This page is not meant to advocate suicide. Obviously, one of the intentions of this entire site was to help you avoid suicide: to consider alternative ways out of your depression.

So why this page?

In my personal opinion, when you keep suffering terribly and in the long run nothing helps, in the end – after serious consideration, and only after having exhausted all possible kinds of professional help and advice – we do have the right to end our own life.

But this right comes with an obligation: if you really are sure that suicide is the only option left, you should still proceed in a careful, responsible manner. Please let me explain.

The One Suicide Rule

If you really see no option other than killing yourself, there is one essential Suicide Rule. In every way, you are obliged to:

 
 Plan and prepare your death in a way that
 seems not just best for yourself, but will also
 be the least damaging or traumatic for others.

 

Meaning? When imagining what your suicide may do to others, you need to focus on these five main points:

 
1. Kill no one but yourself
Avoid killing or maiming other people. You don’t have the right to take someone else’s life along with your own, so you should avoid any risk of doing just that.
    For example, you should not kill yourself by causing a huge gas explosion in your apartment, with the risk of killing your neighbors as well.
    And you should not kill yourself by letting your car swerve into a high-speed frontal collusion, probably killing the people in the other car too.
    Such “methods” are simply out of the question. You cannot do such a thing.
 
2. Don’t traumatize strangers
Avoid seriously traumatizing random other people. You don’t have that right, either.
    For example, you should not kill yourself by jumping in front of a train, forcing the train driver to run over you and leaving him with your bloody remains. Many train drivers remain traumatized by such an event.
    Basically, you should not kill yourself where bystanders may see you die. Another example is jumping from the tenth floor at a place where some innocent people on the sidewalk will helplessly witness your smash to death. There might even be children among them. Again, you don’t have the right to do that to them.
 
3. Minimize the trauma for family and friends
Your family and friends will probably be traumatized by your suicide anyway. But make sure you don’t make things needlessly hard for them.
    For example, you should not kill yourself in some remote spot deep in the woods: forcing them to frantically keep searching for you for weeks or months, until they either have to give up, or finally stumble onto your already badly decomposed remains.
    More in general, you should avoid confronting your family and friends with some horrible bloody mangled mess: try to choose a suicide method that allows them to part from you in a somewhat more peaceful, more dignified way.
    The one unavoidable mess is of course that someone will have to find your lifeless body. So do think carefully about who you should find you, and where: this should be part of your planning.
 
4. Organize things that may be needed after your death
Because your family and friends may be traumatized by your suicide anyway, you should try at least to make practical things just a little bit easier for them.
    Spare them unnecessary hurdles and queries: make sure they can find all the items they may really need to access after your death – such as your will, your keys, your computer password, your smartphone or your address book, your insurance policies, your bank accounts, etc.
    Carefully collect such things and leave them all together in one obvious place, on your table or desk.
 
5. Write a clear suicide note
Don’t saddle your family or friends with gnawing, unanswered questions. Try to mitigate their almost inevitable feelings of guilt. This means you need to write them a clear and adequate suicide note.
 

Writing a Suicide Note

Your suicide note should be a honest, clear, explaining farewell letter to your family, friends, work partners, or any other people close to you. Don’t leave them for the rest of their lives with unanswerable questions, horrible conjectures, and tormenting feelings of guilt – which is exactly what will happen if you don’t leave them a letter clearly explaining yourself.

    I do know, because I myself once lost a sister and recently a very good friend, who both killed themselves without leaving a message.

    This farewell letter is something you write not for yourself, but for the people who will be confronted with your death. The people who will have to face the consequences (both the emotional and practical consequences) of your decision to kill yourself.

So your note should in the first place be helpful to them. Try to write down the following things:

 
 1. At the top of your note, address all the people who you want to read it, the people you’re writing it for. Just to make sure that everyone you want to, will indeed get to read it. It also will help them to understand that you were thinking of them when you wrote your letter.
 
