The expectations, both from the world and founders themselves, are often impossibly high - afterall there can be only one facebook and one Google. Failure in startups isn't the same as failure in a corporate job. Startups are so much harder that if you make it to the first line of code you've already beat 90% of the people that want to do a startup. If you launch you've beat 99%. If you actually become ramen profitable you're a superstar in my eyes.
The problem of suicide and depression among startup founders is more pronounced than you might think, both because of the high expectations, but also because the founder is the one who needs to always be positive, egg others on, and never show weakness. Often while constantly doubting his (or her) own abilities and chances of success. This is incredibly hard and can end in catastrophe if you don't talk to someone about it. It even happened for a ycombinator company (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=859117).
Remember to enjoy the journey - it's fun, and if you fail you'll be held in extremely high regard amongst fellow entrepreneurs and HN'ers for having tried. Most people just dream, the people that actually try are stars.
If you have any questions, or just want to talk please contact me. My mail is in my profile.
Suicidal ideation is a process starting with falling short of expectations then blaming yourself for the shortfall. You start incorrectly rationalizing reasons why everything is your fault and how nothing can get better. Negativity permeates every thought. Your world breaks down into tiny logical blocks and you rationalize why everything is hopeless.
The only way out is to break the chain of elevating mental isolation and negativity. It's easier to stop it in the nascent stages. Try not to blame yourself. The world is a big place and we have so much to do.
How exactly to do that is the tricky part, though (and not just tricky for individuals, but the subject of much debate in psychiatry). Possibilities include pharmacological intervention, therapy, or some sort of change in circumstances. The latter is a really large set of options, but also poorly understood: there are semi-regular reports of people completely changing outlook after significant changes in circumstances (e.g. changing careers), but it's very hard to come up with rigorous evaluation of the success of that "treatment option", because it's not very easy to run a controlled study, and not always an available option.
A good start might be with the book "Learned Optimism" from Martin Seligman — http://www.amazon.com/Learned-Optimism-Change-Your-Mind/dp/0....
He argues that most depression is just severe learned helplessness caused by your own pessimistic inner explanations of why events happened. He makes a good case for it & suggests techniques to build better explanatory habits. I haven't finished the book yet but so far it's quite compelling.
My won feelings about helplessness learning to play Go parallel feelings if helplessness in my life trying other things where it felt like I had no idea what I was doing and no control over the outcome:
Again, I don’t know if any of this is helpful when someone is at the point of contemplating ending their own life.
Just because most of us can accept failure as a part of founding a company and doing business in a capitalist system, that does not necessarily mean those around us have the same tolerances or understanding. It is within that context, and the pressures applied on entrepreneurs by external influences, that most feel suicide is the only way out when they fail or feel they are on the brink of failure.
While none of the start-ups I've been involved with as a co-founder, or first dozen employees, have been personally successful financially, I have enjoyed the experiences, learnt from them and I can even have a sense of humour about the situation when things go wrong. I can't say the same for all of my colleagues who have lost spouses, family separation, second businesses or incurred costs & significant family disruption because we had relocated to another country and the business failed soon after we arrived. As a (now) non-drinker, I've sat with them in bars or a park as they drowned their pains in alcohol, and wondered if there is something I can say that would brighten them up, help them out and make them want to live until at least the next afternoon, when we have to start over again on the road to recovery. Usually its finding a new project for them to work on or being able to spend time with their family in a more relaxed environment (neither are always readily available).
My failures with start-ups, while disappointing, are among the least of the problems I've faced in my life. So far its been relatively easy for me to deal with it. Watching my colleagues for signs they aren't able to cope with the situation has been a task that I maintain, to help my friends and our businesses, but also to make sure I don't also accidently fall into the same trap.
One of my big realizations in my life was that all the crap I had gone through, from the bullying in grade school to being assaulted by a street gang, to being the victim of some pretty serious domestic violence at the hands of a very violent girlfriend had enriched my life in ways I could no longer describe, and that I am a stronger person who sees the world in ways that others often can't for having gone through them. I haven't ever had the luxury of ignoring the necessity for self-improvement, and therefore I am a better person for having gone through it all.
I try to teach my kids that failure is an event, never a person, and that it is a necessary stage on the road to success.
This post suggests to me that maybe it's not such a great idea after all.
But I think the hardest problem we all founders face is to find the person who can share the views and motivate the right way. Most of the time, someone consoling would also be irritating, you just want to crib (mostly) and you will get over it and start working the next day.
It is almost ironically, sometimes, you just know what you want to hear and you are just waiting for someone to come and tell that so that you are fine.
The problem is not able to comprehend how everything would turn out as there would be tens of big and small issues at hand any given day and getting clarity is a big part of not feeling negative.
I have been fighting with all the bad vibes in office offlate and it is terrible especially as a single founder with a 7 ppl team. We haven't launched our product - it has been 1 year since our first engineer. It is already negative as you don't have anything out there and now you put in pressure things are going to break worse, ppl don't want to put in extra hours. It is hard to pump in positive energy. Fearing I will give feedback wrong way or push people too hard at this time I became reclusive. Few people own up, leaving them on their own track helps but it is almost a problem as you got to pull it off as a team and for that I have to speak up, bring them together with lots of energy. It is a hard time right now.
Hoping the system copes.
"He stood watching the approaching locomotive, his teeth chattering, his lips drawn away from them in a frightened smile; once or twice he glanced nervously sidewise, as though he were being watched. When the right moment came, he jumped. As he fell, the folly of his haste occurred to him with merciless clearness, the vastness of what he had left undone. There flashed through his brain, clearer than ever before, the blue of Adriatic water, the yellow of Algerian sands."
Think about the "vastness of things left undone": Have you chatted with a homeless person in winter? Have you read Anna Karenina? Have you watched The Kid? Have you traveled to a foreign city and got completely lost? Have you held the hand of a starving child in Somalia or at least looked at a picture of her and wept? Have you written a letter to Santa? Have you kissed every (and I mean every) square inch of a woman's body? Have you sneaked in and slept among the ruins at Machu Picchu? Have you fallen in love with a woman who's monolingual in a language you don't speak? Have you tried to understand general theory of relativity? Have you tried to explain GTR to a bright 9-year-old kid over coco?
I could go on. These are all the things that come to mind that I haven't done. One day I plan to do at least some of them. Think about this.
I made a pact with myself when I was miserable in high-school and my most suicidal, that I would give life a chance and see if things got better as I did more and more things I'd dreamed about and that people told me were worth living for as you've done now. If I did those things and was still unhappy, I felt I should be justified in ending my own life having given it fair chance.
Well, there was a moment, I rememember it in detail, where I was hang-gliding near Interlaken in Switzerland. A man near me said something to the order of "this is the time of our lives, huh!" And I realized then that not only was I still quite unhappy in this most excellent of situations, but that I still wanted to kill myself and indeed had never stopped wanting to kill myself. Not at the Louvre, not in Tokyo, not when succeeding financially, romantically, or in academics.
There was a quote in the Brother's Karmazov which has always troubled me, though I can't find it at the moment, when Alyosha tells a child that he "will always be an unhappy man" and the child says he knows. I believe myself to be fundamentally broken somehow genetically, and I feel that I no longer have any rational reason to expect to ever feel content as a person or free of the suicidal impulse. I will always be an unhappy man.
I can only assume there are others like me in this realization, and to them your words will seem hollow, cliche, and unrelatably foreign. To them what you've said is no different from "but you have so much to live for"- they know that and it doesn't matter. If such a person is out there and is now reading this, all I can say is, well, me too. I keep going somehow, who knows how or why, and I guess all things considered sometimes it really isn't so bad. If I can't ever silence the demons telling me to end it all, I can at least make noise somewhere else that they don't seem so loud. Not a happy result by most measures, but that's the way it is.
I've come to realise this quite strongly myself over the years as various things succeeded/failed, that what I thought would help it didn't, and that all that helps is to face the depression and actively find ways to fight it. I've found schema-based therapy very effective, for example.
I really hope you find a way to resolve these issues, or at least ways of making it better.
If you want to talk (hope this doesn't sound awfully patronising) you can find my email address in my profile.
Telling someone they can think themselves or "figure themselves out" to not being homosexual, schizophrenic or transgender seems crazy to many people, but not crazy when we say the same about depression. Pushing "think about it more! sort our your life!" as The Solution can be dangerous in the case where deferring more radical treatment is necessary or prudent, and the mentality that "I can think/will my way out of this" is a frequent excuse or cause for noncompliance with medication in some patients who actually do need it to not be a danger to themselves, or others.
I'm not implying the poster is such a case, or that such treatment shouldn't be tried, but it can and will fail in certain cases, and it's easy for others and the patient to justify "well I just need to try harder" or to push blame when that's deferring necessary treatment.
Although you're probably right, it's also dangerous to promote that viewpoint. A depressed person accepting themselves as inevitably and irreversibly depressed is not productive, even if that's the case. It's not analogous to being gay where you can accept it and live a happy life.
I suppose accepting that you're permanently depressed could help you cope with it, but I'd be scared of having people assume thats the case before exhausting all other options.
To clarify, I put those (schizophrenia, homosexuality, transgender) as examples of brain structure and wiring (just like clinical depression) and mentioned homosexuality explicitly because it seems less stigmatized than mental illness currently. A gay person can accept being gay and live a happy life, but they can't think themselves into being straight if they try hard enough. An individual diagnosed with major depressive disorder can accept they are clinically depressed and require treatment, then take the treatment and live a happy life, but they can't think themselves into not requiring outside aid to be in a non-depressed state. Society is a lot more accepting of the gay person than the depressed one though.
Of course medication/therapy/even acceptance of a chemical imbalance are not off the table at all.
A big problem with depression is that it makes you feel very guilty, unnecessarily, so I really want to make clear that I didn't want to imply somebody should feel that it's somehow their fault at all.
