General Question

glitterrrrfish's avatar


Asked by glitterrrrfish (222points) August 29th, 2008 from iPhone

have you ever tried or thought of killing yourself? Or planned a suicide and never go through with it? If so then what led you to the thoughts of killing yourself? Also if anyone knows anyone that killed themselves, describe the experience

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40 Answers

augustlan's avatar

Are you asking purely for academic purposes, or because your’e considering going down this road yourself?

JackAdams's avatar

Without being specific, a woman whom I loved shattered my heart into a hundred million pieces.

While the wounds were still fresh, suicide appeared to be a viable option.

The wounds still exist, but suicide is no longer a choice for me, because of the new woman in my life, who has been “new,” for the past 10 years.

August 29, 2008, 10:10 PM EDT

glitterrrrfish's avatar

@august my grandfather just passed away from suicide. He had been starving himself for over 2 weeks. I’m trying to figure out what causes a person to commit suicide

gailcalled's avatar

Was he ill? And what was his age?

glitterrrrfish's avatar

no he was perfectly healthy and 70 yrs old

augustlan's avatar

I’m so sorry to hear that. Maybe he was just tired. Did he leave any explanation?

glitterrrrfish's avatar

no explanation that’s why my family is in complete shock because he was laughing and happy a few days ago

trudacia's avatar

Sorry for your loss.

AxSqrd's avatar

I said I was going to, but in reality, it was just something to get attention. I got in a whole lot of trouble, though.

glitterrrrfish's avatar

@axsq what kind of trouble

gailcalled's avatar

I too am very very sorry. There have been suicides in my own family and within my in-laws family. They were all related to age, severe illness and awful depression – some justified (ALS w. my mother-in-law and a feeding tube in my mother’s 94 yr old bf) and one not.

No one close to him (wife or kids or friends) had any signs or inkling?

What method did he use? Something that took planning or a spontaneous one?

AxSqrd's avatar

@ glitterrrrfish > I had to get a therapist and almost was suspended from school…It was a total mess…Worst decision of my life.

JackAdams's avatar

@glitterrrrfish: My condolences on your loss.

Sometimes, people know something about themselves, that no one else knows, and they keep it totally to themselves.

My Uncle took his own life, after his doctor gave him some bad news.

He never told anyone, but after he was gone, his doctor revealed to the family that he had been very ill, and with no hope of recovery.

August 29, 2008, 10:26 PM EDT

glitterrrrfish's avatar

thanks guys for your condolences. Suicides are so confusing and depressing.

cyndyh's avatar

I’m sorry for your loss. I’ve known people who had reasons that made sense to me -but that I didn’t agree with. I don’t think I could ever take that route, but I can understand how some people might find it attractive. It’s still sad.

trudacia's avatar

I hope he lived a long, great life! I also hope that you can focus on the great times and try to forget the sad end. It always hurts when a loved one leaves us, no matter how they go.

glitterrrrfish's avatar

@trudacia very true. It hurts alot less when you think of all the good times

gailcalled's avatar

But it hurts and will continue to. Don’t bury that part. You have to grieve, and being very angry and guilty is always part of the process.

cyndyh's avatar

Well said, gail.

gailcalled's avatar

I wish that I have not had so much experience.

cyndyh's avatar

I hear you on that one.

jca's avatar

the mom of one of my best friends hung herself (this would have been over 30 years ago) in the garage, and my friend’s dad called her to come and cut the ropes that held the mother. my friend was 17 at the time. how traumatizing would that be?? anyway, i don’t know anyone personally who has committed suicide, but i do know some people who have overdosed and died. i always wonder if on some subconscious or conscious level they just felt like they didn’t care what the outcome would be when they did their large quantities of drugs. know what i mean?

SeekerSeekiing's avatar

I planned an excellent one at 14. I didn’t want to die, I just wanted the pain to stop. I figured only my best friend would miss me and I put a note to her inside all my papers that I asked her to hide for me [my foster mom would rifle my stuff regularly]. I knew she’d look at it after I was gone. I felt so much better after deciding.

I choose a date. I knew there was a gun in between the mattress and boxsprings of my foster parents. I’d vacuumed and flipped the mattress and discovered it [along with some dirty magazines]. When I was alone, I’d go in and practice putting the gun up to just before my ear, where that little indent is…there was no safety. There were bullets.

