I’m tired. Tired of crying, tired of thinking, tired of being. Everything hurts but I don’t understand what exactly because it also all feels empty. And there are no more tears to cry because it’s all empty now. And that’s ok because it’s quiet. And I just want to sleep. Just sleep and sleep and then never come back to waking up, to dealing with another class, to dealing with people, with home, with friends, with my body, with my life, with the world… I just want to be alone. And I really want to sleep
Nobody cares and I know that, and I hate that little voice in my head telling me that someone might. Yeah, some people might notice if I’m gone when I don’t show up at home over break or in my class of 12 to make dark comments about readings that no one really gets.
And then there’s so many people whose lives would be made easier if I just wasn’t there. My friends who wouldn’t have to deal with the same story day in and day out, my parents who wouldn’t have to be reminded of how much I have failed them. And they wouldn’t have to keep reminding me either of how much I’m lazy and incapable and unsuccessful as a son. They would just shut up and everyone would just shut up and stop hurting day after day without even touching me. I tried hurting myself but that stopped bringing me any pain. It got exciting at some point and then I didn’t even feel guilty doing it. I’ll stand up and leave my room maybe to look myself in the mirror, go back to bed and cry.
So what does it all matter. There isn’t much left for me to do here really. Nobody cares if I’m here, people use me for things but they can just find someone else. They never really need me, sometimes, just sometimes, they need someone. No one needs me any more so what is the point? I’ve stopped needing myself for a while now. And they don’t need me. The only person who cares is my friend from home. I’ve already said goodbye to her, in my own way. And she’ll be ok.
So now I just want to sleep. Just leave me alone. No one cares, everyone is gone, and I’m tired of hurting people. I don’t want to hurt people anymore. I want this to end and I just don’t want to be here.
I’m tired now, it’s time for me to sleep.
Realizing that you want to end your own life is terrifying, just as much as knowing that a loved one is considering it. Numbness is a dangerous state in which you no longer connect to the world, no longer understand that you are a crucial part of it, a person whose actions have impact. A state in which you no longer care about what happens. It’s like living an ongoing dream, or getting stuck in that woozy feeling of disconnect after suddenly standing at the end of a long movie at the cinema.
Numbness is likely the most tangible “feeling” a suicidal individual can identify, but there are countless underlying issues that lead to this desire to end everything. When someone is in a state of numbness, they are not very aware of or able to express their emotions. So, for the most part, they will identify being overwhelmed as feeling unbearable pain or fear as fatigue. Exhaustion. Not motivated to do anything, unable to leave bed, unwilling to talk to anyone. When someone considers suicide, it seems like the only viable solution. Even though other solutions might exist, obvious to those who are not experiencing the same events or not being impacted by them in the same way, it is important to realize that the individual considering suicide genuinely does not see any other way out.
Signs your friend is considered suicide
Friends of college students who committed suicide have been interviewed, revealing that most of them actually knew their friend was considering suicide but didn’t want to anger them by discussing it, didn’t know how to approach them, or didn’t want to expose their friends’ suicidal tendencies to others. Many triggering events that can lead to suicidal ideations include the loss of a loved one, a break-up, underperformance in academics, all factors some might not consider “severe enough.” It’s important to keep this mind when assessing the situation. Your friend might also make direct statements such as “I can’t do this anymore,” or “sometimes I think it’s better if I weren’t here.” You are also likely to notice a change in their overall behavior and appearance. They are likely to be more outwardly depressed, care for themselves less and express loneliness or helplessness. They are also likely to start settling things in their lives, such as bills that need to be paid, people they need to communicate with, and giving away their possessions. Something that might actually sound counterintuitive, but remains crucial, is that when someone is seriously thinking about committing suicide, they may not appear very depressed. This could be their positivity as a result of knowing that things are ending, or actually summoning up the energy to make plans and follow through with them. Although these reasons may help you look out for very clear signs, never underestimate someone and assume that things are not bad enough.
How can you help?
If you decide to talk to your friend, it’s important that you approach the situation calmly. They are likely to be distressed and do not want to deal with any panic. Just listen to what your friend is telling you. If they feel comfortable talking to you, they are likely to share more than you would think. It’s important to be direct when asking about suicide. “Are you considering suicide?”, “Are you thinking of killing yourself?”. Research has shown that by asking these questions, even if it’s not something they are considering, you are telling them that you take them seriously, persuading them to respond straightforwardly. From there, you can talk to them about problem solving, about positive aspects of the future.
When it comes to directly approaching your friend, it is hard to tell when you are wanted and when you are invading personal space. Try to see from their perspective and know that he or she is still the friend you care for despite unsettling, out of character things they might be expressing. It is important to deal with your own feelings of fear or panic at the prospect of losing them before talking to them so that you can be there to support them in whatever way you can. Stay with someone, remind them you love them and that you are there for them. That you care for them and that there is help and support. You cannot and do not need to be the sole person helping the individual and it is not your fault if you feel that you cannot provide more for them. You may not be able to save someone because no matter what, you cannot be with them 24/7, but you can point them in the right direction and help them believe in another solution. And most of the time, that is more than enough.
The resources listed below are not only for those concerned about their own suicidal ideations and want to reach out for help, but also for friends who want more information on how they could help someone or to get more informed about what some warning signs could be and overall what is available. If you are not sure whether a friend might be suicidal, call CrisisLine or Gannett and ask for more information, services both available 24/7.
Resources (on and off campus)
Counseling and Psychological Services at Gannett (CAPS)
“Confidential Counseling with professionals”
“Easy access to informal, confidential consultations with counselors from Gannett Health Services. Walk in Hours at sites around campus”
Empathy, Assistance, and Referral Service (EARS)
“Ears counselors, fellow students, will confidentially help you explore aspects of your issue, your options and possible solutions”
The Student Lounge (CMM Resource center)
“Open to anyone in the Cornell community to relax or for activities. Student staff know about mental health concerns and can guide students to appropriate resources”
Location: Room 203 Willard Straight Hall (one floor below the Ivy room)
Gannett 24-Hour Phone Consultation
“Members of the Cornell community can call Gannett any time of the day or night, every day of the year, to talk with a healthcare provider about a mental or physical health concern. We will help you determine what care you need, and how and when to get it”
CrisisLine (Suicide Prevention Crisis Service)
“Free, confidential crisis counseling available 24 hours a day”
OR free on-line counseling at the The Chat
Cornell University Campus Services
“Cornell offers a variety of counseling, prevention, and wellness programs and services for students”
Zoe is a sophomore in Arts and Sciences. She does Public Relations for Cornell Minds Matter and is really interested in mental health awareness around campus. Read My Mind appears alternate Fridays this semester. Feel free to email her at [email protected] with any questions or just to talk!