“People don’t wake up one day and decide that suicide is something they want to do.”

This is a comment by Tom B on the post “How to Help Someone Who Is Feeling Suicidal“.

TW for suicide.

Tom B said:

You stated … “Today I read a no doubt well-meaning statement (not sure if it’s a quote to be officially attributed or not): ‘When you’re sad and want to die, remember people who are dying but want to live.'” … I would like to add that this statement, to a person who is serious about ending his life, may turn them to believe that perhaps their own death may be a sacrifice for a person who doesn’t want to die. Take my life so that another person may live. A person who is in the depth of depression will conjure up a lot of thoughts and justifications to go through with the act.

Great article and I’m glad it was posted. I believe that an entire site could be devoted to this topic. I would also like to add a few things. One is to that take every comment from someone about suicidal thoughts seriously. Often times these passing comments are feelers to see if someone will respond. In the mind of the person making these comments, they may be looking for someone to respond and if there is none, it simply (in their mind) reinforces that no one cares.

The other is that it’s important to know if a person has a ‘plan.’ A plan is where they have actually laid out when where and how they would go through with it.

Another is that unless you’re a professional, don’t think you can help this person alone. You may truly love and care for this person but you would be best situated to bring a professional into the picture. It’s important that the person trust you so that when you introduce them to professional help, he/she knows you’re not just passing the buck. Continue to support him/her.

As was stated, people don’t wake up one day and decide that suicide is something that they want to do. Many will build a case in their own mind and once they start sliding down that slope, struggle with seeing reasons not to follow through but will find many reasons to follow through.

Early signs, very important! Any changes in behaviors, mood swings, isolation etc. is something that you may want to address and when it comes to kids, don’t excuse them as simple, “Oh, they’re just going through a stage.”

I believe EVERY parent should be educated in this area.

One last thing and I learned this the hard way many years ago, after a friend of mine committed suicide. The week before he killed himself, you’d think he was on top of the world. In fact we made the comment, “Bob is his old self again, it’s nice to see.” As it was later explained to me that some who are committed to suicide may go through a time of euphoria in that he/she sees the end, they see the end of the pain and it’s a relief that the end is near. Back then, we didn’t realize he was more then likely experiencing Post Traumatic Stress having returned from Vietnam. Fortunately today, we are more aware of the problem and are finally addressing it.

Thanks again for posting this. 

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  1. @Mike: I have found that even in those circumstances, there were probably many moments when a person thinks about it but doesn’t log it logically. I think that once the initial threshold is crossed,that is to say that a person actually seriously considers it as a possibility, a very scary door has been opened.

  2. My suicide attempts were mostly impulsive, such as deciding to end it all while driving, then steering my car into a tree.

    (I’m no longer suicidal, I think…)

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