I planned of climbing out my window as I did most nights [my door was locked with a hook and eye from the outside]. Only this night, I’d come in the back door before my foster father got home from the evening shift. I’d hide. I’d wait until they went to sleep good. . . till about 4am. Then I’d sneak in, gently pull out the gun, and shoot myself. I wondered where to do it. I decided right there, I’d lean over so I’d fall on their bed and not made a mess on the floor. [ohmi, did I learn the symbolizm of this in my psych classes!]

For some reason on that Sat. the woman decided we should go Christmas shopping. What??? I thought! Then I realized, my plan would still work. I’d just probably get to bed later than my usual lock-in time of 9pm. Her son and I tussled for the front passenger seat going to the mall. He was my age. He won, so on the way back I was going to sit there. But when we were through shopping, we both hit the front door handle again and I said, “It’s my turn!” And she yelled. “Seeker, he’s my son and he can sit where he damn well wants. Get in the backseat.” End of discussion.

On the ride back, I had my legs up on the back seat and was resting my chin on them, when I had one of my psychic experiences. I remembered what a friend’s father had said years before…about “if you are ever in a car accident, it’s better to be relaxed, than stiff.” And I knew without a doubt we were going to be in an accident. None of us were wearing seatbelts, the backseat of this old car didn’t have any! I put my feet down on the floorboard, I laid my head on the back of the drivers seat. I remembered I set my teeth off my tongue. I heard the woman say, “Oh no.” Looked up and saw two headlights. We hit head-on.

After that I only remember ‘seeing’ 3 things before I got to the hospital. I tried to get out the drivers side and couldn’t. Don’t remember seeing anything. I felt for the passenger door and fell out. I saw a light, like from a lamp, far away and I started towards it. I kept falling and I realized my head was bleeding. I fell and looked up and saw car headlights and thought, “oh no, I“m not going to let this car hit me too!” [too??? Guess I was in shock.] Then some strong arms held me up, helped me walk, and a man’s voice said, I’d be okay. I never ‘saw’ him. I heard the woman’s son talking. I heard folks say an ambulance was coming.

The ambulance came and suddenly I was in it. A man was gently feeling my body….usually this would have really really scared me, but he talked softly, telling me he was checking for broken bones. When he was done, I grabbed his hand. Once the ambulance went screeching around a corner and I heard someone screaming that the ambulance was going to crash. I realized it was me, when the man, pushed me down and again told me I’d be okay. Then I saw his eyes. He had big dark eyes that were looking at me with such concern. I tried to talk to him, “Will…will…” My mouth wouldn’t work right. I kept trying, “will will, will you….” he kept shhhhing me….Finally I heard me say the darnest thing. I said, “Will you be my father?” And I wondered why I’d said that?

I was in the hospital over night. I needed stitches in my head, arm, and eyebrow. I had a concussion. the doctor said if I’d remained sitting with my legs tucked up on the backseat that I’d have been thrown out the front windshield into the other car, and killed. He’d seen it happen. The woman and her son were in the hospital a week. He went through the windshield. I felt guilty about that for a while.

But the wonder of it was…I realized, I didn’t want to die. I knew I was miserable because I was under everyone else-s control. So I made a deal with the God I believed in then, who I was usually angry at, but I made a deal. I thought I’d be on my own at 18, just 4 more years. But I probably wouldn’t know how to be happy——cause I’d have no experience at it. But I’d try and learn. But if I hadn’t learned in 10 years, by age 24, I’d off myself. I knew you shouldn’t ‘make deals’ with God, but I told him it was the deal. And I’d keep it, even though there was many more times before I got legal and 18 that I wanted to. But a deals a deal.

And I learned to be happy. It took surrounding myself with good people, trying to see the good, and therapy. It took a while…but that accident saved my life.

And I know that suicide may not be about wanting to die; it may be about not wanting to live. Or like me, just wanting to stop the pain.

Of course suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. But I was 14 and didn’t know that then. I’m glad I got ‘warned’, glad I was in the accident, glad I made the deal, and glad I’m here.

