According to the American Association for Suicidology (AAS)1, nearly everyone at some time in their life thinks about suicide. Almost everyone decides to live because they come to realise that the crisis is temporary. However, people in the midst of a crisis often perceive their dilemma as inescapable and feel an utter loss of control. Frequently, they:
Can't stop the pain
Can't think clearly
Can't make decisions
Can't see any way out
Can't sleep eat or work
Can't get out of the depression
Can't make the sadness go away
Can't see the possibility of change
Can't see themselves as worthwhile
Can't get someone's attention
Can't seem to get control
The AAS estimates that about two thirds of people who commit suicide are depressed at the time of their death. Not a big surprise. Perhaps what is a surprise is that the treatment of depression is effective 60% to 80% of the time. The risk of someone suffering from an untreated major depressive disorder trying to commit suicide is around 1 in 5 (20%). However, the suicide risk among treated patients is around 1 in a 1,000 (0.1%).
You'd think that if treatment was that effective, a lot less people would try and kill themselves. However, according the World Health Organization, less than 25% of individuals with depression receive adequate treatment. Unfortunately believing your condition is "incurable" is often part of the hopelessness that accompanies serious depression. But what you believe is different to the facts. So the clear message is here:
Depression IS treatable, and in gaining effective treatment the chances of feeling suicidal go down significantly.
Of course, depression is not the only reason people commit suicide. It might be for any variety of reasons - see What's behind suicide? for more information. But whatever your reason is, there is a high probability there is some form of effective treatment for it, so please keep reading.
Suicide and medical conditions
Even if you are reading this and suffering from a serious medical condition, that might not have a cure, I'd urge you to read on. I don't pretend to know what it is like living life in permanent physical pain. I can understand anyone in severe pain wanting to consider ending their lives. But you must be reading this for a reason. You must be open to hope. Even people in physical pain or with a disability can still find reason to live. To you, I would urge you watch the Jonny Kennedy and Christopher Reeve movies (see Watch this), and read Still Me by Christopher Reeve (see Books & DVDs). For people in pain have done incredible and inspiring things with their lives, and maybe you will find inspiration in their stories.
Loss of hope
The thing that struck me about suicidal people is the loss of hope. That anything can be done that will make a difference to the rest of their life. Many people arriving at this website might have been on anti-depressants and/or had some form of therapy. But just because they have not worked does not mean there is nothing that can work. There is a good chance that there are other things you can try. As Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb, said, when asked about whether he had any success yet in inventing the light bulb:
"Results? Why man, I have gotten lots of results! If I find 10,000 ways something won't work, I haven't failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is often a step forward...."
Or as the inventor of pasteurisation, Louis Pasteur said:
"Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal: my strength lies solely in my tenacity."
Or, Mary Pickford (know as one of the pioneers of Hollywood, and founder of United Artists and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, that awards the Oscars):
"If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call "failure" is not the falling down, but the staying down."
So whatever you have tried so far, whatever has not worked, is a step in the direction of finding something that will work. Remember that.
Things to try are listed and linked below. Please read through them all. Consider trying more than one, as there is no limit on initiatives that might make you feel better. But try something.
There are links to numerous other websites and organisations that may be of help in Links.
American Association of Suicidology, Factsheet: Some Facts About Suicide and Depression, 2009, from www.suicidology.org.