If You Want To Die, Tell Others.

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Have you been having any thoughts about wanting to die?

You folks know about these questions I must ask. Some people are offended by them. Many people are grateful. Trisha was guarded.


I asked,

Did you have a plan in mind on how you would kill yourself?

There was a black pause and then,

I’m not sure I want to tell you that.

I could understand your reluctance Trisha but telling me is a good thing. It helps the ideas lose some of their power. It’s no longer as much of an option when you tell someone than it would be if you kept it a secret, I said.


Another black pause and then,

I wanted to use a chain saw.

When it comes to ways of suicide, this one sounded pretty painful.

Ouch! I said to Trisha.

Her response, well, I didn’t expect it.

I hadn’t thought about that! The pain from that would have been nothing compared to the pain I was going through!

Trisha’s words schooled me. I don’t care how many times we talk about the darkness, the hopeless horror and the suffering of some brain illnesses, somehow, I know that I really don’t want to have full knowledge. When having your neck sawed off by your own hands with a chain saw seems like it would feel better than the full body despair, not many others will understand. Trisha wasn’t processing well, true. But the point isn’t her poverty of suicide options. What is the point here. Well, there is one major point to take home and there is a minor. Starting with the minor point – We can’t presume much about others. Moving on…. Major point – Tell people when having thoughts about wanting to die and what those thoughts are. Why? Because it’s friendly to Me. Telling someone isn’t as much about what they’ll do for Me, although once in a while someone may do something right on our behalf. Rather, telling someone is about what the telling process and knowledge of the telling does for Me. It lets us know that we are not alone. We lose some of the magical quality to the suicide plan. It dilutes our conviction to self-harm as a solution.

Question: What else do you think telling someone about thoughts of suicide does for Me? Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip: If you have thoughts of wanting to die, tell others.

30 thoughts on “If You Want To Die, Tell Others.

  1. I really appreciate the way you explain the benefit of telling someone about suicidal thoughts. I’ve never heard it put so poignantly:

    “It helps the ideas lose some of their power.  It’s no longer as much of an option when you tell someone than it would be if you kept it a secret…  It lets us know that we are not alone. We lose some of the magical quality to the suicide plan.  It dilutes our conviction to self-harm as a solution.”

    Thank you. I will share this with my patients.
    Michelle Purvey, Psy.D.

  2. I don’t want to die, I have not ever had thoughts of killing myself. I have had a couple of moments when I wish I were dead, back when I was a teenage and my mother was in one of her phases.

    However for many years of my life, I had planned my funeral. I have never told anyone that. So I am coming out of the closet! : ) I had thought about the music, and what I wanted, and definitely didn’t want.
    And really what say do I have I am gone?! I think it was that I didn’t want others to suffer too much, I would try to have it all done. To not cause problems for others, or (oh here it is) inconvenience them!

    WHO TAUGHT ME I WAS AN INCONVENIENCE?! Who made me believe to little of myself that I would need to plan my funeral to not inconvenience others? Also, I thinking this: I wanted to somehow be able to comfort my children and such from the other side as it were.

    What a ridiculous duality. One thing is for sure, the music – rock classics all based on LOVE, THE BIG LOVE – Jesus Love and family Love, and tons of balloons, and those ridiculous head bands with funny things on springs bouncing around on your head – or hey, balloon hats.

    I by no means mean to be disrespectful about suicide or death. I helped my inlaws almost 3 years ago keep Dad home to die. I washed his body after he died with my mother in law. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life.

    I have had a friend commit suicide after he came to ask me to go another city to pick up christmas gifts for my family. Had I gone would he be dead? I was 17 or 18 at the time. It was hard then too.

    I have had 2 other people come to me in their lives and tell me about committing suicide. They shared their stories. Again I was 19 and around 22 or 23, the last one was my sister.

    My mother tried committing suicide many times when I was a child, alone in the house with her. It was a big house and it was always night time. She had a flare for the dramatics, but, bless her heart of course she would she was so sick. She is very ill to this day. And it saddens me deeply.

    We have had a lot of suicide around us in the media and my best friend’s grown nephew, thank God his brother found him.

    I worry for my own daughter who suffers from depression and we have a conversation a couple of times a year about depression and suicide. Always ensuring her that I would listen to anything she wanted to tell me. I never ask for promises from my children. I think they are sacred, however, that is one promise I did ask my daughter. If she was thinking of suicide that she would think about talking with me or someone who would help her. I watched my dr. ask her the same thing. I pray its just a place she is right now, and the medication will help her, its been a couple of years and she seems easier and more comfortable in her skin.

