Friday, August 2, 2013


On July 27, 2013, I received the following heartbreaking comment on this post from glen d about his niece's death:   

glen d said... my niece was 16 she was anorexic and she was in the hos ital then she was back home and she took her own life i can't understand this i've been reading about it on these sites I've been sick for about 2 days can't sto thinking about Rachel she was a lovely girl exce tional in so many ways if someone can hel me i want to understand what went wrong with her July 27, 2013 at 3:17 AM
If any of my readers have had a close friend or relative, who was suffering from an ED, take their own life, would they please share with glen d (in the comment section below) their feelings, their thoughts about what drove their loved one to commit suicide, and how they're coping with their loss.  Many thanks.

"Attempted Suicides in Anorexia Nervosa

They are frequent and serious.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in anorexia nervosa (AN), and the suicide rate is eight times higher among young women with AN than in young women generally. To better delineate the issue, investigators analyzed data from 413 participants with current or lifetime AN (95% female) who were enrolled in an NIMH genetics study.

Overall, 17% had made a suicide attempt. An attempt was significantly more common among those with binge-eating, purging, or both (21%–29%) than among those with the restricter subtype (7%).

Of all suicide attempters, 52% reported one attempt; 39% reported two to four attempts; and 9% reported five or more attempts. Fifty-five percent had required medical attention for their most serious attempts, and 47% were hospitalized. Also, 78% reported wanting to die, 57% thought that they would die, and 54% made attempts rated as moderate to extreme.

Impulsivity accounted for 49% of attempts, with the remainder somewhat or thoroughly premeditated (each, 25%). Seventeen percent reported concurrent alcohol abuse at the time of the worst or only attempt, 9% reported concurrent drug abuse, and 82% reported a concurrent depressive episode. After adjustment for depression, attempts were associated with other impulsive behaviors (e.g., self-injurious behaviors, shoplifting), excessive drinking, substance use, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and cluster B personality disorders.
Since this study recruited from both clinical and nonclinical populations, the very high rates of severe suicidality in patients with AN, particularly of the binge-eating/purging subtype, are particularly alarming. Clinical studies of AN patients have reported even higher rates.
Clinicians assessing and treating these patients should be alert to the constant risk for suicide, particularly among patients with indications of impulsivity and the other comorbid conditions identified here.
Joel Yager, MD"

Published in Journal Watch Psychiatry on May 23, 2008

Citation(s): Bulik CM et al. Suicide attempts in anorexia nervosa.

Psychosom Med, 2008 Apr; 70:378"

Suicide Is Not Painless

The Downside of Suicide
By Nancy Schimelpfening,
"Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses Give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live. "

Dorothy Parker (1893-1967): 'Resume' (1937)

"If the topic of suicide seems particularly gruesome or morbid, that's because it is meant to be. Suicide is not a fool-proof or painless proposition. The fact is that suicides fail and even when they succeed, it may not be at all like what you had imagined.

Even the Best Planned Suicide Can Fail

The New England Journal of Medicine (Feb 22, 2001, Vol. 344, No. 8) dealing with physician assisted suicide shows that even with expert medical advice, things can and do go wrong. The study was conducted in the Netherlands, where euthanasia is legal. Some of the statistics reported:
In 16% of cases where patients tried to kill themselves with drugs prescribed by a doctor, the medication did not work as expected.

Technical problems or unexpected side effects occurred 7% of the time.

Problems occurred so often that in 18% of cases a doctor had to intervene to ensure death.

Even when a doctor performed the procedure, patients took longer to die than expected or awoke from a drug-induced coma that was meant to be fatal in 6% of cases.
If a physician can't pull off a perfect suicide, what are the odds that you will?

Suicide is Not Pretty

Assuming your suicide does go as planned, what do you imagine will be the scene left behind? Do you have glamorous fantasies of being found with a peaceful smile upon your face? Consider the following:

When you die, you lose control of your bodily functions. To put it nicely, you defecate and urinate on yourself.

If you have taken an overdose, you may vomit before you become unconscious.

Violent forms of suicide such as cutting ones wrists, hanging or gunshots leave a very grisly task for whoever has to clean up afterwards.

Victims of strangulation and hanging will be bloated and purple.

Your chosen method of self-annihilation may present a safety hazard to whoever finds you.

The High Cost of Living

So what are the consequences if you survive a suicide attempt?

