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A Lifetime of Suicidal Thoughts

Posted Dec 02 2008 5:01pm


Hear the word. Hear the comments.

They’re almost automatic.

“Such a selfish thing to do.”…”Don’t they realize what they’re doing to their families?”…”It’s the ultimate sin!”…and on…and on…and on…

As the mother of two young adults who have each attempted suicide in times of severe illness, I understand what compelled them, what prompted their actions. In it’s continuing series on mental illness, Canada’s Globe and Mail published a stark and honest account of one man’s struggle with suicidal thoughts that would not go away. An excerpt of the story written by Erin Anderssen appears below. To read the article in it’s entirety, follow the link.

“It is always there, like a song he can’t stop humming. It plays in the background when he graduates from law school. When he hears “not guilty” in court. When he cheers his son William to victory in the big hockey game or hugs his daughter Sarah for winning the Grade 3 spelling bee. He left Toronto because standing on the subway platform cranked the volume. He tried to shock it out of his brain. For a time, Star Trek episodes muffled it. Drugs, at best, only dull it.

In nearly every moment of his life, Peter O’Neill thinks about killing himself. Sometimes, he makes plans. He buys rope. He sets a date. Mostly though, he is trapped between wanting to die and trying to live, while the same scenes run on a loop in his mind: a noose dangling in shadow, or his body hanging from a rope.

It has slowly drowned out nearly everything else - his marriage, his career, his family.”

Read the rest of Peter’s story at

Read more on the topic of suicide. The more we understand it, the better equipped we are to prevent it.

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