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Mid-Suicide Regret

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Thrash to break from gravity,
What now could slow the drop?
All I'd give for toes to touch
The safety back at top!
But this is it, the deed is done
Silence drowns the sound.
Before I leaped I should've seen
The view from halfway down.
Secretariat on his death, BoJack Horseman

A character attempts suicide. However, mid-way through they have an epiphany and suddenly don't want to die anymore (or in more cynical works, they do want to die but the method they chose is too painful or frightening for their liking). This can end three ways: they survive and it ends up a Happily Failed Suicide, or if they're really lucky, someone will come in and stop them, or they die anyway because things have already gone too far to stop.

There is some Truth in Television to this as, statistically, most suicide attempts are impulse decisions. Someone can try, regret it, and later not even understand why they felt the need to attempt suicide in the first place. Many survivors of suicide attempts indeed report feeling this way mid-attempt.

Compare to Happily Failed Suicide, Bungled Suicide, Hesitant Sacrifice, and I Regret Nothing.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The first story in Confidential Confessions is about two suicidal high schoolers who bond over their suicidal ideation. One of them decides not to, while the other one does commit suicide.
  • Orange: The second time around, Naho and her friends have changed the timeline so much that Kakeru decides not to go through with his suicide at the last second. This becomes a Happily Failed Suicide.
  • In something between this and an Interrupted Suicide, one episode of Osomatsu-san has an unnamed woman ready to jump off a cliff when she spots Jyushimatsu by the beach. She tries to wait until he leaves but he spends hours practicing his baseball swing. When he gets caught by a wave, the woman saves him. The two begin dating afterwards.
  • Undead Unluck: When Fuuko slips on a banana peel and falls off a building, she realizes she wasn't as ready to die as she thought she was. Luckily, Andy was there to catch her safely.

    Comic Books 
  • In Avengers: The Initiative, Armory first bonded with the Tactigon while attempting to kill herself by jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge. She mentions the statistic about people regretting their suicide attempts, though she denies that such thoughts were going through her head during her own suicide attempt.
  • In Death: The High Cost of Living, a character describes how she... er, ''her friend" had an absolutely horrific childhood complete with all manner of abuse. Eventually the "friend" attempted to commit suicide, and yet her first thought when she woke up in the hospital having survived the attempt was how grateful she was to be alive.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Sound Euphonium fanfic Ambitious Love, Reina took a bunch of pills, decided she didn't want to die, then got herself to the hospital. To her surprise, her ex-girlfriend Kumiko is a physician at the hospital.
  • In Lost, Professor Oak mentions to Delia how he attempted suicide after his son and daughter-in-law died in a car crash. He regretted it as he was bleeding out because he realized he was leaving his two grandkids alone with no one to take care of them. Luckily, Spencer found Oak and helped him.
  • Reversal Grief Remembrance is a Big Hero 6 one-shot where, grief stricken after his brother's death, Hiro decides to kill himself. He takes an illegal euthanasia pill. Halfway through, he freaks out and tries to stop the pill from working. He ultimately fails.
  • During Izuku's fake suicide attempt, he accidentally falls off the roof in the beginning of The Vigilante Boss and His Failed Retirement Plan. As Izuku fell to his death, he is filled with remorse. Izuku doesn't want to die nor does he want to ruin Bakugou's life. Thankfully his remorse triggers his Dying Will.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Dead Like Me: Life After Death: A down-on-his luck inventor commits suicide via Rube Goldberg Device, only to get a phone message that he's won a prestigious award for his work. Unfortunately for him, he can't get off the machine before it triggers a shotgun. Zig-zagged after his death, since his spirit is giddy at winning and not at all concerned that he won't be around to receive the prize.
  • Played for laughs in Love and Death, where Boris is suddenly seized with a desire to live... midway through his attempt to hang himself.
  • In Reuben Reuben the titular poet is a leech and seducer, who decides to kill himself after he has writer's block. He stands on a stool and puts a noose around his neck, and dictates his last words into a tape recorder. He realises they are quite good, his talent has not deserted him, and he is implied to change his mind- but then the St. Bernard of the house where he is staying comes bounding up to him, knocking him off the stool. The film ends, and it is left ambiguous whether he succeeds in committing suicide
  • Romeo and Juliet (1968) and William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet play Romeo's suicide this way, heightening the tragedy. Juliet wakes up just as Romeo takes the poison, and when he sees she's alive, he looks utterly stricken as he dies.
  • In This Is Your Death, the woman who gasses herself in a car has second thoughts and turns the engine off after the car is taken off stage. However, Adam decides that she is not allowed to change her mind and turns the engine back on.

