General Question

dot's avatar

Has any one ever heard of suicide by starvation?

Asked by dot (22points) June 7th, 2009

I cant seem to understand why I choose to starve myself when I get depressed. And yes, I do it because I am feeling suicidal, NOT because I have anorexia and think I am fat.

Not sure what to do right now….

Any kind of help is appreciated…

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35 Answers

Blondesjon's avatar

I would recommend finding a psychiatric professional that is trained to deal with an issue like this, instead of an Internet Q&A site.

dot's avatar

Yes, because I have 30–50 bucks to pay per session and I want to pop pills to alter my mood….

Thanks, but youre answer was a tad unhelpful…

Blondesjon's avatar

your welcome?

skfinkel's avatar

Old people do effectively starve themselves, when they are really ready to die.

I don’t think you are. So, you need to figure out why you are depressed—see if you can remember what was the trigger this time. That is not easy to do without help, but maybe you can. Depression is usually anger turned inward. So, the anger you feel that you are unable to identify or express is taking the form of starving yourself. Must be very frightening thoughts to want to harm yourself so much.

Anyway, that’s my two cents.

nikipedia's avatar

Please call a suicide hotline, right now, for free.

You can call the national hotline at 1–800-SUICIDE.

One of the very worst things about depression is that the way you think changes, and it seems like there is no solution, and nothing can be fixed. That’s depression. It’s not reality.

I’m not a trained professional, so I can’t give you the kind of help you need. If you want, I can help you find a trained professional for free or at a reduced cost in your area.

If you want help and you want to get better, you can. But deciding you want it is the most important step, and you have to decide that before anyone can help you.

filmfann's avatar

My mom worked in a retirement home, and that is the third favorite way of old people offing themselves.
The first is a plastic bag over the head.
The second is overdose of medications.
Starvation is how my Grandmother killed herself. Figure 3 weeks.

hug_of_war's avatar

It’s effective, but as I’m sure you could guess, not the fastest method. Old people can kill themselves quicker this way though since they are usually already weakened and frail.

FrankHebusSmith's avatar

Well the plus side of feeling suicidal like this (if there is a plus side) is that eventually your instincts will take over and MAKE you eat something.

Cheer up though, it can’t be that bad. Go find some food that tastes amazing (Taco Bell here I come). Get a hobby, buy a pet (puppies/kittens especially), go outside and enjoy the amazing weather.

Life is short enough anyways.

mehmetaydin3's avatar

MAYBE you are not feeling so well because you know already all of these answers, and it’s not helping, and people around you are not helping either. This is when you help yourself and go deal effectively with your fears, not by means of hurting yourself, but aiding yourself.. I go in and out of depression for many reasons, but let me tell you when I see the light, it is far greater than anything else. Remember that no matter what situation you live in, your world can be perfect. and the only thing that will let that happen is you.

mehmetaydin3's avatar

and you can do that right now. by not being bothered.

bea2345's avatar

I don’t know if this will help. During a period of depression, what keeps me going is the daily routine: having breakfast at 7.30, feeding the animals at 8.00, being ready to leave for work by 9.30, ... that sort of thing. It is not easy to keep up, but just doing these tasks reminds me that there is a life to be lived, even if it does not seem much at the moment. Exercise helps, even if it is only a walk twice or three times a week. When the depression has passed, as it usually does, I feel a sort of energy.

dot's avatar

Heh, funny how the only method I choose is the one that the elderly choose :P I don’t know, but it feels like by starving myself it I am also punishing myself, and I just don’t know why i need the punishment. Maybe I just feel like I am bad person, or I’m useless or something, I don’t know. @mehmetaydin3 – I think you might be right about that. I guess I do know more than I lead myself to believe, but I guess I just don’t know if I have the motivation to help myself right now…

Its like, im energyless… nothings left in me…. I’m kinda just waiting it out, but in the meantime, I choose not to eat…

I can’t really think straight right now… sorry if im seeming too much of a downer right now…

Darwin's avatar

I understand that after a while you no longer feel an urge to eat when you are starving. And suicide by starvation is a more common form of suicide than most people expect. In the US it is largely done by those who are terminally ill but who cannot or will not go with assisted suicide.

There are many other instances of suicide by starvation, including a Russian sect that considers suicide by starvation the highest form of devotion, and it is a common method used by Hindus and Jains. Or as Wikipedia puts it:

Apocarteresis, aka suicide by starvation

Starvation has been used by Hindu, Jain and Buddhist monks as a ritual method of suicide. Albigensians or Cathars also fasted after receiving the ‘consolamentum’ sacrament, in order to die while in a morally perfect state.

The explorer Thor Heyerdahl refused to eat or take medication for the last month of his life, after having been diagnosed with cancer.

A hunger strike may ultimately lead to death.”

However, something to consider is that in some people depression often makes it difficult to eat and suppresses the appetite. While you understandably don’t want to spend a lot of money to treat your problem, be aware that sometimes a short dose of an anti-anxiety drug can tip the scales back over to normal behavior, so you can then consider the reasons you feel depressed and thus have a chance to pull yourself out of it.

