Three Things Suicidal People Don't Know About Suicide

March 7, 2016 Becky Oberg

There are three things suicidal people don't know about suicide. I recently buried yet another friend lost to suicide--this is the fourth person I've personally known who died by suicide. Having been driven to that point, I realize there are three things suicidal people don't know about suicide. They may seem cliche, but they are true--and forgotten by suicidal people who are in unbearable pain. I share these in hopes that anyone reading this who feels suicidal may realize there is always more to the situation than there appears.

Suicide Doesn't End the Pain, It Transfers It to Someone Else

My friend was in a lot of pain. He was a gay man who couldn't accept that part of himself. He, his wife and children struggled over this until he had a heart attack and stroke. That's when they realized that staying in the closet was killing him. While he and his family remained close, he wrestled with the lack of self-love and acceptance of homosexuality in the Midwest. It is, after all, legal to discriminate against homosexuals in Indiana. The church tried to be a sanctuary for him and his family, but the damage was done (Homosexuality and Suicide: LGBT Suicide – A Serious Issue).

Now his family and friends are left behind, not only mourning a death but asking the unanswerable: "Why?" and feeling the rejection of his not asking for help from us (Dealing With Anger And Guilt After A Suicide).

At the funeral, his friends told his family, "We could never discuss this at my church!" Whether they meant they couldn't discuss suicide or homosexuality I'm not sure--we told the whole story at the funeral. It made me realize how fortunate we are to have each other. We can help each other through this. Other families and friends of suicide victims go through it alone. Suicide doesn't end the pain--you have to be alive to feel relief from pain. Suicide just transfers the pain to someone else.

Suicide Is a Permanent Solution to a Temporary Problem

Believe me, I have argued this one, either by saying "This is not a temporary problem," or "Temporary problems are replaced by more temporary problems." While there is some validity to these arguments, suicide is almost always a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Are you looking for a reason to live? If you're suicidal, you may not be. But take this as your sign to stop thinking and find reasons to live. Read this.My friend's problem--being homosexual in a cruel society--was not temporary. But countless homosexuals often post that it gets better--I wish he could have believed that. In my life, I've seen homosexuality go from something that wasn't discussed to seeing advertisements in mainstream media for gay pride festivals. Many homosexuals alive have seen homosexuality go from a psychiatric diagnosis to a civil rights issue. Personally, I went from fundamentalist Christian to having gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) friends and have even attended a gay pride festival and marched for equality. The problem was gradually changing. He just didn't see the progress.

Being suicidal is, itself, a temporary problem. Even someone with a diagnosis like borderline personality disorder, which I have, who has a constant struggle with feeling suicidal, will not always feel suicidal. I found a reason to live when my nephews and niece were born. I've also learned how to step outside the suicidal feelings and look at things more realistically. I've come to understand that while pain is temporary, death is permanent.

Know This about Suicide: Suicidal Pain Is Treatable

Most suicide victims are suffering from mental illness, usually depression--biopsies of the brain can show the chemical imbalance. This means that suicidal pain is treatable.

Medication can be extremely helpful. I doubt I'd be alive without psychotropic therapy. Medicine can slow the serotonin absorption of the body, allowing a positive feeling to last longer and not burn out as it does in people with depression. Medicine can stop the voices that are telling the person to commit suicide. Medicine can help one stay sober, which, in itself, can alleviate depression. Treatment does exist, and it is effective if given time and adhered to.

Talk therapy also helps. Whether it's learning coping skills or gaining insight into one's problems, counseling helps many people (Ways To Avoid Negative Coping Skills). Sometimes all it takes is a sympathetic ear. Sometimes the therapist will have to work with a psychiatrist to get the patient stable enough for talking to work. Medication has stabilized me, but counseling has helped me solve the problems medication can't fix.

Remember these three things when suicidal, and you can survive the suicidal crisis.

If you are feeling suicidal now, please reach out. See our resources and hotlines page for more.

You can also find Becky Oberg on Google+, Facebook and Twitter and Linkedin.