  • Referenced in the title of Between The Bridge And The River by Craig Ferguson: although the Catholic Church considers suicide to be a mortal sin, a person who jumped off a bridge could avoid damnation to Hell if they sincerely repented of the action before hitting the river below.
  • City of Bones (2002): The story opens with detective Harry Bosch called to the scene of a woman who hanged herself in her closet in a Bleak Abyss Retirement Home. Harry observes that the woman struggled to save herself, scratching so hard at the wall of the closet that she broke off two nails. He wonders where that determination to live was before she hung herself.
  • At the end of Filth, Bruce hangs himself while wearing a t-shirt with "You caused this" written on it, intending for his wife to find him like that. She ends up walking in with their daughter while he's dying, he regrets and tries to save himself, but fails.
  • In The Junction, a short story by Yulia Voznesenskaya, the character is Spurned into Suicide and decides to drive her car off a half-built highway junction. At the last moment, just before starting the car, she decides to look down for the last time and sees that the previously closed part of the road below, on which she would have crashed, is now open with a flow of cars going by. She is utterly horrified she could have killed dozens of people and drives away in a panic. It becomes a Happily Failed Suicide as after that she finds God, gets over her heartbreak, and ends up happily married.
  • In Mostly Harmless, one result of the Great Ventilation and Telephone Riots of SrDt 3454 was a requirement that all office buildings have windows that actually open, which also had the unexpected but welcome side effect of lowering the suicide rate:
    All sorts of stressed and rising executives who had been forced, during the dark days of the Breathe-O-Smart tyranny, to jump in front of trains or stab themselves could now just clamber out onto their own window ledges and leap off at their leisure. What frequently happened, though, was that in the moment or two they had to look around and gather their thoughts they would suddenly discover that all they had really needed was a breath of air and a fresh perspective on things, and maybe also a farm on which they could keep a few sheep.
  • In the backstory of Pilgrennon's Children, Pilgrennon's older sister Lydia committed suicide via pills and electrocution and lingered in the hospital for three days. By the end she wanted to live and grow up, but it was too late to save her.
  • In Tom Clancy novel The Sum of All Fears, terrorist Petra Bock, serving a life sentence in a German prison cell, hangs herself with her own bra. The pain when she knocks the chair over drives her to change her mind and try and save herself. She desperately tries to free her hands and undo the clasp, but she fails and dies.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Blindspot, Kurt's father is suspected of having killed Kurt's childhood friend Taylor Shaw (believed to be Jane's original identity) due to having come in late with muddy shoes and no alibi on the night of the abduction. He finally fesses up to Kurt midway through the first season that he'd driven out to the river intending to drown himself, but stopped when he thought of how he'd leave Kurt fatherless. Then subverted when it's revealed he really did kill Taylor Shaw.
  • In season 3 of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, while on a plane back home after a disastrous visit to her mother's, Rebecca tries to overdose by taking a bottle of pills one after another. However, as she starts to black out, she sees the call button above her and imagines it as saying it will save her, and so presses it, showing the flight attendant the empty bottle before she goes unconscious. According to Word of God, they did this based on reading real cases of suicide attempts, in which a lot of people described instantly regretting their decision as soon as they made it.
  • CSI: NY does this with one half of a Suicide Pact. In "Blood, Sweat and Tears," teenage boyfriend and girlfriend circus performers are forbidden by their fathers to see one another. Both want out of the circus life as well, but feel trapped. The boyfriend goes thru with it but the girl, part of a trapeze act that doesn't use nets, changes her mind immediately upon letting go of her father, who grabs one of her hands and saves her. She later tells Det. Taylor, "Suddenly I realized everything that was wrong with my life, I could fix."
  • Hard Time on Planet Earth had Jesse catch a man who jumped out of a window. The guy thanks him, claiming he changed him mind as soon as he started falling.
  • M*A*S*H: In the episode "The Smell of Music", an injured soldier, depressed over the fact that his face was maimed, decides that he wants to die. When Colonel Potter catches him preparing to overdose on anesthetic, he forces the gas mask onto the soldiers face, causing the man to fight to stay alive. That makes him realize that, while he's unhappy, he doesn't truly want to die.
  • Sense8:
    • In the season 1 finale, Riley considers offing herself to prevent herself from being used by BPO to get to the rest of her cluster. They manage to talk her out of it, promising that they will rescue her from BPO's clutches.
    • Early on in the series finale, Wolfgang is in the same position, but with far greater resolve, only opting out when Kala decides to jump out a window if he goes through with it.

