Determined to Die? Suicide and Anorexia Nervosa

September 15, 2012 Angela E. Gambrel

21 October 2010

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


I love you,


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.

APA Reference
Gambrel, A. (2012, September 15). Determined to Die? Suicide and Anorexia Nervosa, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 24 from

Author: Angela E. Gambrel

July, 22 2022 at 4:51 am

I know I am quite late with this comment, but I am anorectic since 1990, I am 43 years old now. For 30 years I knew that I was not normal, because anorexia was only diagnosed in 2005 after suffering a seizure. But after many therapies I was actually diagnosed with atypical anorexia, because I am not starving myself. I have no problem with eating, but what is typical for anorectic people, I am vegan since 2007. I put on weight, slowly, right now I weigh too much for my taste, and like typical anorectic people I don't try to lose weight. I like chocolate very much and would describe my condition as stable, But still I have the wish to die. I am much of a coward to commit suicide, so I gave that thought up. Still every day life i s a torture, because I do less and less, only waiting to die.

July, 25 2022 at 10:36 am

Hi E.B.,
Thank you so much for reaching out to share your experience—that takes courage. I am sorry to hear that you have been suffering from anorexia for such a long time. I know it can be difficult to seek help, but we have a resource and hotline page available for you:…. You might benefit from checking out our Eating Disorders community page as well: Please consider reaching out for support.
Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer
"Surviving ED" author

February, 12 2018 at 2:46 pm

I want to starve, I want to be anorexic, I want to die.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

February, 12 2018 at 8:14 pm

Hi there. I am the "Surviving ED" blogger, and I just want to encourage you to seek help and support for these thought patterns you're dealing with. I know firsthand how urgent it can feel to numb your emotions with calorie restriction and other eating disorder behaviors when life seems out of control, but please know there's another way. Reach out to professionals and support networks who can help you navigate WHY you feel that being anorexic is your only option. And please...please...please don't give up on life. Don't stop fighting. You deserve health and healing, so I ask you to do the hard, brave thing and reach out for help. This has been life-saving for me, and I can guarantee you the hopelessness gives way to a new beginning over beginning over time. Anorexia is not something to wish on yourself—it's dark and scary and isolating. But there IS life after an eating disorder, I promise. Would you do me a favor and utilize the HealthyPlace Eating Disorder Community? It's a resource that can help you not feel so alone:

November, 25 2015 at 11:18 am

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!

September, 7 2015 at 12:41 am

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.

Jim Marcoux
October, 29 2014 at 3:17 pm

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.

Julia Smith
September, 27 2014 at 11:27 pm

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.

July, 28 2014 at 3:18 pm

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

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Jessica Hudgens
July, 29 2014 at 12:30 pm

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

Amanda West
June, 27 2014 at 11:17 am

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.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Jessica Hudgens
June, 27 2014 at 12:41 pm

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

Kate brunner
June, 25 2014 at 5:25 am

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.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Jessica Hudgens
June, 26 2014 at 3:28 am

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,

February, 12 2014 at 11:34 am

I am one of those that wishes for death. So tired of the anorexic brain.

mary worzel
February, 12 2014 at 5:37 pm

I suffered from this devastating illness many years ago, but thanks to consistent care and counseling, I survived it. I still suffer from clinical depression and ptsd, and wonder if it will ever end.

Mohammad Flin
June, 9 2013 at 4:03 am

Anorexia nervosa can be difficult to overcome. But with treatment, you can gain a better sense of who you are, return to healthier eating habits and reverse some of anorexia's serious complications.

Sarka Divisova
December, 17 2012 at 2:01 pm

Our beloved daughter Anna was suffering anorexia nervosa approx. for 1 year. She spent 3 and half months at the best children psychiatric klinic in Prague (Czech Rep.) From the middle of September, she was at home. She studied High School (she was an excellent student) and she had to go to her doctor once per week. After one month at home, when she was doing well and her weight was slowly going up, anorexia and also depression were again stronger. After one bad evening, when Anna had again big problem with our dinner and we (parents) pushing her to eat not to hide food etc. Next morning November7, 2012 Anna killed herself by jumping from 11th floor of the house next to the house we live. Anorexia is so horrible and serious disease. Anna was only 16 years old. Maybe she has not any power for further struggle, maybe she felt so down, maybe... These questions will never been answered, all her family is missing her so much...

