Why we choose suicide | Mark Henick | TEDxToronto

Why we choose suicide | Mark Henick | TEDxToronto


Translator: Robert Deliman
Reviewer: Denise RQ I was barely a teenager
the first time I tried to kill myself. If I knew then what I know now, well, it probably wouldn’t
have changed very much. And it probably
wouldn’t have changed very much because sometimes
it doesn’t matter what you know, what you feel just takes over. And there’s so many ways like this,
that our perception becomes limited. In fact, our perception is its limits. And these limits are created
by our biology, by our psychology, by our society. These are the factors which create
that bubble which surrounds us that is our perceptual field,
our world as we know it. Now, this bubble, our perceptual field, has this incredible ability
to expand and to contract based on changes in any of those factors
which create and inform it. Most of us have experienced the challenges of the contraction
of our perception from time to time. Think about that time
when you got cut off in traffic. In the city, it was
probably today, let’s face it. When it happened, maybe you felt your heart rate
start to quicken, your face flush. You jammed on your brakes
in order to avoid a collision. And when you did, you focused in
on that one license plate as it sped by. Maybe the only thing to go
through your mind at that time was how creative you could be in the words you were about to hurl
out the window at that guy. Eventually, your perception
would have returned to normal. You would have relaxed,
you would have gone on with your day. You probably would have
even forgotten about it. But imagine you didn’t. Imagine you stayed there, stuck there,
in that narrow, dark place. Well, that’s what it can be like
to live with a mental illness. At least, that’s what it was like for me, at the depth of my own
mental illness as a teenager. My perception had become constricted,
and darkened, and collapsed. I felt like an asthmatic who had
lost his glasses in a hurricane. So, when I was sitting in that chair, across from my eighth-grade
guidance counselor, the only thing that I could think
was, “You’re not good enough.” “You’re not smart enough.” “You’re not enough.” And it didn’t matter if I was because these were
the constricted limits of my perception. So, when I held that eight-inch
chef’s knife in my hand, and I raised it to my throat, and I pressed it there and I felt
the blood begin to trickle down my hand, the only thing I could think
in that moment, “Nobody would even know you’ were gone.” I heard the guidance counselor
ask from across the room, miles away, it seemed like,
he said, “Mark! Please don’t.” I heard him, but I wasn’t listening. I just took a deep breath. “I don’t have a choice.” Had the guidance counselor
not reached for me from across the room, tackled me to the floor,
wrestled that knife from my hand, maybe I wouldn’t be here today. I think about that a lot. Now, not all days were that traumatic. In fact, most days I probably
seemed just like any other normal kid, if not a little quiet. And because the truth is, I was. In fact I was so normal, most people
would have never guessed. They probably would have even been
surprised to find out how I would hate the way the sunlight came
into my window every morning when I would wake up. And I know that some of you
know that feeling, too. I was so normal that a few years later, after not getting the help
that I so clearly needed, most people would have never known
that I was the one that had caused so much
commotion late one night when I tried to jump from an overpass. Then again, if they did know, I would
have been the last to find out anyway because that’s how
these types of things go. People seem plenty eager to talk
about mental illness and about suicide just as long as it’s behind closed doors
and in hushed voices. Well, this is the part that I’m doing
differently with you today by sharing with you my experiences, I hope to raise my voice,
and I hope to open those doors. And this is how I do it: I remember. I remember I was wandering
the empty streets of my hometown. I was alone this time,
unlike that other time, and it’s because I wanted to die alone. My mind was running, screaming,
shaking, collapsing in on itself again. When you’re in that place, and your perception
is collapsing like that, those old thoughts kept coming
back again, “You’re not good enough,” “You’re not smart enough,”
“You’re not enough.” So, I walked up, and I approached
the railing to the overpass. I walked along it, I looked over, I came to a light post
on my left-hand side, and I stopped. “Should I hang in there
for just one more day?” That’s a phrase people always seem to ask themselves
when they’re suicidal, I have found, I asked it to myself
and others with whom I’ve worked, young people today,
they’ve asked it, too. It’s this instinctual word of hope, “Should I hang on there
for just one more day?” For what? To be that crazy kid? I’ve already held on for this long,
and things haven’t gotten any better. Why would I keep trying
what hasn’t been working? I’m not crazy. My perception was collapsing. It was squeezing out that instinctual hope
that everybody has inside of them. So, I climbed the railing in three parts,
like rungs on a ladder. I was being very careful not to slip. I climbed back down the other side again. I had very few choices in my life. But this, this was certainly one. And I needed something, anything,
that I could be certain about. So I turned around. I felt the railing
pressing against my back, just below my shoulder blades, I stretched my arms out
on its cool metal surface. I remember feeling raindrops
