Q: I guess this is more of a statement than question. I am your prototypical involuntary celibate. No matter how hard the effort, I’ve never been able to bring any love into my life. I no longer try. I was once a star athlete and male model; none of these things ever made a difference. A lifetime of rejection and mockery has taken its toll on my personality. I feel like I’m no longer capable of having sex or a relationship with anyone but myself. I’m at the end of my rope and plan on ending my life soon. So for those who think that these things come automatically with good looks, think again. And for those struggling with the same issues, get help if you still can. Thanks for your time.
A: I won’t be so insincere as to purport to know intimately the feelings and thoughts you’re having about ending your life right now. In general, the people who write to me about their relationships (or lack thereof) express emotions that range from dissatisfied to frustrated to lonely. These are emotions that I understand through experience, which helps me to advise them to make decisions that hopefully bring them happiness. It sounds like happiness is a feeling you haven’t felt in a while, and one that’s been replaced by a sense of hopelessness. While I urge you to please, please seek professional help immediately (I responded to your e-mail directly with some trusted resources below), I also urge you to understand that there is hope and happiness in your future.
You will get through this — there is an excellent chance that you will survive these feelings of suicide. If you’d like a statistic, here’s one: Fewer than 10 percent of the people talked out of jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge went on to kill themselves. Many of the thousands who chose to keep living have said that climbing back down was like starting a new life as a different person. If it feels like you can’t even fathom being a person full of promise for your future, at least try. Try to imagine having a new outlook.
You’re experiencing a great deal of loneliness, which has manifested into severe emotional pain. You’re desperately seeking relief from that pain, but what you may not be considering is that relief can only be felt if you’re still alive. The suffering will subside and give way to a reprieve, which you will be able to enjoy as you heal. You can’t experience that relief and healing if you’re dead, right?
There are people who want to talk to you right now about what you’re going through. They understand your thoughts of suicide because they’ve been there — they survived and now they want to help others in the same situation. A good friend of mine recommended the Behavioral Emergency Center at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. You can just walk right into the ER anytime and they’ll talk with you about what’s going on and help you through the next steps. Another friend recommended Crisis Connection, a 24-hour phone counseling service: 612-379-6363 or 1-866-379-6363. These are nonjudgmental people who will listen to you unload your feelings and not lecture you on what is right or wrong.
You advise those who are struggling with the same feelings of despair to get help while they still can. Well, I’m advising you to do the same. It is not too late for you. Whether they’re trained professionals, trusted pals or new friends in a support group, there are many people out there who want to hear from you. Find them and let them help you.