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Do suicides really want to die?

Discussion in 'Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings' started by Vorpal, Jan 17, 2009.

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  1. Vorpal

    Vorpal Member

    I think even successful suicides are conflicted about dying. Both
    times that I have made a serious attempt, I have gone into it with one
    thought: that I either want to wake up from the attempt to find
    something has changed, or I want to be dead. By the former, I mean
    that I foster some hope that a brush with death will make me value
    life in a new way, or that the attempt will trigger changes in the
    external world -- retrieve me in some way from a situation that I have
    found intolerable. I believe absolutely that these two outcomes have
    existed for me equally: in other words, I am 50/50, equally open to
    one outcome as to another. This is why I do struggle when people claim
    that people who fail at suicide do not want to die. I absolutely did,
    but if I could have found another option that would have changed
    something, I would have embraced it equally.

    I have always thought it interesting that hundreds of years ago, when
    society was less secularized and suicide was still more widely thought
    of as sin, they would bury suicides at crossroads. This was of course
    just to keep them out of graveyards, but it's always seemed to me cruelly
    appropriate that you would be buried in a way that immortalized the
    fact that there were always other choices open to you, other roads to
    ride. 'Decision" shares its etymological root with "crisis" - and at
    the crux (crossroad) of suicide there is both decision and crisis, and
    usually a terrible stuckness, a 50/50 pull between life and death.

    This paradigm, my ability to be equally reconciled to either outcome,
    has shifted for me since these two attempts. Both because I began to
    understand I had more control over how to make my death successful
    i.e. the advent of the internet as a vast source of information on the
    technicalities of self-cessation, and because having made these
    attempts, and other less serious ones, I realized that a brush with
    death was not going to change anything in me or my life, except for
    the worst.

    My new stuckness is because of my knowledge of another
    alternative outcome: I am 50% afraid that my method will leave me
    seriously physically damaged and 50% driven to try to make a success
    of my death regardless. This is actually a less positive paradigm,
    albeit one that makes me less likely to attempt. The fact is I don't
    now hope for anything but death; but I am kept from death by the
    knowledge that I might wake up to something worse. Before I was
    blithely ignorant of the full extent of the latter possibility, which
    left me more ambivalent but more able to accommodate life on different
    terms. Now the different terms have simply become a life lived with
    liver damage or hypoxia, and a seemingly-insumountable fear of both. I
    constantly interrogate myself about whether this fear is just a
    subterfuge disguising a greater fear of death. But I don't feel it is:
    I feel, as before, stuck. I am "buried above ground" (to quote William
    Cowper's "Lines Written in a period of insanity") at some eternal

  2. Asylum Project

    Asylum Project Well-Known Member

    Very interesting post.... I am not sure why some people want to commit suicide... I actually just had a dream last night that I took all my Seroquel pills and just woke up the next day like nothing happened. I think that some people who failed at there attempt in suicide could be for a number of reasons also, such as a rash decision instead of thinking how they are going to do it, they just do it without thinking.... Rash problems sometimes cause for Rash solutions, so a rash solution to the problem they are trying to fix could also be there downfall, for rushing things and not thinking everything through. As for thinking about the after effects if your suicide may fail, it should not matter because if you want to kill yourself, you will try again eventually if you truly want to die, but for some reason you find new value in your life after your suicide is not successful, you would have never had that value or hope to live, if you never tried to end your life in the first place, so the paradox of nostalgia you put yourself in is a absurdity you have to solve for yourself I guess. It seems to me you care about yourself somewhat because you scared of the outcome if it fails, but it really is up to you in the end and if you want to take the risk, but to me you don't seem that suicidal as to you care about yourself to a certain degree. As for suicides be considered a sin and bad I feel that the statement is ones opinion and wrong in the end anyways. You see many people die because life is not worth living, then you see others paradoxically getting killed for ideas or illusions that give them a reason for living, and in that what is called a reason for living is a good reason for dying. Suicides can be protest for one someones ideation or opinion on what the believe anyways. Political suicides happen alot. So to me those that die for a illusion or idea and those that commit suicide is there own emotional inclination and on that scale there of the same weight. I feel like I'm ranting suicide is good, but really Nothing has any value except emotional value. The fact one may want to commit suicide is a lack of emotional value of something they desire that they cannot obtain so I really don't know what else to say at this point.
  3. gentlelady

    gentlelady Staff Alumni

    I think there exists in everyone that little bit of doubt about death because of the unknown about it. I want to die. There is no question in my mind about that. But, if I knew for a fact that I could wake up in the morning and life would be good, things may be different.
  4. astella

    astella Well-Known Member

    That's why the right to die should exist--and not only for the terminally ill.
  5. snowraven

    snowraven Well-Known Member

    I think that in a lot of cases when someone attempts they do really want to die but that is usually because they simply cannot cope anymore. If there were two pills, one that brought death and one that made peoples life happy again and removed all their pain then I think most people would choose the second.
  6. lymeinside

    lymeinside Well-Known Member

    I am suicidal but in all truthfullness I don't want to die, but I don't see any other way out. I want to live and have a good life, and be free of depression and laugh and sing, but I don't see how its possible. It's the hopelessness that makes me suicidal...
  7. pensive1981

    pensive1981 Well-Known Member

    I think it totally depends on the person.

