1) People Will Be Very Angry at You If You Make An Attempt
It doesn’t matter that you’re suffering so much you feel you have to resort to a step this drastic. Suicide is and always has been the ultimate social taboo. People are terrified of it, and therefore terrified of you for not having honoured the rules. At a time when you need tremendous love and support, you will be yelled at, cursed, accused of cowardice and selfishness, abandoned, and generally made to feel like a pariah. This is a guarantee.
2) Your Doctors May Refuse to Treat You
Many of us, when we enter therapy, sign a contract promising we will not attempt suicide during the duration of treatment. Believe me, doctors will enforce that clause. I once had a loving, committed psychiatrist call me in the hospital after I’d made a serious attempt. I ran to the phone, eager for his help. He terminated our relationship, not without empathy but with no wriggle room, either. Even if you’ve never entered such a contract, you’re likely to experience problems with your ongoing treatment. Doctors are very concerned about their liability, which means it may also be difficult for you to find another health care professional who’s willing to take you on. You’re now officially labeled a risk.
3) You Will Probably Fail
I’m no dummy. I’ve read up on the subject of suicide. And I’ve sincerely tried several times to kill myself, obviously without success. Here’s why: the body revolts. It clings to life, no matter how ardently you try to break that bond. But just because you escape death doesn’t mean that you escape suffering. Time and again, I’ve inflicted horrible injuries on myself while falling into unconsciousness. I once hurt myself so badly I was unable to walk for six months afterwards without the use of crutches. Another time, I sustained such terrible bruises all over my body that when I was taken to the emergency room, the police assumed I was a victim of domestic assault and hauled my boyfriend in for questioning. That was the end of that relationship. However you may feel about life, it’s a powerful and tenacious force which we are apparently not supposed to tamper with.
4) If You Live, You Will Feel Like a Failure
There’s nothing worse—or frankly, more embarrassing—than coming to after a suicide attempt. You’ve made this enormous declaration of intent to the world, and now you have to admit you’ve reneged on your promise. People will think you weren’t serious. They will underestimate your pain. How many times have I heard those terrible words: “It must have just been a cry for help.” Now when you tell people you feel suicidal, they will think that you’re crying wolf. You will lose all credibility with your loved ones and your doctors, just when you need it the most.
So believe me, it isn’t worth it. You need to tattoo this fact on your brain. And you need to remember the obvious: your life is constantly changing. Yesterday I felt deeply suicidal. Today I’m sitting in a lovely outdoor cafe, eating asparagus puree soup with a grilled cheese sandwich. What changed in my life? My brain chemistry.
I’m so glad I waited out the storm. The grilled cheese tastes delicious.
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By Terri Cheney