    She doesn’t want counseling but I am going to get family counseling and she said she would go with me once to try. Some days its exhausting. But, our children are so worth it. I love her dearly.

    My son recently wrote a letter for a school assignment, it was to himself in grade 12 (he’s just entered grade 8). His last line went something like this “and to remember I matter and I am always loved.” I cried when I read that. Because if I was able to teach my children only one thing that would have been it, and its what I am most proudest of as a mother – that I taught my children that they were LOVED.

    So, for those who contemplate suicide I hope that some where in there they know that they are loved and they matter. Because I have seen serious mental illness in my mother and myself and minor in my daughter and knowing I am loved by my husband and children really has helped me.

    And today I will love You!



  3. As we were getting off a ride in Disneyland once, the “guide” thanked us for joining him and then reminded us to have a good day and “remember, wherever you go, YOU are there!”. It was supposed to be funny – and it was until I was in the midst of a mental breakdown. Getting away from YOU, getting away from your brain and your thoughts, is impossible and the pain of trying – or the pain of the thoughts themselves – is enough to make you want to die. I did and I had it planned. And I kept telling my husband that I didn’t want to live anymore and that I was going to kill myself, until one night he got fed up with the threats (He’s an incredibly gentle and patient man and “fed up” means that he sighed, deeply!) so he said, “Okay, tell me what you need to kill yourself and I’ll get it, but, while I’m doing that, you call the kids and tell them why you’re doing this.” I was so shocked that I came rather quickly back to whatever reality was then and put away the suicidal thoughts for the night, but his request stuck with me. What telling him about my thoughts did for Me was to remind me of what I would do to my family (although, at the time, I actually thought I’d be doing them a favor!) but, more important for Me, what I would miss if I ended my life right then. And, oh my, what I would have missed over the last fifteen or more years!!! And how grateful I am, continually, for my husband’s thought-full – ness!

  4. I have had no problem telling people I want to die. I’m now more hesitant to tell certain people, as it has led to unwelcome hospitalization (I know, who would’ve thought? I never saw that one coming [w/sarcastic smirk]) and even contributed to the loss of a job. But generally, I feel so flat about it emotionally, it doesn’t seem like a big deal to me. I can, without fear or sadness, tell you the two or three detailed plans I have (all of which require careful planning and materials I don’t currently have) without flinching or hesitating in the least. It’s all so straightforward and neutral for me. Most of the time, I am sticking to a 10-year timeframe, giving myself time to wrap some things up and, frankly, time to discover a Desire to Live, which I would consider the best of all possible endings to the story. The temporal distance makes it easier to talk about. As I get closer to the deadline, if I still feel the same, I will probably not speak of it to anyone for the last several months at least.

    • Thank u for your story. I grieve your ongoing suffering. I celebrate your voice connecting us. I’ll never forget what u said in your blog, Psyches Flashlight about why u r still alive. U give me a lot w the presence of those memories. Knowing u r living for what u want to live for is beautiful in it’s complex simplicity.
      The last of your comment here is scary though. What does it give u by way of friendship when u tell u? I can think of some friendly things but your voice, mm, please share. Keep on

      • Not sure what you’re asking. Hope is so subjective, as is Purpose, etc. There is no objective reason to live, only subjective connections, faith, love, all these things that at times cannot be felt and so do not exist. In my experience, anyway. My meaning-making apparati have been on the fritz for decades, now. Wanting to die is practically a way of life for me, and as I have destroyed by argument every objective reason to live a hundred times over, and as subjective reasons come and go, and as the weight and size of destructive patterns seem to continually expand like a knot around a wound on a tree despite my efforts over the years, I give in so many times. Today is an exception. I feel like living today. But I know the day is coming when I won’t. And I feel like I know the day is coming when the feeling overwhelms me and I will be done.

        Who knows. Enough of these days when I feel like living, and I might accumulate what I need to live. I’m just tired. And I’m tired of being tired.

        • not understanding what i’m saying, in questions or any form, is all too common. i’m working on it :). thank u for engaging though BDE. any t and every t i hear from u is special. keep talking.
          “meaning-making apparati” is too good. please patent it. if u need an investment partner, i’m your girl.
          i celebrate your days of exception w u.

