I Want to Attempt Suicide but Not Die

OK, I understand that a suicide attempt is not a suicide attempt if the end desire is not death, but stick with me here, I have a point.

Believe it or not, I get a lot of searches on this site by people searching for ways to attempt suicide and not die (their words). And while many people may find this unbelievable, I don’t actually think it’s all that uncommon. I think many people make suicide attempts that are less about death and more about screaming for help.

The World of Treating a Mental Illness

In a perfect world, as soon as a person saw the symptoms of a mental illness, he would see a doctor, who would refer him to a psychiatrist for an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. In a perfect world, this would all happen very quickly and the patient would go from crazy to sane in a matter of weeks. In a perfect world, that treatment would work forever and the person with the mental illness would lead a happy life and never look back.

Does anyone think we live in a perfect world?

No. Instead we live in a world where people ignore their mental illness symptoms for months, or even years, get incorrect diagnoses and ineffectual help. This is no one’s fault, necessarily, it’s just that even when everyone does the very best they can, not everyone gets better in a timely fashion. Moreover, when treatment does work, it doesn’t mean that it will last forever. No, more likely there will be episodes of mental illness in the future requiring new or augmented treatment that may take months to be resolved.

Desperation Leads to Suicide Attempts

And the problem lies in the group of people who aren’t being successfully treated. For whatever reason, these people with mental illness are being treated but the treatment just isn’t effective.

Suicide Attempt but not Die

And when this happens, I can attest from experience, you would beg anyone and everyone for help if you thought it would lead to effective treatment. You become beyond desperate.

It feels like you’re screaming and crying and praying and sobbing and wailing no one is paying attention. It feels like no matter what you tell your doctor they don’t “get it” because they just aren’t helping you.

And again, in most cases it’s not that the doctors aren’t trying, it’s just that they’re failing.

But it doesn’t feel like that. It feels like no one is listening to you. It feels like no one is taking you seriously. It feels like if only they understood how much pain I’m in, they would help me.

And so you want to make them understand your pain. You want to make them take you seriously. You want to attempt suicide. I suspect nothing gets people’s attention quite like thinking you’re about to die.

When is a Suicide Attempt not a Suicide Attempt?

And these suicide attempts are fundamentally the same as any other suicide attempt – the people committing them really do want to end their suffering and they really are risking their own lives. These suicide attempts mean the same thing: Help me; I’m in pain and I don’t know how to get out of it.

And don’t mistake this type of suicide attempt for some kind of manipulation either. It’s not. It’s just trying to up the amperage on a scream so that someone will help you out of the pain that is trying to kill you. Because you don’t want to die. You just want the pain to stop.

Attempting Suicide Won’t Help You

But the trouble is if you were in your right mind, you would probably realize that a suicide attempt would not help your cause. This is because the doctors are likely doing all they can already and you spending time in an emergency room isn’t going to change what they are able to do. In fact, it may lessen the chances that a doctor will be able to help you due to whatever injuries you sustain (like to your kidneys and liver) when you attempt suicide.

So don’t do it. Don’t attempt suicide in a bid to get help. It’s not going to work.

What to Do Instead of Attempting Suicide

Instead of planning a suicide attempt that you hope won’t work, try getting help that might. For example, tell your doctor that you’re thinking of attempting suicide. Many people don’t do this for fear they will be “locked up” but what do you think is going to happen if you actually do attempt suicide? Talking about suicide is infinitely better than actually doing it. Tell your doctor about the desperation you are feeling. Tell your doctor what you feel that desperation is leading you to. Make it very clear that you need your disorder to be taken as seriously as a goddamned heart attack. Maybe that means new meds. Maybe that means referral to another doctor. Maybe that means considering other options. Whatever it means, it means something and it means something now.

And then you will just have to accept that help takes time. Your treatment isn’t going to be instantaneous. You likely aren’t going to wake up tomorrow pain-free. That pain that you’re in is likely to hang around for quite some time. You have to wait it out. It’s not pleasant, it’s not what you want to hear, but it’s the truth.

So I absolutely understand the desperation that would lead you to a suicide attempt. I absolutely understand why you would want to be on death’s door. I absolutely understand why you feel like people aren’t taking you seriously.

But a suicide attempt isn’t going to get you what you want. Instead, keep going to real people who can really help you. And if you can’t do that, then admit yourself to a hospital instead of attempting suicide. Because the damage of an attempted suicide is going to make your pain worse, not better.

(Suicide and suicide attempt resources found here.)

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  1. My name is Cass and I’m 12 years old. Almost thirteen. I’ve suffered from depression and chronic anxiety for almost three years and it’s only getting worse. I’m on medication that doesn’t help me, and i self harm. My therapist does nothing. I’m so tired of life and i honestly just want it all to be over, but i don’t want to die… I don’t know what to do

    • Hi Cass,

      I’m so sorry you’re going through that, it sounds really hard. Please know that it does get better. I know it may not seem like it right now, but it can and it does. When I was 12 I had similar issues but there are ways through them.

      What you need to do is to reach out to someone else and be honest about what you are going through. You need to reach out and tell someone else exactly what you wrote in that comment.

      I believe this is the helpline number for your country:

      Talk to someone at 0800-055555 or chat to us on our Online Counselling Service.

