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Why Do People Kill Themselves? New Warning Signs

For decades, scientists have been trying to understand and predict who is going to go beyond talking about death to actually killing themselves. Here are a few predictors that might help us all in stopping someone and in the end, save lives Read More

I believe everyone gets to

I believe everyone gets to choose whether to remain alive or not. I have no desire to live in chronic pain or under the care of others and I do not believe the state should have the right to force someone to remain alive.

I wonder therefore as the

I wonder therefore as the millenials cut and self harm more than other generations if they will commit sucide more than other generations?

Maybe, maybe not

There are a lot of factors and destructive behaviors that could be signs of a suicidal person.

Maybe cutting is more of this generation, but previous generations there were higher levels of substance abuse, such as alcohol and drugs. Right now, substance abuse is lowest amongst adolescents in nearly 50 years.

It could be that the number of suicides remain relatively the same, but the way suicidal people express their depression has changed.

does not explain my best friend's suicide

In his last letter there is no phrase about that for society it would be better if he died.
ok, maybe he thought so.
but he was also not super-couragious - often he was very gutless, for example when we got caught for our teenage-pranks (I once talked to the police when we were caught for not stopping at red traffic lights - he buggered off!
Scientists should examine why persons think they are a burden - if there are different reasons to come to this conclusion.
Does not seem to be a kind of genious discovery.


You might consider adding a "Trigger Warning" to this post. As an individual struggling with depression that occassionally bleeds into suicidality, and someone that struggles with intense guilt about everything, I found this post triggered for my internal monologue that tends to lean towards "the world would be better off without you" argument. Felt like I should say something in case others that found this post upsetting are not in a healthy enough place to speak up.

Thank you.

Appreciate your courage

Glad you spoke up.

I'm hopeful you'll find voice for your struggle and glimmers of how you contribute to the world.

A Human Being

You add value to the world

You are a unique individual, with perspectives that no one else on the planet has. If you were not here to point out that this could trigger someone who has suicide ideation to focus on such thoughts, who else would. In every day there are opportunities for you to add value to the world in countless ways. A smile to a stranger or an open door held for another--sometimes a simple act can be of great value to another. You may never know how much it meant but that does not negate that it had value.
On the flip side, there are a tremendous number of people who have a very strong desire to help others. If no one needed help, who would they help?
If you feel those thoughts running through your mind again, do get help but also refute them. Bogus is my favorite word for thoughts that come into my mind that do not serve my highest good. Feel free to borrow it. It feels good to tell a thought it is Bogus. Just because we think a thought does not make it a true thought. There are millions of perspectives, many of them valid, about everything. Then there are those Bogus thoughts that aren't valid but can feel valid.
You have value.
I'm very glad you posted what you posted. Without your post I would not have been inspired to write this which I hope helps you but could also help others. Thank you.

other risk factors

interesting that high risk activities such as shooting guns and having a perceived high pain tolerance could be considered a risk factor. Although, I would include that sometimes suicidal actions (and successes) may be caused by dire circumstances also, such as losing job/partner/house/car/custody of children etc. These are absolute sources of deep greif and possibly the suicides are moreso a side effect of severe greif complication. My ex committed suicide for the above reasons.He left hints everytime I saw him that he was going to do something along the lines of suicide in the near future. For example, I would ask him if he was going to finish painting the study and he would reply, what for?, there's no point in doing that now. . .At the time I had no idea that he actually would go ahead with suicide. But he refused to get help..and thus, died. So suicide can be highly related to a persons perception of personal success and personal worth hand-in-hand. Sometimes the person has no control over the direction their life is going, oftentimes happiness is actually dependent on others allowing us to become successful (ie: acquiring employment etc). If he or she feels they have no control anymore...its easy to understand how they come to the conclusion that suicide will end their failure of living (through no fault of their own).

I agree. Sometimes it's

I agree. Sometimes it's unavoidable, seemingly insurmountable circumstances that leads a person to take their own life. Homelessness, joblessness, bereavement, loneliness, terminal illness just to name a few..
If you want to prevent suicide I say start at the source of the trouble & help people overcome these very real triggers that when left unresolved can lead to hopelesnes & despair.

We live in a society where sadness is so often treated as an illness to be cured. The stigma surrounding emotional pain is such that many people are afraid to seek help for fear of being labeled "mentally ill" & medicated.

I see grief, sadness, disappointment as normal human reactions to the loss of something that is important to us and in some cases essential to our continued survival.
Yet, so often we suffer in silence because the world seems to not want to see or deal with that side of us.

