Do You Wish You Could Go to Sleep and Never Wake Up?

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“If only I could go to sleep forever.”

“I want to die.”

“I wish I’d never been born.”

Do you ever have thoughts like these, and you do not want to kill yourself? Many people do. They want their life to end, but they don’t want to end their life.

If you’re one of those people, you probably don’t think of yourself as suicidal. It might surprise you to know that, in clinical parlance, such thoughts are considered to be “passive” suicidal ideation.

What is Suicidality?

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Technically speaking, the term “passive suicidal thoughts” is an oxymoron. The very meaning of suicide is the intentional act of killing oneself. How can someone be suicidal if they don’t want to die by suicide?

That’s where “passive” comes in. People with passive suicidal thoughts don’t want to do anything to make themselves die. They wish it would just happen.

Suicidality – that is, suicidal thoughts or behavior – exists on a spectrum. At one end are people who wish they weren’t alive anymore but also don’t think of suicide. At the other end of the spectrum are people with extremely high intent to end their life now, or maybe they’ve even just made a suicide attempt.

At points in between are different gradations of suicidality. Some people think of killing themselves but quickly reject the idea. Some want to die by suicide and make a plan but don’t intend to carry it out. Some want, plan, and intend to die by suicide but not any time soon. Those are just a few possibilities.

The Dangers of Passive Suicidal Thoughts

Research indicates that people with passive vs. active suicidal thoughts are at equal risk for attempting suicide. We don’t know why, but it’s reasonable to hypothesize that passive suicidal thoughts can swiftly change from “I want to be dead” to “I want to kill myself.”

It’s also possible (though this hasn’t been researched specifically) that risk factors for passive suicidal thoughts are similar to risk factors for suicide itself. These risk factors might include mental or physical pain, hopelessness, illness, stress, loss, trauma, poverty, unemployment, relationship problems, isolation, substance abuse or addiction, sleep disturbance, and more.

In short, people who wish they were dead share something important with people who want to kill themselves: Both groups want their pain or problems to end.

Passive suicidality can lead people to put themselves in danger. For example, they might not wear a seatbelt or drive carefully. They might use too many drugs or drink too much or pick fights with strangers. They’re not trying to kill themselves (at least, not consciously), but they also don’t care if they get killed.

So, if you have passive suicidal thoughts, please take good care of yourself. You may be at higher risk than average for death. I realize that if you want to die, you might welcome such news. But please, recognize the wish for death as a symptom of something in your life, or inside of you, that needs healing. Healing, not killing.

How to Get Help

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Please, talk with somebody about how you’re feeling. Sharing your thoughts with a trusted friend, family member, teacher, doctor, minister or other person (or people) serves two purposes: One, they can try to help you. Two, you may not feel so alone. 

The resources that I list on this website are available to all people in distress, whether or not they think explicitly of suicide: hotlines, crisis text lines, online chat, and more. 

Therapy can address why you want to die, and how to feel better. If therapy is out of reach for you financially, take a look at the post, “12 Ways to Get Therapy if You Can’t Afford It.” You also might want to see a doctor to make sure there’s no physical condition, like depression or a thyroid problem, that’s triggering thoughts of death.

A safety plan is helpful, too, in case your desire for death morphs into fantasizing about, or making plans to, kill yourself. A safety plan lays out the steps you can take to cope, get help, and stay safe if suicidal thoughts put you in danger. You can find a form for completing a safety plan here.

People who want to be dead often feel hopeless. Consider filling up a hope box (real or virtual) with reminders of the people, places, hopes, and possibilities that make life worth living.

In any case, I hope you will get help. Even if you don’t want to take action to end your life, the important thing is that you’re hurting or otherwise unhappy. There are many things you can try to feel better, heal, and like being alive.   

Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW, is the author of “Helping the Suicidal Person: Tips and Techniques for Professionals,” a psychotherapist and consultant, and an associate professor at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work.

Copyright 2020 by Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW. Written for All Rights Reserved.

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  1. DCM says:

    I am on my way to a real dark place, I am so alone and don’t see any light. I have little to no money a cheating lying husband after 34 years and no way to fix anything. Its after 11 pm and he isn’t home again, I’m going crazy not knowing where he is or who he is with. He told me this morning he was done.

    • Linda Straubel says:

      DCM, I had a cheating, lying husband, too, the first time. He was also a bipolar, alcoholic control freak. Even after he got sober, finally, he was still a controlling asshat. When I left him, he was shocked. LOL It was hard. When I first decided to leave, I had nothing that I owned myself, not even a checking account or credit card, so I did some research and started by getting a part-time job and opening my own checking account. Then I started establishing my own credit history by applying for a department store credit card. Once I had those two baby steps, I found a small studio apartment and put in a down payment. Since I was afraid he’d react violently and/or start drinking again, I made secret plans to have about a third of what we owned together moved to my new place. If he’s already said, “I’m done,” I don’t think there’s anything left in the marriage to hold onto or repair. He’s done, so you have to be done, too. His evil does not define you; it’s his and his alone. My best advice is to create a plan and start moving forward on it. It may take awhile to get ready to leave, but I still think it’s your best option.

    • Molly says:

      Tell him you’re MORE than done. No one should treat you like that. I’d rather be alone and living in a cardboard box then to have someone gaslight you like this.

      A dark place is a dark place but you are living with yours.

      Just leave him. Go to a shelter. They will have programs to set you up with a part-time job (if that’s doable), keep a roof over your head. And they can get you into transitional housing. I know it’s scary, but think of how depleted you are right now. And he won’t stop. He knows he can get away with it and you’ll be sitting at home when he decides to return. Leave, and show him you’re nobodies doormat.

      I wish you the best.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t know if you are still looking for a job. I know this is remote and part-time- My advice is to leave him. He doesn’t bring out the best in you and that’s what life partners are for. He doesn’t deserve you and you should be happy.

      • Andrea says:

        I went to apply for that job but it does say this

        ”This is a remote role. However, you must be able to commute to our Downtown Nashville office.”

        So yes it’s work at home, but you have to be in the Nashville area.

  2. Annie says:

    I just wanted to say thank you to everyone here who was so kind. Good luck. ~ Annie

  3. Renee says:

    The last part of this article is completely useless! We don’t Want to find a way to keep living, we want a way to passively die! That’s why we are googling this question. We all don’t want to be saved. Many of us who have mental illnesses have given up on cures, many of us have suffered nearly our entire lives. Its no different than a serious medical condition that causes unrelenting pain and an inability to enjoy life. This is something the medical compresses to understand. Its our bodies, its our serve. We alone should be able to make the decision to live or die with no repercussions. Everytime read a story about someone saving someone else who is trying to commit suicide I wonder if that person who was saved felt good about it or was pissed about it. And people always applaud the “heros” that stepped in to help. In my mind its a personal issue. And nobody else has the authority to stop a person from exercising there rights. The only exception I take to this rule is children and teenagers. They have not developed enough mentally or intellectually to make rational decisions in these matters and intervention is absolutely appropriate.

    • rachel says:

      Hi Renee, I would just like to say to you , I don’t agree .
      when I joined this site , I really wanted to die , I was in so much emotional pain from my early childhood to my late 40s .
      my life has taken a turn in a positive way , I feel I am healing .
      I am so glad I didn’t take my life .
      I think (some ) people who are on this site are in so much pain, they want the pain to stop.. not their lives .

      • Linda Straubel says:

        Rachel, Your response to Renee is well-put. What’s interesting to me is the hostility toward this site and the doctor’s article, as if the anger they feel at their lives gets re-directed to anyone who tries to help them. Clearly, if Renee does sincerely want to end her life, there are sites that will advise her on how to do so. The sad thing about grief and depression is that, and I know this from personal experience, it often gets expressed as extreme anger that alienates anyone who might be able to help them feel better. For me, it’s sometimes part of the downward spiral that becomes obsessive. On the other hand, I am so glad you found this site and the doctor’s advice helpful and I am equally glad that you stuck around until things got better. I’ve been there, and, I, too am so grateful I stuck around. I guess I was lucky enough to have just enough of a core of optimism that survived everything negative that ever happened to me.

        • Rachel says:

          Linda I think Renee’s hostilty against the site is again to do with how much pain she is feeling &just lashing out .
          thank you for your kind words , nothing has really changed in my life only my way of thinking’s a bit more positive and long may it last , I suppose reading some stories here has made me realise I have a lot , I have a lovely home, a good job and I am healthy , so I am trying to make the most of what I do have, rather than what I don’t have

      • Linda Straubel says:

        Rachel, I’m using the Reply button to your next-to-the-last post, as the last one doesn’t have a Reply button. I’m noticing this on more posts lately. Be that as it may, I agree and your attitude is helpful. Lately, although I’m stuck at home most of the time, I look around and am grateful for my home and my supportive husband.