      To logon to their online service, you can go to their website: http://www.childlinesa.org.za/index.php/teens-mainmenu-3

      Please, these people deal with kids and teens all the time. They can help you where you are today. You do not need to suffer. You do not need to die. You just need more help.

      – Natasha Tracy

  2. I’m just tired. I don’t want to start over and go through life all over again. I want my husband to suffer. I want him to think it’s his fault. I just want to be dead. I worry what would happen to my animals, and i’d miss them. I know my parents will be devastated and they’ve already told me if i died they’d kill themselves. See i have a great background in tons of manipulation and now that i’ve realized it and how much of it there is, i just want escape. I can’t live like this anymore. I don’t want to die, though, but I want to be dead.

  3. The other day I told my therapist that I had had suicidal thoughts again. He asked if I had a specific plan. I said no, not really, but I was surprised I wasn’t thinking using a medication overdose as the plan, because I think of myself as a pain wus and that’s the least painful method I could think of. I told him the idea that came to mind was running out in the middle if a busy road and getting hit by a car. He asked me if I liked that idea because then it might seem like it was also the driver’s fault, and not just mine. This startled me, because I didn’t want to hurt someone else, and I hadn’t thought that far ahead. No, all I had been thinking was I wanted to use a method that would be witnessed by a lot of people, that would demonstrate a monstrous cry for help that might increase the awareness of this kind of pain because I it made me angry that so many people are so naive about it. I think it’s interesting that another commentator above mentioned that if you want attention, then try getting cancer. I’ve thought the exact same thing, because cancer is the one that gets the pity and the support, even when the type is very treatable. I think it’s awful that we would be envious of a cancer diagnosis, but there it is. Mental illness is lethal, too, if untreated or exacerbated, but many people don’t know this until it’s too late. Thank you for this article!

  4. Hi my name is Carissa and I am 13 and I am on the edge. I have to move for the 12th time and I am losing my dog for 2 months as well as my dad. I have been sent to the consulers office multiple times for cutting and I cry myself to sleep and only get 4 hours of sleep every night. I get help but I hate my consuler. My friends love me but other people hate me and despise me I just wish I could disappear in the blink of an eye.

    • Hi Carissa. My name’s Nicola. I’m 23. I wanted to reply to your comment because it seems to me you were in a huge, huge amount of pain at the time you wrote it. How are you doing now?

      It is so hard when you don’t like / feel comfortable with your counsellor. Having a counsellor who you can actually connect with is so much better. I’ve had that problem before. Luckily I found my current counsellor, who is wonderful and can understand me better.

      That feeling where you just want to cry so often is really terrible. I know it too. I wish I could make it better for you. I hope you find a way to make life more liveable for you – and that people help you to do this.

      You deserve to live a life which has happiness and where pain becomes a smaller part, and becomes a part of life that exists but doesn’t overwhelm you so horribly. You deserve that sort of good life because you’re a previous human being, and as a human you fundamentally deserve good things. You deserve love rather than hate from the people around you (although I know that doesn’t change the pain of how it feels).. You are valuable and worthy.

      I want to send warmth and a very heartfelt wish for your wellness / okayness/ happiness, over this Internet message/comment.
      You are worthwhile.

  5. Hello, it’s Nick from a few years ago which I wrote…

    “Nick – July 2, 2013
    I am only 17, doing really well at school (so close to getting into Oxford University), have a lovely family and amazing girlfriend buy since my Dad took his own life last year, things just seem to get so bad for me. Constant arguments in my relationship and at home, and with my Dad’s up and coming birthday things are just too much. I think about suicide so much that it has just become normal and I kind of get comfort from it. I want to escape the stresses I am facing everyday of my life and be with my Dad and go the same way he did.”

    I wrote this in 2013 due to the reasons mentioned above, since then I have come so far and do not even think about the things I used to think about anymore! Thanks to the advice here, you are truly saving lives!:)

    For the people still using this blog and are feeling the same things I felt, I promise you, persist and keeping fighting! Things will always get better and you are truly worth something :)

    Hope this continues to help you all!

    Nick x

  6. my name is sabrina i am 12 and i want to kill myself because my dad always hits me when he is drunk he yells at me and i dont do anything and when i forget something he will yell at me or hit me and i am sick of it and i just want to leave also my mom is in jail so she cant help me and i just want to die

    • Hi Sabrina,

      I’m so sorry you are in this position. It is not fair. It is not right. And I know it must hurt you terribly.

      But the way out _isn’t_ suicide — it’s reaching out for help. Believe it or not, many, many people want to help you get out of that situation.

      Please go here and call their number as soon as you can: https://www.childhelp.org/hotline/ 1-800-4-A-Child

      You have a whole life to live and it can be great, but you just have to reach out for help today to get out of the bad situation you, through no fault of your own, are in.

      Please, please know that you are not alone. Call the number.

      – Natasha Tracy

  7. You silly person. I did just that …I tried to kill myself and survived ..didn’t help me or anybody else. No one will ever ever trust you again. It’s mental illness…no one understand “crazy” they dodge you and want nothing to do with you. You want to make people feel sorry for you? Get cancer …I have been where you are get counceling get a good doctor

  8. i will listen to you i will be your friend i am only 12 years old but i understand i wanted to commit suicide once but then i thought i have my whole life ahead of me so i don’t think that anymore thanks to getting help. so if your a girl that needs help or a boy call the hotlines of suicide help

  9. i don’t think any of you should commit suicide its not worth it think on the positive side if something bad is happening pack up and leave don’t give up your life if someone else is treating you like shit if you need this to end get help and this is the number to call 1-800-suicide call them and they will help you and get you out of that situation and get you to a better loving family.

