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So You Want to Kill Yourself…

You ain’t alone. Multitudes have contemplated suicide. And in this world of 7 billion souls and 8 trillion brands of bad luck, there are probably legions of others seriously considering it right now.

Whichever way you go, it’s the most important decision you’ll ever make—for you and those who love you, everything hangs on it.

You probably feel your pain is unendurable and, as long as your heart pumps and your mind throbs, inescapable. So you’ve put self-murder on the table, right there next to the salt and pepper.

Maybe depression has been whaling on you for beaucoup rounds and you’re down for the count. Maybe your life has been a mishegoss of misery for a month of Sundays. You’re stuck in this psychic Podunk at the wrong end of the rainbow, and the Reaper drives the only coach out of town. That’s what it feels like, anyway. The despair calcifies into something that fronts as hard knowledge.

But what if there are other routes out of this muzzy jerkwater that your blinkers have just been too fogbound to pick up?

Actually there are other avenues of escape—even if the ones you’ve tried so far turned out to be dead ends and blind alleys. There are resources that can juice you back up, spark plugs for your broke-down soul. There are people to help direct you or even spirit you out of Hangdog City. At first it might feel like you’re crawling across cut glass with a Buick on your back. But eventually you can wind up scrabbling toward a better life.

First step? Try to rule out suicide.

If you’re not ready to do that, at least put it off. There’s no deadline or ultimatum. The Reaper’s a clocked-up plow jockey with loads of souls to harvest, most of them clinging madly to the vine. He’s got sickles to whet, cowls to dry clean, heavy metal album covers to pose for. He ain’t gonna rust a scythe crying tears that he missed you.

Admit there’s no burning rush here. Even if you’ve been noodling suicide since Moses wore Baby Keds, you can put it off again. Procrastination might derail other parts of your life, but people rarely kick themselves for delaying suicide. What exactly do you have to lose by waiting another few days, maybe a week? You could even go mad Limey, Nigel, and put it off for a bloody fortnight.

Okay, so can you agree to postpone the back-gate commute, at least for a little while?

The next step is sending up a flare. You need some help, and one piece of good news is that you’re already cracking out of your lethargy enough to begin seeking it—reading this is a start. But if you haven’t done so yet, it’s time to confide in a wise friend or relative. Depression makes you feel isolated, but still, Robinson Crusoe you ain’t—and even Rob had his island homey Friday to chew the fat with.

There’s got to be somebody to call. If you have a therapist, ring her up. If you don’t have a therapist, try to get one.

If you’re really close to harming yourself, call the suicide hotline—there’s nothing to lose in discussing your plans with a smart, compassionate volunteer. Will they try to talk you out of it? Well, yeah. But what’s so bad about that? They’re not those nice young men in their clean white suits coming to take you away, ha-ha. It’s not a straitjacketed jaunt to the funny farm. It’s just a conversation. And they won’t argue with you or judge you.

Give props to the part of yourself that wants to live and see if anything half-decent might happen next Thursday, or next November. If you pipe off today you’ll never know whether things might have gotten better.

I know from experience that things can get unfathomably better.

I’ve wanted to kill myself scores of times—I mean, I really craved that self-check-out option and even got to the stage of detailed planning on a couple of occasions. At the time I thought I’d always feel that way. I still struggle with depression, but now it’s been years since I was suicidally low.

I’m so grateful that I’m alive to sit here and write this today, coffee on the desk, autumn light and birdsong spilling through the windows.

My crystal ball is in the shop right now, so I can’t be certain about anything in your future. But given that you’re a human living on the planet earth, it’s highly likely that your outer circumstances will be fluid and your internal weather patterns will shift. This despair you’re in, these suicidal thoughts dive-bombing you—they ain’t forever, and may even be gone in a week. The sun’s gonna shine in your back door once again. Westering wind’s gonna blow at least some of your troubles away. Then you’ll be glad you chose to stay above ground.

Read So You Want to Kill Yourself, Part 2.

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