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Determined to Die? Suicide and Anorexia Nervosa

21 October 2010

Too much strain. Too many failures. Never better. Never good enough. I can’t handle it anymore.

Sorry,

I love you,

Angela

I had tried. God knows I had tried, but I couldn’t seem to recover from anorexia no matter what I did. I just couldn’t seem to find the strength to get better and really live.

So I decided to kill myself. I climbed up on a chair, wrapped my favorite red scarf around my neck several times, and then tied it to the chandelier in my dining room. I made sure it was tight. All I had to do was kick the chair away from me.

I couldn’t do it.

Anorexia nervosa has the highest rate of suicide of all mental illness. It’s hard to pin down reliable statistics for several reasons:

* The cause of death might be ruled as accidental when it was suicide.

* Cases of anorexia nervosa are underreported, particularly in males.

* Cases of suicide often are not reported, or covered up.

But I’m not going to talk about statistics. Instead, I would like to share the pain caused by anorexia. This pain is often so horrific that suicide might be seen as the only way to alleviate it.

For me, anorexia was both a coping mechanism and a death wish. I wanted the pain to stop. I wanted to die. I would pray every night that I would die in my sleep, and then be angry in the morning that I hadn’t died that night.

Please God, please kill me. It all is too much. Trying to eat. Trying to recover. Trying to be a wife.

I am a failure.

David [my husband] left me in September. Now we are trying to reconcile, but I constantly feel on edge.

Somehow, I knew David would leave again, and there wasn’t anything I could do about it.

A dozen scenarios of my death played themselves in my head. My heart could stop. I could have a seizure. Or I could simply waste away from malnutrition.

But death wouldn’t come.

I would read about someone dying from anorexia, and deep within the recesses of my mind would be a spark of envy that I had somehow been cheated out of death.

Why me? Why was I still alive when I wanted to die, when clearly so many other people wanted to live? Why couldn’t I just swap my life for theirs, so they so surely deserved to live much more than I did?

Then a friend of mine died of complications from anorexia. I was stunned. I was hurt. I envied her; I wanted it to be me.

How did all these thoughts dissipate? It may sound cliche, but first I had to eat and reach a healthy weight before any of the suicidal thoughts and anxiety went away.

Why did I decide not to kill myself years ago? I could hear the voice of my eating disorders psychiatrist, telling me I could make it, that I would make it, and recover.

Now I’m determined to live.

20 thoughts on “Determined to Die? Suicide and Anorexia Nervosa”

  1. This was a great article with the use of the cause and effect. I read things that I thought I only I would know since I’ve had anorexia for a very long time. Anorexia is real disease like the flu or chicken pox it has to be treated before it will go away. Treatement is often off target and the only benefit of going is to regain lost weight.

    The causes and treatment of anorexia is extremely important to me. I’m starving myself mercilessly. I eat nothing unless I develop a pain in my stomach, only then to stop the pain. I work on my emotional issues with a therapist and psychiatrist on a regular basis. The cause of my eating disorder is childhood sex abuse which will not go away ever. I can’t see how I can recover w/o addressing that issue.

    When I look at the lack of my progress over the decades I start to think I”ll die from this.

    THanks for listening!

  2. I am in that space between being paralyzed by sadness and not too much else.

    Earlier this year, in about a three month time period, I lost my job. I met someone that has since we’ve met, been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. During his manic episode, he had asked me to marry him, and I ended up getting pregnant and made the decision to terminate the pregnancy.
    I thought that I was unable to get pregnant, as I had been married for 10 years… There were plenty of times that I could have with my ex-husband, but never did. That, and I had also had 2 abortions before that. At 16, and then again at 19.
    This time I did the oral option and passed it at home. I saw the fetus with all the other waste in the toilet. And I flushed it. And now I live with a person coming out of a manic episode. Does not want a relationship with me, I am unable to sleep and I want to die. I figure by starving myself, it would be way less gory… It feels like it’s going to take forever but I’m ready.