Long but true…and you did ask…

trudacia's avatar

OMG Seeker! I often complain about my life but your story helps me to remember why I should be thankful! Thank you for sharing! You’re an inspiration!

SeekerSeekiing's avatar

I’m happy about my early life now, completely. If I saw that woman I’d give her a huge hug. She helped define me! And I like me a lot!

trudacia's avatar

Seeker, you should counsel foster kids.

What ever happened to that woman and her son?

susanc's avatar

That is a great story. Thank you so much. “Seeker” is the right name for you.

I was thinking about dying a week back because I’m so bitterly lonely without my
husband. He died 3 months ago and the loneliness comes in waves. It wasn’t like
i wanted to go find a weapon, I just had to sort out why I need to be here. And the
truth is, I don’t. People like me but nobody needs me. It was worthwhile to take a
look at that and remember that there’s a lot to do yet. And my cat would be so hurt
if I disappeared. And our nice dog. Those are the people I live with and we are
a good family. So maybe they saved my life.

SeekerSeekiing's avatar

The woman died years ago, I just helped her son [after he got out of jail and rehab for drugs] get a house up here in the Smokey Mountains. He’s an okay guy, just troubled. It’s funny we grew up part of the time in the same house—and he was so innocent and oblivious of how badly I was treated. And maybe that’s the best, cause he couldn’t have done anything. I used to marvel at his ‘Awe-shucks, innocence,” and his easy relationship with his mother.

It’s strange cause everybody back then knowing my background would have said I’d turn out to be an axe murderer. haha, but in a way that’s freeing—because I had no where to go but up.

Susanc, I’m glad you are still here, even if I don’t know you well. And I can only imagine how sad you must be without your husband… and I firmly believe there is a reason you are here, or you wouldn’t be. You know back then people who just patted me on the head as they walked by—made it easier for me to live another day. You don’t know who you may be doing that for…we never know who we touch…

Like I said, it’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem and you can’t come back from permanent… if I can help in any way, let me know…Please…thanks

augustlan's avatar

@Seeker: Thanks for sharing that…and I’m glad your life has taken a turn for the better.

chyna's avatar

I had a boyfriend that I had broken up with commit suicide. It was not about me or my breaking up with him, but I blamed myself for years. I didn’t have “good” relationships with anyone after that for at least 10 years. His parents and sister were devastated and that lasted years. The people that are left behind have to pick up the pieces and its never easy. It seems a cruel way to leave the people you love.

JackAdams's avatar

@chyna: You make an excellent point. Those who take their own lives rarely consider the lives of those whom they leave behind.

The story is told (and no, I can’t “prove” this, to anyone) about this Mafioso in New Jersey who was very elderly and, due to his own negligence, had not adequately provided for his wife and kids, should he no longer “be around.”

So, he managed to purchase a rather large life insurance policy (and the monthly premiums were also rather hefty), which included a “double indemnity” clause, in that should his death result from accident or murder (or something over which he had no control, whatsoever), the payout from the policy would be double the original amount.

The policy had been in force for only about one month, when the elderly gentleman was walking down a street at night, carrying a briefcase.

Suddenly, someone sneaked up behind him, shot him in the head, grabbed his briefcase, and ran off with it. The killer was never found, and the elderly man’s newly-purchased life insurance policy paid off, exactly as specified.

What the man’s family never found out, was that the man had committed suicide in such a way, that no one (including the insurance company) was ever able to figure out.

He had arranged with friends to have a “contract” put out on himself. The killer didn’t know that; all he knew was that his payment for killing the old man, would be the cash inside the briefcase that he grabbed, when he ran off.

Thus, the old man had taken his own life, and his family mourned the loss of their murdered partriach, never knowing that the entire episode was his own idea.

His family was “financially set” for the rest of their lives, due to his plan.

August 30, 2008, 10:06 AM EDT

NecroKing's avatar

A friend of mine Committed suicide 2 weeks ago.

JackAdams's avatar

I’m sorry for the loss of your friend, Necro…

I’ve lost some friends, the same way.