    Some people are very result-oriented with this thing. One attempt is all it takes. And that could be related to whether there is any chance that their problems could be solved or even reduced by waking up after an attempt.

    Some people may feel they have problems where people knowing how extreme they felt would not alter the problem in any way. I think these people (with problems that can't even be affected by a failed attempt) are the most likely to "want to die" or guarantee that end result (even if they don't really "want" to die).
  8. BakerAct

    BakerAct Guest

    Read your post with deep interest and reverberation. I feel compelled to first tell you that although “I” am responding “I” am not always the only aspect of the mind that is in control of the concisenesses and hope that does not cause you to disparage my opinion and comments.

    I am a mental health professional and have an interest in suicidology, mostly due to my own struggle with depression, suicidal ideation and attempts. Research has shown that most people who complete suicide, the preferred terminology amongst professionals, have some ambivalence regarding the outcome. Most do not wish to die, most want to escape intolerable pain and feel death is the only way. Few have thought as deeply as you about it, for most it is an emotional response rather than a philosophical and intellectual process. Many enter what is known as a suicidal fugue, they may temporarily lost contact with reality and behave in ways out of character, but from your post I do not think you have or will do that. I have the distinct impression that should you decide to attempt suicide you will do so with full knowledge that what you do will most probably result in your death.

    The issue you raise of surviving in a physically debilitated state is a very valid one. Just recently a twenty five year old, physically healthy woman overdosed. She had attempted suicide several times previously with no lasting effects. This time however she was not discovered for several hours and spent two weeks in ICU. She was discharged from ICU to our unit but was unable to walk for several weeks after discharge. During her recovery she suffered a stroke which has left her with a speech impediment, only the grossest use of her dominant hand, she must wear a brace on her dominant leg and now has a seizure disorder. It is unknown at this point what if any functioning she will regain. Obviously it could have been much worse but to face life with such impairments, particularly since they were in essence self inflicted is a very bitter pill to swallow. To make matters worse she is extremely intelligent and well aware of how her behavior brought this situation upon her. She was re-admitted to our unit due to increased depression and recurrent suicidal ideation. Exactly your fear, and mine as well. It is this type of outcome that has stayed my hand as well. There is no way to be sure that a suicide method will work regardless of how violent or lethal one may believe it to be. I know because as I mentioned I work in an acute crisis stabilization psychiatric unit and have seen just about every method survived.

    I personally never considered the idea that attempting suicide it would somehow shift an external paradigm. I always expected to die, I never thought I would survive and was very surprised to wake up. I planned it carefully and it was only happenstance that prevented my death, and I should add it was inexplicable that I survived. Medical science cannot explain it except to say that each person is different. The fact that I did not suffer long term effects is equally inexplicable and in that I am extremely fortunate. I cannot say I was quite as fortunate in surviving, my opinion on that depends on the day.

    The irony of interring suicides at crossroads had never occurred to me either but it struck me as quite droll when I read your post. I don’t know if that was the intent of the people who engaged in that practice but it may well have been. I don’t know that prior generations believed as we do that we have choices, I think many were more superstitious and believed in manifest destiny and fate. I am unsure myself of how much of our lives we actually do control and how much choice we really have. As I mentioned I have a dissociative disorder and many of my ‘choices’ are made by parts of my mind that “I” have little or no control over. In fact, the suicide attempts were not “my” choice although “I” am aware of them.

    I believe that suicide is as complex a behavior as humans are capable of and is the most abhorrent which is why most people find it so difficult to talk about. Even among metal health professionals, who surely should know better, people who have attempted suicide or are feeling suicidal are treated as criminals or unworthy of compassion or kindness. It is as if they have committed an unpardonable sin, and I suppose given the Christian flavor of the society in Europe and the USA that makes sense. It does however go against the most basic construct of any living creature, self-destruction is perhaps the most unnatural act possible. I have never spoken to or heard of anyone who wishes to end their life who wishes to do so for any reason other than to end intolerable pain. The reasons for the pain are as varied as the individuals suffering it, lost loves, physical ailments, social alienation, regret, depression, loss of social status, disfigurement, chronic illness, terminal illness, paralysis – and on it goes – the list is literally endless. Sometimes there are ‘surprise’ suicides, a person who seemingly ‘has everything’ will suicide leaving family and friends completely at a loss. I always wonder if that person suffered form an undiagnosed psychiatric illness like bipolar or depression and hid it well. Or, like me is dissociative and may have split off parts of their psyche that suddenly could not bear the thought of living one more day in a fragmented state.

    I don’t know what you were seeking when you posted but it caught my attention and as I said when I started writing it resonated deeply within me. I too am afraid of making an attempt and finding myself maimed but still alive. I however have never considered that making an attempt would somehow improve my life, I find that an unusual idea but realize that for some it has actually happened. I don’t know if that was their intent but some patients have used an attempt to change their lives. A very few have had the amazing experience of family and friends rallying around and being more supportive and thus moving past the crisis and finding new ways of coping.

    I hope that you do not choose to try your new method, it is frightening to think that you may not complete it and find yourself in a situation where you are physically compromised. I fear that I may find myself in that situation although I do my best to guard against it I do not have complete control because if “I” am not present “I” cannot control what “I” do – and “I” can feel anger building as I write so I must stop now. I hope this makes some sort of sense to you – if not I apologize, it has been very interesting to think so deeply about this and I appreciate a new perspective on the subject. Thanks for posting it.
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