        • Rachel says:

          Linda, that is wonderful you have a supportive husband .I’m sure you are as equally supportive to him .
          that’s really nice .
          it’s hard to keep positive during covid , I think it will effect lots of people mentally too , lose of jobs etc .
          please god it will end soon .

        • Linda Straubel says:

          Rachel, me, too. I am worried about the way Annie left. It sounded like she was giving up. Her life has been so hard, it’s hard to figure out how to give her hope for the future. I hope we hear from her again.

      • Linda Straubel says:

        Rachel, I think we’re all going more than a little crazy with all that’s going on, including the virus. Although there are a few vaccines being studied, none of the studies include children, which means vaccines for children will take even longer than mid-2021, which is the earliest prediction I’ve read. We all need each other’s support to get through it. This site, for one, helps, I believe.

        • Rachel says:

          yes Linda this site does help , I don’t even remember how I got on it , but I know I was in my deepest despair at the time .
          I was thinking of leaving the site , but might stay on a little longer .I would really like to hear Annie is ok .

      • Doesn’t matter says:

        Try living through physical pain In your body and screaming sirens surrounding your head 24/7 which can’t be drownEd out with anything and physically can’t live with anymore suffering. Having no sleep, not being able to communicate, or engage. Spasmed in pain, and being dismissed by so called health care since it’s all post Covid. When there is no hope, no moments of silence or pain free and your suffering in ways no one can understand just to be told this could be your life forever… I’m coming up to 7 months of pure torture and can’t find any relief. The only thing that scares me of dying now is how it is going to affect my family and how much I miss those I love not being able to connect in ways I once did. But if this is life , there’s no way I can carry on in this pain and torture anymore.

        • Rachel says:

          I am so sorry you are in such physical pain .And I wouldn’t like to be in that situation, I can’t imagine how awful you must feel .I am so sorry .

  4. Annie says:

    Linda, again there was no way to reply to your last comment directly, so I hope you get this. I do not have a computer, only my phone.
    As far as a caregiver job, the only way I have gotten the ones I have are there is no pay involved. I work to have a room. I have not been financially compensated, and I have not gotten a day off since 2016. I work 24/7, even Christmas and my birthday.
    My last husband was very ill, bed ridden for the last 2 years we were together. Its another long story Im not up to going into, but I was an army medic, so have limited, basic medical knowledge and training.
    The man I am currently living with (who’s mother I cared for) has been very sick since last Thursday. He was admitted to the hospital and released the next day. He was seen by the doctor yesterday and we are waiting on labs. He had a kidney transplant 11 years ago, and he is not doing well. I “guess” now Im taking care of him.
    I may have said this, but I had my own business from 1999-2006 when my then husband got sick. I made $60 an hour. My business suffered and eventually folded. Over the next 5 years, I couldn’t do much of anything due to his daily visits to doctors, the ER and hospital stays. I actually lived at a hospital for 6 months with him during his illness.
    He got somewhat better in 2011, and then walked out on me. Another long story. So with the huge gap in employment, and companies not really recognizing you as your own reference, the severing of ties with my entire family, and now working only for a roof over my head leaves nothing for a resume, and at my age…..well, lol, Im not able to find a job. Add my physical limitations which decline more every day, Im not really sure I could do much of a job. I sleep very little, I cry all the time, my sciatica makes it difficult to stand or walk. I have neuropathy so bad I lost the use of my left foot and soon after, the use of my right hand for 6 months. The pain is constant. Blah, blah. I know….
    Anyway, at the hospital and doctors office the man Im staying with (btw, there is nothing romantic between he and I….I don’t want a man) he totally lost it, almost passing out when they took blood. I said, “now you know how I feel when I see a bug, lol!!”

    • Linda Straubel says:

      Annie, Sorry I didn’t get back to you right away. I’m not ignoring you, I just don’t know what else to say. Your problems are so overwhelming I’m out of suggestions. Are there any free clinics you can go to? Some social work department? If you tell me what to look for, I’ll do some Google searches for you, but, frankly I don’t know where to start.

      • Annie says:

        Linda, thank you once again for reaching out. At least you understand how I feel. “Overwhelmed” is an excellent word for it.
        I tried the Community Service Board a few times. The last time about 2 years ago. I couldn’t stop crying. Some very young woman, maybe 20 tops, was who I saw. Obviously a student, I poured my soul out for maybe 5 minutes, sobbing uncontrollably. Her response was ” what would you like to accomplish in our sessions?”
        I walked out feeling more hopeless, and totally humiliated. It was like trying to put a bandaid in a gaping wound. I couldn’t see beyond that moment, much less set goals for the future. Now, I don’t think Dr Phil could help me.
        At one point, years ago, I started drinking, heavily drinking. I felt I couldn’t make it thru the night without a large bottle of wine.
        Now, I seldom drink, and when I do, its 2 beers with lunch with the man Im staying with. I haven’t been drunk in over 5 years, and I have no desire to be. I think I mainly drank before just to sleep, and alleviate pain.
        Now, I feel like most others here…and the topic being discussed. If I could just go to sleep, and not wake up. I don’t want another failed suicide. I don’t want to wake up in yet more pain. I want the pain to stop, and its never going to until I die.
        There really is no help out there, Ive searched for years. No one can truly understand someone else’s pain.

        • Molly says:

          My therapist understands my pain. She can’t solve my problems but she relates very well to the pain I feel. My first therapist was a disaster. She would say things like ”Let a smile be your umbrella” and she would tell me not to be so negative. I was severely depressed and suicidal. Luckily my 2nd therapist turned out to be wonderful. She truly cares and has bent over backwards to help me. I’m still depressed, I still have some suicidal ideation. But I know I have someone to talk to, to unload to and she has some wonderful insight into my issues. She has helped me tremendously. Please don’t stop at one bad therapist. I wish you the best.

  5. Annie says:

    I keep waiting. I guess for some turn of events where my life may improve. Truth is, nothing ever gets better, only worse…worse, worse. Im 59 years old. All of my dreams have past, and I have no more dreams. Im too old. I am simply surviving, not living this life. I have no friends, no family, no one who would remotely miss me. I cannot sleep, I am in constant pain emotionally and physically. Nothing gives me any pleasure.
    With this pandemic, everything is that much harder. The world has turned into a very ugly place. I have tried over and over to find help, but that’s a joke. There is no help, there never has been. Mine is not depression, mine is simply being beaten up by this world since the day I was born, thrown away, adopted by people who used me as an accessory, never loved. I guess that is the problem…a life without a single person ever loving me. I pray every day to die….just die and ending this constant struggle.

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Anne , I am really sorry you are feeling so bad .I think as older age comes , life does get harder , but 59 is not so old .
      I feel the same sometimes and have really bad days .you should try listen to some positive stuff . I listen to Wayne Dyer on YouTube as I am falling asleep and I have found it has made some small changes in my thoughts .
      I am naturally a very negitive person , but listening to him over time has changed my thoughts .
      when you dont have anyone who cares about you , care about yourself , love yourself , you are all you need .help someone with a charity even if it is just once a month , it will make you feel better , give you a purpose.
      Sadness , loneliness is an awful thing not fitting in , I have lived it most my life , but you may nave another 30 years here on this earth, do 1 small thing this week to make a change ..even if it’s a small walk on your own & tell yourself how great you are for making it this far .

      • Annie says:

        Rachel, I am new and not familiar with the way this site works. I just saw your reply, so I hope you didn’t feel ignored. I appreciate your input.
        I try to do something every day to make things a bit better. I crochet. I make all these afghans, only to throw them in the trunk of my car, but keeps my hands busy.
        I don’t walk since i had to surrender my dog when i moved in my car. I don’t live in a very nice area, and walking can be dangerous. I don’t have room to exercise, and my music mostly makes me sad now, reminding me of better times or people who have hurt me. Stupid, I know…but just how I feel.
        Unfortunately, it seems food has become my only bright spot. I don’t eat a lot, but I eat junk, its easier.
        I think every night, “tomorrow Ill go to a nursery, or farm stand”. Just to get out and browse, get some fresh mask filtered air. But tomorrow comes and I don’t go because I know it will hurt I cant afford to buy something. Plus, its gas I need to save.
        Depression warps your mind into overthinking everything until your mind feels so heavy, your body doesn’t want to move. Sciatica makes it that much worse, and fibromyalgia makes it nearly impossible now.
        59 maybe, but I feel so much older.