APA Reference
Oberg, B. (2016, March 7). Three Things Suicidal People Don't Know About Suicide, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 19 from

Author: Becky Oberg

October, 8 2020 at 9:47 am

This is truly the most uneducated, ignorant and selfish non sense I’ve ever read. Do some research into mental health before writing absolute tripe. Shameful.

July, 7 2020 at 7:21 am

I'm 15. I have no friends, I feel like my family hates me. I don't know where I'm going in life. And that's just it: I don't want to grow up and have the responsibilities of an adult. I know that's selfish as hell, but I just don't see any reason why I should have to live.
Anytime I've tried to talk to any adults about my depression, I only end up feeling worse about myself.
I can't escape the feeling that I'm just a burden to everyone around me. Sometimes I wish someone would see through the fake smiles.
And in response to this article: I already knew these things. It's what they teach in school. But I don't care, I can't keep living wanting to die.
I know that no one is even going to read this, so it's not as if what I say matters.

July, 7 2020 at 1:17 pm

Hi Cordell, just so you know, I read this. And my heart aches for you. I am so sorry you're in so much pain. It sounds like you're feeling hopeless and overwhelmed by how bad things are, like there's no way they can ever get better. That's a horrible weight to bear, and I'm sorry. It seems like you probably don't want to hear all the trite BS about how it gets better, so instead maybe try checking out these comics about depression by Allie Brosh. They honestly gave me some semblance of "hope" when I was in a similar position to yours. Keep reaching out, I promise I'll keep reading.

Jim Gibson
June, 25 2018 at 3:52 am

I also had suicidal tendencies in the past back in 2008. I had a career shift which was not successful. I had to take antidepressants and experimented with cannabis. They helped me. I suggest consulting a medical cannabis doctor.

Paige Rancourt
April, 24 2016 at 9:52 pm

1st the pain a suicidal person feels is not transpherd to someone else. Yes peole who care for a suicidal person feel pain when they die but yoi can adapy to the loss of someone. You cany adapt to things that probably 1/2 the suicidal population is going through causing them to be suicidal. Like cancer, ptsd, physical damage done to your body that makes you in capable to have a job or live life like most people.
2nd suicide is not always a solution to a temporary problen PTSD isnt always temopary some times even with help it haunts for life. Cancer or other deadly diseases aren't tenpoary nor is the pain those people are going through which makes them suicidal. Some meantal illness that cause people to be suicidal cant be fixed.
Which brings me to my 3rd point things like depression are a chemical imbalance in the brain. There is a point that some depressed people hit where their chemical imbalance is so bad its not curable. For some people therapy worsens their situation, that happend with my mom. She stopped going to therapy and went back to where she was before shd went to therapy. Which was still suicidal but not As bad as when she was in therapy.
4th A lot of people who are suicidal know what you are saying. Things like this Are what were taught in school and people tell suicidal people. It made me more suicidal and i know others who it did the same to.

March, 25 2016 at 12:26 pm

I would be amiss if I did not reply to Layla. So Layla...
Fight for your life. It is a precious thing no matter what or how you feel. Reach out for help and keep reaching out till you find a network of support. Yes, there will be rejection along the way. Ignore them. I spent the last 12 years in some desperate straights; having attempted a number of times. Some of them were weak attempts and some very determined. I now have permanent issues because of them. But I have somehow made it to another side out of the constant suicide wish. I still struggle with bipolar, ADD, grief from some terrible losses, brain injury issues and physical health things. But I plug on.
I don't want to go and get religious on anyone cause frankly, I'm not religious, but cry out to God in the name of Jesus. There are days still when all I can say is, "Help me God!" And its enough, He gets it. That said, I did pray for you.
My venturing on here came about due to looking for ideas for a blog I still wish to write. I have a difficult time with CBT and therapies so figured blogging my way through the stuff might help with accountability. It might force me to slow down to read and do the work.

March, 16 2016 at 5:33 pm

Layla, others. Hang in there. I have walked in darkness. Life has its good moments. You must look for them. There is meaning to life.