I lost my husband to cancer 5 years ago & my best friend to suicide 4 years go.
I can't believe some of the things I've heard said to me by people I had expected to be supportive.
My mother said: ""Are you still upset about that? You need to see a psychiatrist" because I admitted to crying on would've been our 25th wedding anniversary. Se has also said "You're too sensitive" & "Everybody dies".
After my husband's memorial service my SIL said I was:
"Rude" & "enabling myself to feel sad" because I cried reading the condolence cards. "You read those cards knowing it would make you sad!" she yelled.
Why do people want to make me feel guilty for grieving? They act like there's something wrong with me if I do. I'd be more worried if I didn't feel anything & I have about as much trouble equating sadness with a mental illness as I do equating happiness with one.

Why is society so uncormfortable with any outward displays of negative emotion? Isn't it better to express than suppress? reach out instead of isolate? I get the feeling that most would prefer we suffer in silence but it's at times of suffering that we most need the emotional support of others..

Why they're uncomfortable

My condolences on your losses.

I wanted to respond to your question about why so many are uncomfortable with outward displays of unhappy emotions.

They mistakenly think it's their job to fix the situation for you, to make you feel better. They don't know what to do to help or believe they cannot help because they can't change the situation.

There is nothing wrong with crying on a milestone that you looked forward to for years.

Holding someone while they cry and giving them space to express emotions is doing something.

Now, when you mention it is your SIL, there could be a host of other reasons. Perhaps she feels she should be just as sad (if she is your husband's sister) and isn't so she feels guilty for not being sad so she wants you to feel better to lessen her guilt. Her not feeling as sad as you is not wrong and it wouldn't be wrong if it was reversed, with her feeling sadder than you. We all have our own ways of perceiving situations in our lives.

It sounds like you may need some new people in your life because you're right about needing the support of friends.

I do disagree with your beginning paragraph, however, that homelessness, bereavement, illness, etc. cause people to commit suicide. I believe it can be these things combined with hopelessness but that hopelessness is the key ingredient. Grieving, losing a home, illness, and other losses in our lives seem surmountable when we are able to find a perspective that is hopeful the future will be better than now. Hope saves lives.

My best to you and I am sending you a hug and some healing energy.

I totally agree with what you

I totally agree with what you wrote. It's unfortunate that people just don't know how to handle the situation and in turn gave such harsh, unempathetic responses. Maybe if more people knew how to better help people through these situations, suicide would happen less for sure. Unfortunately, this kind of kindness and help is too far and few.

I totally agree with what you

I totally agree with what you wrote. It's unfortunate that people just don't know how to handle the situation and in turn gave such harsh, unempathetic responses. Maybe if more people knew how to better help people through these situations, suicide would happen less for sure. Unfortunately, this kind of kindness and help is too far and few.


Negative image of self, Negative image of world , and Hopelessness.
When one loses hope one loses all.

Anger turned inward.

Simply Done?

While this will not apply to the 6 year old or those who are in need of medication or therapy; I do believe that there comes a point in some people's lives where they are simply done. They have completed what they think is their purpose, perhaps are elderly (but not necessarily) and would like some support with their end of life. We do often think of suicide as an act of desperation; what if it is simply the next step as defined by the individual? I do not propose to know what is right for anyone else, and would hope not to be judged for my decisions based on only surface observations by others. My father was "done" with his life at 91, and lived his last 6 years very unhappily as he watched his friends die, his health fail and he and I discussed many times that he wished there was a place to go to simply and with quiet dignity complete his journey.

Suicide Study

As someone who suffered from chronic depression and numerous other mental problems for decades, I can say from my experience it was the emotional pain and lack of hope that almost made me do it. I was in my late 40's before I actually felt like a normal person.


We will never know what draws someone to end their life and in some instances doing that is better. If someone is about to harm others similiar to what we just saw this weekend in CA, it is better they end their own life and not take others down. Or, the story of someone sick and "just done"- it would be great if there was a place where one could go with quiet dignity to do just that.

For those that have crawled there way out of it, sharing those stories could like help others in the pits of despair.

Suicide Never pays

Suicide is often committed out of despair, the cause of which is frequently attributed to a mental disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, alcoholism, or drug abuse.

Yes, People Don't Want to Hear About Your Pain

I just want to echo the person who stated that others don't know what to do with an expression of emotional pain from someone else. My husband's extended depression triggered a deep depression in me. I felt very seriously suicidal & had the means to achieve it (lots of sleeping pills.) My 24 and 26 year old daughters: "Don't threaten suicide..." and "Get a support system..." My husband: complete silence when I told him I didn't think I would make it through the night. Not one of these family members called a hotline or tried to help me. A counselor with 25 years experience told me not to tell my daughters I felt suicidal because I might "scare them." One of the was getting a Master's in Social Work at the time and the counselor knew it! My suicidal feelings were actually furthered by reaching out to others. I ended up mad as hell at the lack of love extended to me & oddly that may have been what kept me alive. I was prompted to surround myself with new people and experiences who cared because it became clear I hadn't yet successfully achieved that. THANK YOU for your research and your genuine concern for others, Dr. Kashdan

You're Right: Your Anger Saved You

Thank you for sharing your story. You're right about your anger saving you. Depression is a very disempowered emotional state. When you shift to anger, you feel more empowered. Anger is a step in the right direction from depression--it's not where you want to take up residence--but it is a stepping stone in the right direction to feeling better.