        • rachel says:

          dear Annie, I am so sorry things are so bad for you, it’s heart breaking to think you are homeless. I wish I could help you personally. I live in a different country to you so it’s not possible for me to come help you. if you would like to give your email address maybe I could contact you directly and see if I can help in some small way.

          Don’t give up. you can see by the replys you are getting, that people do care.

        • Andrea says:

          Donate your beautiful afghans to Animal Rescues. Those homeless kitties and dogs will have something soft to lay on.

    • Linda S. Straubel says:

      Annie, I’m sorry you’re in such physical and emotional pain and have no one to help you. I think we had similar backgrounds, having been raised by people who neither valued nor loved me. But I guess the difference for me was being born with a very defiant spirit and, as soon as I could, I set out to make a life for myself that was the opposite of what I’d been given, left home, educated myself and looked for love. Most of my attempts to find love failed, at least partly, because what I’d endured didn’t really equip me for success, so I had to learn the hard way. I’m older now, 70, and retired and, looking back, I see that I had friends and lost them, partly through moving around, partly through their dying, but also partly because I wasn’t always nice enough to keep them and people get tired of dealing with the unreasonable anger I carried around. I don’t know if any of this helps, but while it’s always been hard for me to reach out to people, I’ve managed to become part of a few groups and to create a successful second marriage. I also got help. I’ve been to therapy with several different therapists and can’t overstress how much that helped. It doesn’t have to cost a lot; the last time, I told the therapist how much I could afford to spend and that was her fee. There are always therapists out there willing to charge what you can afford. I’d try that if I were you. 59 is not too old to change, put yourself out there, find a professional to help you. But, I’m not the professional here. If I were you, I’d also address my questions directly to Dr. Freedenthal, the therapist who hosts and administers this site.

      • Annie says:

        I really appreciate your response. At least someone acknowledged me. I set out several times to make a life for myself. I joined the army. I thought i would gain job skills to carry with me, be successful. Instead, I got pregnant by my first husband who turned out a drug addict.
        I was put to bed for 6 months of my pregnancy with toxemia. After having the baby, I stayed inactive. I got an honorable discharge, but that’s all.
        Then i took adult learning classes, got a job. Did pretty good for my son and myself. Then pregnant again. I almost lost the pregnancy early on after a severe attack and beating from my second husband. The baby was born premature. Nine months later after I became pregnant again after my husband brutally raped me and tried to kill me.
        With 3 children, I went to college, starting school with the staples from my c-section still in, taking 17 to 19 credits a semester, but got an associates degree. It was a difficult economy, and no job to be found. I went to cosmetology school, and became an instructor.
        I married my 3rd husband a few years later…he molested my daughters.
        I taught myself web design and made great money but Husband #4 and his mother frauded me out of my home, and what was left of my money after my adoptive parents scammed stole 100k from me to move in their natural son and his family, and severed all ties with me.
        I had been working so hard to provide for my children and I didn’t notice I was no longer their mother…my parents had become their parents, and they also turned against me.
        I became homeless, living in my car.
        Im a horrible writer. I don’t know if any of this makes sense to someone else. Trying to do the readers digest condensed version. All i know is Ive been betrayed by everyone Ive ever loved, and never been truly loved.
        I can’t trust any more, and to me, love equals pain. How does anyone go through all of this and not want to die?

      • Linda says:

        Annie, I agree that the regimen of 19 pills you ended up on had to be the source of many, many problems and I’m surprised you ended up on so many. As to therapy, the one you saw with your husband doesn’t sound like a good fit for you. I agree that it’s hard to see a doctor in these times, but I see ads on TV for online doctor’s appointments; have you checked into that? It’s terrible that you lost your house; are you still homeless? You do have computer access, though, and that might make it possible for you to find an online doctor and an online therapist. You’d had better times, so you know they’re possible. Please don’t give up on life.

        • Annie says:

          Good morning Linda. You are such a good person. I really appreciate you.
          I have tried to find an online Doctor. I have gotten tons of names from my insurance company, but have not found anything. I do not have a computer.
          I lived in my car for 5 months. I was offered a couch in exchange for cooking, cleaning, driving, caregiving etc for a 500 lb man and his 300lb roommate. Long story as short as possible, I helped the 300lb man who had extensive health problems including diabetes lose 68 lbs and get off several medications. His A1C lowered to 6 as well. I met a friend of the 500 lb man during this time and started helping his mom who was 89, and had severe dementia as well.
          Things went south after a year and a half with the 2 obese men, and I moved in with another man with macular degeneration as his “driver” in exchange for room and board. I continued to help the man’s mother 3-4 times a week. (Confusing Im sure).
          The man with macular degeneration lied a lot. He was looking for sex. NOT happening. But I did a lot of cooking, cleaning, painting, moving furniture…until he found a girlfriend and it was VERY uncomfortable. So I moved in with the man who’s mother I cared for when she broke her hip in March 2019. She passed away July 27th. I am still living here, but he will be moving soon and I will be back in my car.
          This will sound stupid and childish, but I have a huge bug phobia. The 2 bugs I am deathly afraid of are wasp and american cockroaches. This spring we got an infestation of roaches. No german roaches, the 2-3″ american roaches (extremely bad in this area). We were seeing them every day all over the house. I have a small room off the garage, and one night had 3 of them invade my room. Every night, I start to panic. My anxiety is bad during the daytime, but night time is horrible. When in my room I constantly watch the walls, and cannot turn the lights off. My body is rigid, my heart pounds, I feel frozen anticipating seeing one. The day after seeing the 3, I went to the ER chancing covid because my anxiety was off the charts. They gave me a shot of valium and I started sleeping at the feet of his mom (before she died, lol) with my feet in her wheel chair. I couldn’t go in my room for more than a couple of minutes. The night she died, I slept in her bed, and slept in her room for about a week until her son sold her bed. Now, I sleep for 10-15 minutes, wake in a panic and scan the walls. After an hour or so, I repeat this.
          I know in my head its a stupid bug. They don’t sting, or bite, and cant hurt me. Unfortunately this fear was born out of a traumatic experience from years ago, (after an attack from my abusive husband) and when I see one, I cry uncontrollably and shake violently. I cant breathe and feel violently sick.
          So…Its live in my car, or deal with bugs. These options both seem unbearable.
          Im a caregiver at heart. I can help others, I derive pleasure from helping others. I give everything helping someone else, probably hoping someone will care for me. Unfortunately that never happens. Im abused, treated as a servant, and tossed aside. The ONE time I took care of me, I thrived. But once again, I end up just surviving.

    • Linda says:

      Annie, I wanted to reply to your latest message with the details of your life, but there’s no “reply” button there, so I’m going back to your original message. Certainly, your life has been terrible and I can see why you’re depressed about it. There’s another thing we have in common: a bad upbringing with no positive role models does not teach you how to pick a good mate and you’ve certainly had more than your share of horrible husbands. I’ve read somewhere that suicide is sometimes acting out what we believe was our parents’ true wishes for us. Maybe picking the wrong men and the horrors that result stems from the same lack of love from your parents. Self-worth comes largely from the unconditional love you’re supposed to get from your parents; it you don’t get that, self-love or even self-acceptance is hard to achieve. Maybe picking men who make you miserable are also a result of that lack of a good love foundation. I know it worked that way for me for a long, long time, although I never suffered as much as you did. It’s on the same spectrum maybe, but my taste in men took a long time to mature away from that “bad boy” syndrome. My first husband was dual addicted and very controlling and I left him for someone who turned out to be even worse. After him, I was alone for five years working 7 days a week to finish my degree. That time alone was good for me; it made it easier to see that no mate is far better than the wrong one. As I wrote before, though, therapy was what helped me the most. The first hurdle for me was getting over the feeling that I wasn’t worth that much effort. Ironically, it was therapy, that I had resisted so long, that helped me get over that feeling, too. My second husband is not perfect, but he loves me and we work things out. I am so sorry to hear how difficult your life has been, but it doesn’t reflect what you deserve. And, again, Dr. Freedenthal might have better advice; I’m just an amateur who’s been through a little of what you have, but nowhere near as severe.