  10. I don’t know what to do anymore. I was in a serious relationship, for multiple years. I asked him to marry me. He said yes, and we were happy. He broke up with me three days later, after a small, nothing fight. I was indeed acting crazy, and didnt know what i wanted to accomplish. He left me that night..He doesnt talk to me anymore, hasnt for at least 5 months. Not even sure if he hates me. He was my bestfriend and the love of my life. I couldn’t get him to change his mind, and I still love him after everything. I still love him so much. I hate that everyone tell me to just get over him. It’s not that easy. Its really not easy. i tried so many times to hate him, despise him, blame him. Nothing. I blame myself so much for the whole relationship ending, I thought he loved me. He claims he loved me so much, even when he said goodbye. WTF, if you love me…come back. I dont know what to do to get his attention back. maybe nothing. But if i cant be with him….how can i be living. I need him, he was my life. and now…I feel like I’m breaking apart, all i want is to see him, hug, or talk to him. I keep contemplating suicide, I just don’t feel like my life is worth living anymore. I’m never happy. i’m constantly guilty. I want to leave. The pain is intense every day. The depression sickening. nothing is filling it, I just want Jason to come back to me. But i know he won’t. And knowing that seems to be killing me slowly everyday.

  11. My dad always scolds me whenever i discuss anything with him, if its not according to him he shouts on me and then start scolding me.. I feel like i am good for no one.. I feel like trash..i dont want to end my life but end everything that is happening with me..i am very very emotional about my dad but for him only my brother matters..i cant speak my way in front of him..i am tired of leading dis kind of life

  12. Im 17 and i live in Mumbai. i have been going through severe depression cause my mother and everyone around always blame me for everything wrong in their life. im never loved or given any importance rather treated like a dustbin in which shit is thrown everyday. im just done taking so much bullshit. i want to get out of this hell hole but i have no way out. my family is very rich but very poor when it comes to respect and feelings. i have been thinking about suiciding since i was 15 but i was to scared to hurt myself. i know many people call it a move of a coward but put yourself in my shoes. its easy to give opinions when your not going to this kind of situation. its vey hard for me to cope up with it. i’ve been trying for years but no one wants to listen. just suggest me a way to end my misery. i just dont want to feel like this ever again, i feel so worthless it scares me even more.

    • hey..i dont know ur name but even i’m going through the same situation maybe even worst that urs….u can contact me n we can find a solution together ….. i too wanna give up on my life but ..wanna live it too..i am 16 yrs old…. 1 yr younger than u …if u want u can discuss ur problem with me on gmail n i’ll try finding a solution to it..maybe ur situation can help mine too….Thank You

  13. I really feel like not being alive at this moment. But I have a little one. She’s 2. I can’t leave her. She still needs me.

  14. I have such a crappy destiny..nothing is left in my life.I loving a boy from 4years..everytime whenever things starts going on my way, my parents caught us..then they torchures me..this time also happened the same..its just 15 days since we started talking again and they came to knew about the same..they abused that guy and that bloody ass said that its my mistake not his..just because to protect his image in his family, he sent screenshots of chats to his family..i lost from both the side..that boy is being so selfish..even i lost trust of my parents..Life is nothing but a shit
    Had spoiled life for that boy..but he doesnt cares anymore..parents only knows how to torchure me..
    Fully fed up
    wanna die..

  15. My dad treats me n my mom like crap and treates his mother like goddess and my brothers like kings
    Why ??
    I wanna die as soon as possible ?
    I literally hate him
    I want him to exit my life

    • Fight him n leave the house. If he treats u n ur mom like crap, he is not worth it. Think about it, Are u wanting to leave ur life just because of a person like ur dad. U dont want really want to end ur life but u want to end ur pains

  16. I don’t know why but every single mistake I make I am stupid or dump or don’t have common sense I’m tired of people telling I’m dump or stupid pull my hair bully I’m tired I just can’t do it anymore I really want to die but I am a Christian and I try not to think of it but it is really hard because I really don’t want to die but i wanna die

  17. im so tired of feeling like my family hates me and my life is falling apart. its so hard to understand why my dad treats me like crap and treats my brother like its his only kid…it kind of hurts me to knoe my family disowned me like im a dog……im just tired of it

    • i feel the same way to like i would get hit with a belt because my aunt’s boyfriend gets drunk and he hates kids even though he as kids and i feel so alone and i feel like i just don’t matter you know

    • you Don’t have to for the people who can’t understand you,As far u best friend they dont thing in the same way as you.the world is very large u can make real good friend and the one who can share your happiness, problems, emotional’s, anger, and understand you are the true best friend .. make friend live happily Nisha Garu :)

  18. What’s frustrating is when the doctor finally does listen when you talk, refers you to a psychiatrist because they just can’t get your meds right at family medicine and no place in the entire area has openings for adult patients. I have literally spent a week on the phone calling the entire list that my insurance company gave me, and it’s the same thing over and over again, “sorry, we don’t do that” or “sorry, but we’re not accepting any new patients” which is then followed by “call your insurance”. My family doctor didn’t want to give me a name because they’ve gotten in trouble with the insurances, they finally gave me one and that place doesn’t work with adults anymore either – and they’re one of the local hospitals. Yesterday I tried two clinics and the other hospital system and got the “sorry we’re not accepting any new patients” and when I finally snapped after the 24th doctor’s office told me that, and said so what you’re telling me is no one in this entire metro area is a) accepting new patients and b) able to help someone who’s medicines aren’t working. I just got told nope and to call my insurance company. It’s so frustrating. I even called my old practice two hours away and they wouldn’t see me because I’m out of the zip codes they service. My insurance company finally referred me to the local psychiatric hospital and they can’t do anything for me until June. So for the next two months, I have to suffer because literally no one can help me.

