to know them. We’re in a church, a basement, a grassy field. Find us, you’re always welcome and never alone. We laugh too cause we think WTF”.

      WTF people dance to their own beat. You gotta create joy. Being vulnerable to life is so important, its your stepping stone. However being emotionally dependent? You don’t want to play an emotional blood sport with us. Do you?

      When I got home I was glad that I knew exactly what I was going to say if this happened. Michael I can’t be the only one who has thought, “What would I say?”. People want to do right much more than wrong. I hope you know that the WTF club also includes everyone’s best intentions, its spirited, a place where not everyone attends (only if you want to.)

      Now when you feel hopeless and sad, ask yourself what would you say to somebody who had given up. Your answer is always good; in that you tried. And with that answer, raise the WTF flag. This flag’s any shape or colour you want. Cheers and a beautiful WTF!

  12. Bailey says:

    Good morning, afternoon or evening Michael. And buddy I wish you sincerely many WTF moments. Love’em, live’em and endlessly WTF’em.

    Tootles and apple struddles. xxx

  13. Anonymous says:

    how may i reach you privately in someway ? it’s a matter of delicacy for me to be spoken in public,and i can’t reach any of these lines you mentioned (as i am in Syria), any way it will be useless even if i get through…

  14. Anonymous says:

    i hate my life. i had lost my dad several years ago and he was my best friend. my mum doesn’t appreciate me and shouts me all the time, i recently got married and now my husband makes me cry almost everyday! he said to me today he doesn’t love me, married me because of sympathy. what’s worst is i had a miscarriage recently and cannot get pregnant again. i hate my job and every morning i wake up in tears. i tried to overdose but i survived. i still feel my life is over. i have lost everything and i believe i am better off dead. i have none to talk to. every time i mention my problems to someone hoping it will make me feel better they just turn their backs on me and they believe i deserve to be treated this way. my life is over. i have no reason to live…

    • The Advicist says:

      You do have a reason. I care very much. Please get help. Call a crisis line: people there will listen, they will not turn their back on you. Do you have a doctor you can trust? Please tell them how you are feeling, as soon as possible. You can feel better, I am sure of it.

Do you have any advice to give? We always love to hear different ideas.

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