I am glad you are reading this, because if you are, it means that at least some part of you believes there is a chance you can be helped. I hope you can spare a couple more minutes to read to the end of this page. If you can't, please at least read Surviving today before you go back to looking at ways to kill yourself.
I know what it is like to feel there is no hope left. To feel like there is nothing worth living for. To not be able to face the rest of your life. I know because I felt it myself, and I am truly sorry you are in that place. It probably means you are past caring about anybody or anything, and don't believe it's possible to change how you feel right now.
Think for a minute. Have you always felt like you do right now? The chances are, there were times in your life where you did not. Which means something in your life changed to get you where you are now. But that also means that something can change to get you away from where you are now. Seriously - life is changing all the time - yours included. Surely there were other times you felt really low and something happened to make you feel brighter?
People think about committing suicide as a solution to a problem they see no solution to. But here's the thing - even if you don't think there is a solution to your problems right now, that does not mean it does not exist. It just means that you can't see it right now.
There is a huge body of evidence to show that most problems that lead people to suicide can be resolved or effectively treated. Even if you have previously sought treatment and it hasn't worked, that doesn't mean there isn't a treatment that will work (see Addressing the problem). Sometimes a few different things need to be tried before the right treatment is found.
You should also bear in mind that the crisis that leads many people to contemplate suicide is nearly always temporary, and that in time, people see that their problems were not as big as they first thought. That's all good news.
I'd like to ask you a question. Given a choice, would you choose to feel like you do right now, or would you choose to feel happy?
Of course, we all want to be happy. Who wants a life of misery? But here's the thing. We control how we feel (feelings are derived from our thoughts and emotions). So if you feel on the verge of killing yourself right now, and, given a free choice, you'd choose to be happy - have you ever wondered - who's doing the choosing? 'Cos it can't be the sane part of you that just wants to be happy...
We all have a part of us that seems to take over our lives. That voice inside. Richard Wilkins, founder of the Ministry of Inspiration, calls it our script. It is the sum total of our life experience to date. Everything that has happened to us, that we have heard, seen, felt - and how we have interpreted those experiences.
Many people have a script that says "I'm not good enough", that started in their childhood. Some "I'm not attractive". Some "nobody will ever love me", "I'll always be broke", "I'll never find a partner" or "I'll never be happy". And that script is POWERFUL. This second it has you by the scruff of your neck. It has been running your life for a long, long time. And you can't change it - your script is your script. However, what you can do is to recognise it for what it is - a script, written in your past. You can, and I really mean, you can - however fragile and on the edge you might be right now - start to ignore the old script, and start writing a new script, a better one, for the rest of your life.
Well, you are either now interested, or still reading but in that suicidal haze that says "I'm reading, but nothing I read will make any difference". I can understand that. It can be hard to believe anything anybody writes will change anything when you get to the edge of life. So if you don't want to read further, at least briefly look at Surviving today.
What's the point in living?
In my dark days, and less dark days, there was one thing that I thought about often - what is the point in living? I just wanted to find an answer to that simple question! Maybe if I had a reason for that I'd decide I wouldn't need to kill myself after all. I suspect it might be a question that you have thought about too.
I actually researched that very question for this site, and found an interesting array of answers from philosophers, psychotherapists, religions and social commentators, including:
Many religions state the meaning of life is to serve god and obey his commandments.
Instinctism states that every action is driven by a need to attract the opposite sex, thereby fulfilling the basic need of reproduction and thereby the continuance of the human race.
Some say life doesn't have its own meaning, just the meaning you ascribe to it. And when people are asked what is important to them, the answers generally come down to three things: love, learning and being happy.
To read more about meanings of life, click here.
My own view, is that there are three or four things that drive us, not necessarily all at the same time. Firstly, physical connection. We have genetic programming to reproduce, and that drives a lot of our behaviour, whether that be making ourselves more attractive to potential partners, or what we have to do to stay with them. When we aren't having physical connection, we are driven by what's required to get it. If we don't have one, it can make us sad, frustrated, or drive us to focus on other things so we are distracted from not having it.
For those that have children, especially younger ones, providing for children can be a really powerful reason to stay alive. Once they grow older this reason can start to reduce though – the kids don’t need the parents anymore, and the parents need to find some other reason for living.