March, 12 2016 at 11:21 am

I'm so depressed now, all I think about is suicide. I know what it feels like to lose a close relative to suicide. Once my mother passes on, I will commit suicide, but I'm going to make sure it doesn't look like a suicide. It will look like an accident or a crime victim. I have no reason to live after my Mom dies. No friends, not close to any family members (might as well say no family), struggling with bipolar, poor, etc. I'm just waiting as of now so I don't hurt my mother.

March, 12 2016 at 11:08 am

Funny, but other people are going to hurt no matter HOW you die. Shaming someone that is suicidal, and/or has attempted suicide, by telling them they are selfish, or transferring their pain to someone else, isn't so great either. You're just making someone who already feels like shit feel even shittier. And I think there are those of us that already have enough guilt to deal with already without the guilt trip. Not to mention, I think a lot of us ARE aware that our death will hurt other people. Yes, we are aware, and yes, this DOES concern us. But, our deaths will hurt other people no matter how we die. If we die from suicide, natural causes, murder, diseases, accidents. Some people will still be left asking "Why?", and not understanding. Fact is, not a single one of us is going to get out alive. We are ALL going to die. And we are ALL going to leave someone behind to mourn us. And if your friends and family are left asking, "Why?", then they really are oblivious to what is right in front of their faces, or else they're not involved nearly enough. If your friends and family really know you and care about you, then they should KNOW why, and should not have to question it.
With that being said, I leave you with this:
If you did not know me well enough in life to hold my hand in grief, do not come to my funeral when I am gone and pretend to have cared.

March, 10 2016 at 7:14 am

Cynthia, I feel the same. I am so tired of fighting the ideation of suicide. I hate this mental illness that no one really gets. I've lost so many friends as I was much more stable 20 years ago. It seems it gets worse as I age. Often, the drugs I take stop working. I am fearful for my future and the possibility that there will be no drugs that can help.

March, 9 2016 at 6:32 am

I need to be on this forum...battling suicidal ideation continually these days.
I have not been able to find a psychiatrist to help with meds (re I must have Medicare)
although I do have an incredible therapist. I'm 68, with increasing physical problems for which there seems to be no solution, just pain maintenance. i have no family, no spouse, no children...and am currently living in a senior facility ... with many problems here.
I just tired now, ready to go another part of my journey...the tsunami of tears every day exhausting and getting REAL help (the basics of housecleaning, food, etc.) just NOT available. I have $4 in my checking account til end of month...trying to go through a complicated bankruptcy but each day seems to bring more hurdles. Hoping I can become part of this group but don't know how to join...

March, 8 2016 at 5:53 pm

I think one of the most important things to understand when someone is having suicidal thoughts is that the pain can truly end but not with suicide. Like this blog mentions there are results of suicide that one may not know about and may use to influence their against suicide. I think with professional counseling from a psychologist one can begin the healing. As we know now that tremendously positive benefits are gained from talk therapy and at time accompanied with the use of antidepressants. So read this blog, understand the points presented and always remember that there is help available.

March, 8 2016 at 9:57 am

What about when you can't afford medication, therapy, or a hospital stay because you don't have insurance, or money to do it out-of-pocket?

March, 8 2016 at 8:27 am

I remember these things when I am suicidal. Sometimes the pain it will cause others is what keeps me here. When things get bad, I don't care or I convince myself they will be fine.
I do not like the other two reasons. I have been on antidepressant medication for more than 20 years and I still want to not exist. Therapy helps sometimes as do the coping skills I have learned in therapy.
As for it being temporary, not so much. I have taken meds, followed doctors orders, worked hard and still I really want to die at times.

March, 7 2016 at 11:44 am

Depression can often lead to suicidal thoughts. People need to realize that negative situations whether work, divorces, financial stress, ridicule, stupid decisions, etc, often go away with time. It is our minds that keep these things going. I am still suffering from some of mine but am slowly getting better.
We need to face our issues and find the best family and friends out there that will listen. Suicide has never solved anything. For most situations, things often do get better. That is where my hope is in anyway.

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