You really aren’t “popping pills to alter your mood.” Just as with taking vitamins or antibiotics, you are helping your body get back into proper balance. Sometimes people have to keep taking such medications for life, while sometimes people just need a bit of help finding their center again.

Call someone, either the free hotline mentioned above, or take @nikipedia ‘s offer of help. You would be amazed how sweet life is when your body is in balance, including the chemicals in your brain that make your moods happen.

bea2345's avatar

@Darwin is right. When I am down the one thing I absolutely must not do is to forget the meds. They really do help, so go and see a professional.

Cardinal's avatar

Thousands in the German death camps starved themselves in order to die.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Body image issues are not a prerequisite for anorexia.

crisw's avatar

Taking medicine to treat depression is absolutely no different from taking medicine to treat diabetes or high cholesterol. There is absolutely no shame in doing it, and it might save your life.

Clair's avatar

i can totally understand that just because you’re subconsciously wanting to hurt yourself. i’m not afraid you are going to kill yourself to the point of giving you the hotline number, but you know whether or not that an issue. get help if you feel that’s the issue. there’s no shame whatsoever in counseling or medicine.

ru2bz46's avatar

Try yoga. Give it a couple months, and do it as often as you can. It may suck at first, but I cannot imagine anyone who practices regularly to be depressed. I used to take Zoloft. Now, I see everything so much brighter. I haven’t had a bad day in a very long time. I feel calm and at peace almost constantly.

MacBean's avatar

I recommend dropping the attitude and listening to @Blondesjon. If you really want help, you can find it without having to pay ridiculous amounts of money. And you may find that you’re one of those people who can’t manage the issues without medication; there’s no shame in that.

wundayatta's avatar

Depression, like anorexia, OCD, ADD, Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder all share at least one allele in common. While there are many other genes involved, and we don’t yet know what they are, or if the mental illnesses share them, it is clear there is at least a tiny link between them. This allele, if I recall properly, expresses a protein that affects the uptake of (sodium?) or whatever it is that brain cells need to communicate properly.

Mental illness is an organic condition. Because it affects the way we think, we believe we have control over it, mentally. While we can influence it mentally, in many cases that’s not enough. Also, why the bias against using medications that can fix how our brains work? It’s like saying if you have cancer, you’ll use brain power to get rid of the cancerous cells. You might be able to do a little through using your brain, but you probably won’t be able to kick it, entirely.

Not having money to pay for a psychiatric evaluation or for therapy is a serious problem. In a year or so, the mental health parity bill will go into effect, and insurance will have to cover mental health expenses at the same rate as they cover other medical expenses.

If you don’t have insurance, maybe you can get Medicaid, or there are other ways to find folks who will pay for the help. There are groups like DBSA and another one that I always forget that help folks (they are support groups and have experience dealing with these problems).

The bottom line is that the urge to commit suicide is a result of depression. If you’re like me, you feel absolutely worthless, and don’t understand why people don’t see that. In order to make your external circumstances feel like your internal ones, you take action to destroy your life. In my case, I wanted to destroy my marriage, my job, and my housing and end up homeless. Eventually I imagined I’d die. In your case, you are starving yourself to death.

ANother thing that can help is to get a support group—depression, anorexia, bipolar, it really doesn’t matter. Often these groups are free, which deals with the money problem. You can get good advice, and more importantly, a place to talk about what you’re going through, and everyone will understand, because they’ve been through it, or are going through it, too.

Darwin's avatar

@daloon – Are you thinking of NAMI, aka the National Alliance on Mental Illness by chance? They have been a little help to me locally, but not much because our chapter is all wrapped up with autism, in particular Asperger’s. However, other chapter could be more helpful.

RedPowerLady's avatar

This is a very interesting question. Perhaps you know this but food drastically affects our mood. Not only food itself but even the type of foods we eat. The fact that you are hungry will make you more depressed. That is just a fact. So by starving yourself you are making yourself feel worse. I suggest that when you have the urge to do so you eat something that will boost your mood. There are tons of foods that immediately affect our mood. Fish oil pills are great for this. Chocolate is great.

You probably choose to starve yourself when you are depressed because it furthers your cause. It makes you even more depressed. The quickest way to solve the problem is to force yourself to eat something good for you. Yes sometimes we must force ourselves out of depression. Gently of course.

