Tuesday 9 April 2013

Reasons for staying alive when you are considering suicide.

In 1983 Marsha Linehan (an American psychologist and the developer of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) published her research about beliefs people had that they gave as reasons for not killing themselves.  Dr Linehan interviewed students, senior citizens, factory workers, middle-aged adults and U.S. Senate office staff.

Participants were asked to list their reasons for staying alive at the point in their lives when they had most seriously considered killing themselves and reasons they would not now kill themselves.  A list of over 343 reasons was analysed and reduced.  

The following list captures the 47 top responses.

1. I care enough about myself to live
2. I believe I can find other solutions to my problems
3. I still have many things left to do
4. I have hope that things will improve and the future will be happier
5. I have the courage to face life
6. I want to experience all that life has to offer and there are many experiences I haven’t had yet which I want to have
7. I believe everything has a way of working out for the best
8. I believe I can find a purpose in life, a reason to live
9. I have a love of life
10. No matter how badly I feel I know that it will not last
11. Life is too beautiful and precious to end it
12. I am happy and content with my life
13. I am curious about what will happen in the future
14. I see no reason to hurry death along
15. I believe I can learn to adjust or cope with my problems
16. I believe killing myself would not really accomplish or solve anything
17. I have a desire to live
18. I am too stable to kill myself
19. I have future plans I am looking forward to carrying out
20. I do not believe that things get miserable or hopeless enough that I would rather be dead
21. I do not want to die
22. Life is all we have and is better than nothing
23. I believe I have control over my life and destiny
24. It would hurt my family too much and I would not want them to suffer
25. I would not want my family to feel guilty afterwards
26. I would not want my family to think I was selfish or a coward
27. My family depends on me and needs me
28. I love and enjoy my family too much and could not leave them
29. My family might believe I did not love them
30. I have a responsibility and commitment to my family
31. The effect on my children could be harmful
32. It would not be fair to leave the children for others to take care of
33. I want to watch my children as they grow
34. I am afraid of the actual “act” of killing myself (the pain, blood, violence)
35. I am a coward and do not have the guts to do it
36. I am so inept that my method would not work
37. I am afraid that my method of killing myself would fail
38. I am afraid of the unknown
39. I am afraid of death
40. I could not decide where, when and how to do it
41. Other people would think I am weak and selfish
42. I would not want people to think I did not have control over my life
43. I am concerned about what others would think of me
44. My religious beliefs forbid it
45. I believe only God has the right to end a life
46. I consider it morally wrong
47. I am afraid of going to hell

What would be on your list..?

You might like to print off this list and circle 3 that matter to you, or add your own.


  1. I don't want my family to succeed in hurting ME so horrifically that I complete suicide and they get to pick another one of our families descendents to Shun. I shutter to think who it will be and it hurts terribly. I have to not let the shame of shunning silence ME.

  2. I remember that change is constant and I will not always feel as bad as I do in the moment.

    1. Participants were asked to write out their reasons for staying alive at times in serious conditions. To make this condition easy peoples should work online like Amazon consultant services in the USA.

  3. To someone who is pretty damn suicidal at this point, this list makes it worse! I mean what if you have two young kids but no job, failed miserably at every freakin attempt at a job, about to be homeless, have no family, no help. At least if Im dead my kids can have a place to stay and can get my survivors benefits. Maybe they wont remember me at all instead of growing up watching me fail them so bad. Things wont get better and if they do its temporary, it all falls apart again soon. Some people have it all and it hurts to watch. You can call me selfish, a coward, a loser, its not like Im not called that all the time anyway. I had children I cant afford oh Im a selfish bum. I should just do your taxes a favor and die. Ok! Sure thing! Hell? I live in Hell! Hell is not wearing deodorant for days so that if you get a job interview you can use it then. Hell is listening to your babies cry for milk when they have drank the last of it yesterday and I have no way to get to the store, no gas to drive. Hell is begging the land lady for a couple more weeks to find a job as she rolls her eyes at you. Hell is the stereo type that Im on drugs and leave my kids dirty because Im poor. When in actuality thats why I have no family because I dont want them growing up seeing my family use drugs and in and out of prison. Hell is knowing this life was doomed for failure before my firzt breath was ever drawn......

    1. Please take a look at this blog and check out one of the resources for help... if you need support email me at yourenotfinished1@gmail.com.


      There are so many other stories on the site (www.yourenotfinished.com) that might give you some encouragement. Stay alive, Christina... I know that you are not selfish for wanting to die... but staying alive means there is opportunity for things to get better.

  4. I am very suicide right now . And what people don't understand is that . We have feeling right now .but you can't cry and try to make sense of it. But on a real not is i am not afraid to die . I just think of my family.. But one day they will nit want you or leave you . And at that point you gave nothing so what people should be scared of is when they have no feeling . At all that's the point where you can't save that person no matter what. . U one time did it no feeling at all just blank and I was in a car on the highway with my sister and mother . And I just unbuckled my set belt and open the door . Am only alive cause they stopped .. Physically not emotionally cause I didn't care about nothing . So a lot of people will do it . They just have to get to the point that they don't care .. That's what I am scared of that I will do that again . So on that note sorry to bother anyone . But I know what it is like ..

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