 2. Explain to them you’ve thought about your decision carefully, and exactly why you want to die. Why you think death is best for you. So they won’t have to make wild, desperate guesses about your reasons.
 
 3. List all the alternative solutions (therapies etc) that you tried first, and explain to them why all those things didn’t work for you. So they will understand your decision was not a sudden stupid impulse.
 
 4. Explain to them this is your own decision and your own responsibility: make clear that it’s absolutely not their fault. So you won’t saddle them with feelings of guilt for the rest of their lives.
 
 5. Explain to them why your chose your suicide method (poison, gunshot, hanging, whatever). If necessary, say sorry for the mess you may be causing. So they’ll understand, and not keep guessing about that.
 
 6. For each of your suicide note readers, mention something personal: something good, something you liked, some nice memory – something like that. So they’ll know you loved them, not hated them.
 
 7. If you want to leave some of your possessions to someone specifically, list them, even trivial items. So they won’t have to argue later about who should have what. If you don’t mind at all what they do with your things, state that clearly.
 
 8. List everything you want to be done after your death, and especially what kind of funeral you would prefer (service preferences? cremation? etc). Maybe you should indicate some preference here even if actually you don’t mind. So they won’t have to waste time guessing how you “would have wanted it”.
 
 9. End your note with something personal to show them you’ll be calm and relieved to die. So they won’t be left with the nasty impression that you died in terrible fear, sheer panic and horrible pain.
 
10. Think extra carefully about your last words: the words concluding your note. These will be very literally your last words to the others: the words they may never forget. The words that may come back to them years from now, when they wake up in the middle of the night. Make sure that those words will not hurt.
 

 
Of course there’s more to say about all this, but basically this is it. Take your time writing that letter.

    Writing it will also offer you one more good opportunity to review your situation, reasons and motives in a clear and systematic way. Writing that letter can help you to carefully reconsider your decision one more time.

    Even when death looks like the only solution left, life may still turn out to be a better option – given some time and effort. Don’t give up on yourself. Just try to try. One more time. Like I am trying here, too.
 

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12 Responses to “Suicide Preparation”


  1. 1 Kathleen Jun 27, 2013 at 11:07

    Thank you for sharing such an important topic and treating it with respect. May you live a very long life free of demons yourself so that you can continue to provide valuable advice and a venue for those feeling hopeless that come upon your posts to find a way to live another day and choose life.

  2. 2 Pradeep Aug 25, 2013 at 14:34

    how to camet painless suicide.

    • 3 Henk van Setten Aug 25, 2013 at 18:18

      Dear Pradeep, I understand what kind of information you are seeking. I am sorry that I must disappoint you.
      As I explained above, yes, in the end I can respect and accept other people’s decision to commit suicide. I think my “tolerant” attitude stems primarily from the fact that I myself have twice made the decision to kill myself. Both times I survived by a coincidence (and in hindsight, I’m glad I did).
      This means I truly can understand your plight. I can almost feel what you may be feeling right now. And besides, I do not like to preach in that moralistic, patronizing way that is typical for so many depression websites. So I’m not going to try to talk people out of it.
      But… this page is in fact focused on easing the burden for all those other people who will survive you, by thinking in advance about their plight (instead of focusing solely on your own). Both a sister and a good friend of mine did kill themselves in what I think was a suicidal impulse. They left this world without much preparation, without even leaving a brief note, without considering what this might mean to others. For those who came to stand at their grave (including me) this made it more difficult to accept and understand what had happened, and why. It added some extra burdens to a course of events that already was traumatizing by itself.
      So this page is about preparing suicide in such a way that your decision will be a little less traumatic to other people. It is not meant to make suicide easier or less painful for yourself.
      The latter would mean discussing, and perhaps giving advice on, various methods to commit suicide. I am afraid that such a thing, which would amount to practical suicide assistance, is “a bridge to far” for me. Morally and emotionally, I just cannot bring myself to tell others what I think would be the most easy or most painless way to kill themselves.
      So I really, really regret having to say this: in this respect, you’re on your own. If you do some thorough searching, you will find there are a few websites (and books) that try to give the kind of advice that I cannot give you.
      Anyway I do hope this page will have helped you a little to think about the consequences of suicide in a more coherent way, to avoid your doing something impulsive that would have been extra hurtful to others.
      Please try to understand my position here, like I try to understand yours. I wish you, at the very least, full clarity of mind.