November, 25 2012 at 8:37 am

I've lost 10 pound in the last 3 weeks and I think I might have anorexia and I have support from anyone and no insurance to get treatment. so I'd like some feedback if anyone has any... Thank you.

November, 25 2012 at 8:34 am

I'm 19 years old and I've struggled with bullima since I was 10 years old. Now that I've stopped at 18 and a half I'm still not happy with my weight that's all I think about constantly I'm 5 foot three inches and I'm 160 pounds but everyone says I look about 145 to 150 pounds. The doctors tell me I am overweight however it doesn't show as much on me because i have a lot of muscle in my legs because i did cross country 1 year in high school. They say muscle weighs more than fat. But when I look in the mirror I see myself as if i were 200 or 250 pounds. No matter what anybody such as family, friends or even people i just met tell me I not fat. I think I am and I think they are lying to me. Recently I started starving myself for 48 hours at a time , Then I would eat a small meal like a bowl of cereal and go another 24 or 48 hours without eating. I am so focused on my weight that I find myself counting the hours I've gone without eating.

Penny McDonald
September, 22 2012 at 3:00 am

It is the most difficult illness to recover from. A day to day fight that gets exhausting. I understand the reason why some people choose suicide. I pray I never get to that point. I worry more about it killing me anyway.

September, 21 2012 at 6:07 pm

Dear Lorraine
I was that 14 year old many years ago that got sent by my parents to the best hospital for the best treatment but still hated them and fought tooth and nail to get out. I came around though. It was a long journey but slowly, as I got used to the program and made friends inside, I began to realise hat everyone was trying to help me. I think the brain gets starved and once you start to re-feed it, it starts to see reason. Whatever you do, don't give in and let her out. It is where she needs to be right now but she will never admit it!
So many years down the line, I wish someone could have shown me what I was getting myself into. How long it would take to get rid of the voices in my head. Tell her to get better NOW! She will otherwise spend the rest of her adult life on the fringes, stressing about food and weight and not really living. No husband, no babies just food food food.
Good luck! I feel for both you and your child! Keep the faith that she can conquer this!

Lorraine Mitchell
September, 17 2012 at 10:39 am

I have a 14 year old daughter whom is in hospital at the moment and has the best treatment going but she refuses to use it, she is suffering really badly and I really dont know how to help her, she constantly says she doesnt want to be here, that I dont understand, I dont claim to understand, I want to understand but dont know how to. I really dont know what to do shes my little girl and I love her uncondisionly, I really dont know what to do , can anyone help or give me some info on where to go to talk to someone many thanks, Lorraine

September, 16 2012 at 6:11 am

I am so "glad" I came across this post today....I needed to read it.
Thank you.
I need to keep fighting.
It is not over yet.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 25 2023 at 7:52 pm

I am 64 female and have been an anorectic since I was 16? I am just now coming face to face it with a nutritionist and therapist and psychiatrist but….I say I want to get better but I really don’t think
I can ever give it up I’ve had it so long and I wouldn’t know how to live without it! It is who I am and I dont know what’s on the other side! Such deep fear of eating normal I only eat about 800 calories a day and im5ft! . I usually never weigh myself and today I was 105! I am panicking because is to big of a number to look at! I wear a size 00 or 0! The smaller I am the better I feel about myself ! 36 years!!!! Is that abnormal to still have it at this age! What do you think?

May, 26 2023 at 12:35 pm

Thank you so much for reaching out to share your experience. As the blogger here at "Surviving ED," as well as someone who has dealt with anorexia for almost 20 years (the last five of those years spent in eating disorder recovery), I can empathize how you feel. I know how much courage and vulnerability is takes to be honest about where you are currently at in the healing process. I also know how uncomfortable it can be to submit to the advice of a therapist or nutritionist when you have been living with the mindset and behaviors of an eating disorder for so long. The ultimate decision to heal is yours, but I would encourage you to continue seeking out the help of trained clinicians and listening to their expertise. I understand this is hard, but I want to commend you for making an effort. If you would like more information or resources, please check out the HealthyPlace Eating Disorders Community page ( or our list of confidential hotline and referral numbers (…). Once again, thank you for sharing.
Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer
"Surviving ED" Blogger

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