  19. Idk y but I feel like I want/or because I am already partly suffering from depression? I don’t know if it’s because I want attention or something or like it’s just because it’s me giving myself a reason for why I have felt so shit(and I already have it?). But For the past 6 months or so maybe a bit more I’ve really found the idea of self-hatred/harm like I need to do it/interesting because well I just hate myself idk. Tbh I once setup to self harm which I have done once and also setup a time when I was gonna try to commit or well slit my wrists in a bath or soemthing, but at the time my parents came home a day early (or I can’t remeber soemthing happened thou) and so I couldn’t. Tbh I feel that my low confidence feels that I’m not even strong enough to even commit idk. But I find my life really boring as I have no friends only like people I might fb messgage here and there (never) and people I can’t even communicate to or even make a fkn conversation with, even with my 1 actual friend. Even thou I have an ok family, and nothing otragic has ever happened to me and there’s no reason for me to be depressed… Apart from my own failures which Arnt massive ‘failures’I guess, but you could call them personality faults idk or just my life is shit idk, I just feel so bored and done with my life. I feel low a lot too but im guessing that’s because of the no friends can’t communicate/atm starting uni/last year was year 12 and so I get stressed and cry over irrelevant things, I hate where I live/have lived, I had from being really good at school to being crap at it and the same socially as well and so I desperately want to finish it. I don’t feel close to any of my friends except maybe 1 who I can’t even communcate with because I’m socially restarded and so I can’t confide in her (let alone have a proper convo:/) and my parents I have a shit relationship with and tbh I’m jus tired of everyone. Also I fell that I can never get my thoughts straight either idk like now I’m struggling to express my feelings and now what I want to say in the first place and the inkt for me to express was to find. Similar feeling thing off depression websites and then just use that as a base/formatted structure to write this.(eg there’s a lot of stuff I want to say and that I’ve said but idk how to put it in or out it together:/).

    I know I sound like a selfish did when is at that I feel like I eant it to make it easier idk or a part of me thinks I could just want it as an excuse for not feeling close to any of my friends, for wanting to just leave everything e.t.c. I know this all sounds stupid but I think about depression, self-harming, suicide or something along those lines at least once a day now, and at night and in the middle of the day I’m just crying for no particular reason unless I’m with soemthing where I always can hold my emotions and put on a fake smile and my fake personality and even when online with my online friends I do as well idk. But yeah idk just my life:/ #awks4me

    Like I’m so lazy, retarded I don’t try, I’m still a virgin, I’m ugly(I’m the DUFF-shit movie btw ‘apparently’) I’m not clean at all, I can’t communicate in any given form, I’m just Awks to be around I have no real passions, I’m not even like an adult atm I can’t do shit, I don’t think through basic things like I’m some kind of blonde American teen or soemthing. I’m not intelligent in the slickest like I no nothing of general knowledge I cannot even do basic life esstinals like cooking, washing and using my Fuxking brain. I don’t even exercise I have no friends I retract from them all, I’m sure a lot of them don’t like me or relise that I’m a recluse or like are backing away from me, because of boring character, apart from that close friend who kinda talk except I always don’t talk to her cause odk I’m retarded, but at least she makes an effort and that y I love her for that where as I’m a Socially retarded cnt who also fakes smiles and make things awks (like being around me you’ll have more awkward moments than most will in their life). I always sleep in or don’t sleep at all and miss things and all the simple things never go my way and I always seem to fuck up the easiest of things. I’m basically a failure at life(look at my fkn atar for God sack) (I’ve also missed two uni essays due dates). My personality and a lot of what I have said to a lot of my friends have, well ale have been lies and big lies idk y but yeah, basically adding to that fake personality and also vying being overly nice and giving stuff, instead of having stuff in common. And so no actual real friends I guess, and I have lost a lot of friends that have actually been either my best of some of my best friends eg d-ford friends who I have completely neglected and just have nothing in common with, anymore and so again I’m awks with, and i also don’t even try to become friends with them or their mates, I don’t try! I get invited to partys and bars etc and I just say no and again become this sad nerdy recluse who doesn’t want to solize, I have even lost a lot of my online friends because they have moved on or I just simply avoid or don’t talk to them anymore like a dud. I’ve also given up that anythig that I was half good at like soccer, drumkit, piano, long distance running-exercise just reallt everything and it’s sad, I’m just a sad excuse atm.
    Like in the words of Gary Jules “I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad, the dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had, I find it hard to tell you”

    It’s also wrrid because I also seem to look for negative side in things and like I always will try to feel shit, like I do it deliberately to make my self feel worse, for example I will always listen to sad music and then end up crying thinking about random shit and then always put myself down cause I’m crying for no reason etc. Il watch sad videos and stuff on depression and I will think yeah that’s me I’m the fkn sad cnt in that video, or il also relate sad videos or random shit to my life and somehow ‘negativfy’ it somehow, and tbh I don’t know what to do.