under my fingers. I looked down at my shoes. My running shoes were old,
worn out, tired. My heels were on the concrete,
my toes were on nothing. I looked past my toes to the ground,
50 or so feet below, and on the ground, I saw
a rusted out chain linked fence topped by three strings of barbed wire. As I was standing there in that moment, the only thing that I could think
from my collapsed perception was “How far out would I need
to jump from this bridge so I wouldn’t land on that fence?” Because I just didn’t want it to– I just didn’t want it to hurt anymore. In that moment, my entire life
was completely in my control. And when you’re living
in a hurricane like this, all the time, that’s a really unfamiliar,
but really satisfying feeling. To feel like you have control
over your whole life. So I stayed like that for a while. I just stood there in that feeling, experiencing that feeling of having agency
over my life for a change. Eventually, I was brought back
into the present by a man’s voice over my right shoulder. I talked to him for a while, but, even today,
I don’t remember about what. He was wearing a light brown jacket,
but I don’t remember his face. I didn’t look back long enough,
and I never saw him again. Before I knew it, I could see flashing
lights from the corner of my eyes. I looked to my right and to my left, and there were three police cars
on either side blocking off the street. There were crowds of late night gatherers,
gawking at me from either side. This was two or three
in the morning, I guess. Either they came home from the bars or they just walked up
to see what was going on. A male voice from my right side, I heard
him scream to me, “Jump, you coward!” OK, that’s enough. Again, I took a deep breath in and as I did, my arms
seemed to rise from the railing like they’d suddenly
become weightless and unburdened. I could feel the edge of the concrete under the arches of my feet
begin to shift. I started to pitch forward. And as I did, I felt the wind blow around my body,
and on my face, and through my hair, and it felt free. Then, an arm reached around my chest,
a hand grabbed the back of my shirt. The man in the light brown
jacket later told police that my body was completely
limp when he grabbed me, and he dragged me
backward over the railing. Can suicide really be a choice
if it’s the only choice available? We ask ourselves,
“How can it be the only choice?” “How can it even be a rational choice?” And hopefully we wonder,
and we ask ourselves how we can help. Well, we can start to help by better appreciating
that our mental health is contingent on the state and the flexibility
of our perceptions. Whether we have a mental illness or not, how expanded or how contracted
our perception becomes impacts the choices that we make. When I was standing on that bridge, my perception was so collapsed
that I only had that one choice. When we encounter
the suicide of somebody else, we always seem to try to rationalize it. I hear it all the time. And I think that’s
because we’re uncomfortable with feeling helpless
and with not understanding. But since we know that our perceptions
are created and continually informed by our biology, by our psychology,
and by our society, we actually have many entry points for potentially helping
and better understanding suicide. One way that we can help is to stop
saying that people “commit” suicide. People commit rape, they commit murder,
but nobody has committed suicide in this country since the early 1970s
when suicide was decriminalized. And that’s because suicide is a public
health concern, not a criminal one. And it’s a health concern, we know that. 90% of people who die by suicide have
a diagnosable and treatable mental illness at the time of their death. And we know that, with medication,
with psychotherapy, these treatments work, so we need to make these treatments more available
and in an informed way, to everybody. And we can be a part of that change,
whether we have a mental illness or not by taking charge of our own mental health
when we go in for our annual physical, we make a point of doing
an annual psychological, too. At both the individual and the societal
levels, we can challenge our old ideas like that old idea of saying
that people “commit” suicide. When I first started out doing this, I used to beg for somebody to do
something about suicide and stigma. Well, that’s not acceptable anymore. So instead, I’ve started doing something. When a leading cause of death
among new mothers in the first year after childbirth
is suicide, that’s not acceptable either. When our First Nations Inuit
and Mantis communities are being ravaged by a suicide rate 5-6 times higher
than the national average, that’s not acceptable. When almost a quarter
of 15 to 25-year-olds who die by suicide, that is not acceptable. So, like I said, when I used
to plead for people to do something, and that’s not acceptable either, well, you’re here
and you’re doing something already, because you’re changing
the way you think, and that’s what changes the world. So, for those of you who might be thinking
about suicide today, good. Keep thinking about it. And then, start talking about it. And then, start doing
something about it, too. And for those of you who might
be contemplating suicide, I know that there’s a hope
somewhere deep inside you. I’ve felt it, too. Keep that hope alive. We need you. We need you to be leaders
in this conversation, whether we are ready to have it or not. And trust me, if you’re anything like me, it’s this conversation
that’s going to keep you alive, every single day, as though you’ve got just one more day. Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Why we choose suicide | Mark Henick | TEDxToronto

