top of page

A Suicide Attempt is Never 'Just' a Cry for Help

September 2023 is National Suicide Prevention Month. This is a time for us to raise awareness about suicide, so that we are better equipped to help those who are struggling. There is a huge stigma against suicide in our society, and it makes asking for help difficult for people who are contemplating suicide.

Trigger warning: Suicide Attempt



When you are thinking about suicide, more than anything it is a desire to make the pain stop. Maybe, like me, you tried asking for help from friends or family to fix your problems all to no avail. In my case, I thought about suicide because I felt trapped in a household of narcissists. I tried to escape and I couldn't.

Being 'loved' by narcissists is worse than being trapped in hell. You are the victim of constant gaslighting, manipulation, and multiple forms of abuse. It is like being tortured. In your mind, it feels like they are shoving your head under water again and again, letting you up for air to ask you a question, but you never give the 'right' answers so they shove your head back under again and again.

According to Domestic Shelters,

Abusers often use some combination of deliberate physical and sexual abuse, intentional deprivation, and methodical psychological abuse to control their children and partners. In child torture and intimate partner coercive control, the abuser intentionally inflicts harm on the victim, even if they later explain their behaviors as “lessons” or the result of being intoxicated or enraged. The perpetrator’s goal is to gain and retain absolute power over all aspects of the victim’s thoughts and actions.

Some of the ways that narcissists and other abusers torture their victims include:

  1. Isolation.

  2. Degradation.

  3. Gaslighting and Mind Games.

  4. Physical Abuse.

  5. Physical Deprivation and Weakening.

  6. Sexual Abuse.

  7. Rules and Restrictions.

  8. Withholding of Attention/The Silent Treatment.

  9. Economic Abuse and Labor Exploitation.

  10. Abuse Through Institutions/Legal Abuse.

Trying to fight your way free of abuse can be a difficult and laborious process. Sometimes no matter how hard you try, you fail. No matter who you ask for help, they refuse to help you. Your life doesn't feel like it is worth living. It is a miserable existence filled with pain that never stops.

It is even worse when you are abused as a child, because any time you try to run, the police just take you back home to your parents. Then, they are even angrier than they were before.

When I was in an abusive relationship, I would try to tough it out as long as I could. But then I couldn't anymore, I would try to leave. No matter how far away I got, I would be literally or figuratively dragged back home. I felt like a failure. I felt like I would never be safe. So I tried to commit suicide. Rinse. Repeat.

Sure, maybe a suicide attempt is a cry for help. Sometimes, there are those of us who aren't just crying for help, we are screaming at the top of our lungs into a crowded room, and no one is listening. Suicide is a last resort when every other way of trying to stop the pain has failed.

According to A Healthy Place,

Similarly, if attention really is the motivation for a suicide attempt, the person sees no way of getting the attention he or she needs – personally and medically – except through an enormous actions that could take his or her life. This is a big deal. When was the last time you needed something so badly you would actually risk you own death for it?

When we try to attempt suicide and fail, it is a mortifying moment of shame. After I tried to commit suicide and woke up the next day, it was the most horrible feeling in the world. I couldn't even kill myself correctly. It was even more depressing than anything that had happened up to that point.

Depression, suicide and self-harm aren't things that people do for attention. They are acts of sheer hopelessness.

According to Sane, one person who attempted suicide said this:

'I actually kept begging for help. I remember doing that a lot. I would stand in front of my family and teachers, and I’d just be like "I need someone to fix me. I don’t know what’s wrong with me". And no-one knew what was wrong with me – they just assumed I was an attention-seeker . . . No matter what I said, the more I tried to say I needed help, they didn’t care. It was like, "No, you’re just wanting attention. We’re going to ignore you".'

If someone you know or love tells you they are contemplating suicide, it is crucial to get them help right away. Take them to a local crisis center, or to the emergency room. This way, they can receive the care that they need. Getting help as soon as possible is important, so that they can begin receiving psychiatric care.

Once they are out of the hospital or treatment facility, it is important to keep checking in on them to be sure that they are beginning to get well. Additionally, it is important to ensure that they have somewhere safe to go after being discharged from the hospital.

If their home is unsafe, you can help them look for another place to stay where they will be able to rebuild their life and their mental health. If they are struggling with a dangerous family situation, you can help them find a shelter or other safe place to stay. For children under 18, you can talk to social services to make sure that they aren't sent back to an abusive home.

In some instances, they may be put into a group home or into foster care. If they are placed this way, they will have access to funding for their mental healthcare, likely through the Medicaid program. By having access to a case worker, all of their care can be coordinated by professionals to ensure that they will get the help that they need.

Suicide prevention isn't only about helping someone before or after they attempt. It is also helping to ensure that they find a better quality of life, and solutions to the problems that have pushed them to the edge in the first place.

According to Mind, here are some of the reasons that a person may feel suicidal:

  • Mental health problems

  • Bullying, prejudice or stigma, such as relating to your race, gender, disability or sexual identity

  • Different types of abuse, including domestic, sexual or physical abuse

  • Bereavement, including losing a loved one to suicide

  • The end of a relationship

  • Long-term physical pain or illness

  • Adjusting to a big change, such as retirement or redundancy

  • Money problems

  • Housing problems, including homelessness

  • Isolation or loneliness

  • Being in prison

  • Feeling inadequate or a failure

  • Addiction or substance abuse

  • Pregnancy, childbirth or postnatal depression

  • Doubts about your sexual or gender identity

  • Cultural pressure, such as forced marriage

  • Society's expectations, for example to act a certain way or achieve certain things

  • Other forms of trauma

In order for someone to really heal after a suicide attempt, the cause of their suicidal feelings needs to be addressed. This can be done in either inpatient or outpatient therapy, as well as providing environmental supports. Many of the reasons that people try to end their lives are complicated. They aren't cut and dry. But the main thing is to remember is that people are in a dark place, and they feel trapped there.

Taking away the things that are making them feel trapped is essential in recovery from a suicide attempt. If the things pressing them to that point aren't removed, more than likely, they are going to attempt again.

Let me know in the comments if this information is helpful, and if there are any questions that I can answer for you in a future article. All I know is, no one deserves to suffer the way that I suffered for years. We all need to be informed about suicide and do our best to help those who are currently thinking about suicide to recover.


bottom of page