  20. I have a friend who has depression and thinks he has bipolar (he used to take Klonopin and stopped because it was making him nauseous, without a doctor’s guidance) and he vaguely talked about suicide, very vaguely, but not so vague that I wasn’t worried.

    I tried to contact him when I realised it was something that needed to be dealt with but I couldn’t get a hold of him so I contacted his family through FB, who I didn’t know (after calling suicide hotlines and they told me take ALL talk seriously and said I should do that) because I didn’t want to take a chance, and now he is angry at me because his aunt overreacted and wanted to call the cops on him. I told him i don’t control her behaviour.

    I hope I still have his freindship. I was just worried I wold lose him. Sometimes he says things in one mood that he doesn’t even remember in the other mood (the normal one).

  21. i used to try suicide most weeks and end up in hospital very ill but its the only place i feel safe i could kill my self easy i have split up with the love of my life and cant move on i love her so much with out her i am nothing i fell empty in side there is nothing left for me on this earth so i want to die and i will i have tried over dose tried cutting my wrists my liver is damaged and i have other problems i am in and out of hospital and doctors blood tests every 2 weeks with low iron levels i wish i could just die i had a small heart attack last sunday never told any doctors till 2 days later they wernt impressed never mind

    • I just want to die because no one understand me my own people only told me i am not good that also because i not went to see his mother when she not well. but he not thought that about my situation….. tel now what i do?? i just want to die really……..

      • Don’t die because if you do you can’t come back, but you will already die just by waiting. Might as well finish life first and explore teh world.

        If you want to die call the suicide hotlines and they can give you other options you might not have thought about.

        1 (800) 273-8255

  22. this is where my oldest daughter is right now – I’m so glad I found your web site. She is ready to give up because they so far have been unable to help her get over her depression. Her doctors and I keep telling her that it will get better but she doesn’t believe us.

    Please pray for her.

  23. I actually initially thought this was going to be about the difficulties of obtaining treatment. When I lived in Virginia, my long history of diagnosis with bipolar got me treatment from the state despite their limited funding. The difference between being charged for my meds versus having them provided by the state at no cost was the hospitalization issue. If I had ever been hospitalized, my meds would have been provided at no cost. Because I had never been hospitalized, they got the cost reduced by a combination of the drug companies’ patient assistance programs and the state buying generic meds in bulk and re-selling them to people like me for what they paid.

    There was a good clinic, and they took good care of me. However, the irony remains that if the doctor just put me in the hospital for a few days, I would have then permanently qualified for free meds. I was broke because of being disabled by my illness, and I wasn’t on disability because I was too disabled to do the paperwork.

    It made me wonder how many other people around the country get disabled with a major mental illness and find they have to go to the length of getting a hospitalization on their record to get the powers that be to take their condition seriously and treat them.

    And I’m wary of saying this, because I really get triggered by ignorant people who take harsh and miserly attitudes towards the “invisible” disabilities and the people unfortunate enough to have them. So even saying this I fear the guy who then says, “Oh, them people just pull this crap to get government to give ’em free stuff.”

  24. tabby–it’s unfortunate that the therapist expressed herself badly (at minimum) or just didn’t “get it” (also possible).

    There are many subtle sub-types of sub-types of the mood disorders. Sometimes questions that seem stupid to us as patients are actually the doctor trying to narrow down more information about the subtleties of that patient’s specific illness.

    Most of the doctors I’ve dealt with recently are starting to realize that when they understand these little nuances, they can make a better “first guess” about what medications are most likely to work for you and least likely to accidentally make things worse.

    “Attempter types” and “completer types” have differences in brain chemistry, and that affects how much of what the doctor prescribes. A lot of that prescribing is still more art than science, although it’s getting better, and there’s still a lot of trial and error in the process. And that’s just because everybody’s brain and biochemistry is individual and unique.

    It’s possible the doctor was just clueless and insensitive. It’s also possible that she asked that clumsy question to try to figure out subtleties of your individual brain chemistry and decide which of several medicines to try you on to try to get you feeling better.

    I have no suicide attempts and no hospitalizations. But when a new-to-me doc asks if I have a plan, I have to explain that I have a dozen plans, because my major fear about attempting suicide is not actually dying. I’m the kind of person who dies on the first attempt. It doesn’t make me a better or worse person, it just implies that my brain chemistry has subtle differences in the way it’s broken from people who attempt and survive, attempt and survive, and maybe then do end up completing.

    Both kinds of patients are equally ill and equally in deadly danger from our illness, but (for example) people like me tend to have chronically very low serotonin levels when we’re not on meds to raise them. So while a bipolar person with a couple of attempts might be helped by a monotherapy of a really good mood stabilizer, putting me on a monotherapy mood stabilizer without addressing that low serotonin level explicitly is a recipe for a dead patient.

    She handled it badly, and maybe she was clueless, too—I’m not making excuses for her. But it’s _possible_ that she was genuinely, if clumsily, trying to figure out what to prescribe to best help you feel better.

  25. This is why when I talk with someone who is feeling suicidal, one of the things I feel an urgent need to communicate that I don’t merely care that they not die, but that it is vitally significant, important and relevant to me, as a compassionate human being, that they are living in so much pain.