In many ways a large part of it is getting outside help. I really do recommend that, and have found that extremely helpful myself.
Its easy to hide. Most the people in my life don't know. You can vaporize to minimize the health effects (also bad breath). If you do it regularly enough the cognitive deficit is less severe. Mostly just occasional memory loss. Again, nothing that you seem to care about anyway.
Your years are 120 or less, and then the universe will reclaim you as its own. For the universe, the span of your life should have been not even the fluttering of an eyelash before a blink. From a cosmic perspective, the existence of our whole galaxy was set to be one giant quantum fluctuation - the birth and death of a mere grain of matter, falling from one eon to another.
But then something incredible, something unexplainable, happened. Inanimate matter came forth from the deep waters. It grew legs, it started to paint on cave walls, not yet aware of the implications of what it was doing. (Have you ever wondered - of all the things the most significant cluster of particles in the whole universe could do, why would they choose to paint?) We started to reproduce. We started to communicate, to love, to build, to live! There is nothing else like us in the vast cosmos, and there may never be again.
The Milky Way should have be one passing glow of light, but somehow this humble galaxy became greater than the remainder of creation. The wondrous flash of light as our galaxy passes through existence will be most glorious moment that the universe ever experiences. You alone - a lonely sentient creature - would be that blinding flash of light even if the rest of us had never existed. The wonder of you, even as you contemplated an end to your solitary existence, would fill space long after every sun died and time itself drew to an end. In such a universe, you alone would have been notable. The fact of your existence is more incredible than the largest sun or the most massive black hole. Your glory - the glory of us all - will fill the universe forever, a single proud memory in the vast emptiness of space.
We tend to take our existence for granted, but it is an incredible fact - a miracle which all the religions on Earth were born, or given to us, in order to explain. Who would have thought? Who could have guessed that this tiny backwater planet on a spiral arm of the Milky Way would end up defining the vast cosmos forever?
Now, here is the important part: All the dead matter in the cosmos - every particle of the sun, the galaxy, and the vast everything - would give it up to be you. Sagittarius A* would disappear in an instant, if it could change places. It would give 13.2 billion years of existence for your measly 120 years of life.
Your life, unfortunately, will some day draw to an end. You know that, your atoms know that. Perhaps you are tempted to end it earlier, but no mistake could be more grave. I know not what you believe, but even if there is heaven or hell, there wont be anything like now. Let your atoms live. They have eternity itself to be inanimate.
A handful of misfiring neurons has no right to bring you to an end. The world is blinding. If your neurons can't see, you must do everything you can to fix them. Depression has easy medical fixes. Being treated for depression, fixing such a tiny flaw, may be the hardest challenge you ever face - but it is minor in the grand perspective.
Lastly, I leave the cosmos behind and appeal to you. Whoever you are, however you came into existence, and no matter what your purpose is, you are capable of understanding deep philosophical arguments and complex equations. I have none of that for you, merely a saying often heard on HN or in rejection therapy groups: Never say no. Ask yourself what is necessary to make life worth it. If you need a vacation to Hawaii to make life enjoyable again, take the next plane to Hawaii. If you cannot live in a meaningless world, leave for the mountains of India, where you may seek enlightenment in silence among fellow travelers in the sanctity of a Buddhist monastery. The parent posts' comment on marijuana is right on, but free will can do more than justify life - it can make it as brilliant and wonderful as you desire. The universe envies your ability to choose.
Before I end, I want to point out that all of you left comments here instead of suffering in silence. You are already ahead of the game. You can email me at email@example.com anytime. If you email me or call me on Skype, you would be helping me take a break from schoolwork to discuss philosophy. If you're in Israel, I would love to meet a fellow HNer in person.
You are brilliant. You are incredible. No matter your flaws, your crimes, your inabilities, I would kiss you. I would hug you. I would bring you into my house and eat with you, only to hear you speak, to hear your stories and your laugh. It may not always feel so, but you are a wonderful, beautiful creature. Love yourself, so that we may too.
I used to suffer from depression - including suicidal thoughts starting in middle school up through high school. I used to abuse drugs to escape for a couple hours at a time every day. After a near death experience while tripping on a high dose of dextromethorphan, I realized I needed to talk to someone. I spoke to my parents, who put me in rehab. There I met a man who spoke much like you did. He didn't tell me I needed to stop doing drugs, or tell me that I needed to live. He didn't He gave me his impression, a glimpse, into what he felt like living in this universe. He had a minor in physics and would explain to me in detail how everything worked - how lucky we are to be alive. It worked. I wake up each day realizing how lucky I am to be in existence, how all of us are lucky to be in existence. I appreciate everything in life, whether its good or bad, because I understand, to some degree, we are all a lucky arrangement of atoms and when we die our atoms move on to someone or something else.
Cheer's to you good sir!
On the other side, I've almost if not completely become an atheist at one point, and even then I realized that suicide was too final a choice for how little I knew about reality. In fact, atheism also consoled me, in that the thought that nothing lay beyond death meant I needn't fear death, nor anything in life, at least rationally (instinctual fear remains).
Finally, starting from an atheist perspective, that I didn't need to fear life, I realized I was searching for something that I haven't found yet, and that is a large part of why I've felt bad. Suicide again was too final and inadequate an answer to that desire inside of me. My desire and ignorance of reality give me hope I will find what I am seeking, and even the seeking is fulfilling to a degree.
However there are other big factors which you can partially control. You've probably already discovered some of them.
I think you would like the book because Seligman recognizes the fundamental difficulty of the problem. As you may have guessed, Seligman himself is predisposed to unhappiness.
> I've done a large subset of the "things I'd like to do before I die"
At least you have a concept of the things you like, somehow.
I was at the Grand Canyon a few summers ago and I just sat on the edge out past where the fences are where only a few sad kids dare to go. I'd be lying if I said I didn't think at least a few times about jumping, even if it was the most beautiful place I'd ever seen. I felt like the canyon itself was a metaphor for my life in a way; huge, full of possibility, complex, but still far from inhabitable.
The helicopter ride just before that was crazy fun, though. It was something like $240 and it was worth every penny (I was making about $140 a week at the time working in retail). I can't put into words how it felt to have my first view of the canyon be from inside a flimsy carbon fiber helicopter that was trying to tear itself apart going over the edge of the canyon at what felt like a 90* angle and jumping from ~200ft above the national forest to about a mile up above the canyon floor. I highly recommend it, if you ever have the chance.
For the curious:
Before you dip in: http://pics.seanp2k.com/phx/DCP_5441+%28Large%29_exposure.JP... & http://pics.seanp2k.com/phx/DCP_5430+%28Large%29_exposure.JP...
During: http://pics.seanp2k.com/phx/DCP_5495+%28Large%29_exposure.JP... & http://pics.seanp2k.com/phx/DCP_5496+%28Large%29_exposure.JP...
After: http://pics.seanp2k.com/phx/DCP_5578+%28Large%29_exposure.JP... & http://pics.seanp2k.com/phx/DCP_5545+%28Large%29_exposure.JP...
I figure that there will be more moments in the future like that too, and I guess that's what I live for, just to see everything there is to see. My 9 day for-no-real-reason-with-nothing-planned vacation to San Francisco was also great, and I met more awesome people DOING STUFF there in a week than I have here (Detroit/Metro area, Michigan) in years, which is why I'm moving out there in a few months.
I probably have many more stories about majestic woods that I've biked and hiked through, hidden passages on rivers in a kayak, etc. but what I'm getting at is that life is an adventure, so go explore, because the worst thing you can do is live a boring life and die old without having done anything (risky|exciting|challenging|scary). Talk to the girl. Go to that party even though you're already in bed. Apply for that perfect long-shot work-from-home job. The worst failure is not even trying.
And I know how hard trying is.
But the problem with serious depression is that you lose interest in even the things you used to love, let alone things you could love. You find it hard to find meaning in even the most meaningful things. The things you have done become meaningless. The things you could do in the future don't even cross your mind.
You become horribly short-sighted and pessimistic. The key is regaining a fair perspective on life, which is on par with "finding meaning" -- something many spend their whole life trying to do. It's no easy quest. There's no easy answer.
I'm never sure what to say to friends who are depressed, besides what's cliche.
It happened to me in the past, I felt lost, now I'm happy again with my new partner. Time is an important factor, don't be impatient, and focus again on yourself for a while.
I've also left suicide as an option open, but I've got one plan ahead of that which is just to stand up and walk away, loose ends untied.
My point is, the meaning that most people take for granted from an intimate relationship with someone, for me personally, has died. I'm no longer willing to sacrifice so much for someone else, because it took so much from everyday since. The trauma steals your life because your mind simply isn't capable of thinking of anything else anymore.
The conflict of loving someone and at the same time hating that part of them that destroyed you, is a paradox that makes it impossible to be blind to the reality that you can no longer trust anyone with your life.
I'll be glad to get out of this heartless country and back into the sunshine, where people have the balls to speak their mind and call a bastard a bastard, and a bitch a bitch.
It is sad to have lost so much. And I know people have been through much worse, and right now there are other people that are going through ten kinds of hell, and I can even understand them a little.
When the pain was really bad, one thing that I thought I could really understand well and empathise with was a parent that loses his or her child. You can't understand what it's like unless you go through it yourself. And the reality is, that that sort of trauma changes everything. Who you are diverges so much that it's impossible to merge back into the main line. You're completely forked.
Looks like you are already feeling better. From the other comment, I came to know that you have managed to get over the dependency. So now hopefully, it should only get better. But even the journey to recovery has its down days.
Turns out I'm a fighter, and I intend to make it, but when things go down far enough, you just never know, because things feel bad enough that it becomes a serious consideration. Right now, it's not an option. I know that I'll quit my job and flat next month, and head back home 4 months later (everything has 3 months notice in this country).
