People who consider suicide don't want to die. They want pain to end.
Many things lead people to suicide: pain, illness, career frustration, heartbreak, divorce, injury to reputation. Too often people wrongly assume that intense pain will last forever if they do not do something.
But what's more important is what stops people from committing suicide during their darkest moments. When they decide to continue living, things almost always get better--much better, and they're glad they chose to live. Almost always.
What makes people decide to live?
I looked around for articles on the Internet for testimonies from people who survived and what stopped them from going through with ending their lives, and I found many interesting comments.
- I realized there were people that loved me and would be devastated if I did that to them.
- A chiropractor. I got a pinched muscle in my neck from a 3-day hike with a heavy backpack that was giving me migraine headaches every 6 hours when awake, and would last for 6-8 hours. After 8 months of this, I was ready to drive head first into a logging truck to end it all. He saved my life.
- I've tried to kill myself somewhere between 9 and 14 times, depending how you count it, but every time, my cat walked into my room right before or even during my attempt.
- The hope that a better life exists, and that if I work hard enough I will get that life. About 2 years have passed and I am already seeing the benefits of this decision
- I eventually concluded that it's something I'd be a coward to go through with, because it's too easy - it was like using a cheat code in a video game.
- I only ever thought about once it in middle school, Not gonna go into full details but I had a HORRIBLE time there, what saved me was probably the few good friends I had/still have
- Knowing how it would make others feel, wanting to help people, and soul reapers.
- I questioned my own thoughts. Who am I to tell everything is really over?
Who am I to declare myself a failure?
Is it really true I was unloved?
And if it wasn't completely true... why I was so caught up thinking I was unloved?
Therapy and meds have worked wonders thought is a slow, long process to return from the brink.
- the possibility that reincarnation is real, and that i'd just have to do this again, and again, and again, without anything getting better because i just kept giving up.
- It was 100% other people and thinking about how they would be affected.
- To be completely honest, I was scared that people would think I was weak. Or that I was seeking attention. I then immediately marched my ass to the counseling office on campus, and was promptly escorted to a mental hospital in the back of a cop car.
- My best friend. I love her, and owe my life to her. She helped me do a complete 180 with my life, and I'm glad I met her.
I realized I never wrote a suicide note and that stopped me. My family and friends had no idea I was depressed and anxious and I felt so guilty at that moment. I just couldn't do it.
The other near attempts, my therapists and psychiatrists saved and inspired me to keep living. They refused to give up on me when I wanted to kill myself. It's amazing to think back to how much they care about me!
Thinking about possible long-term effects/pain/disability if I somehow survived the attempt. I knew a guy who survived a gunshot through the head. It wasn't pretty.
The only thing that stops me is knowing how much it would shorten the lives of my grandparents. And just knowing that they deserve better than that.
To save the pain of others.
My ambitions. To help people. To love people. To have a career I am happy with. To start a family. Life might suck at the moment, but the future is so exciting.
A few things, the most important being that my little sister would grow up without me, and by my age would be in a worse place than I was due to trauma from losing her sister. I also didn't want my family to find me, and I even worried about an EMT being traumatized from seeing my body if I committed suicide in a violent way.
The fear of ending life in an act of sin and not being able to change my mind after finding hell infinitely worse than anything this life could bring about.
Sadly divorce often leads to hopelessness and suicide.
The shame, the loss, the betrayal and loss of trust in God and in the government and in everything good in life leads a person to see nothing but prospects for a horrible future, and sometimes it appears that suicide is an easy way out.
But it isn't. Sometimes rejected spouses commit suicide. Sometimes children do so. And sometimes one suicide leads to the suicide of another. This is different from a situation where a person has a painful and terminal illness and feels their best prospect for the best quality of life is to end it before the illness degenerates too far. Whatever a person may feel about this kind of suicide, the terminally ill person may feel they are sparing their families a burden and heavy medical expenses while sparing themselves a stretch of time in life that is painful and not worth retaining.
