Unfinished letter to a suicidal person.:

Total posts: [23]
(That Guy You Met Once)
I'm sending it to them on another forum I frequent, but it applies to a lot of (mostly young) people, and I'm seriously considering editing it to a more generic version and sending it out to other people.

A lot of the things Iím about to say were stolen from other [forum members], mainly because these are things you canít reinforce enough when dealing with depression.

Theyíre also things Iíve wanted to tell hundreds of depressed and suicidal people Iíve known through the years, both online and in meatspace.

First of all, have you ever heard someone say suicide is a ďpermanent solution to a temporary problem?Ē Probably. If youíre anything like me, youíve run across a million anti-suicide sites in moments while Googling ways to end yourself painlessly, seen a million ďexpertsĒ mention it in lists of reasons theoretical people shouldn't kill themselves, and heard the phrase repeated until it lost all meaning. But as they say, cliches are cliched for a reason. There's truth in it.

Now, I know from experience that when you're depressed, the last fucking thing you want to hear is that you don't have it that bad. In fact, you probably want to punch me in the face right now because you think I'm about to say that.

But I won't.

Neither will I mention that abused quadriplegic Harlequin baby with cancer of the AIDS who grew up to run 500-mile marathons with with his leg-stumps to raise money for Jesus, the guy who got his head blown off in Iraq and grew a new one out of pure force of will, all those kids in that foreign country who just died of whatever, or any of those other sob stories smug people drag out when they want to make you feel like a pussy for having problems. But I will remind you that when youíre only 21, able-bodied, and judging by your post, pretty sane, you have more than you realize going for you, and chances are that most of those problems will pass with time.

For example, Iím going to presume that being stuck with your parents is whatís causing a lot of your misery. To steal [the forum founder]'s metaphor: You're not driving your own life, you're tied up in the trunk of your parentsí.

And although that might make you want to die... It may seem counterintuitive, but itís the exact reason you shouldnít. You have to at least live long enough to start driving.

Donít die without knowing what itís like to stomp the gas, play the music you want to instead of having to wince through your parentsí bland Enya CDs, drum on the steering wheel, take spontaneous road trips with your friends, and head out into the city on a day off with no idea where youíll end up - all while having the satisfaction of knowing that you passed the fuck out of your license test and this is where the analogyís gone too far.

It may be a while before you know that kind of freedom, but if your parents will let you out for even a little bit - you can practice it now. Whenever you have a free moment and are feeling trapped, go outside and just do stuff. Take pictures of stuff. Go for a run. Hit things with other things just to see what kind of sound they make. Go to conventions. Set something on fire. (Something small, like a dead branch. No stuff you donít own, cars, explosives, animals, or people.) Do anything that will create a unique memory.

...And no matter how bad things get, try to acknowledge the days when they arenít horrible. Kurt Vonnegut once said that on nice days, when the weather was good and he was feeling all right, his uncle would ask himself: "If this isn't happiness, what is?"

Do that.

Secondly, I know exactly what youíre going through in school, because oh dear God was I a terrible student. For twelve years, people assumed I was lazy, but truthfully, no matter how much balls-out determination I put into it, I just couldnít focus or keep my eyes open. But although I completely sympathize with you, this isnít a problem I can give any advice on: I dropped out of college because of it. The only thing I can say - it may or may not make you feel better - is that school is just like any other pursuit: No matter how much competitive spirit, or life-defining importance people attach to it, having problems with it does not make you any less intelligent or capable in any other way. Failing to get the right degree in the right field does not condemn you to a life of minimum wage soul death.

But still, Iím going to do the sensible thing and urge you to get help. Iíve heard really good things about this book for adult ADD sufferers, and second Biffís suggestion to seek help the minute you have the resources.

It seems you leave your jobs when they get hard or you don't get along with the co-workers. This is a problem I can't help you with. I could tell you to just tune out all of their bullshit and focus entirely on getting the job done to the best of your abilities, and donít quit because this economy makes it a bitch to get by without a stable income - but since I really don't know your situation, that might be macho bullshit. Let me know.

But for now, youíre unemployed, and that sucks. Youíre broke, you canít move out, and youíre probably stuck watching people you know get in their new cars and drive back to their own apartments where they have girlfriends, social lives, and disposable income waiting for them. What bastards.