  • Evanescence: "Tourniquet" is this in song form, with the first verse explicitly referring to "crimson regret". It's written from an explicitly Christian perspective, unlike most of their other songs.note  The protagonist has just slashed her wrists and is begging the eponymous tourniquet, which is both literal and metaphorical, to save her.
  • Metaphorically done in "Calendar Girl" by Stars (Canadian Band) — the depressed and possibly suicidal protagonist dreamed of their death and realized when they awoke (thinking they were still dying) that they wanted to live.
    I dreamed I was dying, as I so often do
    And when I awoke I was sure it was true
    I ran to the window; threw my head to the sky
    And said "Whoever is up there, please don't let me die"
  • At the end of TUYU's "I'm Getting on the Bus to the Other World, See Ya!", the singer finally decides to go on the "bus to the other side" she longed for after a life of suffering and depression. However, the last lines of the song indicate that she very quickly developed doubts, as she mentions she "regretted it, cried, and screamed". The Sequel Song, "If There Was an Endpoint", confirms she had doubts, as she's now left in the afterlife in tears wondering what would have happened if she did anything different.
  • Implied in the Vocaloid song "Shinitai-chan", by Switch. The protagonist, despite having jumped from the roof, admits that they "don't really wanna die", specifically citing the person they'd be leaving behind and who would be heartbroken by their death. Eventually played fully straight.
    I wanna live, wanna live
    Deep inside, I've always been
    Reaching out for a hand
    So don't let this be the end
  • Experienced by the title character of Eminem's "Stan" as he drives his car off a bridge (with his pregnant girlfriend locked in the trunk). Not because he suddenly wants to live, but because he's in the middle of recording his final message to Eminem and only just realized he can't mail it to him if he's dead.

  • Some denominations of Christianity accept that a person who commits suicide but repents before dying is not considered suicidal and will be given a Christian burial. For example, the Eastern Orthodox bishop St. Pyotr Mogila clarifies in his instructions that suicidal people who show signs of repentance before death are not to be denied a burial.


    Video Games 
  • The Caligula Effect reveals that Shogo Satake agreed to perform a double suicide pact with his highschool friend Ichika. They were standing at the ledge of the Landmark Tower and were going to jump, but Shogo became too scared to go through with it and ran away. Ichika jumped off and died, leaving Shogo not only with regret over her death, but also guilt over having done nothing over it.
  • The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories reveals that someone J.J.'s close to attempted suicide more specifically, her; the entire game is her experiencing this trope in the form of a Dying Dream and willing herself back to life in the waking world.
  • In the Genocide Route of Undertale, Flowey reveals that he attempted to kill himself out of grief towards his situation as a soulless, loveless being (thanks to being the deceased prince Asriel's essence injected into a being without a SOUL). However, as he lay dying, he panicked over what would happen if someone without a SOUL died, and ended up respawning at the royal garden like nothing ever happened, allowing him to discover and exploit Save Scumming.

    Visual Novels 
  • Doki Doki Literature Club!: If you look closely at the picture of Sayori hanging herself, her hands are covered in blood. One of Monika's dialogues in Act 3 brings up that her death wasn't quick, and she had tried to tear the rope away to free herself. Monika suggests both the possibility of Sayori having second thoughts or survival instinct kicking in.
  • Hatoful Boyfriend: The second game has a flashback where Hitori Uzune befriends another character and suggests that they commit suicide together. Midway though the act, he reveals that the entire thing was a ruse to steal that character's identity. Suddenly afraid to die alone, the character begs him to call an ambulance— but he refuses.
  • In Higurashi: When They Cry, Rika points a kitchen knife at her neck and almost attempts suicide in order to avoid seeing her best friend Satoko suffer with her abusive uncle in this world. She decides not to because she realizes her death would only make it worse for Satoko.