I am glad you found anger when you were suicidal.

Thank you for your comment.

Thank you for your comment. You put into words exactly what I own anger brought me out of the fog and back into some kind of emotion (I started fighting rather than just being numb.) I still feel anger when I think that my family never debriefed with me when I got better later on. For God's sake, if a loved one talks about suicide, don't let it be the end of it when it passes. Ask them later to process it and reflect on it. It's traumatic for me to realize I nearly ended my life...but no one I love ever wanted to let me talk about it. It's like they didn't believe me. That just affirms to the suicidal person that no one really cares or sees you as having worth and value. I'll say it wonder so many people commit suicide.

Thank you for your post

Thank you for your post.

I'm seeing a theme here of people not being open and I wonder if some (a lot) of it is not that they don't care but that they don't' know what to say and maybe they're afraid of saying the wrong thing?

I wrote a Pulse post on Linkedin with the title "What to Say When You Don't Know What to Say" asking that question. It isn't indexed in Google yet but should be in a day or two.

I also offer advice on what to say/do when you don't know what to say or do in the hopes it will help encourage conversations.

If your family won't talk about your experience with you I do encourage you to reach out for help. I have been suicidal more than once in my life and it is not something I've ever discussed with family that was around at those times but I have with friends I made later and it was helpful. I know I'll never be there again because of what I've learned about using skills to manage my emotional state but talking about what led to those feelings was helpful.

Reaching out to a therapist could be helpful as well but be picky about who you stay with--if you don't feel better after talking with the therapist it is time to say, "next." If you're not in that low emotional state, you don't want to spend a lot of time talking about it--other than to help make your current better emotional state more stable and maybe an action plan for if you ever feel that way again. My advice would be to reach for (but not act on) an angry thought. Once you're stable in anger, reach for something even better (blame is one example).

For me it was always a sense of hopelessness--that I'd never feel better. Now I know that sense is always wrong, it can always get better and it does not have to take a long time. The trip from despair to anger takes you to a better-feeling place. Not your destination, but it on the road toward much better feeling thoughts.

Best wishes to you and hugs, too.

Thank you, Jeaninejoy!

What a kind and caring reply. I am following your train of thought - I read an article somewhere that talked about moving yourself through stages of emotion (even emotions like anger and blame) in order to rise from despair (hopelessness.) I hope the thread of this conversation reaches others who feel in similar ways. Thank you, again for your very knowledgeable advice - appreciated.

I am going down that road

I am going down that road myself. I have always suffered with P.T.S.D. anger/Bipolar and depression. The doctor's have put me on two stronge meds to calm my anger and stress down, cause I had a heart attack and a stroke three months ago. I have told my doctors that I have a tendecy to cut and self harm. I think of death all the time. I'm not a child, I am married to my best friend. Im going on 39. We are earlytwenties sweetheart's, no kids. We work together and do nothing without eachother. He breaths in, and I breath out. I have tried telling him that the old fellings are coming back, invading even my dreams. The pain in his eyes, freezes my soul. I have tried in the past with others. But I also have a problem there even if someone wanted to help. I cant stand to talk or to be around people. I'm so afraid for my husband. I am his everything. He is mine. But the thoughts of dispair and self loathing wont stop. I dont sleep anymore, cause I dont want him to see me cry. Everytime he looks at me I smile cause I dont know whats next. I pray to God every day to end my life, to make me nothing. I pray every day to God to make me better for my husband. Im just alone.

Hugs to you

Hugs to you

You need to sleep

Not sleeping interferes with your mental processes and makes it much harder to resist the negative thoughts. Sleep provides a reset button from the momentum those unwanted thoughts have built up. If you don't feel able to get help please do sleep and if you won't sleep, please meditate as it will help you stop the momentum of the negative thoughts as well. A meditation where you focus on something like your breathing and gently blow any thoughts that come to you away would be best in your situation--as opposed to a thought programming meditation. although a hypnosis tape that increases self-esteem could also be of great benefit. You are far better than you're giving yourself credit for being.
When you feel self loathing try to take your thoughts more general. You're being very specifically critical about yourself, probably far more critical than you'd ever be to anyone else. Move to more general thoughts and you'll find it easier to see yourself in a more positive light.