August 30, 2008, 10:18 AM EDT

NecroKing's avatar

But he had a hell of a reason.

willbrawn's avatar

@seeker do you have a blog or have you written a book? Your story totally grabbed me. I will read whatever you write.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Yes, I have both thought about it and tried it. I feel like I’m the only person who knows me 100%, and I know when I’ve had enough. I also am an individualist and I feel that whatever the hell I want to do with my life and body, I should be allowed to do. The only regret I have is that my attempts didn’t work.. I say that because my life did not get better afterwards, I did not have an epiphany that I was meant to be here.

Honestly, because of my makeup, I am a pretty miserable person most of the time. I have NO clue what my purpose is. I’m not one of those people that feels that life is inherently valuable. I’m a biologist; things live and die all the time.

If there was a euthanasia shop, I would be so there.. I’d be like, yep.. time for me to get off this ride.

augustlan's avatar

@AlenaD: I, for one, am very glad you were unsuccessful. Your presence here would be missed by many. Have you considered therapy and/or medication? It can make all the difference.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Thanks. Nothing helps.. see the part about my wanting to get off the ride.

gr8teful's avatar

I know that someone choosing to end their life is painful for family and friends because suicide seems to be a taboo in society.Failed suicides are made to feel ashamed they have done something wrong when all they did was choose to end their life because to them this was the best thing to do for whatever reason.Other people make assumptions if there is a suicide in a family , they really have no right to. I guess i have very Liberal views on suicide. I truly believe if a person has a terminal illness or mental illness and they are an adult and really this is their last wish , the kindest most compassionate thing to do would be to help them .In Switzerland one of the most Liberal Countries in the World , this is seen by Society as a human right.This must be a very comforting thought knowing that one can live one’s life and be content but if one has a terminal or mental illness there is a compassionate Law which states, yes I understand and we will help you end this peacefully. Switzerland also is non-interventionist in other countries conflicts. So allinall a very compassionate society. How do you become a Swiss Citizen? Probably very difficult.The UK ontheotherhand is very reactionary regarding assisted suicide.14 years in prison for helping someone no matter how much pain they are in. It also has Governments which continue to interfere in conflicts around the world.Costing billions and resulting in traumatised returning Veterans, terrible injuries and suffering and often solving nothing.Then it offers very little help to returning Veterans after they become expendable and can they request an assisted suicde?No, they cannot. A compassionate Government and Law in the UK? So if you have a terminal or mental illness in the UK and fell on your knees and begged God to help you end your life, God would say, You are a Child of God, but you really should have been born in Switzerland.

Sinqer's avatar

Hmm, yes. I attempted suicide when I was 17. A naive attempt, and I fear pain like most animals, so I went drugs. My parents had a huge container of ibuprofen in their bathroom. I ingested 4 handfuls of the pills… emptied the bottle. I thought that any drug in such vast volumes had to be sufficient to get the job done, especially after hearing about overdosing on tylenol. Turned out that over dosing on ibuprofen requires more than someone could fit in their stomach, and still wouldn’t likely work, because as it builds up in the bloodstream, it triggers the body to purge… just like alcohol or any other drug.

I went to the hospital and a police officer asked me if I was aware that suicide was illegal, and I looked at her like she had three heads. Obviously if you plan on dying, whether your act was against a man made law or not is really irrelevant.

I was not forced into an institution, but I didn’t care if I was placed there (i’ll get into apathy soon). I was in for about a month I think, and have some interesting stories from that too.

After I was released, I fell into a catatonic state for about a month. For those who don’t know, catatonic is the stage of depression lower than that of suicidal… as in more depressed. I laid in bed for a month, crawled out twice to eat some crackers just to assuage the pain in my stomach from slowly starving. And the fear, anger, and pain that you put those who care about you through is beyond words. That state is much like experiencing a true refined essence of apathy, total lack of caring for anything. You don’t even care enough to kill yourself… you just exist. During said state I climbed inside my thoughts and remained there. People become no more than moving objects within view, the world becomes just stuff that feeds the eyes.

Yes, I was informed that my extended family thought I attempted it for attention, and that made me wonder how many others thought the same but refrained from sharing. No one likes having people think things of us that we know are inaccurate.

