• Why People Give Up on Life

“Each way to suicide is its own: intensely private, unknowable, and terrible.”—Kay Redfield Jamison, psychiatrist.

“IT IS suffering to live.” That is what Ryunosuke Akutagawa, a popular writer in early 20th-century Japan, wrote shortly before committing suicide. However, he prefaced that statement with the words: “Of course, I do not want to die, but . . .” Like Akutagawa, many of those who take their life do not want to die as much as they want “to end whatever is going on,” stated one psychology professor. The wording so commonly found in suicide notes suggests as much. Such phrases as ‘I could not take it any longer’ or ‘Why go on living?’ show a deep desire to escape life’s harsh realities. But as one expert described it, committing suicide is “like treating a cold with a nuclear bomb.” Although the reasons why people commit suicide vary, certain events in life commonly trigger suicide.