      • Annie says:

        Thank you again Linda for hearing me and being empathetic. I hear what you are saying and agree about the bad boys.
        I have been in therapy several times. The last time, my husband went with me. We ended up mostly talking about his problems and I mostly stayed quiet. I was put on medications, and ended up on 19! Every pill gave me a new issue and lead to yet another pill. My health was declining. My weight soured upward which led to more depression and more problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, tardive dyskinesia, parkinsonism, etc.
        On December 31st, I woke up, and realized I had lost 3 days. I didn’t feel right. My chest hurt, I was confused, dizzy, and just felt bad. I drove myself to the ER where i was admitted for kidney failure and pneumonia. I spent 16 days in the hospital. After I was released, I started making changes in my life.
        I was alone for the first time since I was 19. I flushed every pill in the house. I started cleaning (btw, my husband had left me, he had a lot of health problems, and as a result, we spent 2 years in bed, only going to doctor appts, the ER, and the hospital. He was 15 years my junior, and he passed away this past Feb). The house was mountains of laundry, dust 2 inches thick, absolutely horrible. We smoked heavily and nicotine covered everything. So I started cleaning. I could barely walk, I was weak and overweight and have sciatica.
        I started walking, for the first time. If I didn’t want to eat, I didn’t have to cook. I lost 30 lbs very quickly without really trying. Part was due to getting off the pills. I kept walking and eating better and over the year, lost 100 lbs. I was walking 5 miles a day, had energy for days. I couldn’t exercise enough. I taught myself to eat things I never ate, like fruit, lol. I got to a size 00. I felt fierce, and happy for the first time ever. My house was clean, organized, and beautiful. I sold my bedroom furniture I shared with 2 husbands and refurnished it with thrift store items. Everyone who saw my room loved it.
        Then, everything turned horrible again, but that’s another story. Id rather end on a pleasant note.
        My point here is I don’t need pills. I have discovered they have a paradoxical effect on me. I need good food, a healthy environment, and exercise. Sounds easy, right? But being homeless, doesn’t afford these basic things.
        Ive gone on too long here, I apologize. In closing,
        I have sought counselling, but with covid-19, I cannot find it. I could use valium, one drug that seems to help. I have constant panic attacks, and anxiety is thru the roof. But I cannot even get a doctor appt, let alone who will prescribe valium to a new patient. You see how long my story is….who is going listen, much less understand?
        Thank you again. Im glad you found love.

        • Linda Straubel says:

          Annie, How are you posting to this site without a computer? I ask because it occurred to me that there must be ads posted for care-givers with both pay and room and board. Are you able to do a Google search for those sites? Maybe it’s not being a care-giver that gets you in trouble, but picking the wrong people to help, like the wrong men you chose. Don’t get me wrong; I am not blaming you for your situation, just looking for any common element I can find that can be changed. As far as your phobia goes, I completely understand. My bug phobia used to be centipedes but I got over it in a really weird way. From my own experience, I know that my taste in people took a long time to evolve from the self-destructive to something healthier; it’s a symptom all people with abusive and/or negligent upbringing seem to suffer. We’re on the same continuum, but your on a more extreme part of the spectrum. Let me know if I can help search for care-giver listings. Where, generally, are you located, so I don’t find someplace you can’t go to.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes I’m in the same boat as you I’ve been beat down all my life and I’m tired .

  6. Steph says:

    Don’t you just hate how much shit you go through just to feel okay again.once you finally find yourself and happiness finds you it’s like history repeating itself. But this time you’re the one that’s the fuck up. You’re the one with issues? Every situation dealing with your emotions it’s you turning it around and playing victim? When does it end 28 almost 29 and honestly i am angry that I survived the horrible violence I endured because I now feel like I’m the fuck up in life. maybe it is all my fault maybe if I’d been quiet a little more and turned my cheek things would be a fairytale but reality is just the opposite. I am scared but I’m sick of hurting I’m sick of it being my fault I just want to be happy

    [This comment was edited to abide by the Comments Policy. – SF]

  7. N.A. says:

    My husband is in the next room, ignoring me as usual. We both work, but I cook, clean, do dishes, etc. He sits and plays video games. He knows I have bad anxiety about money, but will not pay the bills. Every day, I hope I won’t wake up. Some days I think longingly of bridges, car wrecks, etc. The only things stopping me are my cats, and the fact that I would hate to make anyone clean up after my death.

    • Linda Straubel says:

      N.A., divorce is a far better option than ending your own life. It sounds to me as if your husband is pretty indifferent to your needs and no one needs to live with that. My gauge for a good marriage is simple: are you both better off together than you’d be apart? If not, can any changes be made? If sounds to me as if he won’t change for the same reason he’s such a bad husband; he’s selfish and lazy and perfectly content to place all the burden of keeping a home and a relationship intact on you. If that’s the case, you’d be better off without him, as now, as he is, he’s just another burden weighing you down. It was a painful decision for me to leave my first husband, as I had all sorts of worries about supporting myself, etc., but, most of all, I hated to think of myself as having failed at my marriage, mostly because that was the pattern my mother set and I wanted to move heaven and earth to avoid her mistakes. Yet, when it was over and the dust had settled, I knew it was the best decision I’d ever made and my life has been 100% better off since. Leave and make a happier life with yourself and your cats; they’re far better companions and, even if it takes awhile, wait and love may come along. I lived alone with my sweet little kitty while I finished my Ph.D. for five years, working 7 days a week. They were hard years, but I did it and grew from it. I guess the bottom line is, it’s clear to me that you don’t need him. If he can’t pull his own weight physically and emotionally, leave him.

  8. Rachel says:

    I so much emotional loneliness pain , I think I will take my life soon .
    the anxiety, the headaches the actual body pains from being so lonely .I have not 1 friend no one to talk to .I have 1 adult child who is so wrapped up in themselves and doesn’t care about me never visits me , gave him everthing all my life .’m not a bad person , I’m kind of nice and I’m polite , i am only in my mid 40s .I just can’t live like this anymore , I have taken 1 sleeping pill so I don’t feel the pain and I’ll be asleep , but I will wake up soon with my heart racing .I am not coping so well today .

    • Christine says:

      I’m very sorry for your pain and loneliness. I also feel both every day. I had a life threatening emergency Saturday night and called two friends, both busy, and texted my daughter 5 times and she didn’t get back to me until the next day. Oh but how they’ll carry on and whine when I’m dead. Too bad they pay no attention to me while I’m still alive. I take Trazadone and muscle relaxers to sleep. I hope every day not to wake up.

  9. Linda Straubel says:

    To Rachel – No apology is required; I was not in any way offended, just concerned for you. Like I said, anti-depressants can’t change how others in your life act, but I still think they can help you cope better. But, obviously, it is your choice. As to the people you know who’ve had negative responses to anti-depressants, stopping them suddenly without medical support can be dangerous; I get that. As to the other who still ended up committing suicide, clearly the pills aren’t perfect, but you can’t base their value on just two examples out of all the people who take them. A more logical approach might help, by which I mean doing some research in a legitimate source for the statistical studies on anti-depressants. You might be surprised at what you find.

    • Paul says:

      I’ve been on almost all of the SSRIs over the years, and at 62, I’m not sure that any of them ever made me feel great. This morning I woke up again in so much physical nerve pain that, once again, my first thought was “somebody shoot me.” Last week I got six injections in my lower spine, and it feels better right there, but my arms and legs and spine just scream and fight to fill the “pain void” that is left. I live on oxycodone, three doses per day to be productive, and then I cope.

      I attempted suicide about a year ago by overdose by oxycodone. I discovered that I have a paradoxical reaction to oxy. After ingesting 120 mg, I settled back for the euphoria and drowsiness, and instead I became wired and stayed up for 14 hours, fidgeting. So semi-synthetic opioids are off of the list. I had always wondered why they didn’t make me drowsy.

      Luckily, I would never attempt suicide in a method that would leave a mess, so option are limited. I even wore an adult diaper during my attempt, in case I had an “accident” in death. So I have invented a device that will [kill me].

      This could happen tomorrow or never. The knowledge that I have created an option for myself makes it easier to cope. Nobody close to me knows about any of this. They would probably be strongly surprised. I mean, my pain is no secret, just my death wish.