But itís not the end of the world. Even if it is a while before you can find another job - if you have money for food, gas, and essentials, you can make the best of this. Unemployment can sometimes be a good opportunity to get some of the stuff on that big-mental-list-of-stuff-youíve-always-wanted-to-do done - Iíve used my four months of it to work on a book.

Donít torture yourself over it, just keep putting applications in to places - both online and in real life (two a day is a good rule, depending on how long they are and how much free time you have), pursue your other interests, and ignore your inner Tea Partier/drill sergeant/Chinese mother who keeps screaming at you about how the only reason youíre unemployed is because youíre a lazy bastard because you know if that one kid who started that one business was a multi-billionaire with a private helicopter and a Harvard MBA and the worldís greatest stock portfolio by your age then there must be something seriously wrong with you if you canít even get a shitty job at the goddamn McDonalds what the fuck is wrong with you.

That kind of existential shame will eat you alive.

And finally, I'm going to second Samwise's advice and urge you not to give anybody one more dime to teach you anything about socializing.

Instead, I'm going to give you an assignment:

  1. Google "how to talk to strangers."
  2. Find somewhere to try doing it.
  3. Do it.

Start small. On the first day, find someone who looks cool, friendly, or sexy, and try asking them a completely innocuous question, such as "do you know where the gas station is?" This is just to get you accustomed to meeting people in everyday situations, which is the first step to getting cool, making friends, or having sex with them.

Move on to observations. Clever ones are the best, but being able to come up with them takes practice. When you see something interesting happening in public, ask a random stranger if they know whatís going on. Horrific car accidents, street fights, police raids, and house fires are great conversation pieces.

Also, consider pursuing writing. Itíll help you learn how to translate your thoughts into words, which is one of those skills everyone needs but very few people study. It can also teach you how to be funny, which is the best thing ever. Being able to (intentionally) make people laugh is pretty much the height of conversational achievement. Once you can pull that off, everything else is less intimidating.

I'm working on the ending now.

edited 26th Sep '11 6:30:18 PM by Wheezy

2 chihuahua025th Sep 2011 06:25:46 PM from Standoff, USA , Relationship Status: I LOVE THIS DOCTOR!
Writer's Welcome Wagon
Okay, three thoughts:

  1. I love the Metaphorgotten with the truck there.
  2. The socialization thing I should try out one day.
  3. For writing, I recommend 750words.com. I use it for my novel writing, but it's intended for free-writing, and to get the thoughts out of his head.

edited 25th Sep '11 6:26:20 PM by chihuahua0

3 annebeeche25th Sep 2011 06:44:46 PM from by the long tidal river
watching down on us
Has she seen this cracked article yet? It's entertaining, and it has a good message.
Banned entirely for telling FE that he was being rude and not contributing to the discussion.
I shall watch down from the goon heavens.
Shadowed Philosopher
That article leaves me just as entertained as everything else Cracked writes, while also feeling vaguely guilty about feeling entertained by such an inherently serious topic. But really. "Call up the suicide hotline to avoid leaving an embarrassing suicide note!" Of course.
Shinigan (Naruto fanfic)
Ave Imperator
If you're really concerned about this person, I'd advise you to take it to a psychologist and see what they think of it.
This is a signature. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
6 annebeeche25th Sep 2011 07:48:26 PM from by the long tidal river
watching down on us
[up][up] No, no, the article's got a serious message behind it, it just delivers it in an entertaining way.

This is a good standard to follow. The average person lives to be about 75 years old. So if you're less than 38 and have more than half of your life left, the odds are that, for instance, the funniest joke you'll ever hear in your life is one you haven't heard yet. It's just statistics. Odds are you also haven't yet...

...met the girl you'll love the most;

...met your best friend;

...heard your favorite album;

...started the best job you'll ever have;

...read the best book;

...seen the best movie or played the coolest video game;

...found the hobby you're most interested in;

...had the best sex;

...had the most original, mind-blowing idea;

...met the dumbest person you'll ever meet;

...or seen the stupidest haircut.

It's actually this little bit that sticks out to me, and all the stories of people with sucky lives who found success.
Banned entirely for telling FE that he was being rude and not contributing to the discussion.
I shall watch down from the goon heavens.
(That Guy You Met Once)
[up][up] It's just some random person I saw one post from on the internet. As I said in the intro, I've seen literally hundreds of them, which is mostly why I said I wanted to edit this into a form less specific-to-that-person so I could send it on to more people.