Yes you are a fighter, as you have chosen to. Give a good fight. And please remember (as you already know) that a big component of these kinds of fights is test of your patience. God willing, you will win.
And please remember that you are not alone. There are others perhaps facing pains similar to what you are facing. And there are a whole lot of _good_ people who care, for goodness sake.
This is a good insight. At some point you manage to carry on despite all the bad feelings, and you're simply dragging yourself through the last bit of crap that's holding you back. I recognise that my patience is limited, so I've set myself a goal that I can attain before it runs out (getting out of here and back to a sunny country).
It's frustrating to know that many people said, while I was going through the worst of it, that going back to Australia, back home, would be running away from my problems. One thing I learnt during it all was that everyone gives different advice. You're so vulerable, and no matter what people say, you often follow it. It took me at least one year, if not two, to not take advice too seriously, except that which I gave myself. It's nice to get some control back, even though the things I can't control (my thoughts and feelings) still make life difficult.
It's been good to just vent a little even if it's to strangers and in public, though mostly anonymous.
What I find difficult is that I don't really know many people that are willing to simply listen.
Mostly people brush off how you are feeling with "everything heals with time", but all you need is "yes, you're feeling absolutely rotten right now. I understand." It's the people that really can relate that stop ignoring you're current situation, as if it didn't matter because something better will be there eventually.
So much more to vent, but I'll save it for someone else :)
Home stretch. Just 2.5 more weeks, and I can quit my job and then the rest is just logistics.
As for killing myself, to cause her pain. It just doesn't work, because I don't get to see what effect it has. And she'll get over it far too quickly, anyway.
Consider it a Christmas gift (because I have so far mostly tried to keep this off HN -- I really don't need 500 men hitting on me). However, I have added a donate button and I have a t-shirt in mind I want to create. Given my current situation (which I know you know about since you replied here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3350035), any suggestions on how to monetize it are welcome. I think it's a good read. I'm not asking for charity (if you get value out of reading it and donate, hey, that's not charity. Comics do that all the time). I just historically have never managed to get much monetary value back for what I put out there and I would like to change that.
Peace and happy holidays. I'm going to go to work now.
I hope you enjoy the blog and I hope it helps you get through this.
Logging off now as my shift is starting. I don't typically post from work.
EDIT: I appreciate your background, and also that you offered the blog in good faith.
Remember that you have all the options in the world. If life is only be worth living with a fresh start, sell your apartment, take one suitcase, and travel to Paris or London or Australia. Your life is yours to do what you wish, not what others expect. Live in whatever way makes life worthwhile.
If you ever want someone to talk to, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can probably host you for a night if you need to crash in Israel.
One of the important lessons I learnt growing up in Australia was that you have to be there for your mates, even if you have to put your body on the line. I've seen what can happen when you don't and I'll never allow that again, if I can help it.
> Living in a country where there is no apparent social
> consequence for adultery has pushed me to the point
> where I don't want anything to do with what marriage
> or relationships represent.
Also, do I want to find out twenty years later that I raised the child of another man? No, I don't.
Thirdly, getting blood tests that may turn out positive through no fault of my own is down right fucked up.
And fourthly, it fucking hurts to be betrayed like that, regardless of how you judge the morals.
Why is rape bad? Not because sex is bad, or forcing someone else to do something might be considered bad (parents force their children to do things all the time), but because it fucks the victim up. Cause and effect.
Through observation it's easy to see that a person experiences extreme pain through the infidelity of his partner. Maybe some don't feel a thing, but I did.
What frustrates me is that people see another causing this damage to another, and they don't give a shit. That's the crux of my problem. Complete and utter apathy for the suffering of another human being. Simply another form of complicity.
I don't have any good advice, I can tell you a couple of things that I'm currently doing that sort of help me go through this pit of despair.
First of all, I'm trying to leave my past life behind me, that is I try to connect with my future ex wife and her parents and friends as little as possible, and when I do I do it only for "administrative" reasons (like collecting my books from our apartment and stuff like that).
Second, and I don't know if this applies to you, I'm lucky enough to have smart co-workers who kind of understand what I'm going through and they always try to cheer me up. That makes me feel guilty about displaying my depression at work, so that for the duration of the 8-9 hours of daily work I try my best to be a normal human being, reacting to jokes, small chatter during the cigarettes break etc. I don't know if medically speaking this is the best take on the situation, but at least I get to "cheat" on that feeling of emptiness for around a third of the day.
Third (even though I think the counting doesn't matter anymore), I've tried to set up some tasks for me to accomplish in the near and medium term. For example for the upcoming holidays I plan to finish one of my personal projects which would be of really valuable help for at least a dozen of people, and during the winter months I plan to put enough money on the side to buy me a VW second-hand van, so that I'll go around the country when summer comes.
And last, before this becomes too awkward of an answer, I've given myself "proud-of-myself" points for not opening that wine bottle that has been sitting on the kitchen table for 2 months, since I moved out of my former apartment. Maybe you can find something similar to cheer you up and make you feeling proud of yourself, it doesn't have to be big.
Hang in there!
If you like literature, it might help to try to view your situation as the hero's journey.
Find some things that give you comfort, and just hang in there. For me, it was music that got me through the dark days.
Immerse yourself, escape for small amounts of time, and find things to sustain you -- mentally, emotionally, physically. Reach out to your family and/or friends. Just endure any way you can, and you will come out on the other side of this.
if you live in SF, i'd love to take you out for a drink; sometimes the simple pleasures (a drink, a toke) and a complete stranger to talk with can help..
I've thought about suicide in my past, but since then have lost friends to suicide and other senseless reasons. I know somehow now that it is definitely not The Way, regardless of remaining responsibilities.
There is just too much awesome shit in the world to leave early, and suicide is a decision that will prevent you from realizing that forever.
It sounds like you could use someone to talk to. Catch me on Skype any time, my account is "alandipert". Or e-mail/Jabber me at email@example.com.
Instead of saying "good luck," I will say: I don't know you, but I care about you, and would hate to know you went this way. Talk to someone you trust, or me, if you feel it coming on. It's not worth it.
Also, Reddit Suicide Watch was helpful to me: http://www.reddit.com/r/suicidewatch
I've struggled at work for two years, just trying to survive. Days go by where I'm totally useless and am unable to produce anything (days add up to months, etc). It's an added stress knowing that the personal problems you are having might lose you your job if you don't somehow fight and pull through.
I'm fortunate that I have the option, which I intend to use, of in a reasonably short amount of time (3-4 months), can cancel everything and leave the country to return back home.
I've also recognised the things I enjoy doing, even if I'm incapable of doing them at the moment, I'm fighting for the day when I'll be free of the mindfuck going on right now, and will be able to focus on those things again.
If it ever gets moments before killing myself again, I'm going to buy a plane ticket back home with my credit card, and leave everything behind. I'll face the consequences later when I'm mentally healthy again. Right now, I'm fighting through those things that I need to do, so that I can leave without too many loose ends. I can't tie them all up, but most.
On the personal side, I can just say this. I have been through horrific times in my life. I will say that I have always found that I have come out of these things changed, more confident, stronger, but with some submerged baggage that has had to be dealt with. Not only will you get through it, but if you keep your eyes open for opportunities, ways will open for you when you most need them, and you will come out a stronger, perhaps even happier, person as a result.
Get a change of scenery. Do something you've never done before or have always wanted to. Remind yourself why you're alive. I promise there's more than a few excellent reasons to stay here (as in alive). You just lost sight of them, that's all.
Edit: I'd like to add that divorce is very close to the top of the most stressful events a person can ever experience and I think it even trumps a death in the family if I remember right. It's normal for you to feel so defeated because of this but always remember that this bad state is not permanent.
3) take a break and go to hawaii or some place you like and have some fun with family and friends.
4) start dating. have fun.
5) if it becomes worse pls. seek professional help.
You can't shove detached, inexperienced logic in the face of someone with temporarily broken brain chemistry.
For a more thorough understanding see http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb4345/is_7_32/ai_n291...
Explaining the temporary condition can help so people know they aren't alone (knowing you are one of millions who have had the same exact thought processes is a wake up call).
Mentioning the processes can be caused by certain foods and medications in some people seems like a good idea too. ("Feeling suicidal? Did you just eat twelve pancakes with half a gallon of syrup? All the sugars have screwed you up for a while. Sleep it off. Did you just start a new antibiotic and now you want to jump off a bridge? Sleep it off. Call your doctor to get different meds. Your brain will reset.")
For me, two things help: reminding myself nothing matters as much as I think it matters and setting a medium-term goal. Our decisions can be anything and it's fine. The world--universe--is a big place. Take risks. Nothing worthwhile is judging you. So, build something new. Meet people. If you make a fool of yourself, it doesn't matter at all. Let other people wonder why you're impervious to their hostility. You've seen the truth. In the grand scheme of things, we can't even be seen: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubble_Deep_Field
The world is yours to do with as you please. Take advantage of it.
Having been in your situation, the things I found helpful for a quick fix were exercise and food. It doesn't matter how much or what. If I am in a slump and feeling like it is all too much I force myself to do some exercise. A chin-up, a push-up, go for a run or a swim. If I am feeling really bad I will make myself do one push-up, on my knees. or just kneel on the floor and do a negative repetition. That's usually enough to get me started on doing something. Then I will go and eat some food. Or more likely, go to the shops and buy some food to cook. Then eat something. For me doing a little bit of exercise and then eating often makes enough of a difference that my misery is manageable.
There is some evidence that exercise is helpful for others in dealing with depression, e.g.  (A review paper) Anecdotally, this seems particularly the case if you are at all ADHD.
