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Wanting to End Life
(Dealing with suicide).

It feels as though no one listen to you; your best friend has moved away and you don't think anyone else cares. You're having trouble at school and with your parents, and each morning when you awaken, you feel like you just want to go back to sleep and never get up. Life seems to be moving too fast and it feels as though you may never catch up.

It's feelings like these that make some of us feel as though ending our lives would be better than enduring them. After all, is there any point to living a life of pain? Usually, when we reach this point, we start out slow, maybe by using a knife or a razor to cut ourselves. For a while, we're given relief. (Did you know that when we cut ourselves there is a chemical in our brain, called an endorphin, that is released to the site of the injury to provide relief? No wonder cutting is addictive!) So, we cut ourselves, hoping against hope that someone will see the marks on our bodies and get us the help we not only know we need but that we want too. Eventually, though, we begin to realize that cutting offers only temporary relief and no one has talked about our silent cry for help so we move on to more drastic measures to end our lives.

But we don't really want to die.

If we did, if we truly wanted to die, then we wouldn't wear short sleeves so others could see the marks left by cutting, we wouldn't let others know we're on drugs, we wouldn't tell anybody or e-mail anybody about how we really feel. Did you know that nearly everyone who completes suicide has asked for help, has given warning signs of their intentions? Why would we do that if we genuinely wanted to die? Why do something that we don't really want to do? It can be very hard - very hard - to have to go through loneliness and it can be hard to feel misunderstood but take a look back on your life. When you were in the fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh grade, your first boyfriend/girlfriend moved to a different state and you thought you'd never heal. But you did. There have been problems in your life before that made you feel hopeless but from which you recovered. Likewise, the troubles that you're facing now are temporary: they are not permanent problems. One day, sooner than you probably think, you'll be able to leave your parents' home and make choices of your own for your life. One day you'll fall in love with someone who will love you just as much. Life is a mixture of blessings and strife and I know how it feels to be all alone and frightened. I myself have attempted suicide several times, until I realized that I did not really want kill myself. You don't either.

Each of us have a very special and unique purpose on this earth; a purpose that, when we find it, will provide us with such love and joy. Wouldn't it be a terrible shame to end life just days before you find that joy? Many things in life are unexpected and that means that we often find hope and joy when we least expect it.

What do you do if you've decided not kill yourself but the pain still hasn't gone away? The number one thing to do is praise yourself, give yourself credit for having the courage to live, instead of die. And then realize that as much as we would like to think otherwise, people usually are not as perceptive as we would like to think they are and that means that we have to reach out and tell them how we feel: flat out and directly, instead of subtly. There are lots of people (and places) that are waiting to help you: they just need to know that you need help. Think of it as a dangerous addiction and just as people who are alcoholics have to get themselves to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting to begin to heal, suicidals have to say, "I want to kill myself" to someone: a school counselor, a pastor, an adult that you trust and believe in. The counseling and group support that you'll recieve when you do this will open whole new doors of light on your life.

Below, I've highlighted a few facts and statistics about suicide. Hopefully, the information will help others become more aware of hurting youth around them and will help show suicidal people that they really are not alone:

  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people 14-18 years old (USA)
  • Nearly all suicidals ask for help
  • Suicide is 8 times as likely in gay youth than it is in heterosexual youth
  • Girls are more likely to attempt suicide, while boys are more likely to succeed at suicide
  • Suicide is 4 times as likely among those who have been abused
  • Suicide tends to run in families, but it is NOT hereditary - Suicide knows no economic class: it affects the poor, middle and upper classes equally
  • It is common for suicidal people to express genuine happiness prior to the suicide. They are happy because they have found a way out of the pain: suicide
  • It can be prevented

...and some guidelines for those who need help helping a suicidal person:

  • Never leave a suicidal person alone
  • Ask anyone who is depressed whether they want to die. Contrary to many fears, speaking of suicide can actually save a life. Don't be afraid to use the words "death" "dying" and/or "suicide". It will make the suicidal person feel more comfortable in telling how they really feel.
  • Ask if they have a plan. Again, don't be afraid to say, "So, how would you do it? With a gun?" Any idea that you might suggest are ideas they have already thought about. You will not "plant" ideas in their heads.
  • If suicide is immiment - i.e., if their plan includes a weapon of choice, and if they have access to the weapon of choice, call the police.
  • Because they do not want to die, suicidals will usually keep any promise they make. So, make a suicidal person promise you they will contact you before they commit suicide. This will give you time to contact the proper help.
  • When talking with a suicidal person, use the word "complete" suicide instead of "commit" suicide. Commit implies that they are committing a crime or doing something wrong and that brings about feelings of guilt to the suicidal.
  • Encourage them to talk with an adult.
  • If you feel that you are unable to handle their problems (which is perfectly okay: suicidals do need professional help) then tell an adult and let that adult take over.
  • Pray. Pray alone for the person and in groups. The Bible says that when two or more people are gathered in his name, then He is among them. He does not want anyone to complete suicide. Pray.

There are a lot of people in this world who are hurting and believe me, sometimes merely feeling misunderstood is reason enough to end life. But your life is very, very important and help is just one conversation away.

(Note: the national, US number for suicide is 1-800-SUICIDE. In the UK you can contact the Samaritans on 0845 790 90 90. Most other countries have a suicide hotline, look in the front of the 'phone book).