  3. 4 dan Nov 29, 2013 at 04:06

    thank you for your help, i am writeing a long note

    • 5 Henk van Setten Nov 29, 2013 at 21:47

      Of course I hope, Dan, that writing such a long note will also help you to re-think a few things. If it doesn’t help you in that way, then you can at least (weird as this may sound to you right now) feel a little proud of yourself, knowing that by writing that note you’ve really done your best to ease the burden for you family and friends.
      For the rest, I wish to you what I wish I had had a bit more myself when I tried to kill myself: presence of mind. Try to not let your emotions overwhelm you. Strong emotions are not necessarily wrong, I know they surely can be true, but I also know that even then they often make only half the truth. Our problem is that usually, it takes a bit longer before we see the other half…

  4. 6 Lynda Dec 20, 2013 at 17:57

    I am being illegally evicted from a house I have moved into 8 days ago. The man who took on the role of my cognitvely impaired daughter, upon realising my situation, went to the trouble of blocking my email address, and blocking all forms of communication. I am 51 years old and my daughter is 20. I was burgled after three days of being in this house as the owners did not provide keys. (They certainly took the rent). My daughters father is an alcoholic, has wet brain syndrome and it simply being nasty. Whilst I agree that writing a note to save my daughter the distress is the right thing to do,my suicide could have been avoided, if this man had not taken this route and cut off all communication. He has called me stupid and crazy for years but entrusts me to fix his tax problems etc. I see no reason why I should protect him. I will defintely leave a suicide note for him, telling him how he has destroyed me bit by bit over the past seventeen years. I want to drive him off his head but I also know that it wont even make a dent in his thick skull. I am going the hanging route which I will carry out the day before Xmas.

    • 7 Henk van Setten Dec 20, 2013 at 21:40

      Dear Lynda, please allow me two questions. Three, now that I think about it. I understand your life right now is a mess, and that you (perhaps rightly) blame others for this. I’m not going to judge you or your decision in any way. Still, in my own mind I cannot help wondering about these questions:
      (1) Do you feel that resentment, and maybe even some kind of desire to take revenge (as I feel you expressed in what you wrote) are good motives for taking your own life? Isn’t this price a little high for what you will actually get for it?
      (2) This insensitive man with his thick skull, if you kill yourself, you certainly will be remembered by him. But exactly how would you like to be remembered by him? By giving him the satisfaction of confirming his own prejudices about you?
      (3) Have you tried to make some arrangements to ensure that after your sudden death, your daughter will (in one way or another) be properly cared for?

      You must do whatever you think is best for everyone, but I hope that in the process of deciding, you gave or will give some serious thought to this kind of important and inevitable questions.
      Of course I hope you and your daughter will be able to enjoy some sunshine in the summer of 2014 together. I won’t and cannot pray for you: as a non-religious person, I believe we each need to do a few little things by ourselves (instead of praying for miracles). You have the right to give up on yourself — just make sure you don’t do that too soon.

