Suicide and Letting Them Know

Whilst doing suicidal ideation I can never decide whether it would be better for my family if they every found out. Suicide is obviously somewhat of a taboo subject. People who go through with it and the people they were close to are stigmatized/ostracised to some extent.

So if I were to off my self wich would be better: the middle of Siberia with my body never to be found or in the comfort of my own shower? In one case they will have no doubt as to what happened to me but live with all the terrible feelings and other issues that come with suicide. In the other case my dissapereance may gnaw at them for many years. Of course this isn’t just a simple utilitarian calculation. Or is it? :stuck_out_tongue:

First of all, if you go through with suicide, don’t concern yourself about being ostracised later. You won’t care in the least. But knowing that your family may be ostracised is a legitimate issue to consider while making a decision to proceed.

And you are presenting false options here. There are ways to disguise the fact of suicide, for instance to make it look like a household accident. All you have to do is arrange things so that an accidental death is possible and plausible.

Knowing is better. Always.

Disappearance would gnaw at them for years.

Also, it would distract them terribly from their lives. They’d be constantly going to the police, renewing missing persons reports, going to private investigators, going on “missing persons” social media, etc. It could become an obsessive part of their lives. Why would you put them through that kind of hell?

Faking an accident, at least, still gives them closure. Suicide gives them closure too, although they’d likely spend a lot of time worrying over what they might have done to prevent it.

I’d recommend you give them that chance. Let them prevent it. Let them help you. If you care for them (and you would seem to) then do the right thing by them: stick around and be friends.

I second the recommendation of not committing suicide if you can possibly help it. Talk to a counselor, and if you’re on close enough terms with your family members, talk to them about how you feel.

Speaking as an immediate family member of someone who committed suicide a few years ago, I agree that even though it’s devastating and shocking and causes a lot of misery, it’s absolutely far better than not being sure what happened and wondering endlessly if your loved one might possibly be still out there somewhere and in need of you. Hell, in the case of my relative, even though there was an actual suicide note we briefly discussed whether there might have been foul play on the part of some hypothetical stranger, because what had actually happened just seemed so unthinkable.

In short: Sudden tragedy of that sort is so traumatic and bewildering that survivors generally end up grasping at impossible explanations anyway. They absolutely should not be tortured further by deliberate attempts to leave it unclear or mysterious what happened and why.

But the best thing you can do for them is not commit suicide in the first place. No matter how much you want to spare them pain or how earnestly you try to soften the blow, they will spend some part of the whole of the rest of their lives not only missing you but feeling guilty for not having been able to save you, and also feeling guilty for wanting to have saved you when it would have meant continuing your suffering. Take my word for it.
This is one of many reasons why the best strategy is to get help for the suicidal ideation and whatever problems are underlying it. Life can be a lot better than constant struggle and suffering, and if you give it time and treatment, the odds are good that you’ll find it getting better.

I get that in the meantime it’s a total fucking pain to go on doggedly enduring all this shit basically so you won’t make them sad. If they don’t know what you’re going through then they obviously don’t appreciate how much goddamned work it is, but if they did know, they would be grateful. Take my word for that too.

I’m not so sure. In some countries where suicide is still illegal the family, in addition of being ostracised, may have to pay punitive damages. That would be a tangible issue to consider. Of course this doesn’t apply to most (if any?) western nations anymore.

I could make the same argument about the part in bold. When I will be dead, I won’t care in the least what other people feel since I can’t. All this caring happens when I’m still alive. Why should that be limited to only my family and not about what people will think about be as well?

I don’t think I’m intelligent or creative enough to do this. I imagine most of these methods won’t be as clean and painless as just shooting my self in the woods. And since I’ve sometimes talked about suicide with them they will probably always suspect that I killed my self anyway.

Suicide does not end the pain. It just passes it on to others. No matter how, or where, it’s done.

If it’s strong enough to kill you, why would you wish to pass it on to the people you love?

I lost a brother to suicide. Five years later, I see his family, his kids especially, now grown, still struggling to come to terms with it. I know it will colour all of their lives. And they will relive the pain afresh whenever anyone innocently inquires about their Dad. Even when they choose not to share the details. It still reopens their wound.

Please seek help. In the name of those who will have to carry this horrible pain, once you’re gone. Forever.

Just don’t do it. Please.

Ok, I believe you. I can only speak to what I know.

