Suicide Stories (3+)

This blog post is about true suicide stories.

Stories that answer what is like to survive a suicide attempt, stories from the survivors of suicide loss, and stories of hope and recovery. 

What is it like to survive a suicide attempt?

Survivors tell us what went through their minds in what they expected to be their final moments — and what it’s like to return to a life they tried to end.

The Today magazine has interviewed people who detailed multiple occasions of trying to end their lives, and in some cases, entire lifetimes spent battling suicidal thoughts, and always feeling as if they’re on the brink of a fatal decision, one that feels largely out of their control.

Read some of the confession below. 

RICHARD COLE 

Richard has thought about suicide every day since he was a child.

It was such an ingrained part of my thought process,” he said. “I would wake up every single day and (think), ‘I can get up and I can brush my teeth, or I can kill myself. I can go to school today, or I can kill myself.’”

As a 10-year-old with that kind of sadness, and desire to not be around, you’re separate from society,” Cole continued. “Even though you’re in a class with 20 other kids, you’re by yourself. The adults don’t understand you, and the kids don’t understand you.”

He knew he was different from a young age.

I never thought about what I wanted to be when I grew up,” Cole said. “You speak to other 10-year-olds (and they say), ‘Oh, I want to be a fireman, I want to be a scientist, I want to be a policeman.’”

Cole understood their dreams — he just couldn’t see any for himself: “‘I don’t want to be anything. I’m going to be dead by the time I’m 18,’ is what I thought.’”

On Nov. 26, 1998, a 27-year-old Cole shot himself in the chest with a 9 mm handg*n.

I remember it was cold because I have this big, poufy down coat on that I shot myself through, and there were feathers everywhere,” he said. “I have this vision of me falling to the ground with these bloody feathers.”

Against medical odds, he survived, waking up in a hospital. (About 15% of people survive suicide attempts by g*n, according to research.)

Cole, now 47, makes the distinction between suicidal ideation — thinking about suicide — and being suicidal, which for him means actually considering the act of ending his life. He has experienced suicidal ideation for as long as he can remember, but feeling suicidal comes and goes.  He figures it will be that way for the rest of his life.

I don’t know that I’ll ever get rid of my suicidal ideation, but I’m not acting on it,” he said. “I’m a lot better than I used to be. No one’s ever going to be perfect.”

JILLIAN SHIH

Jullian,  a 23-year-old college student in Boston, tried to kill herself the day after she was sexually assaulted by a boyfriend.

She was in physical pain, confused by what had happened and overcome with loneliness.

Shih was also still in the throes of an eating disorder, for which she’d spent several weeks in a hospital’s psychiatric unit the previous year.

I just felt desperate,” she said. “I just wanted a way out.

I wasn’t getting away from the eating disorder thoughts,” Shih continued. “And I wasn’t getting away from thoughts that were telling me that I was ugly, or I was not smart enough, or that I just wasn’t worth living anymore.

The day after her assault, she texted a suicide hotline, but said it didn’t help. Then 22, Shih decided suicide was her only option. She attempted to overdose in her apartment.

Campus officials later found Shih, whose attempt landed her in the emergency room, and then the psychiatric unit once more. Even in the hospital, she brainstormed other ways to end her life.

I was thinking of ways I could do it in the unit,” she said. “To be back in treatment seemed like the worst thing in the world to me.

Today Shih takes various medications and sees a nutritionist and psychologist regularly.

She studies nursing at Simmons University in Boston, where she’s working on a research project about suicide attempt survivors and their experiences at inpatient psychiatric units.

Sometimes she’s envious of how easy her friends’ lives seem compared to hers, which is dictated by medication schedules and doctors’ appointments.

She looks forward to a day when her life feels like her own again.

I think about the fantasy things … living in a nice house, married to my boyfriend now, and having a dream job or something,” Shih said. “When I’m with my providers, I always ask, ‘How long do I have to come to see you?’ My therapist always says, ‘You’re not even close.’”

They’ve said multiple times I’m the only person that asks that,” she said with a laugh.

JENNIFER PARISE

The first time I wanted to kill myself, I was 14,” said Jennifer Parise, a 36-year-old mother in Portland, Oregon. Barely a teenager, she had already experienced a lifetime of tragedy: Two people she knew, a close friend and a boyfriend, had been murdered over the course of two years.

I remember walking across the bridge over the freeway and wanting to throw myself over it because I thought it was my fault,” she said. “I blamed myself for years. I was the cursed person, you know? You didn’t want to be friends with me — it’s dangerous.

It wasn’t until college that she made the decision to end her life.

Parise, who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder the previous year, was going through a tumultuous breakup with an ex-boyfriend, who’d taken to sending her cruel messages, including one in which he told her, “You would be better off dead.”

I remember just being in the pit of despair,” Parise said. “I didn’t believe that anybody would care if I was gone. I didn’t think anybody would even notice.

Parise attempted to overdose, but she woke up a day and a half later.

I remember getting up and I remember going to the bathroom and being confused as to what day it was,” she said. “And then wondering why nobody had come in and found me. So in some ways, it was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Nobody did notice.”

Today Parise takes medication for her depression and bipolar disorder and goes to therapy.

She works for Multnomah County’s office of developmental and intellectual disabilities services in Portland, where she lives with her husband and their 5-year-old son, Edwin.