  • In Megan Kearney's Beauty and the Beast, this is the Beast's backstory. Driven to desperation by his mother's abuse and rejection by the woman he loved, the young man then known as Argus stabbed himself through the heart next to an old fountain, only to instantly regret it. As it happened, the fountain was part of an enchanted castle's grounds, and its sentient magic heard his wish to live and saved him. But in exchange, it turned him into a beast and enslaved him as the castle's guardian.
  • A weird supernatural variant in Darwin Carmichael Is Going to Hell. Darwin is sent to pick up the soul of a guy who turns out to have recently committed suicide. As Darwin starts to take the soul away, the soul covertly returns to his own body, saying he regretted killing himself and that it was all just a cry for help. This causes him to come back to life, and Darwin takes him to the hospital, where he ultimately survives.
  • The Webmanhwa Suicide Boy is about a young man whose life is so bad he's constantly looking for a way to kill himself. Unfortunately for him, he's terrified of pain and as such often cuts his attempts short, just to be frustrated about it later. Noticeably, this is played for laughs, being a Slice of Life story.
  • Suicide for Hire: Most of SFH's clients attempt to back out at the last minute, partially because Hunter tends to arrange extraordinarily painful symbolic deaths for them. Which invariably leads to Hunter giving them a little push over the edge, ranging from shouting "no refunds!" to remotely activating a rocket on their back to propel them into a Shark Pool.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • Tribe Twelve: By the time of the 11/11 Livestream, Noah had his spirit crushed, reaching the point where he wanted to be killed by The Collective on said livestream. He was drinking heavily, complaining when his death was delayed, and even swore at Firebrand for saving his life. However, he then realized exactly what he was doing, and sobbed over how he no longer wanted to die, but was convinced he still would.

    Western Animation 
  • BoJack Horseman: The penultimate episode, "The View From Halfway Down", is set in BoJack's Dying Dream and features a poem of the same title, read by BoJack's hero Secretariat. The poem mentions how Secretariat felt peace when he made his initial jump, enjoying one last view before his death. But as he fell and the view changed, panic set in, and by "the view from halfway down" all he wanted was to be back on solid ground. This leads BoJack to remember that he himself had tried to commit suicide via drowning; by now, he is regretting his decision, and he tries to escape back to the world of the living.
  • Family Guy: In "Roads to Vegas", the unlucky Brian and Stewie decide to commit suicide to avoid having to deal with a loan shark by jumping off the balcony of their hotel room. Just a second after Brian jumps, Stewie hesitates when they were supposed to jump together, which leads to Brian calling him a dick before he hits the sidewalk and dies.
  • Futurama:
    • In the Grand Finale "Meanwhile", Fry falls off the Vampire State Building but changes his mind after seeing Leela there. Guess what happens next.
    • Guenter the uplifted monkey's last words, before falling down the waterfall he believed would end his torment of being neither man nor beast, are "Although, on the other hand—".
  • Koala Man: In "The Great One", James Showbag agrees to reveal the location of the forbidden showbag if Alison and Liam agrees to kill him because he doesn't want to continue living as a Brain in a Jar. While Liam doesn't want to do it, Alison has no problem doing it. After Alison takes the jar and throws it to do ground, James instantly changes his mind, but it's too late as Alison can't psychically hear his thoughts like Liam can and steps on him.
  • Rick and Morty: In "A Rickle in Time", Rick makes a Heroic Sacrifice by jumping into the void to save Morty by applying Rick's own time collar around his neck so he can return to normal time. He's willing to Face Death with Dignity by making peace with God, realizing that he's giving up his life for a good cause... before seeing the other broken time collar and making an effort to fix it.
    Rick: I'm okay with this. Be good, Morty. Be better than me. (sees the remaining collar in the void) Shit, the other collar! I'm not okay with this! I am not okay with this!
    (Rick fixes the collar and puts it on, returning himself to normal time.)
  • South Park: In "City Sushi", the Japanese owner of the City Sushi restaurant decides to kill himself in shame by jumping to his death, and then frustratedly catches himself acting like a racial stereotype mid-fall.


Video Example(s):


The View from Halfway Down

The title of the episode comes from a poem Secretariat reads during his final performance. He mentions how he first felt peace when he made his initial jump, enjoying one last view before his death.

But as he fell and the view changed, panic set in and all he wanted was to be back on solid ground.

How well does it match the trope?

4.82 (39 votes)

Example of:

Main / MidSuicideRegret

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