    I try hard to communicate that I know that their pain IS NOT OKAY. That it’s every bit as serious that they HURT so much as it is that their life is at risk.

    When I was in some of my worst times, the thing that pushed me so much closer to suicide was feeling that neurotypical people’s desire to “help” me was fundamentally selfish. They didn’t want me to die not for MY sake, but so THEY wouldn’t feel bad about my death.

    So the first thing I want to communicate to a suicidal or potentially suicidal peer is that I am every bit as concerned about their pain as I am about their life. Merely “helping” you stay alive isn’t enough. It’s not okay and some kind of medical victory for you to merely be alive but enduring excruciating pain. Medical victory doesn’t come until we are getting substantial periods of time where you not only don’t hurt, you’re able to enjoy life like neurotypical people do.

    We haven’t “won” until we finally get to a situation where you wake up each morning and just feel calmly happy about being alive, just because you’re alive. That’s what neurotypical people “get”, and you and I deserve that quality of life, too.

    Treatment is an _interim_ step to try to get as much time where you’re not hurting as possible while we figure this whole medical deal out for all of us.

    What do I mean when I say we “deserve” it? We deserve for the medical and research establishment not to check the box marked “done” on research and treatment until we have the same garden-variety “life is sweet” experience that neurotypical people get as their birthright. That’s what “health” looks like. I get that we can’t just magically have an instant cure, right here, right now. However, on behalf of all of us, I demand that until we do have that cure, we’re not “done” yet. We’re not “done” when we merely feel okay enough that we quit inconveniencing the neurotypicals around us.

    And, truly, that’s what our more neurotypical friends and loved ones want for us—they just frequently don’t understand the extent to which we don’t have that. In my saner and more charitable moments, I thank god that they DON’T understand what it’s like to be us.

    I care, and other people who live with the same conditions and are getting more fortunate results from treatment care, deeply, that you hurt. It’s not okay with us that you hurt or aren’t able to enjoy life “just because.” You deserve better, we all do, and we care about ensuring that medicine keeps progressing until we all get there.

    You getting relief for your pain–interim AND eventual permanent relief–MATTERS to the rest of us who also got the unfortunate dice roll of joining this fraternity.

  26. A psychiatrist for whom performed a psych eval on me, this past week (well, actually.. she completed 97% of the psych eval BEFORE even meeting me for the first time.. info retrieved from my intake therapy assessment) asked me about suicide attempts and “did you really intend to actually die?”

    Some, yes but overall no and I told her this.

    What she “heard” was “no”, because she went on to “so, your real intent is not to actually die but maybe to just make everything stop, right? So, you really don’t want to commit suicide.”

    When I am suicidal… suicide IS ALL I think about, sometimes for days and sometimes for weeks. I’ve even set dates for when I’d commit IF things, overall, did no start to improve… given the cliché of “if you died today, you may miss something wonderful tomorrow”… so, I mark a day on the calendar and then fight to keep moving until that date… when the date creeps up even closer.. I seem to go more “psychotic”.

    Yet… I AM suicidal the entire time… anything can shake & cause me to act

    Still… it comes around due to prolonged mental pain filled to the brim & stress and when you fight and fight to survive every 15 minutes at times… it’s pretty brutal.

    I felt like the psychiatrist just wasn’t getting it… it’s not that I truly want to die, it’s that I want my life to end.

  27. Hi Nick!!
    i HEAR YOU! & I UNDERSTAND !!! your pain is around losing your dad & you are GRIEVING….grieving takes form in many ways & i would encourage you to seek out help & support to talk about your dad…..i am sure there is a lot of anger there still around you dad being gone & you may not know that consciously.

    This is just my opinion however, i have been thru the grieving process myself a few times in the last few years….most recently my mom passed away suddenly last year :(

    I encourage you to seek HELP…..because a lot of your anger/frustration with people around you is coming from inside you so it would help for you to understand that & then work it thru step by step…maybe even first with your doctor….or if you really need…go to your emergency at the hospital & they can always steer you in the right direction for help…….i know, i did that once myself :)

    Also if you haven’t already….check out what Natasha has to say here in this blog about the “resources” she suggest as well …above:

    “…But a suicide attempt isn’t going to get you what you want. Instead, keep going to real people who can really help you. And if you can’t do that, then admit yourself to a hospital instead of attempting suicide. Because the damage of an attempted suicide is going to make your pain worse, not better.”

    “What to Do Instead of Attempting Suicide” …Nick please try to read as much of Natasha’s words to help you & the resources she provides above as well….to work thru these suicidal ideations…..

    I know what you are talking about….i have to fight the urge a lot myself even still, however, i have found ways to give me coping skills….hard work, & perseverence & one day at a time (oh gosh sometimes one MINUTE at a time) to work thru whatever is making you feel so much pain <3


  28. I am only 17, doing really well at school (so close to getting into Oxford University), have a lovely family and amazing girlfriend buy since my Dad took his own life last year, things just seem to get so bad for me. Constant arguments in my relationship and at home, and with my Dad’s up and coming birthday things are just too much. I think abou suicide so much that it has just become normal and I kind of get comfort from it. I want to escape the stresses I am facing everyday of my life and be with my Dad and go the same way he did.