Long term I agree with all the other posts pointing out that seeking professional treatment is the best option. The pride factor was a huge problem for me and still is. I treat it like research. Psychiatrists and Psychologists, are experts in there field who I pay to explain options for treatment an methods for assessment and monitoring. Thankfully this has only happened once, but if they can't explain the different options and why the course of action they recommend is the best I find a different doctor.
My biggest mistake was postponing the decision to talk to somebody for several months out of false pride, thinking I'm able to handle it myself.
Problem here is that when you finally meet someone to chat with, you're probably way too desperate to get that feeling that someone cares about you. It might be hard not to talk only about your self. That's how it goes for me at least. And people smell that despair far away. My advice is: remember to force yourself to ask questions when you chat.
Internet relay chat is good place to rehearse social interaction, but it's bad supplement in the long run.
I'm not an expert, but try going to a public place, maybe a museum where you'll be forced to interact at least with the ticket guy. Or even a mall, and maybe ask some questions about some product ("does it come in blue?"). I'm not saying it's a solution, but it might get you an encouraging quick fix for some human interaction, to give you some energy to do other stuff.
- Journalism codes for reporting on matters related to suicide: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copycat_suicide#Journalism_code...
- Social proof model for explaining copycat suicides: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copycat_suicide#Social_proof_mo...
- Cialdini's book, Influence: the psychology of persuasion, references some scientific studies on this subject: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copycat_suicide#cite_note-isbn0...
Bottom line: If you have suicidal thoughts, you should consult a psychologist. They have experience helping professionals fix their own brain chemistry.
Since this is posted here I'll assume highly intelligent but depressed people are the target audience. Do we know that methods used at hotlines work on all categories of people equally?
When I was in high school several decades ago I knew a girl that had seriously attempted it a few times. One day I brainstormed with her on more interesting ways she could do it. Some quite flamboyant, which required drawing diagrams. I got in trouble for having this discussion with her. But she stopped trying and later told me it was because the conversation she had with me was the first time someone had really heard her talking and treated her as an individual rather than just try to stop her from being depressed because depression makes the fake happiness society uncomfortable.
A depressed person faces not only the pressures of their own mind distorting their own reality, of their own feelings seemingly working against them and altering their behaviour; they face the pressure of friends and family who don't or can't understand what on earth it is they're suffering.
The more people can understand this and take it seriously, the (marginally) less difficult it will be for depressed people to seek help and not feel ashamed of suffering a 'mental illness'. And I know as far as my own experiences go, I wouldn't wish depression on my worst enemy.
Invite a couple of extra people to your New Year's Eve party whom you might not have thought of inviting, and you might do more good than you think.
It's also worth mentioning that being alone is perfectly fine, but when people become lonely, it's something that needs to be addressed. It's all a state of mind, after all.
A cursory examination will likely not demonstrate loneliness. If I am lonely, then I will be happy when I'm in the presence of any of my friends, and so I'll appear happy and just fine to them. I'll even feel happy, in case they ask me how I am. Loneliness is thus peculiarly difficult to diagnose except deliberately.
[I suppose that once you know this, you might try to detect loneliness as "being really happy to see you" or something. Obviously you might find false positives (being happy for other reasons), or false negatives (if they don't feel you're a very close friend). Still, it's a starting point.
The cure, of course, is to continue to be with your friend for as long as he wants (to the degree possible), let him interact with you, and encourage him to share his feelings and his doings with you. (But no pressure. Encouragement is a friend who's happy to be with you and happy to hear anything you have to say without giving unasked-for criticism, not one who asks you hard questions like "How are you?" Such a question can be helpful to establish that you're interested or willing to listen, but it can also be difficult and annoying to answer, so don't press if he stumbles on it.)
This is kind of a natural resolution, isn't it? I've said that, in response to seeing that your friend wants to be with you, you should continue to be with your friend; and that you should encourage him to share things that he probably would like to share with you (in a way that isn't unpleasant or difficult). This is kind of "duh, that's how to be a good friend", and "that's how to make good conversation, at least in this situation". But it's probably helpful to have things like this written down; not everyone has figured out or internalized every part of it by himself.]
That's the flipside to your post i think. It's not enough to tell those in despair "don't give up hope". We should reach out and find out how those around us actually are.
"When I'm in a manic phase, I feel as though I am capable of anything and everything. This can be an amazing feeling, but I sometimes get frustrated and angry with people. Ideas flow constantly and quickly, as if my brain is on fast-forward. Everything happening in the world has significance in my life. But when I'm depressed, it's as if I'm completely crushed and living in slow motion. I feel capable of nothing.
because of the mention of the Christmas and New Year holiday season in the post. Any time of year is the wrong time to kill yourself, but according to medical textbooks I have read, the peak danger of completed suicide for most people who live in temperate zones in the Northern Hemisphere is actually May rather than the turn of the Gregorian Calendar year.
The risk factor that peaks in May appears to be related to daylight variation with different seasons. Data from the Southern Hemisphere temperate zones and from the tropics support the hypothesis that sunlight variation is one influence on risk of completed suicide.
But anyway it's good any time of the year to remind people how to get help when they think about harming themselves. Other resources I just turned up during my Web search include
Stay healthy and enjoy the holidays and many years afterward.
(I took antidepressants btw, don't be scared to take pills - they very often help and am convinced they made a difference for me)
So, if you are feeling depressed and learning new things tends to get you excited, consider dropping everything that is bringing you down (I started ignoring my job pretty much and got fired eventually, but it saved my life so I have no regrets), consider learning something new!
I think one important thing for anyone who's struggling to remember is that however you're feeling, it's not permanent. It's temporary. It will change. It might feel like things are never going to get better, but they will. It might feel like you're never going to feel better, but you will. You just have to hold tight to that fact, and trust it, even if it seems impossible. Then, six months or a year or three years from now, you'll be so glad that you hung on.
I recently learned that a former student of mine committed suicide, and I think about him all the time. I wish I could have told him all this while he was alive.
Thanks again for this post.
It looks like the health care reform of 2010 prevents insurance companies from denying you coverage due to pre-existing conditions (starting in 2014): http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2010/0324/Health-care-...
Spoken as someone who knows.
My meta-thought about this is how do you make this proactive instead of passive? If you don't visit raganwald or Facebook, how will you get any encouragement this Christmas season?
I've often thought that some corners of the Internet could benefit from a virtual chaplain who could approach members of their online community if they suspected something was wrong. Or they could be a low threat pre-suicide (or other issue) conversation and make themself very approachable for those moving in that direction to try to steer them onto more healthy directions.
Is this a good idea, or is it just my inner pastor thinking out loud?
What Facebook effort are you referring to?
And your point about it not being easy to tell is very true. This is why the thought about the virtual chaplain. People would hopefully carry enough real-world positive thoughts about chaplains into their virtual dealings to feel comfortable "talking" with an online chaplain. If a community had a designated chaplain, that person would be known to the other members of the community and anyone with issues would be encouraged to have confidential communication with that person. (Chaplains being licensed religious ministers are usually permitted by the law to keep the contents of conversations private ... except in a few very specific cases such as child abuse mandatory reporting situations.)
(I work at Facebook, but am not involved in this feature.)
People who have seriously contemplated know whether or not they are happy and weighed the options. At some point you say screw it. If you have goals or aspirations, dreams and can't achieve them then why keeping doing mediocre crap and be miserable. That is settling for 2nd..3rd etc. among other crap going on in their lives.
I hate people that think they have a right to decide for others what I want to do with my life. Maybe consider the fact that the person weighed available options and that is their choice and hope that they find another route.
That said, if I can offer just a small critique: I always found the sentiment of "Just talk to someone" to be insufficient, because even if other people might understand, sometimes you don't feel like they should have to understand. If I'm too weak to handle my circumstances myself, you'll reason, it would just make me an even worse person if I dumped that burden on somebody else. I think it's important to convey to depressed people that somebody wants to help, because that isn't necessarily obvious when even you don't like you.
(Again, I don't mean to bash on raganwald's post by any means. It's just a perspective that I think it's easy to forget when you're not in that mindset.)
In the end, my moral dilemna feels like the “Politician’s Fallacy:”
- Something must be done.
- This is something.
- Therefore we must do it.
But doing the wrong thing is often worse than doing nothing at all.
Your post is CYA advice. It's the socially acceptable least you could do - to encourage talking to a professional. not to imply that you owe more, or practically that you could do more, but...
You want to do something
You are afraid of making it worse
Those constraints lead to a nonpost. Who is adult and hasn't heard of a suicide hotline? Why is financial advice to always spread your investments to minimise catastrophic risk in the conmments of a site encouraging people to go all-in on a startup life? Because its nuance free and safe advice, at worst it can't hurt you for recommending it.
But what else can you do? Shrugs helplessly.
When I was very young, I remember feeling trapped in life. It wasn't a particularly terrible life, but not a particularly great one either. There were times when I just didn't want it. As I got older, I spent a lot of time mildly depressed. There were expectations I couldn't live up to, it seemed my family wanted me to be perfect, and the repercussions for not being so were pretty emotionally damaging. Somehow I internalized this expectation, and it only worsened all of it. There were a lot of things that I didn't know how to do well: make close friends, talk to girls, ask for help. A lot of this was probably BS at first, and in retrospect everyone went through it. I know that for me there was a weird feedback loop tho, reinforced by craziness in my family, where they would push away my friends, and would ridicule me for needing help.
Anyway, all that led to this scenario where I felt even more alone an trapped. As others were working through this stuff, I couldn't figure out how to even start going with it. I wasn't a "forever alone" kind of guy, I stuttered through this stuff, but not in a particularly meaningful way. Not existing sounded amazing. I contemplated it off and on. At one point I had a serious sit-down with myself about the topic of suicide. I went over the pros, the cons, ways to do it, the consequences to others and so on. I decided, this was an option. I also realized, I only get to choose it once.
I found this realization very comforting.
