To my friends, acquaintances, and anyone out there who is fighting suicidal thoughts…
Please, please talk to someone. Get help.
Talk therapy. Medications. Physical therapy. Rehab. Whatever it takes.
I know you don’t know how to formulate the words, that maybe it’s all just a big black cloud inside you. Just start. Don’t give up. Keep trying.
I know you’re hoping you can keep it under control. And maybe you can, for another day or year or decade or more. But what if you can’t? What about when you can’t? What then?
I know you’re afraid that saying the words out loud will make them more real. In fact, saying the words will take away some of the power of those thoughts.
I know you’re afraid that voicing your thoughts – and maybe the dark secrets that are triggering them – will start a tsunami of feelings that you will never be able to stop. It’s true. It will be extraordinarily painful at first. But aren’t you already in terrible pain?
I know you fantasize that killing yourself will stop the nightmare you’re living with. But I also know that you probably don’t want to die. However, that’s what will happen. You will be dead. Unless you screw it up and end up with a neurologically damaged body and mind for the rest of your life, as happened to someone I once knew.
I know you think that everyone else will be better off without you. Do you really have the right to make that choice for them? And do you have any idea what your death by suicide will do to those who love you?
I can tell you what will happen to those around you.
First there is shock and disbelief. Numbness. Screaming “No, no, no”. Those screams, by the way, never go away. They may dull down eventually so that the screams are only in our minds, and not a physical howling ripping through our bodies with a force that seems it could tear us apart, but the screams are still there. They are ungodly painful.
Then comes the searing guilt. The agonizing wails of “I’m sorry, I didn’t know” over and over and over. How many times can we apologize for not knowing how much pain you were living with? A thousand? Ten thousand? A million? It is unbelievably painful.
The unbearable loneliness. The loss of the future we had every right to expect and plan on. The belongings we don’t know what to do with but can’t bear to give away. The memories that are triggered by almost everything we see, touch, hear, and smell. It is horribly painful.
The constant need to talk about you, to explain to everyone how much you were loved and how wonderful you were. It is a compulsion that is sadly painful.
And then there’s the physical pain. The constant feeling that a part of one’s body has been viciously shredded, leaving a gaping wound that can never heal.
The loss of safety and security. The world is no longer a safe place. Horrible, unbelievable things can – and do – happen in an instant, and nothing will ever be the same again. Never, ever again.
For some (not myself), there is furious anger. How dare you do this to me? How dare you leave me/us alone? You dare you be so cowardly, so selfish?
Are we really better off without you? Isn’t the difficulty of facing your demons worth it, to spare if not yourself, then those you love?
The above was addressed to those suicidal individuals, who – like my husband – would be as gentle in killing themselves as they can possibly be. John went into the woods, off our property. He didn’t do it in our home, he didn’t do it in front of me or in front of anyone else, and he didn’t do it in a particularly gruesome manner. (Of course, all suicides are horrible.)
If that is not your plan… if your suicidal thoughts are leading you into a vengeful place, where you want to inflict pain on others, either by forcing them to see it happen, or by having them find you at home, or even by trying to take them with you… I beg of you to realize that the demons in your mind are lying to you. You will have NO satisfaction from such an act. You will be dead, and no matter what you believe (afterlife, heaven, nothing), it won’t matter to you anymore.
But it will matter to those you leave behind.
Either way, if you really love them, is this what you want?
John would never have deliberately hurt me. If he’d been thinking clearly, if he’d been able to see that he had options, he would never have left me a widow, screaming into my pillow every night.
You still have options. And for the love of everyone around you, please force yourself to take advantage of them.
For more information about The Warrior Project – soon to be a drop-in and counseling center for those affected by suicide and/or suicidal thoughts, please click on the picture or link, or go to https://warrior-project.org.
The Warrior Project will eventually become a warm, welcoming drop-in center for those living with extreme emotional and/or physical pain coupled with hopelessness, and a resource for families and friends fearing for the life of, or grieving the loss of, the person they love so much.
We are accepting blogs and articles written on topics relevant to suicide, hopelessness, grief, and similar topics. Please contact Linda at LSnyder@regroupbiz.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In memory of my beloved husband John Kelly Snyder… 20 Sept 1956 – 21 Oct 2016.
My Johnny was a true warrior, fighting demons no one else could see. I thought he was the strongest man in the world, and perhaps he was, but tragically, the demons got the better of him.
The name of this project is in no way intended to be reflective of, or piggy back off, Wounded Warriors which serves those wounded after September 11, 20o1. Like too many others, John was a warrior long before then.
Fair winds and following seas, Husband.
We now have a group on Facebook to help find resources, support and ideas for getting The Warrior Project off the ground. You can find us there at https://www.facebook.com/groups/thewarriorproject/
Follow us on Twitter! @WarriorProjME.
The Warrior Project is NOT an emergency program or service.
In the event of a crisis, please call 911
In the United States, other numbers to call include:
Maine Crisis Hotline:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline:
Veterans Suicide Hotline:
Domestic Violence Hotline:
John and I owned both a small antiques shop and a used bookstore in Lewiston, Maine. After John died, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with the two shops – they take up a huge amount of time, and weren’t yet covering their own costs. After John died in October of 2016, the shops were barely open during the critical holiday sales season; I couldn’t stand being in them because we had such dreams for the future.
But Johnny loved his little bookstore (Heritage Books, Maps & Ephemera) and the goal was that he would one day “retire” into running the two shops. So I’ve committed to keeping them open, although Heritage Collectibles is now Heritage Collectibles, Books & Maps as I’ve combined those two businesses, and I’m opening Papa’s Thrift Shop for the inventory that doesn’t really work in the main store. (Papa is what John’s grandchildren called him.)
All of the profits from those two businesses (after expenses, of course!) will go to support The Warrior Project. If you are so inclined, please consider checking out our shops, knowing that your purchase will help fund this critically needed suicide prevention drop in center.