Rather than begging God to make you better, express appreciation to God for all that is given to you. Appreciate the air you breathe, the food you eat, the beauty of the world that God created for you to live in. Express your genuine appreciation, feel it, and God will give you more to appreciate.

Best wishes to you.

Yes, anger helped me some

Yes, anger helped me some too.

I was deeply disappointed in people to the point of abject anger.
My brother & his family began avoiding my husband when they heard he was terminal & avoided me for a year after he died.
Phonecalls, emails went unanswered, presents I sent went unacknowledged, etc. It felt like I lost my husband & my family too.

When you lose your lifelong partner (I & my husband were together nearly 30 years) it's not unlike experiencing an F5 tornado. You wake up & nothing is recognizable anymore.
The desire to find a sense of belonging & connectiveness is strong so you reach out to friends & family to assure yourself that you're still viable & needed. You look for a reason to go on..
& when friends & family turn away from you at that crucial time it only seems to confirm that the opposite is true.

I was deeply disappointed by the lack of support from my family.
I tried to tell them how I felt but they refused to talk to me about it. The would talk ABOUT me to each other though & I'd get wind of it 2nd hand from my mom & them blamed for the discomfort I'd caused. This continued until I wrote them off completely.
Every year at Xmas they act like nothing has happened & invite me to join in the festivities & every year at Xmas I make up an excuse not to go & my mom gets angry.
But the fact is I need to feel accepted year round & have no use for fair-weather friends or relatives no matter how lonely I may become.

The anger & resentment I have felt towards my family has made me more self-reliant though. I no longer expect any sort of support from anyone. When things get scary I buck up & deal with them alone. I also stand up for myself & safeguard my dignity, no longer needing approval from others. I've grown up a lot.
It's tough growing up when you're middle aged, lol but maybe it's long overdue.

I agree that hopelessness is the killer.
It's so important to find something to hold onto & believe in.

& I agree that holding someone in silence while they cry is doing something. Actions speak volumes.

Hugs to all..

Writing the family off is

Writing the family off is something I think I need to do. There has been so much pain and disfunction within my family. I begged for years for us to seek help and guidance to help repair and heal only to be told we do not need outside help. Then the yearly family dinner (or big holidays) are suppose to make us feel like a family? I don't think so. If you do not have time for me during the year (or during times of need--death or sicknesses) or at minimum have the courtesy to invite me to other family gatherings, or call with a how are you doing, then I do not want to be bothered with the fake family crap. For years, I was the one that hosted and invited family to my home for celebrations then realized many years later that I was never invited to their celebrations. This is still is a tough pill to swallow but swallow it I must. I wish there was a legit "restart" button. Wipe out all of the memories of these people and start over! I am plain exhausted from all of this. If this is as good as life gets, well, I can say, I am not impressed at all.

Give yourself permission

Sometimes our birth families are not who we want them to be, sometimes they are our greatest teachers. It sounds like yours may be teaching you that it is okay to let go and find those who value your presence because it is you--not because of familial ties.

Everyone has value, but not everyone can see others' value. There are people who will appreciate you for who you are and welcome you to their celebrations.

Today, more than at any other time, it is easier to find a group that enjoys you for who you are. is a wonderful first step because they have so many people who get together because of shared interests. It's only one way, but it's an easy one.

I wish you the best.

My condolences

Thank you for sharing your story and I am sorry to hear about the way your family treated you.

I'm glad you've found a stance where you do not need approval from others, it will serve you well.

Hugs and best wishes,

Jeanine Joy


My husband committed suicide 2 weeks ago. We hqve been married 29 years and hqve 5 children. Yes he had depression but so do I. I addressed mine qnd he stopped taking his meds. I have heard that suicide is not selfish but I have a hard time with that. He left us with nothing, but the cision of his deteriorated body hanging in our backyard.we have to leave our home they are repossessing our van and I can only believe god will deliver us. I find myself in toltal isolation and unexcepting that his mindtold him we would be better off without him. Yes he fits the profile of a constant fighter. In and out of the jail system and held as some super hero in our neighborhood. People here still wont accept that he did this. They believe someone killed him and hung him there. Really how more obviouse could it have been. I guess im at the angry stage of my grief. Three of our children are 15,12, and 6. He never let me work outside the home and now im paying for all of it. Maybe I will come to some terms about this but I believe he was very selfish in his action. I took him diwn and unfortuatly my 12 year old saw him. Neither of us can get past that. He could have went into the wooded area down the street but no. Right outside my backdoor where any of our xhildren coukd see him.

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Todd B. Kashdan, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology at George Mason University and author of The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why Being Your Whole Self–Not Just Your 'Good' Self–Drives Success and Fulfillment more...

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