More Information:

Having said that I also recommend keeping the 1–800 number given to you above and considering a sliding scale counselor or free support group

Midnight_Blue's avatar

Hunger strikes to the point of death are not uncommon. Once you have been hungry for a few days you lose your appetite, many people don’t realize that. It is not hard, but it is unpleasant and slow way to die. If you are really suicidal I doubt that this would appeal. Many people who are depressed don’t eat.

fathippo's avatar

I always dont want to eat and stuff when i have gone into a depressed thing, because I like the feel of how i dont know after a while it makes you feel kind of wasted and diminshed maybe…
maybe it makes me feel more withdrawn from the world if i dont eat stuff and feel kinda secluded and seperated
I dont know i guess this is the wrong thing and i can’t really explain it… sounds stupid i guess

bblackmamba's avatar

I feel the same way, I also feel so depressed sometimes that I dont deserve to eat food. I am really annoyed by alot of these anti-suicidal sites telling you to find someone to talk to, a friend, church person, whatever. I am so socially isolated that I have literally NO ONE to speak to. I am married, but my spouse seems to thrive on insulting me and calling me names, so I couldnt possibly talk to him. I am sure he would just laugh at me (Like he has doen in the past) Oh, I also have absolutley NO FAMILY, either. My husband went camping this weekend, so I am planning on doing the same, although I wont be taking any food with me and I dont plan on returning.

bea2345's avatar

@bblackmamba – don’t do that (I wont be taking any food with me and I dont plan on returning.). Rather, if you don’t want to, or can’t, speak to a friend, spend the weekend making serious plans for the next six months. Why is your husband that way towards you? more to the point, why do you put up with it? Do you have to put up with it? “Dog does run away, cat does run away.”—calypso. So plan how you would cope with what ails you, how you can live, where you can live. Work at it.

fathippo's avatar

@bblackmamba i feel the same about this ‘talk to someone’ stuff, i hate it man
there is noone to talk to even if i wanted because im detatched emotionally from everyone and want it that way, i dont know why. And also, personally it would make me feel pathetic and (cant think of the word) if i had to ‘talk to someone’, i know what they’d be thinking…
anyway, i guess i’m wrong so whatever, cant explain anyway… =)

wundayatta's avatar

I hope it helps to know that people on fluther, even if they don’t know you, do care. When I was depressed, I didn’t really believe it, but I did still keep on coming back when people had kind words for me. For people who have no one to talk to, sites like this can be really helpful. It’s virtual contact, but it’s better than no contact at all.

When I felt suicidal, it was partly the cliche, I wanted attention. More than that, I wanted to be loved. More than that, I wanted to feel loved. I found a million reasons that justified the idea that no one loved me, and that I didn’t really deserve love, and didn’t really deserve to be alive. I never thought it would get any better. I didn’t want to continue living, if life was always going to be that way.

Except, secretly, I did want to live. I just didn’t know how to ask for love. I didn’t think I could ask for it. I didn’t think I could talk about what I really cared about. I thought I was bad for even wanting what I wanted.

Life can be really shitty. If you die, you don’t have to deal with that any more. However, you also can never have hope for anything better. You have permanent nothingness. A nothingness you are not even aware of. You might leave behind people who are hurt, whether you believe it or not, but you will be out of the picture, so that won’t bother you.

Well, you could also find the people who would be hurt, and try to get help. Or love. If your husband is a total jerk and is abusing you, it might even be better to be homeless. People actually try to help the homeless. Also, you might feel like you are finally getting what you deserve.

The thing I find most useful is to talk to people who’ve experienced what I’ve experienced. You can find them on the internet, but you can probably also find them where you live. Check out the DBSA support groups to see if there’s anything in your area.

I’m sure this all sounds impossible. But, somewhere inside you, I believe, is the you who wants to stop being miserable. Let that you out, and you’ll be able to try to make things better. It won’t be easy. It is possible.

Response moderated
mYcHeMiCaLrOmAnCe's avatar

I do the same thing, when I’m depressed I stop eating, and I remember once I hadn’t eaten anything in some days and my mother made me eat. horrible.

LoveMamaEarth's avatar

I’m not sure why “experts” think depression is anger turned inward. It’s feeling hopeless & overwhelming despair and not seeing that things will ever be better. What if this is “as good as it gets”?

WWZIII's avatar

I really identify with this question. One of the things I do, when I’m feeling worse than usual, is to cut back on eating, especially when I’m at home. I think that, in a way, it gives me a sense of control, even though that control comes with pain attached. I’ve been terribly depressed for quite a while now—I’m looking for a medical solution, but I really don’t think drugs are going to make much of a difference. I just feel as though the life choices that I’ve made have been really stupid, and now it’s far too late to remedy them, and… well, I just have the strongest feeling that things would be better, in general, if I weren’t around for people either to worry about, or to have to ignore. So, to be honest, I’ve been thinking about starvation as a means of killing myself, because it’s relatively benign, difficult to prove or prevent, and just kind of ‘feels right’. It takes a while, but so what? So does life.

Chump's avatar

I feel the same way when I’m depressed, I don’t want to eat, sometimes I actually enjoy the hunger pains…. I’m 35 and I’ve been depressed most of my life, but I also understand that depression stems from the surrounding environment, not from brain chemistry. A lot of people resort to psychotropic drugs, believing that there is something wrong with themselves. That’s not the case at all, we live in an unnatural, rigged environment that is forced upon us. depression is a natural reaction to an unnatural environment.

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