There are suicide gestures and there are suicide attempts/completions.
A suicide gesture is an act meant to signal that a person has more pain, conflict, sorrow than they can carry by themselves, alone. It is not an attempt to really kill themselves but rather a way to convey “I need help”. It is an attempt to decrease pain rather than stop living. It is common for the person to make the gesture and then feel both the relief that the gesture gave them followed immediately by the clarity of that relief which allows the awareness that they really do want to keep living to come to the fore, and they ask for help. Some people interpret that quick turn around as “game playing” or “attention seeking” behavior but it is deeper than that.
Some gestures come with some physical pain, such as cutting or other ways of harming the body. It has been discovered that our bodies are able to produce a kind of natural morphine and the people who cause themselves pain can be after the physical and mental pain relief that is released when we are physically hurt.
Suicide attempts and completions are behaviors that focus on the goal of ending life. People do not want to be found or helped. They have processed their lives in such a way as to come to the conclusion that it is better to die than to go on with their lives as they are. People who suicide are successful in hiding their feelings and plans. The desire sits inside them in a nascent state until one day they complete the act.
Sometimes it is a health issue that motivates people to suicide. Sometimes it is a secret they cannot live with anymore, addictions or financial problems.
Access to the lethal means sometimes determines whether the suicide will be completed. Men die most often by firearms, women by poisoning. In our country there are 25 attempts for each completion. There are twice the number of suicides than there are homicides in the US each year.
Three things that can prevent suicide are lack of access to lethal means, significant relationships with other people and access to health care. If you or someone you know are contemplating suicide, please tell someone you trust and seek help immediately. You will not be a burden or trouble to others. You are worth the effort to keep you healthy and on the road to a better life!