Ever since, I have been slightly annoyed at the "suicide is not the answer" stuff I read. I get pissed at the people who deride it. I hate the people who talk about it as not an option. It is an option, but a pretty drastic one. (Raganwald: I like your stuff usually, but your blog post kind of annoyed me, even tho it's not terrible advice... it just doesn't work for me - nothing personal)
Since this realization, I have gone through some pretty down times. As I mention above, I'm a bit socially/emotionally challenged, and sometimes I just feel like I'm getting nowhere in the world of people. I see them over there doing their thing, and I just don't understand how it works. I occasionally even see them not as people, but the same way I would see a group of dogs or other animals interacting -- I notice their behaviours, I try to figure out WTF it is all about, but I just can't relate. This really bothers me when it happens. Other times I get really down over messing up with people, or not being a top 50 programmer, or not being 4 hr marathoner, or whatever else my perfectionism is going on about. In all these cases, if it's bad enough, I get this thought:
"You can just give up. You can stop existing."
I don't shy away from it, I don't push it down, that seems to make it worse. I'm not scared of it, I welcome it. Like I said above, it is a comforting thought to me. It reminds me I have some power in the world, no matter how fucked up things are at the moment. Afterwards, the next thought comes:
"You only get to do this once. Is this the time?"
And I get to decide if it makes sense. And I only need to decide for today. Do I want to do this today? Sure things are fucked up, but I sure would exit in a pretty shitty situation: things undone, house a mess, porn not properly deleted from the computer, finances not in order, etc. So I won't do it today. Maybe I'll start getting ready to do it. Tomorrow I can decide again.
Sometimes this goes on for a day. Sometimes it goes on for a week. But the very act of contemplating it seems to have a healing power for me. Now that I know I can at least do this, and I'm going to do it right, it reminds me that I can maybe do stuff. Getting ready for it, reminds me more that maybe I'm not so trapped, and there is a path forward, paradoxically getting me to the point where I usually put aside the silliness after a while, with a freshly organized set of life surroundings. Sometimes it's more than a while, but for me, this works.
I'm putting this out here, for the people who are contemplating suicide, and somehow reading these comments. Contemplate away, I won't begrudge you that. I'd like to remind you that this is a one-time deal tho, so if you're going to do it, make sure this is the right answer for you. If you are unsure, wait a while, see what else you can do also - the option doesn't go away, in fact this basic option is the greatest power you have, don't squander it.
Also: after this article leaves the front page, I'm going to delete this post, because while I think it is important, I don't know that having these words public for posterity is a wise decision.
22 years ago I went through a fairly strange time: I was depressed, disconnected, and feeling deeply alone. It culminated in a very violent suicide attempt. Despite all my plans and precautions I was found still alive and hospitalised. Being young and antisocial I never went back to therapy and for a few months afterwards I kept going back to the idea of trying it again.
The turning point for me was realising that suicide was in fact an option. Admittedly a pretty drastic option, but one nonetheless. Neither was it 'the easy way out', or 'for the weak'. Destroying one's own life isn't a spur of the moment decision, similar to deciding which tart one should have for tea, etc. Driven by desperation, or severe pain, it is a momentous decision and the consequences are irreversible - no one who really makes the decision does so lightly.
The understanding that it was an option, gave me a feeling of control. Since it was an option and one that I could take at any time, I had some level of control over my situation. If that was an option, then perhaps there were other options. I decided to explore other options. I haven't been there in 18 years but I still know what it feels like.
We are adults. At your worst times, don't be intimidated by ignorant misconceptions about suicide. It is your mind, you have the right to explore it, and you have the right to make whatever decision you feel is correct for you. Just remember that if there is one way of resolving an issue there may just be another way, one that is less violent, less irreversible; one that may just provide further options, one that may eventually lead to happiness, however remote that may appear at the moment.
At a time (a few years ago) when I really didn't want to go on, this was one of the things that prevented me from attempting suicide again: The possibility of surviving it again, knowing how negatively that would impact my life. My life was hard enough at the time without inflicting additional suffering on myself and also getting labeled "crazy" or something (plus potentially being saddled with additional medical bills, etc). A lot of people living with the kind of chronic pain and suffering (due to a health issue) that I was living with do think about killing themselves. "Bars do not a prison make". A body that tortures you ever single minute of every day is a pretty bleak prison to live with.
But I also was actively working on resolving the underlying problem that made me wish I were dead. I think that is a critical detail missing from a lot of the encouragement offered when this topic comes up. In fact, spending a year at death's door was very empowering for me in that regard because it freed me up from fear of doing something socially unacceptable. I never know how to properly express this, but I lived and began getting well because I stopped trying to dutifully keep myself alive and, instead, my one and only goal became to hurt less. I was rather annoyed when I realized that my efforts to hurt less were actually killing the infections the doctors didn't know how to kill because I realized it meant I faced a long, very hard recovery. I would have welcomed death 10 or 11 years ago because I was in constant excruciating pain and couldn't sleep and every minute of the day was torment. So in some sense I came to a point where my attitude was "fuck societal expectation -- what do I want?" Given what a people-pleasing doormat I tend towards, this had a very positive impact on my life.
What I am trying to convey is: If you are suicidal, if your problems are so bad that death is something you would consider, that fact can be used to say "well, why not also consider this long list of other stuff (ie possible solutions/options) I wouldn't normally consider because it's socially unacceptable/my mom wouldn't approve/whatever?" When I stopped being at death's door, I had to work at keeping alive that mental space for saying "fuck societal opinion -- what do I want?" because my innate wiring makes societal opinion way the hell too important to me. I made a conscious choice to find some way to keep that standard alive for myself, to say "hell, what's the worst that could happen? Oh, someone might disapprove? And that fucking matters why?"
Anyway, I hope that makes some small smidgeon of sense to someone. I find it a very difficult concept to express.
I also felt Reg was off the mark (although perhaps not to the extent that you do), but that's why i messaged him what i thought was the real issue. I think it's important to communicate what that feeling is.
So many people misunderstand the actual nature of suicidal tendencies. They think that it's just about someone feeling alone, or unhappy or whatever. But those feelings all have "normal" analogues such that a person that's never felt seriously depressed will misunderstand what that hole is truly like on the inside.
True depression is knowing that not being is an option equally viable to being.
And that's a feeling, or an understanding of the world that can't be reasoned with. All others can do is make the choice of "not being" less convenient of a choice than "being". Whether that's trying to make a connection and rekindle one's interests in something, or dragging someone out to do something (which should be done carefully), or simply being present. Regardless i don't think people appreciate what it is they can or should do to keep someone else moored/tethered to the reality where being vs not being is an equal proposition.
There's a quote by David Foster Wallace that states it better:
"The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn't do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life's assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire's flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It's not desiring the fall; it's terror of the flame yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don‘t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You'd have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling."
Have you ever felt like there was no point to your life after a bad breakup? Ever felt inconsolable after a close friend or relative died? That's the feeling. Grief has a purpose and people know how to help those in grief. Most understand that grief brings with it physical illness: tiredness, memory loss, eating disorders, anxiety (sometimes even stomach ulcers, hair-loss, skin problems etc). People understand that grief can last a year (or more) but with help the grieving can be brought back to functionality within a few months.
Real depression is rogue grief. It is an illness that destroys lives and kills. It usually comes without trigger and without reason.
Real depression works like a tsunami: each depression comes as a wave that often overlaps with the last. As you ride one wave out and begin to return to normality another wave crashes in. Sadness and pain becomes the normality and you begin to feel like you are drowning: if you let go and let it take you then at least the pain will go away. Won't it?.
It annoys me when people who have never experienced the pain of depression are quick to dismiss those who commit suicide as selfish. They are often the same people who would help a loved one die if they were in extreme physical pain.
The few times I have been close to the brink, I wasn't even sure there was a distinction to be made anymore between being and not being. It was like drowning in nothingness.
Dismissing a serious, dangerous and often fatal illness as something that can be cured by 'rebalancing your chakras' is akin to using homeopathy to cure cancer.
While I suspect those with mild mood disorders may be able to think their way out of a lethargic period those with a serious depression need real help.
Depression is a big killer:
• suicide is the 8th leading cause of death in the United States
• 15% of those who are clinically depressed die by suicide
• The majority of suicide attempts are expressions of extreme distress that need to be addressed, and not just a harmless bid for attention
*For example, taking a drug will not relieve the depression caused by the loss of a loved one.
If you have been living in a certain way all of your life, you have little to compare to. If you speak to someone about how you live, what problems you have, how you've tried to solve them, you'll be amazed at what you might discover from just speaking with people about it.
Open up, the worst thing that can is that the person doesn't want to listen. Then find someone else who might.
PS. I've been feeling depressed, anxious and stressed for the most part of my life, after many years of effort I managed to get myself to see a psychologist (CBT) and it's without doubt the best thing I have ever done. DS.
I waver a lot on the "Suicide is a selfish act" business. On one hand you're right, it's your life an no one can obligate you to live it. It's very empowering to know that you've got the option to end it. On the other, someone out there needs you more than you think. And I still don't believe a person who wants to end their life is totally rational, at least not for the most part.
But that kind of talk leads to the worse feeling of all, the feeling of being trapped. And that's the problem with "suicide help" posts. You read them and at the end you feel trapped. And being trapped and suicidal is more scary than just being suicidal.
I don't know what I think. But I do hope that most people who feel suicidal get help of some sort. Not because I don't think it's their right, but because I've been on both sides of the problem. To have people depend on you, I mean really depend on you and to be afraid to let them down is a terrible feeling because you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. But then to actually be let down by someone else is also pretty terrible.
So, even if it's an option to end your life, it's also an option to get some help for that feeling.