Certainly if one knows one’s family will be punished for one’s suicide, that would mitigate against suicide…or, as you seem to be arguing, against an obvious suicide. It is, as you say, an issue to consider.

But you haven’t convinced me that just disappearing saves anyone any pain.

I know from a lot of experience that this sort of mental process and justification is common as hell when one is wrestling with SI. It’s a way to try to make suicide less terrible an option: “Maybe if I can come up with a plan that saves my loved ones the pain, I can kill myself with a clean conscience.” I get it, but there just isn’t any way to spare the people you love the pain of your loss.
(Violating the .sig rule. Anyone who doesn’t like it can feel free to report me.)

Just yesterday, I listened to a CBC podcast, mostly about Reid Bricker, a missing Winnipeg man. Reid had attempted suicide several times before and his mother mentioned her suspicions that he had done something similar to the OP’s idea; not Siberia, but that he left the city and found somewhere remote to lay down and die.

Reid was last seen in late October of 2015.

It doesn’t seem to me as if the not-knowing was any easier on the family than dealing with an established suicide.

First and foremost, as others have posted the information upthread, if you are having these sorts of ideas, please, please, call them or someone you know and trust and get help.

Speaking for myself, I know that the times I’ve been in my darkest places, when my mind wanders into the area that I might be spared my pain in death, the moment the thought crosses my mind of hurting myself, the idea that it would cause more pain for others made it an immediate impossibility. I’m simply utterly incapable of causing harm to others, particularly that severe, and would rather suffer myself. I can understand how that might be possible to bypass that sort of thought process if the pain were sudden and the impulse strikes without the full thought out and not something fantasized or planned over time, but then again, impulsive is about the last word anyone would ever use to describe me.

So, that one would be considering whether it’s best to kill oneself so loved ones are aware or not to cause them the least amount of pain, it seems to me that one would also know that the only way to cause them the least pain is to, rather than put that effort into planning the suicide so as to spare them, but rather to avoid suicide altogether. One thing I’ve learned from managing my own depression is generally that, not only am I in need of support when those sorts of ideas cross my mind, particularly in the concern that if I do reach that point, even if I’m not impulsive, there is that chance it will come up, but in fact, I usually know far enough before I reach that point that I can either seek help from loved ones or find some other means of soothing myself to avoid getting there. Of course, I don’t always succeed, but it does mean that people around me are aware more aware.

Either way, I guess my point is, you’re asking the wrong question. It’s not whether disappearing or making sure they know causes the least pain, but how you can love them the most by causing them the least pain. Finally, again, if these are thoughts you are having, please, please, seek help now.

You could start by making them hate you first.

If you’re going to leave a note, at least make it nice.

I’m just going to repeat what others have said: Please, please, please let someone know what you are going through and get help. I struggled with suicidal ideas for a long time, and have in fact had recurring depressive episodes, but every time I get help and work through it and things do get better.

Having said that, and on the assumption that this discussion is purely hypothetical, I agree that letting people know is always better than just vanishing. I have a child of my own, and if (God forbid) anything happened, I wouldn’t be able to live with the ambiguity. Better to know for certain that a person is dead than live with the question.

I hate that bullshit idea. Suicide does end their pain, along with everything else. I don’t feel that suicidal people need a guilt trip on top of whatever else is causing their suffering. Claiming that others will be crippled for life as a result of a suicide is emotional blackmail.

As for the OP, I would rather know that someone I cared about committed suicide than wonder what happened to them for the rest of my life. I’ve experienced both, and found not knowing far worse.

I have a friend whose husband killed himself two months ago. He left no more and she swears that there was absolutely zilch signs that anything was wrong. Watching the fallout and being unable to help, I can positively attest to the fact that any closure will make things slightly more palatable. It won’t truly help, but it gives them something to hang their hat on. And I say this as someone who has Been There, Done That and agree that people have the right to their own life’s end.

“Need a caring ear, or know someone who does?
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1”

Thank you for this, andros.

No shit. What elbows said–as you quoted–was:

The pain. Of course it ends the pain of the dead person. It also ends everything else.

No, it’s often accurate. Ok, sure “crippled for life” is over the top, but it’s neither emotional blackmail nor a guilt trip to remind someone struggling with SI that their choices affect others, especially the people who care about them.

With this, however, I completely agree.

You are entirely welcome. I’d print those numbers inside everyone’s eyelids if I could.