      • Addiction to drugs and alcohol is the only disease that tells you everything’s alright while its killing you. I suppose suicide is that final attempt to end desperation that has become hopelessly intolerable. In some cultures it may be a matter of honor. In our society it may be a courageous out to end chronic suffering say of cancer and such and the desire to relieve others from taking care of us as our health declines. It may also be a seemingly rational way to join the spirit world. In the case of the slow suicide of substance abuse the subject is usually unaware that he is acting out a death wish. I had suicidal thoughts many years ago. I went to a gun shop and they wanted $600 for a pistol. No way. I was going to use it only once.

    • Thx for speaking up. Your skills of perception r effective n offer much to us.
      For many, we think we tell others about wanting to die for what it will get Me from them. We don’t often consider what it gets me from Me. I’m happy u helped me crystalize that thought better. Fun

  5. I live with suicidal ideation on a weekly basis or daily during bad episodes. The thoughts are part of my life and I am comfortable with them. I have to be vigilant that they don’t get out of control, but I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I didn’t have them, as having suicidal thoughts are part of my life.
    When I feel my live is getting out of control, and the suicidal thoughts become overwhelming, those are the time I choose to go to hospital to get stabilized again. So far this year I’ve been to the hospital twice, last time in April/May. I have noticed that the seasonal changes are a factor in my moods, so I try to be careful during those times.

  6. Pingback: Feel Like I Wanna Die vs Gonna Kill Myself | Spread Information

  7. Whenever I feel suicidal I remember the fact that I’m going to be dead a long time. As bad as the pain is I understand but why rush to get there?

    Life is like pizza or sex, even when it’s bad it’s kinda good.

  8. I have been down tht road so many times and you know what i have learned is over all i cant stop myself really damaging my self i dont take the finale straw that keeps me alive i know what works what doesn’t work i even know what death feels like and i didn’t see any light i was simple gone then i was alive again. They allways say at the hospital im playing a game i suppose i am in a way with my own head i am communicating that i do not make sense of what it is telling me and i am spitting my dummy out at it. And i want to be looked after and want to live again. The best bit i like about it is i get to see a trained doctor who actually does give a dam and that other people do the same as me but just are not that impulsive as me. I had my last session with my therapist the other day and seconded my diagnosis but for once i was happy thakyou to the nhs ian at least he had it in him to tell me what i wanted to know and then answer the questions i wanted answers from as i left him i thought he is right and he does no what he is talking about he just doesn’t want to trigger you. I haven’t been in hospital since my birthday in july progress for now i am in supported accommodation and it is harder than having your own home and does push you quite a bit my future is very much undefined at the moment it borderline there are some of my biggest challenges coming up i know that sometime again i will be in hospital bt what i wold say to everyone is if you do want to die here and now do talk about it dont be ashamed dont theres one little thing i missed out here i was dead for 2 minutes now if i had of been two minutes later with getting help i would be dead now but if i was dead now i would never of seen another happy day and them days are the best

  9. I am SO missing this blog – and SO in need of it. Wish I hadn’t gotten so addicted to it. It’s been a hard thing to lose and I’m finding that I am not taking care of myself as well as I thought I could without having Friendtoyourself to visit for support.

    • hey friend, i haven’t closed this off, just on a parallel path for now.
      perhaps u could start “reviewing” the posts, or organizing them for us better. I’d like to have them “chaptered” better and decrease barriers to use in any way possible. i’d luv your involvement. keep on.

      • I’ll work on that. Glad that you haven’t given it up completely. Recovering from third UTI of this spring so feeling pretty awful at the moment, but when I get this under control…………. (I wonder how often I’ve said that??? :-[ )

  10. Hi, I just found your blog and I can’t wait to read more if it.

    As a long-time patient with depression (possibly bipolar II) among other problems, I’ve not had a good experience with telling people about suicidal thoughts. When I was an adolescent I denied having suicidal thoughts because my parents would be notified.

    Now that I am well into my twenties, I feel more free to tell the truth about my harmful thoughts. Sometimes it seems to me that admitting to suicidal thoughts has changed the care I receive and not for the better.

    I think the problem is that when I was “just” a depressed patient, the goal of my care was to improve my quality of life and my interpersonal skills. But once I admitted to suicidal thinking, the goal of my care became suicide prevention.

    I think that when the main goal is suicide prevention, the improvement of my quality of life (beyond the suicidal threshold) becomes less of a priority. I’m not saying my doctors and therapists are to blame; I understand that they have to prevent suicide at all costs. However, it seems like the goals for my treatment are held to a lower standard and that they are basically just doing “damage control.”

    Am I way off? Is there a better way to interpret my experience? Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

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