Please Don’t Jump

Suicide is not a rational act. It is an act of desperation, carried out after a monumental struggle.

If only we could all form a safety net for those who can’t see a way out of their suffering! Please Don’t Jump is a FB page dedicated to just that effort. The gallery of photos is a monument to human compassion.

Read about how media can help prevent “copycat” suicide by responsible reporting.

Death should never be romanticized. People who jump are not in their right mind. When you jump, you take the rest of us with you.   It’s not a solution.   It is endless trauma. It’s not a gay issue or a bullying issue, it’s depression and hopelessness.   We need to stop talking about cyberbullying and start talking about support   for those who are vulnerable.

Some organizations were calling for a moment of silence tonight, to mourn the recent spate of suicides. Silence won’t help. I’m calling for a vow to reach out to a troubled friend, family member, loved one or stranger. Remind them how much they are needed.   You might not be able to help, but it will never be a waste of time.

This entry was posted in grief, Horrible Stuff, News and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Please Don’t Jump

  1. Sharnek says:

    Dear sister, your message on speaking up, speaking out and reaching out to those who are vulnerable could not be more true or better timed for me. Having considered jumping recently, only my husband telling me how much he needed me and asking me how was he expected to cope without me and our daughters? It brought me back from the edge. I’m now seeking support for my post natal depression and grief. Silence helps no one.

    I hope you’re accessing support too, Sister. I know the waiting and availablity of such help can be monumental.


    I hope you’re accessing support too, Sister.

  2. MC says:

    Thank you for the reminder, Sister Wolf. I’ve attempted suicide twice and I hope there’ll be someone to remind me how much I’m needed should I ever feel this sense of hopelessness again.

  3. Am going through a bout of depression so just reading this post had me balling like a baby. I’m not so far down that I’m suicidal. I was in highschool though, tried twice and am glad I didn’t succeed. I have such a great life right now and I just hate that as I’ve grown and taken care of myself and become a better person I still cant shake the black dog.

  4. Human compassion is much under rated. It is the least we can do. It takes nothing to say something, to give a hug. I overheard a guy on the train the other day saying he was out of prison after 7 years. I looked round as I couldn’t help but overhear him. As I left the train I said good luck to him. It was a moment of contact that recognises we are all human beings and all equal.

  5. Dru says:

    “don’t publish photographs or suicide notes”- I wish someone had been around back in 2004 to stop the head of my college department reading out a student’s suicide note to her classmates. Why, you ask? For the express purpose of informing all of us that she’d written that she didn’t blame the college for her decision, and therefore it- and he- couldn’t be blamed.

    I’ve known more than one person who’s died that way, and not in one instance did I guess that this was what they’re about to do. One feels so helpless not knowing- the girl I’m talking about above was at a dance just six hours before her death, and chatted and laughed with everyone around, looking and seeming exactly as she always did. A former classmate of mine told me he’d tried to kill himself three times while he was still in school (at uni, we would never have guessed. No one had ever seen him in so much as a bad mood, or sad). The best anyone can do is look out for the people they care about and the people who do seem to need help.

    Like Sharnek above, I do hope there’s something that helps you, Sister, and I hope you are getting support.

  6. Bessie the Buddha cow: says:

    Beautifully and poignantly said SW, and you’re right, silence is not the answer.

  7. Arden says:

    I’ve known one person who died like this and like Dru, no one had any idea of the pain she must have been suffering. She seemed happy, animated, and excited about life. It wasn’t just her death that was devastating, but the fact that no one was able to help her in her time of need, because no one was able to see.

    Thanks SW

  8. Well said, Sister.
    The story of the boy who jumped off the GW Bridge was heartbreaking.
    Hope you’re well.

  9. Angelica says:

    Maybe people wouldn’t be so afraid to talk about suicide if the official protocol for dealing with it wasn’t to have cops force their way into the person’s home, twist the person’s words to suit their preconceived notions that the person is crazy, and forcibly drag the person to the hospital for no reason, then to have hospital staff tie the person to a bed in a crucifixion position for hours, take the person’s clothes away, systematically degrade and dehumanize the person by talking to them like a three-year-old, completely disregard and automatically invalidate anything the person has to say, give the person an appointment with a psychiatrist (who supposedly has an MD?) just for the psychiatrist to tell them that “your attitude sucks” when they insist that they aren’t suicidal, try to force the person to go on psychiatric drugs just so they can get a kickback from the drug companies, then when they finally let the person out have the person’s school put the person on probation for resisting being abruptly grabbed by a police officer twice her size — although, if the person WERE crazy at the time, as was implied all along, why should they be punished for their behavior? All of this for just TALKING about suicide and not actually DOING anything.

    Maybe people wouldn’t be so afraid to talk about suicide if the official protocol didn’t have the message of “we are putting you back under our control” rather than “we want to help you.”