  29. Hi Natasha, this is fantastic post and it really addresses the problem of a cry for help. Having read this I am going to change my ways and get the help I need, whatever it takes. You have given me hope. Thank you.

  30. Love this site, I want it for myself only. I think it is important to say something about suicide and hope others will agree with me. I personally have attempted suicide with the full intention of dying. I had tried twice before and was unsuccessful. The third time was my time to go and be gone from this torture. I was very sad to wake up and find myself alive. I was very angry that someone found me collapsed in my own bed and called an ambulance. When I woke up I was shocked! Why couldn’t they leave me alone. I was again misdiagnosed and sent back to an abusive family with no meds and no help. So I faked being happy until I left home as an adult. Now, I’m a depressed, divorced mother of one who hates herself still. My child is married and I’m still living a depressed life and want to finally end it again. I’m on meds but I can fake being well too. Presently told doctor I was a fake and can’t get out of bed. Was not taken seriously and now the only, the ONLY thing that’s holding me here are my dogs. The youngest is 8 yrs old and I’m waiting for him to die so I can go too. My original note for here was to inform others that suicide should not be only understood to be a cry for help, but a real concrete decision to be found dead. That is it.

    • (Hey, we have the same name!)… Anyway, Susan, I know how you feel. I’m sorry that you really want to die. I have recently figured out that for me, this intense desire for suicide is really a desire to escape, not to die. I have been satisfying that escape desire in different plans and ideas of how to escape my life and/or this world as it is. No, it’s probably not the healthiest thing in the world, but those fantasies fulfill that need to escape and allow me to feel more comfortable having to stay here. (((hugs)))

      • Thanks Susan for the encouragement, but at my age death is not scary anymore. Fantasies are worn out and I’ve closed the doors to any dreams. I am so glad I found this site, so many write the same feelings so well. I not only stumble around I fumble in my words in trying to say what I feel. So I’ve stopped talking until now, right here. A connection? I don’t know, I’m too tired to care and solve any more issues I’ve had all my life. Thanks anyways.

  31. I just wanted to say that your post has pretty much summed up how I felt the last few months. But finally I think someone is listening and going me the help that I need. Thanks. :)

    • I tried to kill myself December 21 and luckily I didn’t die though sometimes I think it would have been easier. You need help! You can get help but you have to get it. Only you can rescue yourself. There is no knight in shining armor. I am on medication but its a lot of work to just be normal and I struggle everyday. Please go the doctor I care what happens you and I am putting my arms around you and holding you close.

    • I’m 62 and diagnosed three years ago after I decided I was done …to tired to much work to unworthy sounded like such a relief. Pills didn’t work out . Yep for sure I’m bipolar . Sometimes to tired to get out of bed …wonder what will become o f me when husband and mom gone ..don’t want to burden kids. Self medicate with alcohol. Escape the worry makes me feel normal. No one but you and I know how hard life is with bipolar. I was so cool before the onset ….good mom successful and sure of my self SHIT

  32. Your post reminded me of those time when being in such pain all I wanted was for it to stop. There were times when not wanting to die wasn’t the goal, but most of the time it has been the goal to not actually die. I also realized reading your post that I was dealing with SI for so long but I was not getting proper help (I am now). Telling everyone I was suicidal got me treatment, but I don’t think the right help. From personal experience not wanting to die but wanting to attempt is in itself a way I cope with that excruciating emotional pain. While I’m focusing on what I could do to self harm or I’m planning a suicide I’m not feeling the pain so much. It’s a way to relieve the pain temporarily by imagining not having it or getting to a place where I will not have it. This insight came after decades of spending long periods of time where suicidal ideation consumed me, finding out I really could do something different about the pain and not be taken for the ride. Today I know my response to specific emotional triggers is a rapid shift to my baseline – ideation. Shifting has gone way down with this awareness and handling the emotional triggers better and better. It also takes all the wind out of it. I don’t have the fear that I may go through with anything. And the fear that I’m actually doing it again. This is not to say I still have to work my butt off at times to keep it at bay, but it is easier to deal and it leaves fast. Wanting out of emotional pain with its desperation and hopelessness is why our brain/mind goes to SI. Thanks!

  33. nothing gets people’s attention quite like thinking you’re about to die.

    Theirin is the heart of the matter. If only people could understand that the pin is as bad as it is. And that people can’t take the pain anymore. And that many people DO die when they cannot take the pain anymore–even if what they truly desire is not death at all; but or the pain to stop.

  34. You forgot to mention that when a person does finally get a doctor’s appointment, the medicine that is prescribed usually takes at least 6 weeks to feel any effects. That time seems so much longer, because the person has made an attempt to make things better, and now, it’s just another waiting game. THEN, if that medicine doesn’t work, try a new one, and wait 6 more weeks. That waiting game was when I didn’t want to live anymore.