The best is that you will live to discover the truth about depression: that it really is a temporary condition. Circumstances change and medications work. The old saying that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem is sage advice. When the blinders of depression are lifted you see very clearly how true this is.

The worst result of a failed suicide is that you will be worse off than you were before.
Consider these facts:

If your brain goes without an oxygen supply for more than about three minutes, you will suffer permanent brain damage.

Gunshot wounds that miss will leave you with permanent disfigurement and disability.

Overdoses on many substances will leave you with damage to kidneys and liver.
People who have swallowed caustic substances like lye can survive with severe burns to their GI tract.

Just about all suicide methods have the risk of severe, possibly prolonged pain if things go awry.

The Hurt Doesn't Go Away After Suicide

Perhaps the most common reason people commit suicide is to stop the pain the are feeling inside. The thing is, the pain doesn't go away. It gets transferred to those you love. Your parents, your spouse or significant other, your kids, your friends and acquaintances. Everybody you know is touched to some extent by suicide.
Grief is one of the strongest emotions a person can feel. Do you really want to make your loved ones feel the sort of pain you are feeling? Think about it. If you are convinced that people will be better off without you, you are dead wrong.
It's Your Choice

This article is not meant to be an all-inclusive list of reasons why you should not take your own life, but is meant to give you a starting point in really thinking about what it is that you are considering.
If you are reading this, then you are an intelligent person who is capable of making informed choices about where you want your life to go. Do you really want your life to end? Or just the pain?
Depression is a treatable illness. If what you really want is relief from your depression then you owe it to yourself to exhaust all of your treatment options before choosing the final solution of death.

Warning Signs of acute risk for suicide

Talking About Dying -- any mention of dying, disappearing, jumping, shooting oneself, or other types of self harm.
Recent Loss -- through death, divorce, separation, broken relationship, loss of job, money, status, self-confidence, self-esteem, loss of religious faith, loss of interest in friends, sex, hobbies, activities previously enjoyed

Change in Personality -- sad, withdrawn, irritable, anxious, tired, indecisive, apathetic

Change in Behavior -- can't concentrate on school, work, routine tasks

Change in Sleep Patterns -- insomnia, often with early waking or oversleeping, nightmares

Change in Eating Habits -- loss of appetite and weight, or overeating

Diminished Sexual Interest -- impotence, menstrual abnormalities (often missed periods)

Fear of losing control -- going crazy, harming self or others

Low self esteem -- feeling worthless, shame, overwhelming guilt, self-hatred, "everyone would be better off without me"

No hope for the future -- believing things will never get better; that nothing will ever change

Other things to watch for: Suicidal impulses, statements, plans; giving away favorite things; previous suicide attempts, substance abuse, making out wills, arranging for the care of pets, extravagant spending, agitation, hyperactivity, restlessness or lethargy.
If you feel you can't go on, please give yourself a chance to get help by either calling the suicide hotline numbers or clicking on the links listed below:
Suicide Hotlines:

National Suicide Hotlines USA
United States of America

Toll-Free / 24 hours a day / 7 days a week

1-800-SUICIDE 1-800-273-TALK
1-800-784-2433 1-800-273-8255

1-800-799-4TTY (4889)
Deaf Hotline

Many thanks to Sherrie of pinch of... for bringing the Anorexia Nervosa/Suicide study to my attention.

(all bolding mine throughout this post)

Follow on Buzz


Anonymous said...

I have seen the after effects of suicides. Even overdoses are not easy or "clean". There was vomit everywhere and the person was face down in it and had inhaled it to the point of literally drowning in it. The hangings I have witnessed are horrid and somebody has to try to revive them. Starvation depletes serotonin levels so it's hard to think straight. This is not a poem by Shelly or Plath; you won't come back.

Anonymous said...

It is so so sad that it has come to this

<3 to all of the ana/mia sufferers out there-don't give into this digusting disease-you are worth so much more!!


Anonymous said...

the consequences of living with a failed attempt are fear to go on, humiliation as you face family and friends, and the starving hope that you'll succeed next time. yeah, you'll always have those thoughts. life isn't a bucket of sunshine after you survive. it's pure hell.

Anonymous said...

