Why Do People Think About Suicide?

Suicide is an “existential crisis”. We feel like we have lost all hope and purpose. We feel like we have lost our spirit and the question becomes “what’s the point?” Suicide is about wanting our pain to end, and not being able to see any other way out. Just as we all have different levels of tolerance for physical pain – we all have different levels of tolerance for emotional or psychological pain too. It’s important to remember that it’s rarely one reason, or person, or event that causes someone to attempt or complete suicide. It’s generally a combination or buildup of risk factors and/or distressing events.

Some sources of distress:

  • Family problems (fighting, substance abuse, divorce)
  • Financial problems (losing a home or a job, trapped by debt)
  • Moving to a new place
  • Death of a friend, family member or loved one
  • Being bullied, picked on, made fun of or excluded
  • Feeling pressured to fit in
  • Feeling pressured to excel (school, sports, work or home)
  • Relationship problems (breakups, being cheated on, rejection)
  • Abuse (physical, emotional or sexual)
  • Psychiatric disorders (such as major and bi-polar depression, PTSD, substance abuse, schizophrenia, bulimia, anorexia nervosa, or personality disorders)

Unfortunately, bad things happen to good people everyday; pain is a part of life. It never seems fair, and it never seems right… it just is. Painful events can cause overwhelming feelings that could lead to depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, self-injury, or thoughts of suicide if we don’t deal with our pain.

We have two choices when things in our lives become overwhelming.

1) Try to ignore our painful feelings, keeping them buried inside.
2) Talk about our feelings. Express ourselves. Ask for help.

If we choose option #1, then our painful feelings will not get resolved and can lead to a pattern of self-destructive behavior. The longer we stay stuck, the harder it will be to go back and address the root causes of our pain and correct self-destructive patterns.

If we choose option #2, and express how we’re feeling – and ask for help where and when we need it – we can deal with our pain, face our challenges, and get the help we need to move forward with our lives. Asking for help when we’re feeling overwhelmed isn’t a character flaw, and it doesn’t make us weak. It makes us human. We all need some help to get by from time to time.

Lots of people think about suicide at some point in their lives (even if they don’t admit it), but most people do not act on this thought. It’s important to remember that even when we are going through something incredibly painful, feelings DO change, and thoughts of suicide can be temporary. There are other ways of dealing with a crisis. Reach out, and empower yourself to stay alive.

If you’re feeling hopeless, trapped or overwhelmed, it’s OK to ask for help! Talk to a friend, family member, counselor, teacher, coach, family doctor or your religious or spiritual leader.

If you are in crisis, and need immediate help, please call 1-800-273-8255 for free, confidential counseling 24/7.