Anyforth, your question is what drives someone to these actions/decisions. There’s a lot to explain there (and note that ‘s is used here as a contraction). Different people find different things that make them sad, angry, happy, and so on (not that I think you didn’t know that, just laying the groundwork). Mine has a lot to do with people, and society, everyone fighting to make laws to force others to do as they judge appropriate. Having my freedom taken from me gradually by a voting population, all vying to force others to do what they conclude is right is the epitome of slow dismantling of freedom in the name of right and safety. I provide my personal example to point out that the cause of the suffering is perceived as irreparable. I cannot change a nation of people, and the fact that there are others out there that see things the way I do does not assuage the suffering, nor does it make me happy. So key point, the inability to solve the ‘problem’ (the cause of the suffering).

I’ll try to simplify this. Imagine a set of scales that are weighted by good feelings and bad feelings. As the bad feelings side fills up, and the good feelings side empties, life becomes more and more dismal. At a certain point, one stops striving for happiness, being unable to obtain it, and simply longs to end the suffering… just stop the train (of pain), please, I want to get off. And at that point, death becomes an obvious, accessible, even desirable option.

People that haven’t suffered anymore than common depression that comes with the loss of a loved one, loss of their job, so on and so forth often consider themselves capable of sympathy, but at best can conjure some amount of empathy (which is vicarious).

I disagree with @JackAdams . I most certainly considered those that would be left behind, and from my discussions with other patients in the hospital, so did every one of them. If you are saying that we don’t base our decision on those left behind (as to save them from suffering the loss of us), then that is true… a bit arrogant to say that someone else’s happiness or contentedness is more important than ending my suffering, but true without doubt. The consideration of those left behind makes the situation more difficult. The person feels trapped. If I continue to live, I must suffer this for however long, but if I kill myself, I will hurt all those that I care about. And this trap actually adds to the misery of life, it is one more dead end that precludes you from solving the problem, one more way in which you are stuck and doomed to suffer… death begins to look like the only way out. It’s appeal even begins to grow.

Keep in mind that all this anguish is like one long problem solving event. Making decisions is very often much harder than carrying them out. Once the solution is decided on, the person will appear to come out of their depression. Actually, I would argue they do come out of their depression via the temporary application of apathy as a cure and the misery is washed away by a feeling of relief.

Hypothetical: If my planned death date is two weeks from now, then I know when I’m going to die. I only need to make it two weeks. So for that two weeks, I am care free. After all, what could possibly get me down? Whatever issue, dislike, or problem comes my way, whatever! It will be solved in two weeks.

Notice the ending the suffering here… all the suffering is going to stop, no matter its origin… death solves all for the dying.

That’s a lot of reading, and I condensed a mountain of information into a pebble (as far as I’m concerned). But I’m thinking this might give you a little insight into what the person went through. I would mention that at the moment of performing the act, many people feel an overwhelming relief. He likely wasn’t crying when he took his life. If he was crying it was for those he knew would miss him. That relief is also what allows the person to come out of their depression once the act is planned. My point here is that he didn’t die suffering, he was likely very relieved.

If you want to relate, think of that which you hate doing most, and then think of the feeling of relief when you complete the task and can then do something you want.

As to the people we hurt, it is often them that are part of the problem. It doesn’t mean we don’t love them or care about them, and that presents a conflict all its own.

One more note, as if to extend a novel on suicide (sorry about that), is the issue of selfishness. Suicide is most definitely a selfish act, one that gains the suicidal at the cost of others. Its purpose is to serve the desires of the self and no one else. But morning the loss of someone is no less selfish. You are morning YOUR loss, not theirs. They will never suffer again (depending on your considerations of after-death). They got what they wanted, and who are we to get upset that they got their desire just because we desired them to not get it. Things went their way, not ours, and to be upset by this is no less selfish. In fact, we got what we wanted (those that desired not to lose them) right up until the point they decided to satisfy them self instead. Might we be taking for granted that they lived in anguish, torn by the decision often times for the sole consideration that they would be hurting us? It moves me to think they suffered life for any amount of time to avoid bringing them self relief and causing me pain.

If I were to conjure compassionate words for you, they would be, “He’s in a better place (more desirable situation by his preference) now.” Funny how that cliche now takes on a whole different meaning without changing the words much.

I hope that helped. Sorry if it was painfully long.

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