A Letter to Anyone Considering Suicide


suicide-noteThe following letter was a comment left on my post, “What Suicidal Depression Feels Like” (in which I compared the act of suicide to a sneeze).

For those of you contemplating that sneeze, please consider:

I am the father of a now deceased son. My first born. My namesake. Before he was born I had no desire for children. I was satisfied with other worldly pursuits and my beautiful wife. She desired children and I was happy to do my part. Once he was born, I would tell the world that I did not joy until I saw him toddling through my house.

He sneezed a year ago. His 24th birthday is in a couple of days. Now I add to my statement of knowing joy through him. I add: I did not know agony until his took his life.

I have to pause as I write this to clear the tears from my face.

The agony he bore that made death look better than life did not die with him. It has been passed on to his mother and I, His brothers and sisters, His family and friends. If he could have born it a little longer we would have sought out new meds and treatments. There was at least hope.

Now they joys of life for his mother and I are all tainted. They tear at the hole in our heart left by his death. These are things we can no longer hope for him, the weddings and successes of his friends, cousins, and siblings. A cousin of his is to be wed this week end. Instead of a joyous event, it will now be bitter sweet and no doubt tearful.

I know this urge to sneeze must be a terrible cross. But if not for you own sake, please bear the cross for those that love you, and hope!

From a still deeply morning father.

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Therese Borchard
I am a writer and chaplain trying to live a simple life in Annapolis, Maryland.

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20 Responses
  1. Christine Johnson

    Oh how sad this makes me. I’m so so sorry for their loss. I can feel the anguish in his writing. I, too, wish that those who have committed suicide would have held on just a little longer, talked to a friend, just something to stay alive until the urge passed. It’s so strange, because I frequently have the urge to sneeze and want to leave this world. I feel like everyone else is worthy and so valuable, but I don’t feel that about myself. When I’m suicidal, it’s as if something takes over – a logic that appears so matter-of-fact to me at the time. I’m so so sorry for this man’s pain. I do think of others and try to hold on just a little bit more…just a little but more…each day. Thank you to this parent for sharing. I wish I could hug him.

  2. Lindsay L.

    Dr. Candice Esposito, author of Calm Living Blueprint, has a podcast on suicidal thoughts, in which she states (I’m paraphrasing) “Those who consider suicide don’t want to die as much as they want relief from suffering. But in order to feel relief, you have to be alive to feel it.”

    I found that very thought-provoking as someone who has struggled with these thoughts for a long time. It really helped me a lot.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Barbara

      My mother leapt from a bridge when I was pregnant. She didn’t know what she did that day would do to us. She was an exceptional person in several ways. She had not been depressed for a long time. Her action altered the way I was or could be as a mother for my 2 babies and their 2older cousins that came to live with us as a result of her death. She wouldn’t have done it if she would have known what would happened to us. My chest clenches as I write and weep, 27 yrs later.

  3. For those who ask us to, “Bare the Cross” so that you don’t have to suffer, might consider, you have no true concept of what you are asking. At 56, I have been hanging on through 40 years of severe depression so as not to bring pain to others, especially my parents. It’s as if saying to your beloved pet, who is in severe pain, we are not going to ease your pain because we don’t want to be sad. Just stick around so that we can feel good knowing your still here. Suicide may be selfish but so is asking someone else to suffer so that you can hang on to hope that no longer exists for them. I ask that you may find some peace in the fact that your loved one suffers no more. Their greatest desire may be understanding, forgiveness and that you find the joy and purpose that they could not.

      1. Therese, I have recently discovered your posts and am grateful beyond words for your insights, humor and true understanding of depression. You are a bright light! Thank you.