He knows that at one point Mom was sick, and that Mom tried to kill herself, but that things are better now,” she said. “And having that conversation was challenging. But all he could do was give me a big hug and say that he was happy I was here, which meant a lot.

Survivors of suicide loss – suicide stories

The following two stories from the survivors of suicide loss are from the Suicide Awareness Voices of Education.

You can submit your own suicide story on SAVE by following some guidelines. Visit their webpage for more information. 

Amelia’s story

“I’m Amelia and this is my story. I was 14 when my friend attempted suicide. He was depressed, he didn’t know what to do and he looked to suicide for a temporary fix to his problem. He texted me that he was going to do it on his birthday. He told me that he texted me because I’m the only one who understood him, that I was the only one that understood his pain. 

I called him. 

He ignored my call about 20 times and then texted me a note. It was a message to his parents, his friends, and me stating that “I failed” and that he was doing it tonight instead. He wasn’t a very close friend, so I didn’t know his address, and I had only met his parents a couple of times. I was home alone, and having a panic attack because I didn’t know what to do.

 I called a girl named Addy and she gave me his information out of her school directory. As soon as she gave it to me, I called the police and gave them the address. My friend’s phone was off by now, and I was in panic mode.

 I didn’t sleep that night and when I had to go to school that Monday I was called into the office. He was alive. It was a weight off my shoulders. 

The school counselor had to ask me a lot of questions and it made me feel really uncomfortable but I stayed strong and was able to explain what happened. I didn’t talk to him for the next year. I recently started texting him.

 He’s closer with his family, he’s happier and he hasn’t thought about suicide since that night. Thank you for setting up this website to give others hope and awareness.” 

-Amelia, age 15

A Birthday to Celebrate and Remember – By Janet Benz

“It seemed like our family was just beginning to recover from some of the traumatic events around the catastrophic death of our son in January 2007. 

Each of us were settling into the grief journey and what that meant for us individually and collectively, when Christopher’s 18th birthday arrived. 

As a parent, I struggled with what to do and how to handle what I expected to be a very emotional and difficult day for our family. I couldn’t begin to know how my other two sons would deal with their youngest brother’s birthday and the reminder that he was no longer with us. 

I only knew that he was and always will be my son, and I still am and always will be his mother, and nothing will ever change that. I felt that just as birthdays had always been in our home, that Christopher’s birthday needed to continue to be a very special day.

There was in me a driving need to recognize the day in celebration of Christopher’s life, to honor him for who he was, what he brought to our lives and those around him, and to continue to keep him present in our lives in a meaningful way. So we planned and had a birthday dinner for him which ended up being such a positive and meaningful experience for our entire family that we have decided to do this every year. 

It was a nurturing and healing day for me as I prepared Christopher’s favorite foods and the entire family planned their busy schedules of that day in time to be home for dinner. The dinner table included a cake with the bold inscription “Happy Birthday Christopher;” however there were no candles on the cake. 

At the end of the meal, each person was given a birthday candle and asked to talk about what they thought Christopher would have done with his life, and this year we told our favorite Christopher stories. 

Each person lit their candle as they shared their memories of his life and then placed the candle on the cake. Once all the candles were on the cake our family shared a prayer, made a wish, paused and then blew out the candles. I know we will continue to celebrate this very special day in our family as Christopher’s birthday arrives each year, for our family feels it is good and it is right for us to do. 

I also found this to be a perfect time to bring out photos of family and friends, baseball trophies, high school yearbooks and other items that help strengthen the memories but may not always be on display every day in our home. 

Reminiscing and sharing memories is a wonderful way to keep our loved ones alive in a very real way as we continue to give meaning to their lives; and as we connect with each other in mutual support on this path we all walk as survivors.”

 Editors Note: We all grieve differently. There is no right or wrong way to handle celebrations, anniversaries or special occasions. This is one family’s way to celebrate a birthday in hopes it will help others find ways to live, grieve and go on.

If you enjoyed the stories mentioned above, then you should also read the story of Katelyn Nicole Davis.

An important message

If you’ve been feeling down and the negative feelings don’t go away you may need to make some changes and get extra support.

If you’re still feeling down after a couple of weeks, talk to your GP. Your GP can discuss your symptoms with you and make a diagnosis.

Where to get help

  • GP and health centers. A GP can offer support for anyone in crisis. If possible, ask someone to come along with you.
  • Hospital emergency services. Go to or call the emergency department of your local general hospital.
  • Telephone emergency services, such as the ambulance. 
  • Mental health services. If you are being supported by a mental health team, or have been in the past, contact the service for support in a crisis.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Conclusions

In this blog post, you read true suicide stories.

Stories that answer what is like to survive a suicide attempt, stories from the survivors of suicide loss, and stories of hope and recovery. 

Difficult events and experiences can leave you in a low mood and can increase the risk of depression.

Sometimes it’s possible to feel down without there being an obvious reason.

If negative feelings don’t go away you may need to make some changes and get extra support.

The most important fact to remember is that you are not alone. 

Please feel free to share anything that’s on your mind or if you have questions, in the comments section below. 

References

Save.org

Today magazine

Enjoyed this article? Then Repin to your own inspiration board so others can too!

Was this post helpful?