      [This comment was edited to abide by the site’s Comments Policy. – SF]

  10. Christine says:

    I feel this article hard. I want to be dead. I don’t want to wake up. I want it all to be over. But I have no means to do it. I’ve done research and so many of them end up botched and that is not what I want. I have no support system. No friends and no family. I have a 25 year old paranoid schizophrenic son who hates me and calls me every 6-24 months. The time in between I worry like crazy. My anxiety for him is through the roof. I have been to therapy for almost 3 years but I need more help and my therapist has accepted another job so I’m limited to 45 minutes per week. She is wonderful and I need more of her and that’s not going to happen. I’m on anti-depressants but I do not know of a pill that makes your family ignore and basically forget you. I have an adult daughter in another state but besides knowing how very unhappy I am doesn’t seem to have the time or any compassion for me. She has done a lot more to people she knows in this new state for a year or so than me, her own mother. I grew up in an era where you helped your family. Now I’m in one that you dump your family. It hurts. It’s incredibly painful. I sleep 16-18 hours a day because being awake is just too painful.

    • rachel says:

      you are not alone , because I feel the same , my only adult child met someone and doesn’t care less about me , we use to be very close as we only ever had each other , I have no other family , my heart is broken .I don’t have 1 friend , I feel I don’t fit in to society.
      I think about taking my life nearly every day , but I am too scared as what happens then ? are we left some where in misery for eternity.
      I visited my doctor today who suggested anti depressants but like you said a pill is not going to change anything .
      I think we need to put our faith in god and pray for hope , where there’s life ..there’s always hope .

      • Linda Straubel says:

        Rachel, I feel that it’s all very well and good to have faith, but anti-depressants can, in fact, help. Think of it this way: our moods are affected by everything, not just what happens outside in our lives, but what happens inside our bodies, as well, including the natural chemicals in our blood that circulate through our brains. If you had diabetes, I don’t think you’d refuse insulin to keep you alive and healthy. I think of anti-depressants the same way. They can help lift your mood by adjusting your body’s and your mind’s chemistry. So, in fact, you might reconsider your claim that “a pill is not going to change anything.” It might not make your daughter kinder or closer, but it can help you to deal with it without wanting to die.

      • Christine says:

        Wouldn’t it be nice, if all the lonely people like us could get together. And if anyone got along with someone you could move in together to help each other through this.

        Anti-depressants aren’t helpful for people like us. We crave the love and friendship we once had. We grieve it now that it’s gone. There is no pill that will make that sort of pain go away.

        I’m sorry about your daughter. I know how you feel. It’s incredibly painful.

      • Rachel says:

        in response to Linda.
        my Apologies, I didn’t mean to make it sound like I was claiming a pill doesn’t fix a chemical imbalance in your brain.
        I just don’t think they are for me , I am hurting from the people I have lost .
        I know two people who took anti despresents, 1 walks around like a zombie and the other person killed herself after she tried giving them up herself , so I guess I’m scared of them .
        maybe 1 day I will need to take them but I’m hoping to get strenght to find a different way .I’m in my mid 40s and I feel like it’s harder to make friends , every1 is settled down with their family’s and feel odd about being alone no partner etc .i find middle age a bit daunting .
        i’m lucky I have a nice home and a job and I am going to try be more positive.
        Again my Apologies about my”claim “of antidepressants, I didn’t mean any offence.

      • Annie says:

        I don’t understand how this site works. I cannot find a reply button always but Rachel, I hope this finds you. Thank you so much for your wonderfully kind words.
        I feel like i write books here, and Its probably way to long and boring for people to get thru. Exchanging email addresses sounds great, but believe its against this sites policies.
        I pray every night not to wake up. I secretly hope I get covid and die. But I WILL NOT contact the suicide line. They send the police and haul you to the psych ward which is locking you up, ignoring you, giving you crayons and scrap paper and then give you a hearing after 5 mns or less with a doc. It makes you feel crazy, alone, uncared for and more hopeless.
        I made the mistake of taking ativan at the hospital, thinking it would keep me calm. It had a paradoxical effect on me and made me MAD! Totally not my personality. Prozac made me want to kill people, seriously.
        Antidepressants can help, if you get one that actually works for you. Sometimes it can take months of switching meds and still may not find one that actually works, it can make things worse.
        Not having met you, I have no idea what kind of dietary habits you have.
        Sometimes, a new diet can help with mood. Getting 20 minutes of sun every day is essential. It sounds odd, but walking barefoot in grass, (soil) sand, and even ocean water, can also help. For stress and anxiety, yoga, or tai chi are amazing. Simple stretching can be like giving yourself a massage. Talk to your doctor. Do some research. There are books about foods that heal. Most of all, treat yourself. Buy some flowers, candles, create a happy place in your home.
        I got off pills in 2012. I changed my diet, got exercise, and as horrible as my life has been since, this is the first time i have felt the need for help. I am working to take my own advice, to lift myself out of “hell” and keep surviving.

  11. Sonu says:

    I am 16 but because of my fat body I look like 22.(80kgs) My aunt teases me for being like this. My real parents and my siblings are not with me with whom I can spend time cousins, elder than me who bully me and make fun of me for not being pretty, it hurts so bad I wish I was not with them right.
    I am that much good at studies as an average student must be, and all of my teachers only praise those who brought 90%+ marks in their board 10th grade exams. I feel jealous and useless. And this quarantine sucks so bad that I can’t talk to my friends. Being an extrovert I want to socialise so bad but aunt and uncle won’t let me. I m using my iPad, that does not have a SIM card.And this makes me feel like the most unluckiest girl, cuz all of my friends have their own phones, parents, siblings, and many more stuff that I don’t have. So I actually thought of a plan when I’ll pass 12th grade, I’ll kill myself.
    I feel a little lighter to share my feelings on this site but there are still a lot of things that terrifies me and make me suffer to bang my head in the wall or slap my own face 15 times on both sides for finding myself guilty for being alive and being a burden to everyone I know.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

      Sonu, your words are so very painful to read. How sad to be in so much pain, to hurt yourself out of guilt, and to feel so alone. You are not alone. There are others who can understand the pain you’re in and who can help you to feel differently about yourself and life. They may be professionals, friends, friends’ parents, some of your own family, teachers, hotline workers, people in your religion, somebody else. They are out there and I hope you will find them. I gather you’re not in the U.S. so I don’t know what resources are available to you. If you see this, please leave a comment saying what country you’re in, and I’ll see what’s available. You could email, to start.

      Thanks for sharing here and for giving yourself the chance to be heard and helped.

  12. Bob says:

    I’ve had suicidal thoughts since age 7 (approx). I hated myself for being “stupid”, “ugly”, pathetic, or whatever. At age 16, I attempted suicide. I contemplated how to do it for a long time. My parents were renting a house at the time, so any large amount of blood would have been a burden for them. I decided to hang myself one night. My bedroom closet had a solid piece of wood that would support my weight. I had a piece of rope and began tying the knot. I had thought about killing myself for a long time, once I started putting my plan into action, I was on my way. I was taking matters into my own hands and it would be all over. My feelings of self loathing, pain, etc. were ending. The only problem was that I realized that I felt good as I was tying the noose. I stopped and decided that no one could ever hurt me as much as I was willing to hurt myself. Perhaps I got some strength from that thought. At any rate, it was enough to stick around for a while longer.

    Later in life, I attempted suicide around the age of 19 by driving recklessly (100+ mph through intersections and almost driving into bridges or telephone poles). Those days in college were dark, but I always found a way to move forward.

    Good days followed. But, the extreme stress of my career eventually led me to contemplate suicide again. Several more attempts followed. Perhaps as a “comfort blanket” or a stress reliever. Getting drunk and sitting outside in freezing temperature. Contemplating a bullet on a lake shore. Driving into a bridge.

    At any rate, I’m still here.

    I don’t feel much any more. I’m moving forward. I’ve come to realize that my suicidal thoughts are a coping mechanism for the extremely stressful situations I seem to find myself in. Unfortunately, one day may find myself in a situation where I will pull the ripcord on my parachute. I will finally find peace.

  13. Tessa says:

    I am in my 60’s. Suffered trauma 3 years ago. Up until then I was quite ‘normal’….I was then diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that will probably limit my lifespan. Only benzos stop the ‘thoughts’ of self harm. I know they are addictive, however, since my time is limited anyways, I am going to ask my dr to put me on a steady regimen…whether he will or not I do not know. I cannot go on ‘living’ like this.

