There are more than a million searches for methods of suicide and ways to commit suicide every month. That is according to just one of the largest search engines – there are many many more from others. That is a scary number to think about, that there are that many people looking up ways to their life. As the previous owner of SF – a suicide and depression support forum, I can tell you that number is not surprising. Having the benefit of having spoken to thousands of people that were looking for suicide methods, as well as some personal and family experience in the area, I am going to share the methods that kill most suicide victims.
If I put this as a poll I am sure there would be all the obvious guesses and some creative things as well, but the methods and things that are killing more than 2000 people per day around the world have very little to do with what they endured the final few minutes of their life and everything to do with what they endured during the weeks or even years before those final few minutes. The things they felt in the time leading up the final minutes are what killed them and more importantly, nearly all of these things could be addressed in other ways if only somebody had taken the time to really listen and try to help.
The list I am going to share is the list of things that are killing nearly a million people a year. From the site, I have come to understand what many suicidal people I have personally spoke with were dealing with. These are the things that are killing the people, and unlike the searches for painless methods and easy methods, these are all marked by incredibly intense and unendurable pain, a pain so bad that somebody would literally rather die than face another hour of it. In no particular order –
- Break ups – Whether it is a divorce after year sand the loss of a family or the first love of a young teen that lasted a few months. The thing to remember about this is it is not a break up and go on to the next for all people. For some it is the first or only person in the world they ever loved or felt loved by and without that person they cannot see a possibility of love in their life again. Life without the possibility of love is hard thing to face. The real issue here is if there was enough love around them when they felt this way, most would realize that it is not going to be a life without love, but simply a life without that love- still painful, but maybe bearable. It is the lack of love they feel from all sources that make them believe it will be a life of no love at all, and it is what they feel that fuels their pain, not what others think.
- Failure– Real or perceived is really of no matter. Maybe they were fired from a job, or did not make a sports team, got bad grades in school, or just didn’t finish a project on time. The difference in spending a lifetime of savings and years into a failed business, or getting cut from the Varsity team is measured by the person feeling it, not what happened. Whatever the failure or series of failures, in the end they do not see themselves as anything but a failure and their shame will not allow them to entertain the possibility that others see them differently.
- Money – Life is hard and everybody is ultimately controlled to some extent by money. The adages od money can’t buy happiness are true, but it is also true that it is hard to be happy if you are facing homelessness, or feel ashamed when people ask you what you do. There are some that would rather die than face the idea of accepting help freely offered, and the real truth is there is not enough help anyway for those that really need it. When every thought of your day is on how you will pay for something or how to support yourself and your family some people start seeing themselves as just another bill and part of the problem.
- Rejection and feeling excluded – Everybody faces rejection at some point in their life. Some people cannot ever remember feeling anything else. It may be because they never have, or it may be because the overwhelming sense of rejection from an incident blinds them to past successes, but in the end they die because their feeling of rejection is greater than the total of positive input form others in their lives to help them feel something different. They know they will never fit in because everything they feel tells them that. It may be they feel excluded from all the others and rejected by friends that were too busy to call, or that every girl they ever spoke to said no to a date, but they would rather die than let another rejection add more to the overwhelming pain they already feel.
- Being left behind – Some people look around and see everybody they went to school with already has a job, marriage, house etc. Maybe it is even a simple as their friends already have girlfriends or boyfriends, or perhaps they are approaching middle age and realizing the dream of family and children is becoming impossible, or elderly and need to accept those possibilities are gone. In the end, they see everybody else as so far ahead of them and they cannot see a way to ever catch up.
- Loneliness – some people truly have no family and no friends. Some people are surrounded by others all day but feel like they have to hide their real selves so much that nobody really knows them. If nobody knows them then they feel just as alone as somebody that has nobody in their lives at all. Humans are social animals, and isolation and seclusion have been used as punishment and even torture for centuries. It is hardly surprising that if somebody equates their life to something used as torture that ending that existence seems a better choice.
- Feeling irrelevant – All anybody really wants to do is make a difference. When the feeling that it no longer matters what you do or think has any value to anybody becomes pervasive enough it is hard to hold on to a will to live. If a person believes were they gone nobody would be impacted, it is hard to find a way to face even the simplest of struggles in daily life because they feel there is no reason to anymore.
- Physical health – Some social scientists have theorized when a person’s body begins to fail them it is a clear evolutionary sign that it is time to die and that invokes a response in the brain to do that. If that is true or not is open to debate, but when disease, frailty of age, or simply bad luck results in the loss of physical ability, plus the fact this is sometimes combined with very real physical pain, it is seen by many as a sure sign that it is time to give in and die. The loss of health regardless of cause is a reminder of ultimate mortality and then it is becomes more of a question of when and how. Fear and pain added to the natural urge to control one’s own fate make this result in premature death for millions.
- Being a burden – This is when a person feels the cost of others for their own existence is greater their contribution. It may be completely inaccurate or it may be a fact that using a slide rule would have a financial advantage if they were not there, but being a burden and contributing are based on far more than dollars and cents. The intangibles are there, but if a person cannot see them or does not feel them all that is left is the feeling that the people they love would be better off if they were not there and the taking of their life as the last thing they have to offer to make life better for those around them.
- Mental Illness –In nearly all of the above situations some form of mental illness may play a part. Depression and anxiety can certainly result from many of these situations and feelings. The illness then takes on a life of its own and needs to be treated and dealt with. There is however the very real fact that sometimes it is just the mental illness that made a person feel a certain way, or caused them to be in these situations. Since many estimate a full third or even more of people with mental illness never receive any treatment at all it is unsurprising that even the more treatable mental illnesses have a higher mortality rate then some forms of cancer.
If you or somebody you know has ever felt like these situation apply, or maybe feel some of these things now, get help. Even just consider talking to others that do and have felt the same way. It will not solve the problem, and it will not make the problem disappear overnight, but it will be easier to understand. A chance to talk without worrying about what the people listening are thinking because they have felt the same things is a valuable experience.
Knowing others have felt the same way and finding out that there are ways to make the pain stop without dying has value. In the end, people die because it is the only way they can find to stop the pain. If someone is looking for a way to stop the pain and have not found it by themselves, they should talk to a professional. If they cannot or don’t feel ready for that, then try talking to people that understand, are willing to listen, and that will not judge in our community forum and chatrooms.