      2. Lyn D

        I understand your comment J. Doyle. When I was younger (I’m in my 40s now) I know that myself and lots of other people thought that if someone took their own life, they were selfish. After watching my daughter who has been suffering from Anxiety and Major Clinical Depression for a few years now (she will be 18 very soon), I have a very different point of view. We know that she has thought about suicide many times over the years and the only reason she has not yet, is because she knows it would hurt us. Her Psychologists and Psychiatrists have told us this. She still sees a Psychiatrist nearly every week and as she is not “getting well” as they said she would, she sees no hope and does not want to remain confined to her room with no friends and her parents and little sister to be all that she has. I know now, that no matter how much I don’t want it to happen, if my beautiful girl takes her own life, I will not think that she was selfish. After watching her daily struggle, through all of my tears and mourning, I will only hope my baby is at peace. I will be more disappointed that we and the professionals could not help her more.

    1. J. Doyle, I feel very very similar to what you expressed. I don’t understand why others want me to hold on for them when I feel so bad. I want them to accept that I found relief and peace at last. I do still have a little hope, so I keep trying for now. I know people think suicide is selfish but I don’t think they comprehend a lifetime of depression. Thank you for your honest thoughts.

      1. Christine, It makes me glad, in my heart, that you have enough hope to keep trying. I wish that for all of us and think that none of us would choose suicide if we felt that a different option were available. That is one of the many insidious aspects of depression that a non sufferer cannot comprehend

    2. MIL

      I feel this most of all the prior statements, having survived my mother’s death and the hard childhood that resulted in for me, but also having survived my own suicidal thoughts. I also was kept here to take care of my children, not to create that hell for them I had, but it was very difficult and it took lots of time and working on healing to stop feeling that way. The time we are asked to wait is for healing to be possible.

    3. Ann

      J Doyle:
      I don’t know if you will receive this, but I totally understand your plight. I have been through the same as you. I only wish there were a site where we all could share on a regular basis how to live on despite severe depression and the “urge”. I have almost given up trying to find someone to talk to about all of this who gets it, who understands.

  4. Barbara

    Thank you deeply, MIL. Words aren’t coming easily to me, I’m hoping it is due to the meds and I feel will clearer, after this episode or whatever it is. (Was diagnosed with bd when “depression” didn’t work any longer) following my beloved mom’s violent suicide.
    Had been pg at time with toddler, and took in 12and7 yr olds with special need. Living way out in isolated area with inconsistent electricity. It goes on and on as everybody’s story does.
    The kids are grown and ok now. Thank the good Lord.
    I’m pretty weak, just had to leave a good job.
    But you reminded me of the first falling, I broke,don’t know what else to call it. I had in my mind a dark and slippery hill I was climbing. Needed to get to the top in order to die and thus save the kids. That vision ceased when I got the haldol which caused an oculogyric reaction. And so it goes
    So when someone you love and need sneezes. And you have BP you didn’t know about, it gets hard to figure. Pretty sure am alive today because of the kids. I could not leave them hanging. Dutifully doing what I could if I could. Am wracked with guilt when thinking about parenting sometimes
    Now it is unexpectedly difficult to pull myself and deal with the days, since I m off work. Would like to run again if this wounded knee will heal. Have gained~20#; been thru the slim pickins of therapists that aren’t over an hr away. This is the first forum have ever spoken at. Wonder if it is ok to even speak this intimately.

  5. Ariane

    I contemplated sneezing since I was about 11 years old. Just old enough to understand what it is my father had been guilting me of. His unhappiness brought me to tears in so many ways. I was weak and useless so I became angry to cope with Despair. Had 1000 ambitions and desires I pushed myself through only to keep waking up feeling like the world’s most useless piece of … Am now 33 and still Struggling. No children no more projects No more false hope. Thankfully anxiety is a constant source of energy until it eats me Alive. Sure suicide is selfish but I have yet to meet one person who isn’t as selfish as I am.

    1. Heather

      Ariane, I hope you get this. Just so you know I feel the same way. 30 years old, been wanting to “go home” since I was 5 years old, and just very recently gave up all hope, about 2 months ago, after things had been getting better for about 8 years. Something changed in me and I stopped wanting to feel better. Anyway, Ariane, I hope you are doing better than I am at this point. Hopefully you have found light.