@anne: I actually remember someone else linking that in the thread.

@chihuahua: I might use that once I start my job later this week, but for now, I've actually been writing over 1,000 words on an average day since I have a lot of free time.

edited 25th Sep '11 8:50:53 PM by Wheezy

8 Sharysa25th Sep 2011 09:53:28 PM from Alameda, CA , Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
The local bard

I'm getting the feeling that the snippet is in good (if dark) humor, because taken at face value, it Tastes Like Diabetes and it would NOT help an actual suicidal person.

Also, Wheezy, the subject's situation is extremely worrying. The person's parents won't let them outside for very long, and the subject's in their twenties? I won't assume to know the complete story from this, but there are some really ugly parental-control implications and you might want to put in something about calling... any type of law enforcement or social service, really. It's one thing to be metaphorically stuck in your parents' house as most people are (unemployment forcing you to reside there), but literally being stuck in your parents' house? I really hate to say this, but I'm surprised they haven't haven't killed themselves already, and I'm betting the forums help them cope with it. No one has the right to force someone else to stay in one place if the only thing wrong with them is ADD.

As for the letter, the truck metaphor should be used VERY sparingly. As someone who still has problems with depression, here is my reaction. I really did try to read the whole thing, but after the first (read: Important) bit I sighed and skipped over to the part about school. Definitely a sign you should shorten it.

Reassurance with depressed/suicidal people needs to be concise. The long, detailed analogy is good for those INVOLVED with depressed people, but it's bad for actual depressed people because we literally can't process it right. Our brain chemistry is fucked up, and since the subject has ADD, it's even more so. If I couldn't process the truck analogy after two years of managing my depression, it's going to reek of Tastes Like Diabetes to others.

And no matter how bad things get, try to acknowledge the days when they arenít horrible.

This. A thousand times this. This is what caught my attention after skimming most of the letter.

Either we don't want to hear that optimistic talk about "you have your whole life ahead of you" or "you have so much potential", or as my fucked-up-chemistry statement implies, we can't hear it properly even if we want to. Do not ever set the bar too high, because setting the bar incredibly low is a good thing. It means that failure will be manageable. We don't want things to be GOOD, we want things to NOT SUCK AS MUCH.

A good day when I was at rock bottom? It meant that I actually FELT something besides emptiness, so even getting annoyed at my stupid-ass classmates was a "good day" for me. It meant about thirty seconds of distraction from my utter sadness, with another thirty seconds of talking to my sister about it.

Sister: So, anything happen today?
Me: Eh, my classmate was being a dick. When people are working, you shut your fucking mouth or I'mma stab you with a pencil.
Sister: Aww, that sucks.

And that is how low you set the bar for a depressed person. Other than that, this would be a great general letter after editing.

edited 25th Sep '11 9:54:05 PM by Sharysa

(That Guy You Met Once)
The reason he lives with his parents is because he's unemployed and can't afford to move out. And they're not abusive, they're just being controlling assholes and saying "If you're going to live in this house, you're going to be home by sundown." They weren't chaining him to his bed or anything.

Again, kind of a dick move, but not a case for child services.

edited 25th Sep '11 10:48:38 PM by Wheezy

10 Wheezy26th Sep 2011 04:58:02 PM from South Philly
(That Guy You Met Once)
I edited it a bit.

I know it's still tl;dr for most people, but I can fix that later.
so ill just say before read teh wall of text [if i do], you want to make it generic so that you can spam suicidal people? also not wanting to sound callous, i survied a suicide attempt in June, but it looks like a lot to read, it looks like 1.5-2k words.
as of the 2nd of Nov. has 6 weeks for a broken collar bone to heal and types 1 handed and slowly
"D. Hanging

When the Old West used hanging as a method of capital punishment, they had actual experts to do the rig. It's not easy to hang a person quickly and painlessly. What often happens is the neck is broken and you're left to dangle for 30 minutes, twitching and clawing at the rope. Or, the noose breaks and you plunge to the floor, often with a severed upper spinal cord that leaves you a Christopher Reeve paraplegic. This is the last way I would ever try to do it."

Cracked understated this one actually...
as of the 2nd of Nov. has 6 weeks for a broken collar bone to heal and types 1 handed and slowly
13 Sharysa28th Sep 2011 10:53:48 PM from Alameda, CA , Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
The local bard
And they're not abusive, they're just being controlling assholes and saying "If you're going to live in this house, you're going to be home by sundown." They weren't chaining him to his bed or anything.