  14. ND says:

    im 25 y/r now. I dont have people that i trust. So i dont know if anyone read this… My situation is i am about to get marry and then that guy cheating on me.. I didnt do anything wrong why would he do that… He always said that i am fat but at the same time he said he’s in love with me even my body like this . so put trust on him but im the only one that hurt so bad… My relation with his famly r so close… I am happy to become one of their life but He change so quick .. He start to say he busy n all that stuff.. Well maybe im not good enough. I dont have a job, im not good looking, im terrible at cooking and i am FAT😔. Me(67kg) Him (46kg)… we fall in love since highschool like 8 years already.. Then everyone know that we r going to get marry and STILL he choose someone else.
    It’s been a month it happened so i am calm of my self already but NOT SINGLE ONE OF HIS FAMILY contact me and say sorry about what happen. They ignore me like im piece of trash. That Hurt So Bad .. It So hurt like a big heavy stone hit my heart deep inside. So hurt that i wish i could jump from this high building so that the stone will break and everything will gone. These thing still in mind like dragon try to eat my brain and i fell so damn empty. I try to talk to my friend but everyone was busy with work now these day..
    I have no one to rely on.. even my family still blame me cause it all my fault. But i didnt do anything wrong what did i do wrong…..

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      Your situation sounds so very painful. Are you thinking this pain will last forever or do you have hope that, in time, the hurt will lessen and new people and events in your life will bring you the love and happiness you deserve? A little bit of hope can go a long way.

      Please check out the resources page at for places where you can talk with someone by phone, chat or email.

      Thanks for sharing here.

  15. G says:

    I’m currently feeling suicidal, have been many times throughout my life and have made a few attempts, two serious one’s. I’m diagnosed as borderline (BPD) and it seems I’m beyond the help of therapy (which I had a shot at recently and failed to complete due to Covid and lack of trust in the therapist & myself). I feel and have always felt it’s my path to go this way, that when I do die whether it be tonight or in twenty years time it will be by my own hands. I’m alone, severely depressed and scared. It’s my own fault that I’m alone, I wouldn’t want to be around me given a choice. I feel all the cliche statements like ‘this too will pass’ blah blah don’t apply to me. I feel that this time I really have to succeed, I’ve exhausted the help and patience of everyone who have previously tried to help and truly hate myself and life in equal measure. I’ve even been ditched by the mental health team who were supporting me….for not getting better!! I’m a lost cause 🙁 I’ve no idea why I’m making comment here, perhaps to express to the whole world that I’m a piece of crap & fully deserve to go

  16. L says:

    Ever since my parents started getting older I’ve been afraid of outliving them and being left alone by myself for decades living a pointless existence without the people I love. I didn’t want to kill myself outright because I thought that would be cowardly and cause my mom and dad great pain. So I started indulging in eating very unhealthily and tried to lower my lifespan to try to match up to around when my parents may pass away. I just didn’t want to live without them. I just wanted to have a stroke or heart attack and die “naturally.” My plan has completely failed. Mom passed away earlier this year and I’m still on this miserable planet without her 6 months later. I wish that heart attack or stroke took me like I planned earlier. It can come anytime as far as I’m concerned. It just hurts even worse than before without my mom. God I hate living so much. Mom was the only reason I was even remotely happy. Getting to see her every day. Watch TV with her. Eat her cooking. Hear her voice and all the funny and silly things she would say and talk about. Death can’t come quick enough. Don’t worry, I will never kill myself directly. But I hope that next cheeseburger I eat is the final nail in the coffin.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      I’m sorry you’re hurting so badly. Grief is so very painful. There are grief support groups that can help, as well as therapists and mental health agencies. If you’re in the U.S., you can call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 (HELP) to learn of resources in your area. If you want to talk about your suicidal thoughts, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (TALK) is always available, as is the Crisis Textline at 741741.

      Thanks for sharing here.

  17. Milca Ford says:

    I never heard of passive suicidal term. What about if I want to die but I don’t want my children to suffer because of me and that makes
    Me feel resentful? Why can I just end it all?

  18. Anonymous says:

    What if it’s true. What if I really am worthless. What if I don’t want to be talked out of it. What if I have no friends to talk to. What if no one cares at all. What if

    • Anonymous2 says:

      I feel exactly the same way. I don’t want to be talked out of it. It is not a transitory state for me. My desire to end my pain, for which I take full responsibility, is overwhelming. There must be a peaceful way to end things. There must be a choice. Living with the intense and constant desire to end things is unbearable. No more talk. No more meds. I doubt this will get published, as it is an honest representation of how some people feel, day after day, month after month.

    • Anonymous says:

      I feel the same. I have no one to talk to. My family doesn’t want to hear it. I just don’t want to be here anymore.

  19. Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

    You must be in a lot of pain. I’m sorry. Since counseling isn’t provided on this site, I hope you’ll reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (TALK) or the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

  20. KennLee_2020 says:

    Share your feelings with one another. Your loved one may ask you to keep what they share with you to yourself and not tell anyone. But when it comes to suicide warning signs, not only is that ask not fair to you, but it may be in their best interest to involve others if needed. Use your best judgment, and make your loved one s health and safety your first priority. While most people who attempt suicide do show some sort of warning signs, there are also those people who, because of social stigma or a desire to not appear weak, will successfully hide what they are feeling. If you fail to recognize that your loved one is considering or considered suicide, do not blame yourself. Remember that you did the best you could with the information you had.

  21. Brandon says:

    Can’t think of a better time than now when this topic is more relevant!!

    • Rachel says:

      exactly..people can figure out if they really want to die or not ..a real wake up call

      • Brandon says:

        On the contrary, people can realize that this is a storm waiting to happen for a long time due to humanity’s persistent denial of death. We had/have the option of exiting peacefully and on our own terms but between then lockdowns and unavailability of medical practitioners for many services, let alone assisted suicide, our choices are running thin. The know-it-all elites insisted that there is some kind of badge of honor in going out kicking and screaming or at least some “natural” way that entails some kind of prideful suffering. But I have a sneaky feeling the pro-lifers are gonna be eating their words when the pain kicks in. It’s just unfortunate that those who aren’t in an an unwinnable war with death will have to suffer because of their foolish and arrogant neighbors.

  22. Anon says:

    Not sure what you’re saying here that hasn’t already been said ad nauseam– talk to someone, “get help.” These are very weak, feminine approaches towards something that needs to be addressed with a “fix it this way” plan. Questions like “what can make you feel like living” is a start. Developing a plan around that answer is a step after that. Pulling resources to help the afflicted is a step after that.

  23. Brad says:

    I sure appreciate this site. Thank you!

  24. Julie says:

    I’ve always been depressed, even as a kid there was nothing I really enjoyed, the concept of enjoying anything in life is beyond me. It was all just ok, nothing was terrible (until a bit later), school was ok, friends were ok, I wasn’t bullied or anything I just didn’t like anything. We’d go on holiday and I’d spend most of the time in the car asleep-always slept a lot, I get around 10-12hrs sleep usually and spend even longer than that in bed. I hated myself for it but I just didn’t want to do anything else and didn’t like being me.
    First time I thought about suicide I must’ve been about 12-I just hated having to be on this planet. Life got MUCH worse for me with various terrible things that happened (my dads death and other stuff) and I’ve seen some horrific suffering that is so hard to deal with, but I realised finally that if all that stuff hadn’t have happened I’d still be the same, still wouldn’t have done anything, still would hate being alive because I’ve felt like this since I was practically born. I don’t know how close I ever came to committing suicide as I’m still here-I just don’t want to mess it up and have it not work I guess.

    I just wish so badly I had never been born, and decided never to have kids of my own-which is another reason to be depressed, not because I want them but because in a world like this we celebrate motherhood (even though by creating life, those are the people who have collectively created ALL suffering!) and as I move towards 40 I’ll be even more ignored and more of a freak and useless because as a woman I didn’t breed. But I’ll be glad none of my kids will ever have to go through life and feel the way I do so there is some comfort in that.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is nice to know that I am not the only person in the world who has felt since I could remember that I just didn’t want to live. Thanks for sharing.

      • Laura W says:

        Yep, I was lying in bed every night hoping that I wouldn’t wake up in the morning before I was old enough to know what death was.

  25. Carl says:

    This is a very good article and addresses how a person can become suicidal without even realizing it. The thought of wanting to die, whether intentional or not, can gradually, perhaps over years, lead to more active thinking or planning of suicide. At least, this was my case. For decades I experienced the thinking or wishing that I was dead. It led to a dangerous, hi risk career and beyond. You see, as we think such thoughts, we create neuro pathways by which the thoughts can travel more freely. Suddenly we find reasons we should die, then the thoughts ” I would kill myself before I did…” After decades of these thoughts and another string of unfortunate events, more traumas, the part of my mind that was convinced I had to die was stronger than me and the other part of my mind was oblivious and did not understand why. After all the therapy and personal work, it was only by reading my anti suicide affirmations and confronting each passive or active suicidal thought, that I was finally able to stop them and find peace.