    Just a thought.

  10. Dru says:

    If we’re talking about horrible things that government agencies do in the wake of suicide, I may as well let it out: under my country’s criminal code, attempted suicide is a punishable offence (so basically, if you survive a suicide attempt, you’re liable to face charges for it- basically, you’re penalized for being in such a bad way and then surviving since they can’t do anything to a dead person). Talk about a lack of compassion..

  11. Dru says:

    that last comment is all wrong on vocab (two ‘bassically’s in the same sentence), sorry Sister. I just wish I could be more articulate talking about this.

    In addition, I’ll say this: most people I know prefer to pretend that depression and mental illness don’t exist. The university I referred to in my first comment was the most miserable place I’ve ever seen- the sheer number of students who fell through its cracks (it had an undergraduate population of 400) was shocking, and many of them showed symptoms of depression. The administration preferred not to acknowledge these problems at all- the only time we ever saw a counsellor’s or mental health professional’s number was right after a student committed suicide (not even when someone had attempted it, which happened multiple times every year). This attitude is something that needs to change if we’re to help anyone- not only at my old uni, but everywhere.

  12. Dru says:

    ‘basically’, sorry.

  13. As others here have said, I hope you’re getting the help you need. As for the three suicides we’ve had in the past year, one was due to a chemical imbalance left untreated by the medical professionals, the other two came without warning at all. My husband had even talked with his best friend as they were planning a trip and he was very excited. The next day my husband couldn’t get in touch with him — because he had killed himself. No warnings, no way to reach out as any one of his friends would have. He knew this too, as my husband had helped him out before, but he chose not to talk to anyone and instead quietly chose suicide. The effects of all of these lost lives are still rippling through, and has us wishing we knew so we could have reached out.

  14. Dave C says:

    Three years ago one of my oldest and closest friends jumped to his death from a church tower and my world split in half, so the first photograph really resonated with me. But as Suzanne says above, these things often happen with no apparent warning; I had no idea he was even depressed, some people did, but never informed me until afterwards. Suicidal people are often adept at hiding their real feelings and can appear more cheerful once they’ve made the decision to end it all, as turned out to be the case with my friend. So yes, silence doesn’t help and I urge anyone feeling that low to reach out to anyone and everyone they know – it’s really not a burden for us to hear about your pain, but it will be a burden for the rest of our lives not to have heard about it.

    Dru: I was horrified to read your first comment, but can’t say I’m surprised. For some reason institutions seem to engender such callous behaviour. This was clearly a disgraceful situation, no doubt enacted under the disguise of sympathy, which only makes it worse.

    As for the media and responsible reporting, well, I remain cynical. My friend’s death was in all the national papers here in the UK and was sensationalised and distorted as you might expect. I was crying tears of grief and rage at some of the lies I read. It’s one thing to lose someone close, but then to have the media stick the boot in is almost unbearable.

    Still, I remain upbeat about the ‘Please Don’t Jump’ Facebook campaign. That at least seems like a genuinely helpful endeavour. And SW you are right; we may not be able to help but it is NEVER a waste of time to try. x

  15. Elena Abaroa says:

    “When you jump, you take the rest of us with you” This is so true…

  16. Elaine says:

    This was a sign at my school
    Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem

  17. The more we talk, the better.

  18. Providence says:

    and what of those pesky feelings of hopelessness?

    I like you and I’m not trying to torment you but what if the only life I am capable of is one I could never truly enjoy?

  19. Great post on a worthy site. I had a cousin kill himself at 16 and three professional colleagues in the past 10 years (one jumped from a parking structure, the other shot himself in front of a coworker – I can’t get over either of those last 5 minutes) and I think of them all the time. Never knew they’d do those things, never had a clue, and their problems can’t be fixed now.

    Re taking the rest of us with you – my cousin shot himself when his parents were out for the evening. Sometime in the late night/wee hours when they discovered him, his mother, my aunt, called my Dad (oldest brother) for help. He saw the scene, he read (and might have disposed of – IDK – just what I overheard at 15 at the time) the suicide note.

    Jesus. We don’t talk much in this family, and dad’s the strong silent type, but it kills me that he has to get through every day with what he’s seen and read. It helps pull me back when I’m convinced that life is over – or that I’m such a failure (to me) that it should be. That and the unfairness of leaving my husband with the bills and without my larger salary.

  20. Sister Wolf says:

    Providence – The proviso “I’m not trying to torture you” is disturbing to me. When you the say “the only life…” are you referring to your life? Or someone else’s? If it’s your life that seems intolerable, please write to me at sisterwolf666@gmail and let’s talk about it. Hopelessness is a feeling, not objective reality.