    • April!!!! you are soooo right !! i never thought of that here in the blog about this………people wanting & needing help cannot be just sent back home with their meds whether after a suicide attempt or diagnosis etc.They need a helping hand to climb out of their darkness & confusion …”in the meantime waiting six weeks” ….the specialist &/or doctor need to help patient get supports in place to help them when they walk out that door….especially if really down & if never been on meds before, etc. It’s no wonder why so many people fall back in their mental illness, addiction etc. & end up back in the hospital or consider attempting suicide, when left to their own devices……..of course, i am not saying they need to be babysat, however, depending on circumstances the appropriate questions need to asked of patient by medical professionals to make sure the patient will be ok for the next 6 weeks….maybe even for the next few days…ie a phone call or daily checkin from patient or even a brief stay in hospital….just to get monitored closely again depending on situation/circumstances. Everyone is different. In my experience i was prescribed an antidepressant in 2001 & it didn’t sink in that drinking with it was a big deal….April 2003….i attempted suicide ending up in hospital !!! The doctor prescribed me meds….no referral to a specialist at the time…no follow-ups how i was doing, or cautioning me to not drink with them………..what i remember looking back it was like “here you go, this should help you”! period. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, i didn’t know anything about antidepressant ..i was pretty ignorant about it all back then. However, even coming out of hospital two weeks later I still went on drinking with my meds………….but…….by the grace of God, my higher power somehow led me to get sober somehow…..June 26, 2003…i have been sober ever since, (very lucky thing as , none of this would have had given me a clear understanding of what healthy choices i needed to make ) & also I was soooo close to losing my job & everything else that could have come with that before April 2003 when things were so bad….instead with being sober i tried going back to work but finally realized i needed to quit & here i am on Long Term Disability & pension, so i could focus on getting better! So at least even tho i am still struggling to get the help i need, in last couple years i feel i have so many symptoms of bipolar on top of Major Depression & feel i have symptoms of ADHD mixed into the equasion, but i do feel i am moving forward … one day at a time, hoping & believing i can get the help….as i keep putting my foot down hard & demand some help now when things start getting unclear & overwhelming etc.!

  35. Wow, Natasha, have you been in my head during the last week? I’m just coming off a mixed state that spiraled into huge, frantic SI. Desperately screaming for help (on the inside) while not reaching out to anybody. Not wanting to go to the hospital because they’ll just mess with my meds. I can get babysat at home without the drama or medicine confusion that results from hospitalization… if only I’d ask for help.

    Your blog posts are wonderful. Please keep writing.

    Thankfully, it seems to be fading. This time… The *fantastic* thing about bipolar is that it WILL return. Maybe next time I can ask for help instead of researching methods.

  36. Hi. Not sure where I’ve been, but I just found your work over the last several days. I was diagnosed with having Bipolar 1 fourteen years ago. I have had on and off struggles and recently hit a new low. I want to thank you for sharing so much information through all you write. Reading many of your blogs over the last few days has kept me taking it a step at a time. I will be talking with my therapist and my dr this week. I truly appreciate you! Take care.
    Atlanta, GA

  37. Wow, Natasha, have you been in my head for the last week? Definitely screaming for help (inside) and not reaching out. Don’t want to go to the hospital because they just mess with my meds – I can get babysat by myself without the drama and the resulting med confusion… if only I asked for it instead of researching methods.

    Thankfully, things seem to be improving for me. This time…

  38. Hi Natasha!!!
    I so LOVE YOU & YOUR BLOGS & ALL THAT YOU WRITE ABOUT…i even have your posts coming to my inbox……..& am grateful for this one TODAY!!!
    I felt like you were TALKING ABOUT ME!!! Wow to have had YOUR WORDS here for me to read 12 /13 years ago it may have helped me in 2003 when everything fell apart …….then again….who knows right?? oh the “what ifs???” …knowing me tho i know i would probably have taken your advice when STUFF started falling apart for me ….mentally & emotionally ! I could go on but…2 of the most important things you write about here for me was: It definitely was a HUGE SCREAM FOR HELP, because you don’t know what else to do & it is NOT MANIPULATION..!!
    I believe some of my family & extended family thought that’s what it was…..however, they didn’t understand my past & how it was contributing to my ever increasing life falling apart………& i didnt’ know why exactly…..all i know is i was getting worse day by day week by week, month by month……..
    This post i need to keep for myself….to remind myself why everything happened the way it did & that I was not CRAZY, OR WEAK…& ultimately help me keep hope getting more help that i am STILL needing. I haven’t been monitored for my symptoms of my mental health & over the last couple years i was going downhill again……..so i did exactly what you said January 2011 i got more insistent with my doctor, & it did get me some help but didn’t last so i started to fall apart again in 2012 (especially with my mom passing away suddenly) & i have finally found hope thru my health centre since they finally have been able to afford to bring two PSYCHIATRISTS on board………& i found out about something else for help thru my therapist (who i have only been able to findthis past summer, since my previous therapist moved away….i was without one for over two years). My therapist’s encouragement has been really godsend, giving back to me BELIEF IN MYSELF & BEING HOPEFUL AGAIN….so,
    TODAY I am feeling pretty good (albeit i think hiding the ‘REAL’ sad, depressed, confused & frustrated ‘ME’ under a mask!!)
    However, like i said i feel hopeful today, without ANY suicidal ideation over the few weeks…with is pretty hopeful i’d say, considering it was thru the holidays!!
    Thanks you so much Natasha…….i found you on here over a year ago & read as many of your blogs as i can & i share on facebook & even get in to discussing it with others too…….I hope in the near future i get back to volunteering my time to mental health at my health centre like i was (5 years….had to pull back as my symptoms became worse, especially my depression). I hope to keep volunteering in the mental health sector to help others & see where it takes me to get back on my own to feet with more good self-esteem & confidence to do more & mroe.

    Again thanks for all you do …