Is it any less selfish of others to force you to stay around and endure terrible pain (physical or emotional) because they need you? I certainly agree that you can and should get help, but I also think that there are cases when the "suicide is selfish" people are the selfish ones. Though, I'm sure that they're not as common as the cases where the person should have sought help instead, I don't think its helpful to somebody contemplating suicide to say that they are being selfish or doing something stupid. If it were me, it would probably make me feel worse.
This isn't always the case, even if it seems that way to outside observers, though I definitely agree that it usually is and that suicide should never ever be taken lightly. Most problems are temporary and seem a lot worse at the time than they really are.
I hope those people can get help.
I'm glad that recognizing this was a viable option was valuable to you. In general, I think it would be valuable to analytical people, the type that frequent HN.
For the average Joe, however, I think it is probably a mistake. Most people are not analytical thinkers, and once an idea gets into their heads they do not know how to react to it. Psychiatrists try to get people to stop thinking about suicide because statistically that will save more people's lives. (I'm not a psychiatrist, but have had plenty of training on suicide counseling as a naval officer.)
I read somewhere that of the people who make half-hearted attempts to commit suicide, about 10% eventually kill themselves. Realizing it is a choice and not a valid cry for help is not likely to be a bad thing.
I once knew a bus driver that confided in me that she was once in her childhood ready to commit suicide (ready as in all preparations made and about to commit the act), and realized the same thing, that she was in control of her life at that point. She wasn't an analytical thinker. So maybe there is something to this realization.
FWIW, you are supposed to ask them if they have suicidal thoughts, and get them to explain at length what their plans are. Getting things out in the open is always good.
When you said that it helped when you realized that suicide is a perfectly valid option and you're free to choose it or dismiss it as you see fit, you touched your own life. The one you could continue or end, the one where your choices actually affect yourself only.
I think it's better to contemplate whether to end your own life than to try to live someone else's. Then you're bound to realize that your life will steer towards what you decide and what you think, instead of as if your life was a car that's being chauffeured along a predefined route that you don't particularly like.
I'll edit this in the evening to continue with a short recount of my own similar experience.
You can only delete or edit your posts for a limited time.
And it surely will also be an interesting perspective, to look back on what how you thought of things in the early days.
IMHO (and experience) 'time changes everything' ... and I really mean everything. The only way to test this is by giving more time. As you are rightly giving yourself.
Wish you all the best!
The lack of empathy in the responses to your post is actually pretty sick, the best thing you can do for someone who is depressed is to try to understand, to listen to them, and to help them relax.
I think people sometimes forget what it feels like to be depressed, and how great the need to not be depressed can be.
I also find it hard to believe that some people live their life without at least considering suicide once. It doesn't mean I think it's near the best answer to life, but it's a lot better then some other things people do in life, and I think people have the right to decide what happens with their life.
If I may suggest something, you should go read Alan Watts' "The Wisdom of Insecurity". He was a very influential man who thought that some ideas in Zen Buddhism could be used as very powerful forms of psychotherapy, and on a more personal note I've found that some of the ideas in that book have helped me feel very peaceful and at home in the worst of my times.
It's the only book of his I've read so far, but it was really great (and short) and I plan on reading more. In 'The Wisdom of Insecurity' he talks about how too much people compare their present with their expectations of an impossible future, and with a misrepresented past. He talks a bit about God and religion, but I don't think it was so much a religious book as it was a book about a way of life.
For some extra Hacker News cred he liked to discuss about cybernetics, semantics, quantum physics, and sex. Seriously, if you ever contemplate suicide or even just feel inadequate then go to a library on a Saturday, and get the book; you can easily read it in a day and I think it'll make you feel better.
For a person in such a moment, the first advice must be: Hold on. You can, at some point, see more clearly, and then see way out and up. Then: Reach for help. If help fails, revert to first advice. Never stop holding on.
I'm not saying you don't make sense. (And not saying you do, I think you're absolutely wrong about both the morality and possible rationality of suicide.) I'm saying you are trying to talk sense to a population that isn't really in a position to make use of sense.
The comment about morality / rationality was just a reservation of agreement, on a point that I'm saying isn't actually pertinent to the parent comment's stated audience. I wouldn't pretend for a moment that I've offered anything like an argument on morality.
Me? I could write lots of stuff about what I experienced over the last couple of years, but I'm done doing them the favor.
visions of the things to be
the pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see...
that suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.
Have you ever done heroin? Get drunk with a bunch of kids you don't know? Skydive? Steal a car? Wake up in a hotel in Mexico? Sorry to be flip, but there are probably a lot of things you've never done that you'd feel rotten about the next day, but at least there'd be a next day, and you could do it again. "Not being" is an option, but it's a stupid one. I didn't like Raganwald's post either, because it's saccharine and condescending.
Let's face facts: Most people who don't want you to kill yourself are just scared that life's meaningless; when they see people around them committing suicide, it upsets their sense of everything being okay. That's why they tell you not to do it.
I say screw that. I feel nothing for people who kill themselves. I think it's incredibly stupid, but hey, that's evolution. If you can't find anything worth living for, do it. You've gotta be pretty dumb not to think of any other way to spend your evening, but the world's better off without dumb people. QED.
So, right. I have no pity for people who choose to make or wallow in their own problems. Why should I? I reserve my empathy for people who don't have enough to eat, people who got cheated, falsely imprisoned, wrongly executed, were victims of racism, domestic violence, rape, slavery, forced prostitution, and child abuse; or who through no fault of their own had the bad luck to be born in Burma or North Korea. Not people who had the amazing good luck to be born in a first-world country where it rains antidepressants, distractions and opportunities, and who find so much time to spend navel-gazing that they finally hate themselves and want to die.
Followed by: Four of my friends attempted suicide in high school, and one succeeded. It made me angry. How dare they be so stupid.
I'm sorry you got burned. Sounds like you are still hurting. It's an unfortunate nuisance when someone who is hurting disrupts a forum over it. I've done that a billion times (and counting, no doubt), so I'm not pointing fingers. Just trying to point something out to you, in hopes it might help you move on: Anger and denying that you feel anything are basically defense mechanisms. Maybe you haven't really fully mourned your loss. The woman who founded MADD said at some point that she didn't really mourn the loss of her child for many years. She threw herself into founding MADD and all that basically to avoid dealing with her own feelings. I've spent plenty of my life terrified of being alone with my own feelings. It's really not an uncommon reaction to something terrible happening.
Anyway, it's meant in a supportive way, FWIW.
I have lost two friends to suicide. One was an Iraq War veteran who didn't get the help she needed on returning to the states and committed suicide about a year later. The other was a man who had for a long time, I think, suffered from more than one neurological issue.
In the end, I think that people have a right to decide for themselves how they live and how they die. I don't think suicide is always a stupid thing to do. May key question is whether someone is competent to make that decision. Depression or PTSD are not good reasons IMO. However, what of someone struggling with a lifetime of schizophrenia?
And there are plenty of circumstances where I would commit suicide. For example, if I am ever faced with an alzheimer's diagnosis, I would prefer to end my life with clear thought and memory than to let them slowly fade away.
Depression is the cause of over two-thirds of suicides in the U.S. each year.
Depression is a terminal illness: it kills 15% of its sufferers.
Depression is no more 'wallowing in their own problems' than cancer or Alzheimer’s. Depression is an illness caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. It has physical as well as mental symptoms. It is very common in young white men (of all classes) and it kills 20,000 in the U.S. every year. I wouldn't be surprised if Depression was the biggest killer of Y-Combinator readers.
Depression gets a bad rap because it shares the word people use when they are feeling a bit fed up. Depression feels nothing like that. It feels like death.
Try living with a cancer sufferer. Try living with an Alzheimer’s sufferer. Most young men with a mild flu are a nightmare to live with. Tough shit: that's illness: it's grim. People with terminal illnesses are grim company.
Why is it OK to say these things about Depression sufferers? Would you say them about someone with terminal cancer? If you did you would, quite rightly, be called out as a dick.
And what right is it of yours to be angry? What right is it of yours to judge their decision? Those who react this way are the most disgustingly selfish people.
Quite a judgmental statement, to tell someone who's been through it four times what his reaction should be. Maybe it's something I've thought through and been through a few times, and decided that blunt force rather than kid-gloves is the only way to get through to people who want to take their own life.
My father killed himself when I was in high school after numerous failed attempts and a period of institutionalisation. A couple of years later a close friend killed himself, then an acquaintance a bit after that. I've suffered clinical depression most of my adult life, never seriously contemplated suicide but have thought deeply on it for many years.
Now that I've established my credibility by daring anyone to challenge my sad tale, let me tell you that to me your post reads like an excuse to be a righteous loud mouth on the topic of suicide without having to get involved with any of the ugly and complicated realities.
Suicide has touched your life. Doesn't make you an expert.
I don't know anyone who's survived an attempt, or who's been depressed enough to talk about it, who hasn't had better days afterwards. One of my friends is still -- well, sick, I think is the word for it. I've seen how too much sympathy just feeds suicidal thoughts and self-absorption. Talk about anything other than their problem. Get them out of the house. I've seen how being occupied with something brings her back to reality, and makes her 99% better. I'm not unthinkingly being a righteous loud-mouth; I realize my approach to the subject may rub the wrong way on people who think that talking can solve everything.
I don't know if you've been in a situation where you've been thrown into being the default "therapist" for someone you love, who refused to seek help and was telling you that they were considering killing themselves. I have. You'd probably think based on my statements that I'd be such a rotten bastard, it's hard to imagine anyone confiding in me, but it seems to work the opposite way. Maybe people want to hear something blunt. At any rate, there's nothing I've said here that I haven't said to a suicidal friend, in basically the same tone.