Ah, thanks for clearing that up. Not that it's MUCH better, but I'm definitely glad I was wrong.

edited 28th Sep '11 10:54:12 PM by Sharysa

I suppose I could use this. I should start feeling the effects of about 12000 milligrams of acetaminophen in about five more hours...

What have I done...?
15 Wheezy3rd Oct 2011 02:54:05 AM from South Philly
(That Guy You Met Once)
I have no idea how much that is, but if it's enough to at least knock you out, call a poison contol center.

I also normally wouldn't recommend inducing vomiting, but if that turns out to be the best thing...

Edit: Oh. I just looked it up. If you don't get to the hospital within four hours, chances are you're going to die painfully.

Extremely painfully.

As in, it will probably take days and be way worse than if you had done it any other way.

edited 3rd Oct '11 3:07:42 AM by Wheezy


well fuck... i hope we hear from her again

okay this is just scary now, i hope we were just being trolled
as of the 2nd of Nov. has 6 weeks for a broken collar bone to heal and types 1 handed and slowly
17 Morven3rd Oct 2011 05:10:57 AM from Seattle, WA, USA
She told me she was going to the hospital. Hopefully everything's gonna be OK.

A brighter future for a darker age.
18 Carciofus3rd Oct 2011 06:28:34 AM from Alpha Tucanae I
Is that cake frosting?

Here's hoping that everything turns out well.
But they seem to
know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

im about to blow my brains out. had an argument with my dad and he says nothing is redeemable about my beliefs and he never wants to hear him and that the only help he can give is giving bible verses after i told him that he shoves stuff down my throat and makes it about religion when it is not and stuff

i felt sucidal this morning but now i dont know anymore this is rediculous i so mad and i know this isnt the place for this but im tireed of this i listend to his bs for two months hoping he would then want to hear what i belive and all he can do is shove shit down my throat. im a high school drop out and i hate life

edit; nvr mind im fine now i think. this topic is magnet for unwell people 0.o

edited 5th Oct '11 5:48:58 PM by jasonwill2

as of the 2nd of Nov. has 6 weeks for a broken collar bone to heal and types 1 handed and slowly
[up] Very possible that it is.

Wow, that's... Is there anything I can do (other than hand you a 2-by-4 and a pentagram to scare the shit out of him with)?

You...don't normally write like that - are you sure you're okay now?tongue
21 snowfoxofdeath5th Oct 2011 06:05:08 PM from San Francisco Suburb
Thou errant flap-dragon!

22 Wheezy5th Oct 2011 08:34:35 PM from South Philly
(That Guy You Met Once)

Yeah, that's not going to get better. Think of yourself as just like a gay kid in a homophobic household. You can't make the situation better while you're there. If you can at all get away, you'll have to do that, then just hope your parents choose to reform in your absence.

Are you actually a Satanist, BTW, or are you just interested in the topic?

Also, you can get your G.E.D.

BTW: I'm glad this is attracting mentally unwell people who seem to be deciding not to kill themselves. That was kind of the intention.

edited 5th Oct '11 8:36:21 PM by Wheezy


ya im a pantheistic satanist. however, i decided once i get that GED to move to some city. just made the topic here and its starting to boom pretty big http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=13178740570A40000100&page=1#1

but one of my satanist pals on a satanist facebook groups says that if im a satanist with southern ideals that

"If you have strong southern ideals, AND you're a Satanist, you ain't ever gonna fit in anywhere you go. The best you can hope for is to find some place with enough weirdos like you (and me) in it to have a small group of friends."

well that made me feel better... lol. nah ill be fine people attacking my confederateness never shook me, im strongly anti-racist and am as strong as steel when it comes to my heritage.

edit: punk reader i didnt realize that was you since you changed your avatar to avenged 7 fold on us! how you doing? did they do anything after they got the drugs out of you like hospitalization if you dont mind me asking? sometimes suicide attempters will be out in the mental section (for a lack of a better word, i was in one for 10 days once for diff stuff) for a while.

edited 5th Oct '11 9:53:15 PM by jasonwill2

as of the 2nd of Nov. has 6 weeks for a broken collar bone to heal and types 1 handed and slowly
The system doesn't know you right now, so no post button for you.
You need to Get Known to get one of those.

Total posts: 23