  26. Linda Straubel says:

    Kathy, First of all, thank you for asking my opinion of this internet article. I’m flattered to be included in this request along with Dr. Stacey Freedenthal, a professional I have enormous respect for.

    Secondly, I’m sorry it’s taken awhile to respond. While psychology is Dr. Freedenthal’s field of expertise and not mine, I’m using my own experience as a retired professor of rhetoric, persuasive writing and logical fallacies to critique Sarah Knutson’s article. As such, I wanted to read it over carefully more than once, while making note of both positive and negative aspects of her argument.

    To start with some positive notes, she does use some good sources and in a relevant way, rather than taking them out of context as some do. At least, that’s true at the beginning of her argument, but the reliable use of sources breaks down over the course of the argument. Her organization is, overall, pretty good and she makes some valid points on the amount of cultural stress we endure and its effects on us, but there are warning signs from the very opening lines that logic is not going to be this article’s strong suit.

    For one thing, I am always leery of a writer leaning too heavily on personal feelings as a guide to her own behavior and as an analytical tool for the feelings and behavior of others. This leads to a closed-in, solipsistic world-view that becomes impenetrable to reason. Knutson dresses it up in some suspect language that seems to be sophisticated but, on closer examination, is more baffling than enlightening, such as her criticism of the “iatrogenic psychiatry-Pharma alliance.” At the very least, jargon not known to the generally well-educated public needs to be explained to truly support an argument. More on that later, as well.

    To get back to my original logical analysis, I find numerous over-generalizations, such as “modern society,” or “everyone else is coping”; leaping to conclusions, as in claiming, without evidence, that stress and illness are causal and not “mere statistical correlation”; oversimplification, as in attributing sufficient cause to something that may be just a contributing cause, such as cultural stress; a combination of oversimplification and confirmation bias in seeing the “global village” as just adding to her stress with no possibility of ever helping her. She’s not alone in this, however. It occurs to me that social critics tend to focus only on the negative aspects of the “global village” social media create. However, people can also find support, comfort and even badly needed funding, through social media. It occurs to me that much of this dismissive attitude actual grows from the ease with which these media are accessed and used. The same criticism arose with the advent of home computers. Before that, it was typewriters replacing hand-written letters. While I never read any claims that hand-written love letters sent through the mail only created a false sense of friendship, I do read that about connections made through social media. Hand-written letters are, therefore, legitimate, but messages of love and support typed on a laptop and launched on Facebook, e.g., are dismissed as fake. If ease of use is our only criterion, we should all be writing with quill pens we sharpened ourselves and ink we created by mixing soot and olive oil. And the letters should be sent by Pony Express. But I digress.

    About three quarters into the article, there’s also a switch in person from third to second, as if we are all her fellow victims. Later, that turns into the accusation that we are also part of the conspiracy victimizing her. When she accuses social media and other forms of information of “rubbing our noses” in our social inferiority, it’s become both personal and, seemingly, intentional. It’s also extremely personal when everyone we encounter is playing the same “zero sum” game of competition for status.

    It’s always interesting to me when people use the term “zero sum,” mostly because they almost invariably get it wrong, conflating zero-sum with all competition. Her language on the way we compare ourselves with others is a good example of this misuse. For instance, if there are so many ways we automatically compare ourselves with others, as she points out, there must also be some aspects in which we “win,” and others in which they win. That is not zero-sum. She also creates a false dilemma – either I diminish you or you diminish me – by claiming that making a loser of everyone else is the only way to “maintain [an] illusion of superiority.” Hard work, achievement and helping others have always given my self-esteem a boost, without any such illusion, and not at the cost of anyone else’s self-esteem.

    Which brings me to my final point: her argument really comes off the rails when she seems to argue that no one has good intentions – that no one sincerely wants to help her. Even therapists are just playing the zero-sum game and pretending to help just to feel better about themselves, as are her friends and family. It’s pretty damning that she dismisses even a therapist’s diagnosis as simply “following orders as part of the ‘iatrogenic psychiatry-Pharma alliance.’” The article’s conflating psychiatrists with all therapists in this alliance is another over-generalization, since only psychiatrists can even prescribe meds.

    Finally, she dismisses “mainstream medicine,” and has, thus, left herself no recourse, no source of comfort, and no genuine place to get help. I’m also confused by her claims that others manage the stress better because she has the “gift” of seeing the problem better than the rest of us. Or maybe we don’t manage it better, but are all dying of it, just at different speeds. Even friends offering the advice that she see a therapist are her enemies who only do so to make her feel worse. The argument dismisses the very idea of good intentions, claiming that others pretend to help with the over-riding purpose of making her feel more isolated. They do so just to make themselves feel better and to elevate themselves above her, she claims. Therapists, by the way, all play the same game. And, again, the fact that she feels that way is taken as gospel; if she feels that no one sincerely wants to help, then it must be true, from her skewed point of view. Her argument that no one is even capable of being well-intended, is both inaccurate and sad. Based on this logic, she blames family, friends and therapists for her feeling diminished and isolated. While she does make some valuable points about the cultural stresses we face, she neglects to find any way to resist or counteract them. She promises to explore such resistance in a later article, but that statement doesn’t fill me with hope.

    It seems to me that she has managed to diminish, isolate and trap herself. Her repeated use of such false analogies as “predator,” and its derivatives (I stopped counting at ten), and “stalked,” for all marketers, politicians and, apparently, therapists, e.g., is a good example of how we can trap ourselves with our own vocabularies. She’s used words to paint herself into a metaphorical corner and has convinced herself that she can’t be rescued. By the end, this is not so much an argument as a rant.

    There’s more to my original notes, but I’ve gone on quite long enough.

    • alexandra-h says:

      Did you see this piece last week at Aeon website? I thought it was a very good article all around.

      I’m not so keen on giving depressive episodes a greater credit than they deserve on the ability to represent reality in a less biased way. Depression can also give an exaggeratedly negative representation of the self and reality. The sense of profound worthlessness — physical and intellectual — that may stem from an depressive bout and a complete irreal representation of the world is as biased as optimistic and positive thinking. Other than that, the article seems spot on. I also love her sources and citations.

      This work in particular seems very interesting:

      >”Alice Holzhey-Kunz, a modern, existentially oriented Swiss psychoanalyst, turns to Heidegger’s distinction between authentic and non-authentic forms of living. She claims that mental suffering signifies a disillusioning confrontation with the reality of existence. In that sense, depression is not so much a disorder as a disillusioning explosion of the nothingness of human existence. In this context, a cheerier form of what we might call ‘inauthentic living’ would hardly be a pathology since it counters acute existential awareness with everyday tasks and oblivion in the commonness”

      Also, the final bit is excellent:

      >”In closing, I must address you, my dear reader. I realise that, as you were reading this essay, you must have experienced a ‘yes, but…’ reaction. (‘Yes, life is horrible, but there are so many good things too.’) This ‘but’ is an automatic response to negative, horrifying insights. Once exposed to these forces, our positive defence mechanisms kick in. I myself was caught in the drill while writing this essay (and pretty much during the rest of my life). Without this protective measure, we would all probably be dead already, having most likely succumbed to suicide for relief”.

    • Emily says:


      I read this on a University website last week.

      “Becoming aware of privilege should not be viewed as a burden or source of guilt, but rather, an opportunity to learn and be responsible so that we may work toward a more just and inclusive world”

      Check your privilege:



      Here is my question:

      Why is being ‘intelligent’ never included in a list of unearned privileges?

      Shouldn’t high IQ people give humble thanks every morning for their completely unearned gift?


      • Linda Straubel says:

        Emily, I absolutely agree! While making the most of your intelligence may be partly your choice, the potential you’re born with is absolutely the luck of the draw. My parents were dismally unprepared to be good parents, yet they were smart, and that meant they gave me their inheritable, decent IQ. When this unearned privilege is acknowledged, it will stop being OK to condemn those less gifted as “stupid,” “dumb,” etc. Thanks for making this excellent point!

