Why did my love one choose suicide?
Let’s move on to the psychological data on suicide.
Your question is, “Why did my loved one choose suicide? Could I have done anything to stop them?”
Last year, 1.2 million Americans attempted suicide. In the Bible, Moses, Elijah and Jonah contemplated suicide. No matter how smart, wise, rich, powerful, loving, or spiritually evolved someone is— there may be times in their life, where they consider suicide.
So then, why?
A psychology professor named Dr. Thomas Joiner developed a model based on extensive research.
He says people who die by suicide have 3 things in common:
- The first is feeling like they are a burden on others, that their death is worth more than their life.
- The second is loneliness. What he calls thwarted belonging.
- The third is fearlessness.
In one of his lectures, Dr. Joiner shows a video of a man chit-chatting right before he ends his life.
Normal people blink about every 3-4 seconds. This man never blinks once.
According to Dr. Joiner, this is characteristic of the moments and the minutes before a human does something that is daunting, difficult, and requires concentration. They’re wooden, determined, staring down a tunnel.
That’s what people look like when they are about to give a piano concert— because they are about to do something that requires focus and resolve. When you are about to box someone for a world championship and when you are about to kill yourself.
In Hawaii, at 4 am the big wave surfers would jump into their trucks and down Red Bulls, while blasting heavy metal music. They would scream while driving to the surf breaks. They were trying to psyche themselves up—
They explained to me that when they’re out in the ocean, relatively speaking, they are a flea poised on the edge of a giant moving wall of water which has the force of a multistory concrete building about to crush them— every cell in their body is screaming at them, NOOOOO!!!
They said that that survival instinct is so strong that they have to go against every cell in their body in order to drop into a barrel of surf that could potentially kill them.
That’s not courage. Courage is embracing your fear and acting anyways.
This is fearlessness, denying your fear and acting anyways.
Dr. Joiner says people who attempt suicide have taken all conceivable measures to enact the outcome of death and yet, at the very last moment, they flinch, they blink.
The people we lose, have learned— somehow or another— not to blink or flinch.
Dr. Joiner asks, “How in the world do people work up to that state? To that very unnatural state where they can ignore that very innate instinct that is in us all— all creatures across eons and eons of evolution— who have that deep within our cells, bones, and souls?”
It takes years of extreme athletic training for a surfer to drop into the death barrel of a big wave.
There is no way you could’ve stopped your loved one— once they got to that point.
There’s a documentary called The Bridge where a film crew set up a camera on the Golden Gate bridge. When anyone stopped to take a picture or admire the view— the camera zoomed in. If they did anything suspicious, they’d call the authorities.
It was impossible to tell who would jump and who wouldn’t. Scores of trained professionals studied the camera footage.
If they cannot predict, and they are professionals who are trained and have done this several hundreds of times— I’m telling you there is no way you could have predicted.
There is no way you could’ve known.
Kevin Hines was suicidal from the age of 9. He struggled with mental illness his entire life. He went to the bridge and jumped.
As soon as his hands left the rail, he knew it was a mistake. In the 4 seconds it takes to hit the water, he asked God to save him.
He hit the water, breaking his vertebrae, surfaced and felt a sea lion nudging him. A group of seals were circling him, keeping his body afloat for 4 to 5 hours until the Coast Guard found him. He says he knows those seals were God.
Another survivor, said, “I instantly realized that everything in my life that I’d thought was unfixable was totally fixable— except for having just jumped.”
Research shows that someone who is suicidal will continually attempt suicide repeatedly, even after several attempts. However, if they have a near-death experience from one of their suicide attempts, they will never attempt suicide again.
There is something about experiencing God, about feeling truly loved… that no matter how awful your life is, it has immense value.
Whether you believe in God or not, whether you believe in an afterlife or not… whether or not… medical science explains near-death experiences as hallucinations or oxygen deprivation to the brain— whether it’s real or not… it’s real to them.
Those people never attempted suicide again, after years and years of trying to die.
They chose to live.
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