Suicide – you don’t really want to die – you just don’t want to hurt so much

© Jorgan Harris. jorganharris.co.za

1. Introduction

To kill yourself is so unnecessary and mistimed. The person killing him/herself not only deprives him or herself of so many opportunities but leaves so much pain, questions and stigma behind.

In an effort to prevent this unnecessary tragedy, I am dividing this article into two parts. First, I will try to get the loved ones of the person who wants to commit suicide to identify the signs of a possible suicide and get them to seek help in time. Secondly, I have written an open letter to the person who feels that there is no hope left, to get them to think again.

For the loved ones of someone who might be thinking of committing suicide, look for the following signs and seek help immediately.

2. Signs of possible suicide:

  • The person is obsessed with death, has a specific plan for killing themselves and has the means, the tools and the determination to see it through.
  • There are several suicide threats, notes or repeated statements about their death and there was a previous suicide attempt. They cannot stop talking about a loved one who committed suicide and seems to be making final preparations, like giving away possessions, setting up a will and sorting out their relationships with others.
  • The person might be trying to find old acquaintances and to say their final good-byes.
  • The sudden resolution to their problems that seems to bring an unnatural calmness, may be an indication that they see suicide as the ideal solution to all their problems.
  • They may have fairly recently suffered a heavy loss, whether through death, divorce or separation or loss of someone very dear to them, like the loss of a pet.
  • The person may have lost their job, experienced a drastic change in their financial security or status or had to suddenly move or change jobs.
  • They experienced serious illness and/or chronic pain.
  • The person shows marked changes in motivation and behaviour and their work and performance has changed.
  • They are frequently late or absent without excuse.
  • There is a noticeable marked decrease in social activities and the person withdraws themselves intentionally from others.
  • The person is not bothered about hobbies or other interests and is aggressive, moody, tense, nervous and restless.
  • Concentration is poor and their thoughts appear scattered.
  • Physical violations and self-inflicted injuries are visible and they are becoming reckless and may abuse drugs or alcohol.
  • There is a definite change in sexual behaviour and the person is not taking care of themselves- there is a lack of interest in personal hygiene and appearance.
  • They will not make future plans.
  • There is a noticeable change in personality and suicidal people often say they hate themselves or make statements that indicate that they feel worthless.
  • The person feels hopeless, helpless, victimised and believes no one appreciates him/her.
  • There are signs of acute depression and life is considered too difficult and painful.
  • They seem to cry easily and find no pleasure in anything.
  • Physical symptoms are evident in the loss of appetite, changes in sleep patterns, permanent tiredness and lack of energy.
  • Unlike a person who impulsively overdoses or cuts him or herself in the spur of the moment, this person has a definite plan on how to do it.
  • Suicide attempts by shooting, gassing or hanging themselves should always be taken more seriously than methods that can be seen as more attention seeking behaviour.
  • Serious attempts are well planned and the person will make sure that they cannot be found, rather than the “cry for help” attempts where the person will ensure they will be found.

If you really want to commit suicide, it is your choice and there is nothing I or anyone else can do to stop you. To commit suicide is certainly your right. Suicide does seem to be a solution. It’s a way to get rid of all your problems. I know you just do not want to hurt so much and I also know that you do not really want to die. There are better solutions.

In a desperate attempt to convince the person who wants to commit suicide otherwise, I published an open letter for them in YOU-magazine. Published below courtesy of YOU-magazine.

3. In closing: Perhaps the idea of suicide is not all negative

You always have choices and you can choose to feel like a victim, or you can choose to seek different outcomes. You always have choices. If you feel you do not have a choice, it’s because you do not use your resources to look further. There is no such thing as failure, just choices and you always have a choice.

Suicide is also a choice, it is a way out, a solution. It cannot be denied. But when you realise that suicide is only one solution but not a good one, is when you will start looking for better solutions.

The existential psychologist, Rollo May, once said the idea of suicide has saved many lives.  It helps you to realise how much control you have over your life; that you could go as far as to end it should you want to. That sudden realisation of how final death causes you to ask the question: “what do I still want to do before I die?” The longer that list becomes, the more answers you have for that question, the more you realise how valuable your time here is.  Faced with the finality of death, you begin to think towards your potential future instead of just living day to day.