Most people have fears of death, but for those that are suicidal, they tend to want death because they believe death is the only way out. I emphasize the word only because according to the father of suicidology, Edwin Shneidman, “it is a very dangerous word in the world of the suicidal mind”. These people generally will only think of fear due to what Marsha Linehan calls fear of suicide, which is the belief that failure, cowardice, or fear of death that prevents someone from committing suicide.
Aside from these reasons for attempters to try, there is the fear of loved ones and friends of losing someone by death that has not been talked about. Mental illness in some form will affect someone you know more than you think. Even the most upbeat person can suffer from depression but no on knows this because they keep it hidden.
Most people shy away from suicide talk. They don’t want to hear it or will make stupid comments such as “people who commit suicide are selfish”, that “it’s wrong to take one’s life because only God can do that”. Despite these statements, hundreds of people attempt suicide every day. Suicide is the 3rd top killer of Americans more than heart attacks and cancer combined. How can people take their life is a puzzling question. It’s very difficult to kill the human body due to the fight/flight response. I know because on many occasions where I tried, my fight/flight kicked in and I made a call for help, much to my chagrin. Prevention starts with seeking help but very few people in desperation will call for help before an attempt. They may call for help after or if they survive and don’t want to go through the survivor bullshit (the stomach pumping, hospitalization, stitching of wounds, etc).
Even therapists are fearful of suicide attempters or of the suicide talk. Most clinicians will actually pawn the client off to another therapist “more qualified” or outright refuse to see them. I have had this happen to me ten times while trying to find another therapist within a five mile radius of my house. 10 therapists!!!! TEN professionals refused to treat me because of my history of suicide attempts and current suicidal thinking. I could understand that they did not want to take me on as a multi-risk client and would have liked them to make at least one session with me before I lived up to their presumptions of me. But instead they decided to chuck me off to another therapist who referred me to another therapist who, well you get the picture. So for my therapy at the present time, I have to have phone therapy with someone who is thirty miles away from me because I do not have a car. She took a chance on me and we have been together for eleven years now. She stuck through the depths of my suicidal plans for the past eight years, my nerve condition, and my overall mental illness, which can at times include psychosis and delusions. I don’t know why she puts up with me but she does. Same could be said of her because she is the only therapist I ever had that talks more than I do. I have called her on it so many times that I lost count. Nothing like the analytical consultant I saw. He was strictly Freudian.