  27. Landskab says:

    Dr. Prashant Gajwani, MD, says that the sleep-wake cycle becomes disturbed in people who suffer from depression and that the irregularity can actually exacerbate depression. If you’re sleeping too much or not enough, depression might be the culprit. It’s good to try to limit yourself to eight hours per night, as well as doing things to encourage sleeping eight hours if you’re experiencing insomnia. Nancy Virden, mental health advocate and a suicide-attempt survivor, shared her story with me. She said, “In January 2011, I tried to end my life. One might think I would have known how to manage my major depression since it is recurrent, however many signs went past my observation.” She details her dark journey by identifying the multiple stressors that started a year earlier: a move, surgery, major life events. She went off her meds eight months before her attempt, and a few weeks before her attempt, she was reckless and suffering major mental torment. Virden has gone on to help many others identify the signs of depression and live to fight another day.

  28. Elizabeth says:

    Yes, I often feel that way, but would not commit suicide because it would destroy my family

  29. Bertrand says:

    I’ve tried psychotherapy but have never lasted more than 3 sessions. Tried all kinds of medications but none work because I am convinced that my abject ideas that life’s only purpose is the replication & preservation of itself, just because it can; that not just our individual existences but our whole existence as a species and in fact the whole history of life itself will one day be in any case utterly erased as even the Earth and the Cosmos will end, and is therefore utterly meaningless in any kind of transcendental sense, and so on and forth, are actually an honest description of reality which leaves me in a perpetual state of chronic depression. Psychotherapy and antidepressants therefore, have nothing to offer me because I truly believe that’s just how reality is. I’ve tried art, philosophy, music, religion and drugs as sublimating tools but nothing really satisfies. Yes, I know we can create our own meaning and marvel at the awe and wonder and beauty of the universe and find solace in love & companionship, but these things just don’t work for me.

    Reflexive self-consciousness is as much a curse as a blessing because it allows us to become aware of the nothingness that haunts us everywhere we go. It’s like this deep-seated sense of disappointment and sadness that I have decided is just part of my constitution. I am an extremely pessimistic introvert.

    Needless to say, with such an outlook, not many people hang around me for long. The only thing that saves me, keeps me going day to day are my pets. Without the animals whom I care for & love, I wouldn’t be here. Since I adopted my first cat, I stopped thinking about suicide even though I was just as depressed. I couldn’t bear to even think about leaving this creature, who loved me totally unconditionally, behind. I am totally dependent on them just as much as they on me. It’s the one thing that makes me want to, obliges me actually, to keep going.

    You have to find something, some creature to care for or despair will just eat you alive.

    I recommend this article on Depressive Realism

    • Linda Straubel says:

      Bertrand – You seem to be stuck in that state that the poet Wallace Stevens labeled “the shaken realist,” as in Modernist novelists and poets suffered the loss of faith that followed the horrendous destruction of the so-called Great War. Yet, Modernism gradually made way for Postmodernism, which I always took as, at least in part, a sign that humanity could move on, accepting the fact that life could have meaning, even if not the transcendent, eternal meaning that religions’ gods had promised. The fact that life ends does not, for me, make it worth any less, since I am not Wallace’s shaken realist; I was born a realist and have adapted to the clear and present knowledge that this life is all there is for me. You’re in a hard place, and getting unstuck is going to be hard, as well. But I believe you can do it. One thing that has helped me, because I have had my struggles with suicidal thoughts in the past, is to listen to the troubles of others. I’ve become the “ear” my friends pour their troubles into and the “shoulder” they can cry on. My reputation is one of absolute integrity when it comes to that and people know they can trust me to keep their confidences confidential. It’s not perfect and it’s not easy and I still cry at the drop of a hat, but, still, it helps me to realize that others have troubles, too.

      I honestly don’t know if any of this is helpful to you. I just hope so. You may not have people in your life that care about you, but there are people on this site who do and care to answer your post. That’s not everything, but it’s not nothing, either. As to your physical pain, please don’t give up the search for some way to ease it or to cope with it That may actually be the root of your depression and finding at least partial release for that might go a long way to helping you with the rest. Don’t give up hope, please.

  30. Nodscene says:

    Interesting topic and I’m sure it will become a long and interesting conversation like your most famous one….I’m sure you know which one I’m talking about 🙂 You may even recognize my name.

    Back to the topic at hand, my ex fit into this category to the T while I’m at the opposite end. Back in the day she overdosed a couple times on Valium just wanting to sleep for a few days. She never wanted to kill herself and ironically has a phobia about death but would have loved to go to sleep and never wake up.

    Essentially they are exactly the same…your conscious mind is dead forever. But of course being intelligent humans we can differentiate between the two states.

    In that respect I am a little surprised that the death rate between the two trains of thought are close to the same. I’ve tried to end my life (and sadly failed but that’s just a matter of time) while those (from my experience) who want to just sleep forever still want to live and don’t do things that are as drastic as putting on 12 fentanyl patches for example haha.

    I find this interesting and will follow the remarks.

    Thanks for keeping the other thread open (I hope it still is) and while we don’t always agree on things I respect what you are doing.

  31. Linda Straubel says:

    Dear Stacey, Thank you so much for that informative and somewhat alarming message. I find it alarming to learn that even passive suicidal ideation is a danger sign, since I do, on occasion, have such thoughts. Since I’ve been through some rough times, but am fine now, I always chalked those thoughts up to nothing more than a bad habit acquired through those rough times. Does that still put me on your continuum? I’d be interested in doing some follow-up reading on the research you cited. Can you give us any links to such research? Thanks for caring and for this invaluable website.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      Thank you for your comment. I always appreciate your participation on the site.

      The articles I mentioned in the post have hyperlinks that lead to them. Some other resources around passive suicidal ideation are:

      Let’s Talk About the Difference Between Passive and Active Suicidal Thoughts, by Arya Grace with

      The Sad Truth about Passive Suicidal Thoughts and Actions, by Shirley J. Davis with

      Yes, I am Suicidal. No, I am Not Going to Kill Myself, on

      I want to assure you that passive suicidal thoughts don’t mean you’re at high risk for suicide, just higher than normal risk. The risk for suicide is quite low. Even among people who seriously consider suicide, roughly only 0.45% — half of a percent — die by suicide. In any given year, roughly 0.02% of the U.S. population dies by suicide. So you can see that the suicide rate is 20 times higher for people who seriously consider suicide, but it’s still extremely low.

      The important thing is that when you have thoughts that you wish you were dead, it signifies that you’re hurting or otherwise experiencing great difficulty. It would be good to recognize those thoughts as a sign to attend to yourself and your needs (which might mean getting help from others, too). The analogy of a fever is an apt one: When we have a fever, we know not to push ourselves and, instead, to rest.

      And yes, thoughts can become a habit. Imagining oneself dead can give a person relief if they’re suffering. Their suffering would end. If you felt relief when you had such thoughts, the relief was a reward. Your mind wants to feel better, so it will turn to that reward again … and again.

      Depending how much of a habit has developed, it can be very hard to eliminate such thoughts. In fact, trying to eliminate them can create problems; think of the phrase, “What we resist, persists.” But now the resistance the failure to eliminate the thoughts cause new anxiety. A more constructive approach is mindful observation, which I describe in my post Like Clouds Before the Sun: Mindfulness and Suicidal Thoughts.

      Whatever the case, Linda, please take care! 🙂

      • Linda Straubel says:

        Stacey, Thank you so much for your personal and detailed response. It is a relief to know that the specific statistics on the results of passive suicidal thoughts are so low. Like most, I guess, I tend to read “higher than normal” as more dire than it is, since “higher than normal” can be by a small margin of an already small percentage. It’s also rather amusing, in an ironic way, to know that such thoughts can persist because they’re rewarding. Thank you, too, for this invaluable site. Your caring is truly wonderful.

  32. Frankie says:

    Yes.. I want to die.. and it should be my right. I have severe hip pain that wont go away… I need hip replacement and cant afford it. I have Meniere’s Ear Disease.. causing me to lose my hearing.. to have severe vertigo and vomiting.. and there is nothing they can do about it.. without my hearing I cannot work.. without work I will be homeless. I’m 57.. I’m ready to end my life.. I have no family.. I’ve already out lived them all including my sister that died at 38.. I have no wife.. no children.. I live in poverty. My life is over.. my health will do nothing but get worse as I get older. I will leave nobody behind to mourn.. nobody. No close friends.. nothing.

    • Ruby says:

      this is really sad , is there any friend who could help you , you are welcome to have my email address if you want to private chat .I care ….

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

      What you’re facing sounds so painful and overwhelming. It sounds like you have nobody to talk to about your mental suffering, and you don’t mention receiving any help for it. I hope you will consider calling the National Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or texting “start” to 741741, so you can at least vent to someone. I list other resources, as well, at

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