Next is emotional connection. Sex and intimacy are not enough any more. We search for deep emotional connection, which some might describe as love. Like when a parent loves a young child unconditionally. The child does not need to be clever, funny, rich or good at sport. They are loved for who they are. As we go through life, we spend so much energy doing things to be loved, whether that is by parents, partners, children or friends. But deep down, we just want to be loved and accepted for who we are - the bad and the good. But these days it seems people find it ever harder to express love, and/or if they get it coming their way, how to receive it. It's no wonder we live in a fucked up world.....
However, love alone isn't enough to keep us going - as Don Henley sung, "sometimes love just ain't enough". So the other thing we need is to make a difference to the world. We need to do something beyond ourselves for the good of our fellow human beings. Why, I don't know. Maybe it is simply genetic programming about making sure our race survives. And whilst we might not be able to control who loves us, or getting physical connection, this is one area we can take charge of our own destiny. Which begs the difficult question - "what do I have to do to make a difference"?
What makes a difference?
For me, it was always something more than whatever I did (read My story). If you donated $10 to provide food or water to a starving person in a developing country, that would make a real difference to them. A huge difference. Maybe the difference between living and dying. Would that be enough reason for you to stay alive?
What about if you stayed alive to help a friend or family member, through some sort of personal crisis. And with your help and support that person went on to make the lives of 20 other people better. Would that be enough? Maybe if you hadn't helped, it never would have happened?
Maybe in staying alive you have a business that makes loads of money and helps find a cure to a disease that improves the lives of thousands of people. Or maybe you are the doctor that helps find that cure? Is that enough?
Or maybe by not killing yourself, you save a number of people you know the sort of unbelievable heartache that is 100 times worse than whatever you are feeling now? Is that alone enough reason? You might be thinking that those near to you will come to terms with what you are about to do; that your pain is much worse than theirs will be. But the legacy you leave those people is not only the grief of your death, but guilt for the rest of their lives that they couldn't help you feel better. They will feel responsible. Or else hurt, confused, angry or remorseful.
Make no mistake. Suicide will have a devastating effect on those around you, and the effects will stay with them the rest of their lives. If in your mind you belittle this impact (as I did), you are fooling yourself. And to test it, just ask someone close to you how they'd feel if you got knocked over by a bus.
Or maybe, like me, you find some small way to help just a few people feel happier in their lives. Even if it is just one person. Is that a life worth living? I'd say yes. And trust me, in a life we can all make a difference to at least one other person. Whatever you are suffering from. Whatever it is in your life that makes you desperate enough to find this site. I promise you. I absolutely promise you - YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Much harder is for you to realise how much difference you can make, and probably already do.
You are not alone
So I write this on new year's eve 2009. In the next month, and every month thereafter, over 16 million people will do a Google search on the word suicide. Yes, 16 million, so trust me, you are not alone feeling like you do. In the next 12 months the World Health Organisation (see Suicide statistics) estimates well over 20 million people will actually try and commit suicide. Over 1 million will succeed. A good chunk of the others will end up in hospital, in pain. Possibly with permanent health issues. Like brain damage.
I don't judge anyone who considers ending their life, tries to do it, or succeeds. It saddens me that economically the world has come so far, yet emotionally we have gone so far in reverse. Over the last 50 years the suicide rate has increased more than 50%1. So what difference would it make to the world if 20 million people per annum, spent just half the time they were going to spend planning their death, on doing something to help someone else? Even something small to a friend or member of their family? That would be huge. What difference would it make if 20 million less people tried to kill themselves - what impact would that have on those that know them? Massive. As Margaret Mead said:
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
So I'm sad that we live in a world that drives so many people to consider they want to leave it. The reason I created this website is that it scares me how many people injure themselves trying to commit suicide. It scares me that after these people wake up in hospital, the majority2 will say they weren't that intent on killing themselves. I'm happy that by not succeeding in killing myself, I have a chance to help you. And maybe you will pass on that favour and help someone else.
A life with no love, and no making a difference, is going to be a struggle. We need at least one, and ideally both. And they both cost nothing. So here's my plea - that rather than trying to kill yourself, you read the rest of this section of the website. Try and find something that will make a difference to you. Just one thing, and commit to doing it. If you've tried already - try again. If you've tried again. Try harder. There's always time to look at the methods of suicide later...
Click here to go to Surviving today.
World Health Organisation, www.who.int.
K Hawton, D Casey, E Bale, A Shepherd, H Bergen and S Simkin, Deliberate Self-Harm in Oxford 2007. University of Oxford Centre for Suicide Research (from http://cebmh.warne.ox.ac.uk/csr/monpubs.html).