If you think depression is only a temporary problem then man are u dead wrong!! many people suffer from depression all their lives.. try telling them its only temporary- u cant understand how hopeless someone feels that they want to stop living no matter the consequences. its not selfish or weak.. its hard to see past that kind of pain and state of mind that rules over you- try writing a better article next time

Anonymous said...

i tried to cut my wrist's...and i remembered the movie the craft...where she says...."oh,you even did it the right way!"....i had been on a night out on a date that i would never even go bulimia was so bad and i had just finished a modelling job for a glamour brand. he dropped me off, i said goodbye as usual and out of no-where i crashed. the next thing i knew i was second attempting the cut on my right wright, the first one made my stomach go and i knew it was deep, so i had to do it again.right across the wrist. that wasnt even painful tho,yes i winced,i recoiled but....the first one is am i doin....but there is a second....i did the secon with some sort of held in anger....i didnt stop....until i felt the blood drying but also flowing,strange...on my skin. i then sat there, both hands dangling inbetween my legs mid air....i noticed as the blood gathered on the wooden floorboards i had painted yellow and white alternative when i first moved in, it was turning to a slimy mixture....i then realised i could grip my fists....however i rummaged for my fone, i called 999. i told the operator that i had slit my wrists. she asked me questions to make sense. i told her that i really had and i was sorry.the ambulance was to come in 10 minutes. so i took myself outside and sat down by the front garden gate.they came, and when they spoke to me they really wanted to help me. i had to have surgery on my left wrist with some disgusting wire stitches sticking out afterwards....the nurse doing it, i specificaly remember looked at me like i was just trouble...people fight for theyr lives...and there i am killing mine?!i looked the opposite way and afterward about 7am....i waited for the public hospital bus to take me home, i felt disgustic and selfish. but i really wanted to die. i really did. when i got home....the pile of jellied blood was there as was the razor blades i detatched with my teeth. sickening, but thats what i did. people still look at my scars. and i never show the right wrist. i just say that is a thing of my past. but i strongly strongly recommend that if you are unhappy and you do feel scuicidal....then look at something positive, snap out of it!!! really take a look at things in perspective....i still have days when i think....what would it matter....but it does...everyone is here for a reason....please double think.i cant express that enough. xxx

Medusa said...


Thanks so much for sharing. I'm so glad you made that telephone call for an ambulance.

And it's so true what you wrote: "...really take a look at things in perspective....i still have days when i think....what would it matter....but it does...everyone is here for a reason..."

I really appreciate you taking the time to comment and sharing what you went through.

Sending hugs and love your way...


Anonymous said...

"The best is that you will live to discover the truth about depression: that it really is a temporary condition."
Depression can sometimes be shorter than a lifetime. But not always.

"Circumstances change and medications work."
...for some people. I, for one, have tried loads of drugs to no avail.

"The old saying that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem is sage advice."
Permanent solutions are the best solutions. Fortunately, life is a temporary problem.

When the blinders of conformity are lifted you see very clearly how true this is.

Unknown said...

my niece was 16 she was anorexic and she was in the hos ital then she was back home and she took her own life i can't understand this i've been reading about it on these sites I've been sick for about 2 days can't sto thinking about Rachel she was a lovely girl exce tional in so many ways if someone can hel me i want to understand what went wrong with her

Jennyface said...

Dear Glen,

I am so sorry for your loss. I wish I could help you in coping with a loved ones side... But I have no experience with that. I can, I hope, help you with the understanding part.

Even the most vibrant, productive people become a hollow ghost when the brain is so starved of nutrients that it can't synthesize the hormones and chemicals so crucial for mental health.
Depression and anxiety snowball substantially as the body vanishes. We (eating disordered women) excel at subterfuge. Active EDs school us to excel at secrecy. Put on the front, don't let anyone know the despair consuming us on the inside. Fool everyone into believing nothing's wrong. And then, when the pain culminates in tragedy, people are hit so hard. They didnt see it coming.

Having to live life insincerely becomes too much to take. It diminishes all thoughts of worth. Many people mistakenly assume eating disorders are all about vanity, and nothing more.
That couldn't be further from the truth. EDs are an excruciating amalgation of rejection, fear, anxiety, selfloathing, and escape. Hide from the world that doesn't want you; pull far enough away to fulfill a negative self-fulfilling prophecy.

Everything is so bleak to the dying mind. Reason and heart do not enter here. The madness consumes.

Again, I'm so sorry for your loss, I hope you can heal and forgive her for all this. We truly, sincerely think and feel the world really is better off without us. So much so that feels like a solid, unwavering truth. She probably really believed that.m when we hate ourselves so much, we can't fathom that others could value us. She didnt mean to hurt you and yours.
I know that probably doesn't help in the moving on department, but maybe it can at least take care of the understanding part.