That is not so with the person going through a divorce who commits suicide. The death is senseless and somewhat cowardly. It reflects a person's desire to run away from problems rather than facing them, growing, and overcoming them. It also reflects a willingness to allow family and friends to suffer deep agony and heartbreak in exchange for avoiding those problems.
Those who promise themselves and God never to take their lives and remain committed to working and praying through the issues find that life gets better and they get stronger and happier over time. Furthermore, they teach others how to deal with problems in healthy ways rather than teaching them to seek the easy way out.
So, call a suicide hotline. Get help. Spend time with people who encourage you. Go out and have fun. Pray. Pray for what you want to have happen, and look for signs that things will get better. If you cannot control your feelings, and most people cannot, then take control of your thoughts and think about good things. Read Philipeans 4:6 to the end of the chapter. Make a list of what the Bible says to think about.
Controlling your feelings and thoughts
Notice that the Bible does not tell us what NOT to think about. That doesn't work. Imagine trying not to think of a pink elephant with purple polka dots. Now what is on your mind? Of course. A pink elephant with purple polka dots. Try to stop thinking of a pink elephant with purple polka dots. Did it work? If so, how did you do it?
Most likely you did not decide to stop thinking of something, but instead you replaced your thoughts with something else. Perhaps you thought of a zebra walking on the ceiling. Now that is on your mind and you forgot about the elephant.
The same goes for happy and sad, hopeless thoughts.
If all you can think about is
- children hurting,
- being alone,
or if your mind is full of negative lies such as
- it's all your fault
- you're ugly and old and stupid
- never have any hope of meeting someone better
- or of saving your marriage,
then there are effective and ineffective ways to deal with those thoughts.
How to Stop These Thoughts
Try allowing yourself to think on those things for a few seconds and then yell STOP!. After a little practice, you may find you can stop those thoughts. After awhile you may see they are unreasonable and untrue thoughts.
Another way to stop those thoughts and thoughts of suicide is to choose to think of the most enjoyable times of your life. If some of those thoughts remind you of what you don't have now and you begin to feel sad again, pick another time in your life, and keep thinking on those things.
Replace Negative with Positive Thoughts
Think about times with your family--parents, siblings, children, cousins, friends, going to the zoo or the park, camping, going on a vacation. Think of times when you accomplished something really great and remember back to how it felt and wonder what it would be like to experinece that again. Then go and do some of those things.
- Go to a Christian concert with friends or go on a retreat
- Go to a friend's house and play a board game
- Watch something awesome on TV.
- Rent a DVD.
- Go workout.
- Join Toastmasters or the Rotary Club or Full Gospel Businessmen's.
- Get a gym membership. Exercise is a great anti-depressant.
- Take an art class and do a painting or a sculpture.
- Go on a photography hunt for awesome pictures.
- Go to Jamba Juice and drink something absolutely delicious and healthy.
- Go on bike rides.
- Take kids in your family to the zoo or to a museum.
- Go to a neighborhood recreation center and play ping-pong.
- Sign up for a volleyball or baseball league even if you are a klutz.
I was a captain of the worst volleyball team in the city years ago, and we all had just as much fun if not more fun than the masters of volleyball, though they had a lot of fun, too.
Are you are in trouble emotionally and on the edge of suicide?
If you are near the point of suicide, one thing that will let you know you need to get help right away is if your thoughts turn to different ways of committing suicide. At that point, do not waste time. Get help right away.
Call the national suicide hotline below and get help. Even if you need to check yourself into a hospital for a day or two to stay alive, do it. Suicide cuts off your options. You cannot change your mind later and take it back. All the blessings you could receive living a full life will be cut off, and your opportunity to bless your loved ones and be a good example for them will be forever gone.
One thing that kept me from going over the edge was not knowing what would be on the other side if I ended my life in an act of sin, but I did not expect it to be nothing or heaven. It might very well be hell, and that might be infinitely worse than anything I might experience on earth. I did not want that.
Keep yourself healthy, and think on good things. Spend time with friends. Have fun. And when you need help, get help. Don't try to weather the storm alone.
Here's the national suicide hotline
1 (800) 273-8255
God bless you and take care.
I realized there were people that loved me and would be devastated if I did that to them.