I know it does no good, at that moment, to become angry with a clinically depressed person who's out of their mind and talking crazy/suicidal. You want to throw water over them or slap them and snap them out of it, but you can't. At least, in my experience, anger at that moment doesn't work. What you can do is keep them alive, stay with them, distract them, and talk them back to reality. And as soon as they're back, hold up a mirror and show them how scary, stupid and irrational they were being. Make them admit they were being crazy. Make them swear they'll never do it again, even if you don't believe them. And of course, tell them why it scared you, and why it was a place they need to learn to stay away from in their own mind. Warn them when you see them changing that way again. Remind them of the last time. Sanity a muscle. Anyone can learn how to exercise it.
The secret to being sane is just don't go there. Take the option off the table, and start dealing with the world around you, and fixing the way you look at it, until you make it a tolerable place to be. Lower your expectations until you're happy just to wake up in the morning. Horrible? Yeah, but there's no rational alternative.
This isn't me "disrupting", it's not an excuse. It's an alternative way of dealing with the subject. I realize it probably sounds barbaric and medieval, but it's just practical. This is just the only way I've found to deal with clinically depressed people on a long-running basis, and the wall I've built to try and keep people I love -- and myself -- sane, alive, and improving.
Also, remember that it's not all about you. Your anger toward somebody else's actions does not grant you any right to judge.
Depression is intense pain. People usually kill themselves intentionally when this pain becomes unbearable.
If, as one person here commented, you feel there is something broken with your brain, take that seriously. I've read some things about arachadonic acid and depression. And this happens to be an issue I addressed for unrelated reasons. I consciously and intentionally changed my body chemistry to address my health issues and that is likely part of why I am currently not suicidal in spite of being very short of sleep and in serious financial trouble and feeling like the entire world doesn't give a flying fuck about my accomplishments, my situation and so on.
If you are going through major transitions and that is a source of stress, there are more effective means to deal with those things too. I'm too short of sleep to write a book on the topic, I just want to make the point that if you feel something really negative, don't focus on your feelings. Focus on finding the roots of the problem, whether that is solving stressful life situations, addressing brain chemistry issues or something else.
Anyway, this is not something you have to just swallow. And in my experience, the touchy-feely emotional outreach stuff is not real effective. I was suicidal in part due to health issues and in part due to being molested and raped. Healing my sexuality and my body has changed that and I can say that with confidence because I've spent the last 12 days wondering why on earth I am not suicidal while facing eviction, dealing with a mountain of debt...etc...ad nauseum. Instead of falling apart and having histrionics, I am making plans to the best of my ability and working overtime.
Best of luck to anyone struggling with something like this.
I seriously hope you can stay so strong and pull through. Keep on keeping on.
Edit: typo and formatting
Snopes suggest it falls slightly over the holiday from 34 per million people to 30 per million people and then rises to 41 per million people at New Year’s.
I want more proof either for or against this notion.
Snopes stories have the same problem that urban legends have: people are quick to believe them without checking it more, and for the same reason, feeling superior to those who don't know (the myth|the debunking).
The economic situation as affected many people negatively, especially trying at a time that one hopes to have extra money for their family. I'd believe that we have more than an average share of despondence these days.
Both depression/suicide and dietary habits run in families and reoccur over multiple generations.
Low serum cholesterol has been shown to be a suicide risk factor. 
Get you cholesterol tested and try adding more good fats to your diet like oily cold-water fish (think salmon and sardines), butter, eggs (including the yolk!), and coconut milk/oil. You should aim for a low LDL and a high HDL number.
To them living to make a difference is pointless because practically nothing survives Solar death, and nothing survives a maximizing of Universal entropy.
To them living for themselves is pointless because nothing brings sustained happiness. Solving problems, building things, etc. are just as much drugs as heroin. Once you've solved the problem you start seeking a new one. You can't be happy and satisfied with solving an important problem once.
You imply that the person would miss out and regret it, but they woudn't be missing out because they wouldn't be.
Suicidal people reading this and thinking I'm arguing in favour of it stop right there - I'm on a phone and can't write a full nuanced answer. But I think this is an important point which all the "permanent solution to a temporary problem" people don't really consider, and should, to see why its an inneffective exhirtation.
While depressed people have higher risk of suicide, it's generally believed that most depression patients are more at risk when they are recovering from it, as their motivation returns.
I think western civilization still have a rather wrong approach to the issue of somebody wanting to end his/her life voluntarily. I've felt in this situation many times (now I do, for example). I don't want advices about how beautiful life is, or why I need to change my mind, or how many people are there that loves me and that will suffer my loss. I know that. I know people will suffer, at least initially. But poeple like me, people who have no energy nor desire to go on living, are nothing but a burden to those sharing their life with. Yes, I'm depressed. Yes, I'm under medical treatment. Yes, my doctor have tried on me several different drugs and nothing have changed. I feel myself a failure and I don't think there is any chemical compound that will reprogram my brain to avoid feeling like that.
I just want to be able to exercise my free will of not going on with my life, without drama nor fanfare. But this is, for some reason, a society taboo.
I wasn't sure to share this with you (I'm sure very few people will understand my point of view).
This doesn't mean I personally endorse suicide. I am a big believer in Absurdism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absurdism and think the whole point of life is to live in face of absurdity. The realization that you have to live (and it's OK even if you die because existence is pointless after all) gives you incredible power. You are no longer afraid of doing things like quitting your job, talking to girls in a bar, going sky diving and trying drugs. After all, no matter what happens, you have nothing to loose. We all are going to die one day, so why not die _after_ doing whatever your heart desires.
From: Mitch Altman
Date: Mon, Nov 21, 2011 at 12:59 PM
Subject: [Noisebridge-discuss] Geeks & Depression meetup
To: NoiseBridge Discuss
From: Mitch Altman
Date: Mon, Nov 21, 2011 at 12:59 PM
Subject: [Noisebridge-discuss] Geeks & Depression meetup
To: NoiseBridge Discuss
Geeks & Depression meetup
Tuesday, 6-December, 7:30pm
No Starch Press, 38 Ringold Street, San Francisco, CA
(near Civic Center BART Station)
Let's have a meetup where geeks can talk about depression
and suicide. You are not alone. Share your story, if you
like. Share a friend's story. Or just hang out and
listen. Let's make it OK to talk about these things so
that we don't feel so alone with our feelings of being
alone and depressed or suicidal.
This is not a support group -- none of us are trained
professionals, but we can get together in a safe,
confidential space to talk about depression and suicide
-- an important part of life for so many of us geeks.
Mitch's Google Group for the meetups is here: http://groups.google.com/group/geeksanddepression
But for the past 10 years I've been in pain every day. Even that is bearable (though most painkillers have no effect on my pain). The thing that has got me down though, is the pain that comes all through the night. Not being able to sleep night after night and the exhaustion that comes from it is the most depressing thing in my life.
Even then, I know things could be worse. I could be disfigured. I could have lost my sight.
Of course, those rationalisations are of little comfort when I'm being woken up for the 20th time, and bed feels like an implement of torture.
Most things in life are "fixable" if one changes one's attitudes and behaviour. But uncontrollable pain is depressing.
I have since taken control of my thoughts and am feeling much better about things. The main realisation came from realising that now, the present, is the most important thing, not the past, nor the future.
Don't wanna sound all preachy but this book (I'm listening to it in audio form) really helped me: http://www.audible.co.uk/pd/ref=sr_1_1?asin=B004EX04PK&q...
What we need to is make it clear that suicide is your right. Treatment should be completely voluntary at all times. I would wager that the possibility of being restrained for days or weeks prevents many people from seeking help that could actually have made a difference.
No, it isn't your civic duty to take the right to suicide away from someone. It's your duty as a friend and a human being to be a non-judgmental ear and shoulder. But in the end you have to respect their rights as an autonomous being.
Emergency visits are not about locking someone away but about figuring out a best treatment. Whether a person will follow the treatment or not that's a different story but at least someone was there for them, to listen, to help, and with means and experience to do it.
Depression is defeatable on the other hand and sometimes you just have to grind through and get to the other side. I tried the suicide route due to it and I won't ever opt for it on a temporary situation again.
Simply call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or in
I miss you, Sam.
Semi-repeat of this post:
This is the www.samaritans.org number, a trusted and respected resource.
I have a diagnosis of Asperger’s, depression and anxiety. In the Nineties is was a successful software consultant and then the dot com crash happened. I went from being able to get a job anything in a week or two to being unable to obtain a single response to the resumes I would spend out over the course of a year. Five years ago I was given an SSRI for the first time in my life and I had a horrible reaction that almost killed me and the resulted with leaving me with a very serious problem with sensory overload. A few years ago I spoke to the head of HR at O’Reilly who asked me why didn’t I just move down to Silicon Valley where I could make six figures. I didn’t tell the gentleman that I had a serious problem with sensory overload and that I had a hard time seeing how I could function in a crowded urban environment and that living in the semi-rural environment of Sonoma county at least provided me with a quiet place that I could marginally function in.
Now I am having a profound problem with sensory overload that has literally trapped me in my apartment. Loud sounds and large array of other types of sound literally cause me pain. But the experience is actually far worse than pain, because I have a high pain tolerance, but an occurrence of a sensory meltdown can strip me of my very sentience. Because I am now poor I have been absolutely unable to engage in any medical or psychiatric intervention. I have tried to connect with services through ever possible channel I can think of, but to no good. Society’s reaction has been to say, let us know when you are planning to kill yourself, because that is the one thing that we will react to. Several years ago when I first tried to get help for my sensory overload, I realized that few doctors had any idea of what sensory overload was, and none of them had any idea of how to intervene in it. So their answer was to play hot potato with me. One doctor I saw kept redirecting the conversation from sensory overload to asking me if I might be suicidal. When I answered I wasn’t he just kept digging deeper asking me if I wasn’t sure that I was having a problem with suicidal ideation. He was desperate to relabel my problem with sensory overload as a problem with being suicidal because he did know how to deal with that. Dealing with a number of incidents like this over time can make in sick at heart. And mental hospitals are absolutely not the solution. When you can barely tolerate any sound whatsoever the answer is not to lock you up in a noisy environment that you can’t escape from.