  21. hammie says:

    I was going to echo “Keep Living” but that might seem intolerable to the clinically depressed. How about “Stick around for another day (and another day after that)” so that by breaking the future down into tiny little bites you might find it easier to swallow the rest of your life. You only need to get through the rest of the day, then you can sleep and then try it again tomorrow.


  22. theresa says:

    I fucking hate people’s fascination with marilyn monroe. The only marilyn monroe I am interested in is the candid one who does not wear makeup and crosses out “bad” pictures of herself with an orange marker (i stumbled upon a website with photoshoot pictures of marilyn monroe on which she had graffiti-d herself to indicate the pictures she never wanted to be printed.)

    something that always comes back to me: after my first knee surgery (and being wheel chair bound for only 4 weeks) I swore that if I ever lost complete function of my legs I would kill myself. and I meant it. Of course, I’ve periodically spent time in wheel chairs ever since (bout 5 separate occasions now.) and each time I come out of the experience more and more disgusted with my first statement- especially since a good friend of mine is now permanently wheel chair bound after a tragic accident. He could’ve died. but instead he kept his life and is in a wheel chair.

    I am so ashamed of myself.
    Life is short but the expanses if the mind are boundless. Sometimes you can get lost in them (in despair,) but exploring the mind is a pursuit that requires just as much energy as physical activity and is equally as fulfilling. This is what I learned, at least.

    I repeat, I am ashamed of myself.

    keep living. keep holding on to every moment. Keep your friends and family close- closer and closer and closer.

  23. Alicia says:

    Very well said, Sister.

  24. Jules says:

    I’m a serial lurker and not usually one to comment on posts, but I just felt the urge to say something, especially since dealing with my own situation. It’s amazing how much having someone there to care about you can make a difference – but in my situation I didn’t have that, despite the fact the people very close to me knew I’d been depressed for a very long time and had fallen into the cliche of self medication and serious drug abuse, depression just wasn’t treated seriously. I found a lot of people just wanted to dismiss it as feeling a bit down, and attempts to get help from my uni were complete failures – the counseling service didn’t contact me till 3 months after my first application. The only way I got through it was convincing myself that I had to do something, that it was abnormal to feel this way every day, and thank god for my local GP.
    After my first elongated panic attack/ depressive episode, I knew I needed some sort of intervention, so I went on medication. After trying a few I finally found the right one and the suicidal thoughts almost completely disappeared – it was like I was able to assess my situation realistically, without the depressive thoughts making everything negative and appear worse than it was. I think positive thinking is a load of bullshit, when things don’t work out how you think they should you just feel even worse. You gotta approach your life and look at it as how it really is – if you think you’re a failure, actually count out how many times you can say you’ve truly failed at something, if you’ve tried then you’ve succeeded, and if you’ve done nothing you still haven’t failed. The only way to fail is to give up on life.
    One of my favourite books expresses it perfectly, “He has at last found an atom of faith in himself, a true uniqueness, on which to build; has already begun, though he would still bitterly deny it… to realise that life is not a symbol, is not one riddle or one failure to guess it, is not to inhabit one face alone or to be given up after losing one throw of the dice; but is to be, however inadequately, emptily, hopelessly into the city’s iron heart, endured. And out again, upon the unplumb’d, salt, estranging sea.”
    Sorry if that’s all a bit pretentious, I think what I’m trying to say is that if someone’s suicidal you have to give them something, or they have to find it in themselves, something to hold onto – and its different for everyone, mine was just to realise you can’t fail at life.

  25. Sister Wolf says:

    Jules – Early this year, I read a statistic about depression among university students. The percentage (can’t remember exactly) was shockingly high.

    It really seems obvious once you consider the situation: a young person away from home for the first time, surrounded by indifferent strangers, Add the stress of classes and study, plus the struggle to find one’s “identity” and it’s the perfect recipe for serious depression.

    I’m glad you got the meds you needed to break the endless loop of depressed thoughts. I’m glad you hung on!

  26. Sister Wolf says:

    Sharnek – Please don’t allow yourself to think of jumping again!!!!!!! Call a hotline or hold onto your husband or call me. I’ll give you my # if you think you might use it. Remember that feelings aren’t permanent and they aren’t the “truth.” Your perspective can change! Postpartum depression is hormone/brain chemicals out of whack. Meds will help. I’m so glad you’re here, and so are countless others. xo

  27. Sister Wolf says:

    VelvetVivisection – It may be a lifelong battle but keep fighting. I’ve been reading about “mindful awareness” and some of its tenets are perfect for letting your darkest thoughts just exist and pass out of your brain instead of triggering more self-flagellation….you know what I mean. xo

  28. Bevitron says:

    Bless you, Sister Wolf, for offering to connect with Providence. The comment was very worrying.