  5. 8 Anthony Feb 8, 2014 at 06:25

    You know, it’s like I lived my entire life preparing for this. I don’t know what it means to be happy. I have never been wanted by anyone, my mom allowed her Meth addicted husband to beat me on a daily basis. My heroin addicted dad was to busy going in and out of prison to really care what happened to me, I managed not to see him again after I turned 3 and seeing how he died last year I guess I wont ever see him. I could actually deal with the abuse ok though, I think it’s being dressed in panties and bras and photographed is what really did it for me(I’m a guy by the way). Then after daily beatings for my stepdad thinking I’m going to grow up to be a “faget” of course I’m realizing I’m gay. All these memories and problems and still being stuck in proverty, all this wrong with me could possi bly be helped. Honestly I don’t feel worth helping though. I’m a fat lazy pothead working at a pizza place going nowhere in life. I don’t think anyone will care if I’m gone, my friends stopped talking to me after graduation (I’m 19) I’m single (closeted homosexual at that) living with my overly religious uncle and his family who donotcondone homosexuallity. But I guess what I’m trying to say is I simply don’t have a reason to live, so hopefully I’m successful.wish me

  6. 9 Anthony Feb 8, 2014 at 06:26

    Was going to say wish me luck and thank you for reading my rant, story. I thought it would be nice for someone to pay me some kind of attention

  7. 10 Henk van Setten Feb 8, 2014 at 14:08

    Hi Anthony,
    Your comment makes clear to me that you probably are a typical case of “cluster problems”, meaning that you have several problems at the same time, that together can form one big problem-chunk that seems impossible to overcome. In such a situation it often may help to try and tackle the partial problems one-at-a-time, instead of all together.

    In your case (judging from what you write, obviously I cannot really “diagnose” you on that narrow basis) I see at least 6 different problems clustered together:

    1) a rough, possibly traumatizing youth;
    2) homosexuality in an environment that makes it hard to “come out”;
    3) lack of a satisfying/promising job perspective;
    4) probably also feelings of loneliness, lack of contacts;
    5) suicidal thoughts (otherwise you wouldn’t have landed on this page);
    6) most important, I think: a consistently too-low degree of self-esteem.

    Possibly problem 6 (your thinking way too negative about yourself) is what makes it difficult or even impossible for you to solve any of the other problems.

    What I myself would advise in your case, is joining a depression contact- and self-help group. By this I mean not an online group (although that may help, too) but if possible, a real group of real people who actually meet in some place to talk together about each other’s problems, once a week or twice a month.

    Such a group can help you see that you’re really not a worthless kind of person; it can help you feel less lonely by making you see that there are other other people who face similar problems; it can offer you some practical handles for solving some of your problems; it may even help you through your helping other people in the group.

    Here are two sites that can help you to find a depression self-help group that (hopefully) is somewhere near you:
    - in England: http://www.depressionalliance.org/how-we-can-help/self-help-groups.php
    - in the USA: http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=peer_support_group_locator

    See if you can give this a try! Only if there’s no such group anywhere within a reasonable distance from where you live, then you should try some of the other solutions – like online depression self-help groups. For a list of some of those, see http://psychcentral.com/resources/Depression/Support_Groups/ (I especially recommend Depression Forums, http://www.depressionforums.org/forums/ where you can register as a member for free).

    Don’t expect (or strive for) too much radical change all at once: big changes often can be realized best by making many little steps, not by making one big jump… Once you’ve made one little step on the way up, you will feel good for having made that step: and this feeling-good can give you the energy to make a next little step, and so on.

    I hope my suggestions will help you, and I do wish you success in gradually finding a way to a more happy life.

  8. 11 Matthew Feb 11, 2014 at 05:18

    I suppose a thank you is order. Reading this page and all the comments, was distraction enough, to calm down and temporarily suppress how I am feeling. I’m not going to discuss the things I was thinking about, in such a public way. I’ve been told by my GP; to expect a letter, with an appointment to see a counselor. Just hope I get this appointment before the feelings surface again.

    • 12 Henk van Setten Feb 14, 2014 at 16:19

      Thank you for the thank you… I hope your appointment will get you exactly the kind of help you need. And, of course, that in due course the help will help, but the first thing is most important now I guess. Sometimes people end up with the wrong kind of help simply because they don’t dare (and dangerously postpone) to clearly state what they think they actually need. So, I wish you all the courage end honesty you might need in finding the right kind of therapy and the right person(s) to help you.


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