So I have begun a hunger strike as a political protest for the lack of necessary services for myself and others. I at least have the intellect to enunciate the problems with the system as so I feel the importance of escalating this to the level of a political protest for others as well as myself. I have started a blog at http://dannyslittlerevolution.blogspot.com/ detailing my issues and concerns, but so far I have received zero feedback. I am now in my fifth day of my hunger strike. So my final comment is to suggest to people that bland statements about life being precious and that people shouldn’t commit suicide because things will get better are absolutely meaningless drivel meant to assuage the conscious of the speaker unless society acts to truly treat life as precious. I get that many in society holds life to be precious for unborn fetuses and for people about to commit suicide. But if life is truly precious it should be treated as being precious during the period of time between conception and death or else talk of the preciousness of life is an absolute sham. My training and gift is in understanding how complex systems work and any system to refuses to deal with the underlying socioeconomic problems is just pissing in the wind. Peace.
For me it looks like pretty much everyone was suicidal in the youth/adolescence. It may be a horrible coincidence, but really I have never ever known a person that didn't feel suicidal at least once. No, I am not talking about the "Oh god, I love someone, I want to die sort." I knew people who killed themselves, so I guess I am pretty good at knowing the difference.
Don't know why but these folks often talk to me. Maybe it's because I don't get too emotional about it and they know I won't tell anybody. I believe in the right of suicide, even for mentally ill persons. I mean if it's chronically then it doesn't make sense. It's probably a lot harder then another kind of illness. Something I never understood was the "(s)he is going to die anyway" argument. Everybody is going to die in the end. You also don't know about the when or how. Of course it can be more likely to be sooner and agonizing, but you can't know for sure.
On the other hand I consider it to be a stupid idea to ask some kind of doctor about it. A doctor, in my opinion should be someone who keeps people alive and not someone who decides about whether someone dies. I consider this to be a major problem. And when you ask about the "quality of life" I think nobody else should answer that question. If I am not feeling good it doesn't when a doctor or whoever says something different.
Still, if anyone out there feels suicidal then get help. There are a lot of people who are _glad_ to help and won't treat you in a generic way. I talked to a lot of person and never thought about something like "what's the best way to convince someone to stay alive". Also, yeah there are _many_ stupid psychologists - and I mean it like that. They often see stuff that I consider to be a serious hallucination. I know about psychologists who think everyone looking outward of a window wants to jump down. A schoolmate and back then good friend of mine had been sent to a psychologist for no reason at all (well, he had very, very strange parents) and was considered to be mentally ill, because he didn't know what he should talk about with the psychologist. I know about tons of these cases, like people who are mentally ill, because they washed their stuff when it was dirty.
I think this is a big problem. Suicidal people always think that people who could help suck, because some psychologists see psychotic people everywhere. Well, maybe it is like that. As I wrote everyone I ever knew (of course I am talking about people I knew pretty well) were suicidal at some point. Still I think a lot of mental illnesses should be considered character traits. For example there was a time when everything but straight sexuality was considered a mental illness, even sex toys and various other things. Also a lot of artists and philosopher can possibly be considered to be insane.
My personal opinion is that people who are suicidal usually have a problem to accept who they. In some situations it is more like accepting the circumstances. Even if they suck right now or are hurtful this doesn't mean that it will remain like that. It can take years until one feels better again, but it usually is worth waiting and accepting that can make you feel way better. Just don't take everything too serious and think positive. Mind > Matter ;)
The part at the end where he says they will listen is huge. Never underestimate how much someone simply listening can really help. Also, talking to a sympathetic stranger is often more helpful or even easier than talking to someone you know.
I always wondered why so many people around here get to feeling this way and I've narrowed it down to a few things. First, startups are hard, they're often lonely, and burnout can creep up on you without you noticing. Burnout can really make you feel worthless. Then there are those who feel inadequate because they're reading all these stories about successful and smart people solving hard problems and making it big while they feel small, stupid, and inconsequential. There's a strong success bias in the submissions here and other places people like us peruse which can lead to strong feelings of worthlessness and self doubt.
I've been there and I understand so well all of these things. I often wish I had a clone that just repeated what I tell myself whenever my negative voice starts nagging: Baby steps, you can't know it all or be it all and you certainly can't conquer the world in a week. No matter what anyone else is saying or doing out there, in the end we're all human, we're all going through the same things and we all feel the same way at one point or another. It gets better.
Thanks for writing this and extra thanks for including those toll free lines.
Suicide is a topic that people sometimes "take on" in a hamfisted attempt at some cheap feel-goodism, and the results are almost always counter-productive.
You can't rationalize away suicide via a blog post. More likely it will actually bring to mind something that might not have been front and center.
Forgotten that you're suicidal? Well raganwald is here to remind you.
I may come off as a giant ass downer saying this, but it's the cold hard truth. This does the opposite of good.
For the record, logical, analytic, probabilistically correct thinking is only a way of reaching goals. The goals themselves cannot be established by means of logic, only deconflicted/clarified/etc. To think otherwise is illogical.
According to Camus, one's freedom – and the opportunity to give life meaning – lies in the recognition of absurdity. In acknowledging the absurdity of seeking any inherent meaning, but continuing this search regardless, one can be happy, gradually developing his or her own meaning from the search alone.
Hence the large number of densely written words needed by existentialist philosophy and its associates, to attempt to justify it...
My point is only: you can't break the symmetry with logic alone. Ultimately your priors/axioms/experiences come into play.
So, it has been my experience that mental health care could care less about you unless they're already cashing your checks.
Anyway, on the subject of suicide, you only get one go around on this ride. If you're seriously contemplating suicide, go see your regular doctor about it. There are great drugs out there. Yes, they can have side effects, but let's be rational here: a lack of boners, for example, is well worth it to find value in life again. If you kill yourself, everyone in your family will be devastated, your friends will miss you more than you think, and, to be perfectly honest, you still owe society for educating you and putting up with the ridiculous stuff you did as a teenager. ;-)
One thing I'd like to add. A realization I've made only a few days ago:
The is no shame in being poor. Don't feel embarrassed if you don't have good food to eat, or a nice place to live, or have to work long hours to make ends meet. You are as good as anyone else. Your life is beautiful too.
So, I closed HN and went to talk to ACTUAL physically present people.
Telling the clinically depressed (including self) that everything is wonderful and indicating they should feel the same is a bit like telling a man in a wheel chair he should go jogging. I get this a lot.
With 7 billion plus people on a planet that can't support half that number why are we encouraging these sad sacks to stay alive?
Unique? Really, out of 7 billion plus people is anyone really all that special? If you're not enjoying the ride - get off now - and let people who are have a bit more space (and resources).
Suicide might be the only memorable thing you do in your sorry existence, so don't be so quick to discount it.
Who knows what's on the other side. If this life isn't satisfying you enough, take another spin on the wheel of life, who's to say what the next adventure will bring.
But what about the kids, spouse, family, friends you ask? Well obviously you don't care - or you wouldn't be contemplating suicide.
Humans are the only species that understands death, but doesn't understand how to deal with it. Who's to say when it's time to go? Who's to say it's wrong to plan that time instead of letting fate decide?
I was always told if you don't like the party, leave. Seems like good advice for life as well.
and FLAG IT.
I recall how pg felt when fallentimes, formerly an active participant here, died of suicide. If I remember correctly, that came about one week after a Hacker News thread in which several participants were dismissive of suicide.
On the other hand, if there is more to human life than a collection of atoms that happens to be organized in an interesting way and human life is sacred, as Christianity teaches, then suicide is a tragedy of the highest degree. No human is a waste of space, and every life should be protected to the extent possible through our finite means. I commend raganwald for making this post. I just wanted to point out that vonskimppy's comment illustrates implications of certain worldviews
I don't see suicide as a tragedy nor do I see life in itself to be sacred in the way Christianity teaches it is sacred. For this reason I am pro choice but don't even try to differentiate between abortion and infanticide--- personhood is a social concept and where we draw lines is arbitrary. Just because we draw the line before birth somewhere and the Vikings drew it a few days after birth doesn't make one more right than the other.
I don't particularly frown on suicide (note, I am not untouched by this, having lost two friends to suicide both which were suffering from mental illness). However, I think that if one is competent to decide, that's the key thing. It;s tragic when we sent people off to war and then don't give them the treatment they need when they come back so they kill themselves. It is tragic when people find themselves rejected by long-time friends in their hours of need and slit their wrists in hotel rooms. I am not saying these are good choices.
But having known people who made these choices badly does not give me a right to discount it in other circumstances.
If you feel this way yourself and want someone to talk to, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be happy to chat about life, philosophy, or whatever topic you choose.
Oh wait, I see they don't. Apparently if you express opinions that others disagree with, the close minded fops want you banned.
Meh - if I get banned for disagreeing with the standard "poor baby" suicide line, so be it. I'll stick with discussions where EVERYONE is welcome to express their opinions.
Mental illness is very real and can be just as devastating (if not more) than cancer or heart disease. Where a cancer victim's loved one will likely draw for support a man clinically depressed is more likely to be or feel alone. Depression can cost people their jobs, families and yes, their lives. Depression can last for years and even decades. Shame at themselves for feeling this way leads many men (less so women) to never seek proper treatment. After all they are just being "sad sacks".
Attitudes like yours lead sick people to needless deaths for a treatable, or at least manageable, condition.
Why downvote someone based on an opinion?
Thank you for keeping it real and saying words that are hard to hear but quite accurately describe the situation: suicidal people are rejects of the socio-economic system, and it's fucking hilarious that so many of us get indignant about suicide while, operating in this system, being active or passive agents in contributing to the suicide of others around them.