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)

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From Humans of New York

Today I met an NYU student named Stella. I took a photo of her. Afterwards, she told me about a self-portrait she recently posted on Tumblr. So, instead of the photo I took, here is her self-portrait. Along with the words she wrote:


WARNING: Picture might be considered obscene because subject is not thin. And we all know that only skinny people can show their stomachs and celebrate themselves. Well I’m not going to stand for that. This is my body. Not yours. MINE. Meaning the choices I make about it, are none of your f*cking business. Meaning my size, IS NONE OF YOUR F*CKING BUSINESS.

If my big belly and fat arms and stretch marks and thick thighs offend you, then that’s okay. I’m not going to hide my body and my being to benefit your delicate sensitivities.

This picture is for the strange man at my nanny’s church who told me my belly was too big when I was five.

This picture is for my horseback riding trainer telling me I was too fat when I was nine.

This picture is for the girl from summer camp who told me I’d be really pretty if I just lost a few pounds

This picture is for all the f*cking stupid advertising agents who are selling us cream to get rid of our stretch marks, a perfectly normal thing most people have (I got mine during puberty)

This picture is for the boy at the party who told me I looked like a beached whale.

This picture is for Emily from middle school, who bullied me incessantly, made mocking videos about me, sent me nasty emails, and called me “lard”. She made me feel like I didn’t deserve to exist. Just because I happened to be bigger than her. I was 12. And she continued to bully me via social media into high school.

MOST OF ALL, this picture is for me. For the girl who hated her body so much she took extreme measures to try to change it. Who cried for hours over the fact she would never be thin. Who was teased and tormented and hurt just for being who she was.

I’m so over that.


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