  29. Angelica says:

    In response to Dru’s comments: last year at my school about 10 people committed suicide (out of a total population of about 20,000), including a period of time when 3 people jumped off of bridges around campus in the space of a week. The administration covered up the suicides that happened at the beginning of the year, saying the deaths were due to “unspecified causes” or something — only later on did it leak out that they were actually suicides. Then after the three people killed themselves in a week the school finally decided to “do something” about it — which was to put up fences around the bridges (and close off one bridge because they were too cheap to buy fence to put around it), and to get students to cover the campus with smiley faces and messages like “You are loved!” and “Life is beautiful!” Oh and also the school decided to act by blaming the victim when it comes to “mental health” issues in order to take the liability off their asses (see my previous comment on this post). Never once did the administration consider that there’s maybe something wrong with the school (such as that it is known to be one of the most work-intensive schools in the country, and that the school encourages competition between students). No, instead they act like it’s the moral failing of the student, like it’s fucking nineteenth century Protestant America or something.

    Moral of the story: college administrators are some of the worst people this planet has to offer. They will do all kinds of reprehensible shit in order to free themselves of any liability.

    If I ever feel like killing myself again, I’m sure as hell not going to let anyone know about it.

  30. Cricket9 says:

    SW, thank you thank you for reaching out! I’m thinking about volunteering for a help line. I’ve been through crap and very close to overdosing on sleeping pills – many years (and some more crap) later I’m very happy I didn’t. I’ll say it again – depression can be helped, there is medication that works, please people don’t give up. My sister-in-law’s sister was clinically depressed, hospitalized and suicidal; nothing worked for about 8 months, she was going to have electroshocks and just before that her doctor tried a different combination of medication. She’s out, back with her family, working and quite happy with her life. Medication worked for me and improved my life incredibly – I was anhedonic for a long time without knowing it; not enjoying anything at all is not a good feeling. When it went away, I couldn’t believe the change caused by one little pill taken daily. I’m not trying to “push pills” on anyone – but for fuck’s sake, people, would you try to “snap out” of diabetes or advise anyone to do so?
    Angelica, can you possibly change school?

  31. Angelica says:

    Cricket9 — I wish I could, but I really can’t because my school is pretty much the most prestigious school I would be accepted to that is also good for my major, and it costs half as much as any other comparable college would cost due to me living in-state. So basically…my mom would never let me because she is so fucking “proud” of me going to this school.

  32. Siobhan says:

    I agree – reaching out, be it in tiny myriad ways or concerted efforts, can make a difference (not in the way Angelica mentioned though: that’s just awful. You can’t reach out by force or out of fear as opposed to genuine caring).

    SW, you might be interested to read about Don Ritchie (you probably have already: if so, ignore me!), an Australian man who lives near to a cliffside in Sydney and has tried to help people who have gone there to end their lives. He makes an effort to save them, by going out and seeing if they’ll come inside and have some tea. It’s really stuck with me since I read about him, that something so simple could potentially make all the difference.

  33. SW you really are so kind and helpful. Just reading these comments gives me hope that by sharing we can reach out and someone will grab your hand and hold on. It makes me weep to think you can be this caring given your circumstances. Since reading your blog I’ve grown to care more and more about people in general and have learnt greater compassion. I’m sure it was hard for people to comment and share pain and despair but I hope we’ve absorbed some of it and would like everyone to know I care even though I don’t know you, that you are here and alive xx

  34. Debbie says:

    When I was young I was insensitive and stupid. I thought suicide was a final act of weakness. I didn’t understand the chemical part of it or the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness until I went through a depression myself. I spent 13 years of my life with panic disorder and fought my way back to life, not a perfect life but life. My heart breaks that anyone takes their own life. I’m very sorry for your loss and I am glad that you are reaching out to help your readers. Know that there are many of us out there that are ready and able to help a friend or a stranger in need.

  35. Audi says:

    Whether or not you know someone who you suspect to be suicidal, this is a great reminder to just be kinder to each other in general, because you never know what someone’s situation might be or what demons they’re struggling with. Who knows when a kind word or a smile might pull someone back from the brink and help them get through another day?

    I love Make Do Style’s comments; the lady has got class.

  36. Sister Wolf says:

    Siobhan – I just read about Don Ritchie. Amazing. Thank you for mentioning him!

    Angelica – No, you can’t keep it to yourself if you start feeling suicidal again. You could call the national hotline, call a friend who isn’t judgmental or you can email me and I’ll give you my phone #. xo

  37. Sister Wolf says:

    Audi – She does. She constantly inspires me.

  38. RouGe NiKstA says:

    we can all do so much more than we think! you are so right Sister Wolf, all we need to do is reach out to a person in need, no we may not be able to do much for them, but sometimes sitting and listening to them, and being with them in their pain so that they know they are not alone, that is all that another human needs to keep them in this world..

    its not easy, nobody says that it is, but reaching out to a person in need makes you feel so much better than if you stood by and did nothing.. we all have the power to help others =)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *