If you are feeling suicidal now, please stop long enough to read this. It will only take about five minutes. I do not want to talk you out of your bad feelings. I am not a therapist or other mental health professional - only someone who knows what it is like to be in pain.
I don't know who you are, or why you are reading this page. I only know that for the moment, you're reading it, and that is good. I can assume that you are here because you are troubled and considering ending your life. If it were possible, I would prefer to be there with you at this moment, to sit with you and talk, face to face and heart to heart. But since that is not possible, we will have to make do with this.
I have known a lot of people who have wanted to kill themselves, so I have some small idea of what you might be feeling. I know that you might not be up to reading a long book, so I am going to keep this short. While we are together here for the next five minutes, I have five simple, practical things I would like to share with you. I won't argue with you about whether you should kill yourself. But I assume that if you are thinking about it, you feel pretty bad.
Well, you're still reading, and that's very good. I'd like to ask you to stay with me for the rest of this page. I hope it means that you're at least a tiny bit unsure, somewhere deep inside, about whether or not you really will end your life. Often people feel that, even in the deepest darkness of despair. Being unsure about dying is okay and normal. The fact that you are still alive at this minute means you are still a little bit unsure. It means that even while you want to die, at the same time some part of you still wants to live. So let's hang on to that, and keep going for a few more minutes.
Start by considering this statement:
"Suicide is not chosen; it happens
That's all it's about. You are not a bad person, or crazy, or weak, or flawed, because you feel suicidal. It doesn't even mean that you really want to die - it only means that you have more pain than you can cope with right now. If I start piling weights on your shoulders, you will eventually collapse if I add enough weights... no matter how much you want to remain standing. Willpower has nothing to do with it. Of course you would cheer yourself up, if you could.
Don't accept it if someone tells you, "that's not enough to be suicidal about." There are many kinds of pain that may lead to suicide. Whether or not the pain is bearable may differ from person to person. What might be bearable to someone else, may not be bearable to you. The point at which the pain becomes unbearable depends on what kinds of coping resources you have. Individuals vary greatly in their capacity to withstand pain.
When pain exceeds pain-coping resources, suicidal feelings are the result. Suicide is neither wrong nor right; it is not a defect of character; it is morally neutral. It is simply an imbalance of pain versus coping resources.
You can survive suicidal feelings if you do either of two things: (1) find a way to reduce your pain, or (2) find a way to increase your coping resources. Both are possible.
Now I want to tell you five things to think about.
Well, it's been a few minutes and you're still with me. I'm really glad.
Since you have made it this far, you deserve a reward. I think you should reward yourself by giving yourself a gift. The gift you will give yourself is a coping resource. Remember, back up near the top of the page, I said that the idea is to make sure you have more coping resources than you have pain. So lets give you another coping resource, or two, or ten...! until they outnumber your sources of pain.
Now, while this page may have given you some small relief, the best coping resource we can give you is another human being to talk with. If you find someone who wants to listen, and tell them how you are feeling and how you got to this point, you will have increased your coping resources by one. Hopefully the first person you choose won't be the last. There are a lot of people out there who really want to hear from you. It's time to start looking around for one of them.
Now: I'd like you to call someone.
And while you're at it, you can still stay with me for a bit. Check out these sources of online help.
Additional things to read at this site:
Do you know someone who is suicidal... or would you like to be able to help, if the situation arises? Learn what to do, so that you can make the situation better, not worse.
Sometimes people need additional private help before they are ready to talk with someone in person. Here are a few books you could read on your own in private. I know from personal experience that each one has helped someone like you.
Would you like to print out this page? Here is a plain black-on-white version that should print more easily.
Want to share your suicide story?
This page is provided as a public service by Metanoia, and is dedicated with gratitude to David Conroy, Ph.D. whose work inspired it. Metanoia cannot provide counseling to suicidal persons. If you need help please use the resources outlined above.
© Copyright 1995-2009 Martha Ainsworth. All rights reserved. Reprints: Please feel free to link to this page. Please do not reproduce this page on the Internet; you may link to it instead. You may reproduce this page in print media for non-commercial, non-profit use only, if you meet the following three conditions: (1) you must use the full text without alteration up to and including the words "Now: I'd like you to call someone."; (2) please consider making a donation to The Samaritans (see above); and (3) you must print the following notice verbatim: "Reprinted with permission. Suicide: Read This First (http://www.metanoia.org/suicide) was written by Martha Ainsworth based on work by David Conroy, Ph.D. To talk with a caring listener about your suicidal feelings, in the U.S. call 1-800-SUICIDE any time, day or night. Online, send an anonymous e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for confidential and non-judgmental help, or visit http://www.samaritans.org."