  3. I am a 40 year old male and I have suffered with anorexia nervosa for the past 2 years. I’ve gotten better and thought it was beaten but I relapsed about 6months ago. My spouse left me because of the horrible mood swings and the anger and frustration I suffer from the disease. It has taken control over everything in my life and it has secluded me from most of my family and friends. It is a very isolating disease and I understand why it has a high mortality rate. I don’t know how to pick up the pieces and get better. I’ve been to the hospital twice with chest pains and low electrolytes. I just want to get better and beat this disorder once and for all. Thanks for listening and I hope someone can help.

  4. I have had severe and enduring anorexia – sub type purging since i was 16-17 years old… i am 46 next month and have never been well. I’ve been in hospital umpteen times… every time i’ve tried to recover i have failed. Something else to beat yourself up about… i have never been a normal healthy adult weight. So often i have wondered why i am not dead.

    So many times i have gone to bed and hoped i wouldn’t wake up… then feel pissed off to find myself still alive. I’ve spent hours thinking about suicide and how to die. The only reason i’ve not done it is because i can’t figure out the “best” way to do it! If i could take an euthanasia pill and go to sleep, never waking up, i would do that. But when you think about suicide all methods have flaws and drawbacks… there is no easy pain free way to die.

    At times over the years i have been so ill i did actually think i was going to die. I’ve gone to bed thinking i wouldn’t wake up. when it reaches at point the fear kicks in. Oh shit, not, i didn’t REALLY want to die. I’ve faced that panic, shit, i don’t want to die. what do i do? Too little too late…. is scary when you think you ARE going to die. When you can barely stand up and breathing becomes an effort.

    After being ill for so long its difficult trying to change. Quality of life zero. No career, not social life, family estranged, health care professionals fed up of trying to help… its a shitty, lonely life.

    Its take me 30 years to realise that losing weight does not solve anything. Its not the solution i thought it was.

    I always thought that disciplining and controlling my body was a means to psychological equilibrium and interpersonal effectiveness.

    I feel cheated and lied to. Deceived and conned out of a life i could have had. The lost opportunities and missed potential.

    fighting back is really hard, its such a lonely struggle and so many people simply don’t “get” it at all.

  5. I too want to die I am an older woman and just tired of the whole thing. I wish I would die tonight I have nothing to live for no hope

    1. Jill,

      I sincerely hope that you DID make it through last night. Living with an eating disorder is awful, but dying with an eating disorder is worse – because it doesn’t have to end that way. Recovery IS possible.

      If you are still feeling suicidal, please reach out to someone. In the US, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also find a list of resources and hotlines here: http://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-referral-resources/

      Worst case scenario, get yourself to an Emergency Room. Your life is absolutely worth it.

      xoxo
      j

  6. I recently found notes written by my daughter that she was sorry that she took her life. Luckily she is still here. But she is very thin. I just started to think she has anorexia. In one of the notes to her boyfriend she admitted it. I feel helpless. I don’t know what to do. Any help would be appreciated. Backstory she lost my das when she was 13 at 15 she was raped by her best friends step dad she tried killing herself they had her in a home for a month. Now she’s 17. I thought it was better. I guess I was blinded by that.

    1. Amanda,

      The good news is that your daughter is still underage, so (unless she is legally emancipated) she will have to go into treatment if that is your choice for her. I would love to talk to you more and help you find resources in your area. Please email me at: jessica.hudgens@gmail.com

      Your daughter is lucky to have such a concerned and loving mother!
      xoxo
      j

  7. I understand that feeling. I get it either everyday. My died from suicide 3 years ago and I get angry and then jealous. I want him to be alive and me gone.

    1. Kate,

      I am so sorry to hear that you lost a loved one to suicide. I am equally sorry to hear that suicidal ideation is something you continue to struggle with. If you have a therapist, be sure to be discussing this feelings with him/her. And, of course, there is always the Nat’l Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

      In the event of an emergency, get to the emergency room.

      Your life is precious and the world will be lesser if you’re gone.

      Take Care,
      Jess

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