Witness to a suicide
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Witness to a suicide

This is a discussion on Witness to a suicide within the Suicide Prevention forums, part of the Resources category; Hello all I am new here and not so long ago something occurred that affected me deeply. First, a little ...

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Old 05-05-15, 12:53 PM   #1
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Hello all I am new here and not so long ago something occurred that affected me deeply.

First, a little about me. I have experienced depression and thoughts for suicide for a year now due to physical health problems and family issues. I searched the Internet for help and instead of discovering this community I discovered darker sites. I came across a site that I will not mention, I thought I found a home there, people who understood me, people who listened, who empathised and offered me friendship.

The reality was, I now see, it was a site where it taught people how to die. Most members had accessed a particular book that was originally intended for terminally ill people seeking euthanasia, now, however that book is being used as a self help guide for the vulnerable to end their lives. I will not name the book.

One evening as I was about to go to bed I noticed a posting on the site. A member was announcing their intention to die that evening and that preparations were under way. I was shocked by people going on to say good luck and wishing them success. They then left. I had known how unhappy this person was, they had made many previous attempts and suffered depression for many years. The person wrote that were terrified, not of dying but of failing.

Everyone was anonymous there as here, I made a decision then, I couldn't walk away and leave them alone. I went online and told them I would stay with them.

Three times I told them they had a choice, they could change their mind. They were determined though, just scared of failing they were suffering so much. Over the course of those hours I kept telling them I was still with them, I wouldn't leave. Two more good luck messages were posted from others.

Finally, the end came, they posted their final message, I will not reveal that here, it was very brief, they did not suffer I know that.

Right to the end I kept saying I was still with them. I stayed all night. When I realised it was over I wished them peace. I felt numb and in shock. I had talked with them and knew everything they had done in their last hours.

The next day I discovered that many many members had spent those hours watching it all being played out and yet none came to offer support, sympathy or try to get them to see they could change their mind. The members then went back to their postings on methods and it just seemed to me they forgot about this person, it just didn't affect them at all.

I was distraught, it had a profound effect on me, I was also convinced I was going to be arrested any second as I was online with them to the last. My reasons were I didn't want them to die alone if that makes sense. I left the forum that day. More people were coming on to say when and how they were going to leave and I couldn't go through that again but equally I knew that if the situation occurred again I couldn't walk away.

The person was a mature adult, clear on what they wanted, their suffering palpable and yet I still feel guilt, should I have stepped in and contacted authorities? Did I break a law? I later saw their obituary, they succeeded. Friends spoke of their battle with depression how they tried to save them. Others asked for answers, what happened? How did it happen?

Answers I had but how could I possibly give the people who loved this person those answers, those final words. I realised that day that those sites, people are not your friend on them, they don't care about, they are voyuers who will say pass the popcorn and sit back and watch you die while saying how wonderful it is you are going to find peace.

That is a lie, you may find peace but the collateral damage you leave behind is devastating. I witnessed that, how much this person was loved, the heartbreak they left behind, the lives forever changed, the answers that would never come.

I learnt a harsh lesson that day, people who promote books that vulnerable people have access to are guilty of fuelling suicide rates, they make it so easy and then there are sites like that one who encourage and teach people how to die instead of encouraging and teaching people how to live.

If you think suicide is the answer think again, there is no coming back from it and you will destroy so many lives, not just your own.

Last edited by Ella; 05-06-15 at 07:52 AM. Reason: .
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Old 05-05-15, 05:46 PM   #2
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Firstly, you are a good writer.
Secondly, the experience you have witnessed is simply terrifying. And, yes, the right thing to do was probably to call the police and show them this forum. But you were scared and petrified, mostly under a weird state of mind including fear and incredulity. You are not to blame. Just be strong and from now on do the best. :)


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Old 05-05-15, 06:13 PM   #3
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Thank you, the person was in another country and I was scared and I guess I was in shock as well because I was shaking after it was all over. I had never been in that situation before and could never have imagined I ever would.

If only people could understand the devastation left behind by suicide, yes, life can be terrible and unbearable at times but suicide eliminates the possibility of it ever getting better.
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Old 05-10-15, 06:31 PM   #4
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That's a very strong story.. Thank you for sharing it.. and welcome to us..
*hugs*
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Old 05-10-15, 09:26 PM   #5
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First: welcome to the community. In my experience, this is an extraordinarily caring place, with people who have suffered and truly want to help others with their pain. As you have seen, finding reliable resources for grappling with depression is a difficult thing when you're using the whole wide, wide world of the internet. I'm so glad you've finally found us.

Second: it is so courageous of you to share this story. I hope that you were able to find some amount of relief and peace in writing the whole thing out. I think I can relate to your experience. I have struggled with suicidal thoughts on and off since my teen years. About four and half years ago, I was experiencing a really painful bout of depression and was desperate to find people who I could relate to. Like you, I stumbled across a website for people who were feeling suicidal, and the prevailing mindset was pro-death, rather than pro-help. I would chat with people every day who were ready to take their own lives, and we were all met with encouragement to perform the act. It really, really turned my thoughts dark very fast. I never encouraged someone to take their own life, but I became more and more convinced about taking my own. What finally put the trail of thoughts to an end was when a member I had seen on the chatboard every day finally committed suicide. It wasn't quite the same situation that you experienced, since he didn't do it while online-- but members of the website posted all about his death the next day, with links to his obituary and social media accounts, saying that they were glad he had found peace. Since then, his mother has posted messages for him on his facebook every single day. Every single day, for four and a half years. It was a crushing, raw, nauseating feeling for me to finally come face to face with just what the term death really means. It cannot be reversed or taken back. It does not bring peace-- it brings destruction and unimaginable pain to the human beings left in its wake.

You worded this very well in telling your own story, and I'm grateful for that. Although I wish you hadn't experienced what you did, it struck a chord in me to hear somebody tell the details of something that I've never been quite able to express to anyone else (I've never told anyone in my life about my days on the pro-suicide chatboard). I hope you continue to post on Take This Life. You are a very compassionate person, and that's so very valuable and needed beyond measure in this world.
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Old 05-11-15, 04:01 AM   #6
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You are a very good writer indeed. I felt like I was reading a novel. If writing is a good outlet for your emotions and you feel comfortable enough, post here. You can help many people. That experience sounds very traumatic, and I'm sorry you went thought that!
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