  1. People be mad that some guy said jump of the bridge you coward but that what I always to myself yet I can’t even do it.

  2. I'm a school counselor and just completed training in ASIST training for suicide prevention…my heart goes out to all those contemplating suicide..so thankful to have information to help all those who are struggling…we care…we love..we are here to help…no judgement here…

  3. Of course, no one asked to be born, or to play the hand we are dealt. Yes, you will die one day anyway, but you hear stories of people who overcome suicidal thoughts, if they ever really go away forever. Medication and therapy only takes you so far, but don't ever let the thought of dealing with your problems be harder than thinking of killing yourself, sit down, breathe, and accept what you can't change, find the courage to change what you can, and always know the difference. There are people that will treat you right, they are more abundant than what you tell yourself. Your career is not your life, money is not your master, and if you really think about it; there's nothing you can't accept, or can't fix. You'll be alright, kid.

  4. I just dont feel like living is worth it anymore.
    "Should I still hang on one more day?" — yea, hit me hard to the core.

  5. I hurts that I came here looking for a reason not to kill myself. And I still don’t have one. But I understand that no one can make miracles happen.

  6. Born in the same family, from the same mom, but why am I the only one that getting all the flaws and my older sister gets all the goods, it's so un fair

  7. I'm not really afraid to commit suicide. I just know it would devastate my family. Especially my two youngest children. If I knew in my heart of hearts that my babies would understand, I believe I could do it. I would go to a motel room,hours away, where no one could find me, overdose and be done with it.

  8. What a charming guy, it’s great having him alive. You, reading this, are charming as well, please don’t hurt yourself.

  9. The solution to some if not all of humanities' sufferings and shortcomings is transcendent love; a love that has the capacity to function despite our differences and limitations.

    I suspect unless and until we individually and collectively abide by that aforementioned principle, maximal goodness will not come to be.

  10. An ex-friend of mine told be to put a bullet in my head not to long ago. And he knows I'm suicidal, so it hurt me so much. I felt this on a personal level.

  11. I love being told “suicide is a coward’s way out. You’re just putting your pain onto someone else because of your death.”

    Okayyyy but depression causes one to have suicidal thoughts. I can’t just shut them off at times.

    It compares to telling someone who is suffering with cancer to not have cancer anymore. We don’t have the control over our dysfunctional brains.

  12. He is kind of remind me of Ryan gosling, which city does he come from? The handsome man makes me stop wanting to kill myself, at least for today…

  13. まるで小説を読んでいるような感覚だ
    間の使い方、抑揚や声のボリュームの変化によるインパクト、引き込まれる

  14. Ladies and gentlemen: these are demons or Satan speaking lies into your mind. You matter. Your life is important to us, to God! I'm praying for each and every one of you. We cast the spirit of death and suicide into the pit! In Jesus holy and precious name!🔥👥🔥

  15. I was in a dark place for a long time.. And tbh I'm scared that it will catch up, but at the moment, I'm better, I'm not good, but better

  16. I shot myself in the chest. The bullet bounced off my heart and broke up in my lung. I'm in constant pain. Then my brother jumped off the Golden Gate bridge and it made me realized how much it affects the people who love you. I would rather have died and him not.

  17. ya know, these videos always say "You're not alone", but, um, yeah, I am… and all the videos saying im not, just make me feel more alone… like maybe i really am the only person with no one to turn to… I've even called the prevention hotline, and they don't help…

  18. I just posted a message about ending my life on the crowning day of Donald the first. I go to the home tab, hit refresh and this pops up in my recommended. FU Google. You are what's wrong with this world.

  19. Suicide​ is​ a​ choice.
    And​ human​ has​ freedom​ choice.
    We​ should​ be​ allowed to​ do​ what​ we​ consider​ best​ for​ us.
    No​ one​ know​ what's​ best​ for​ us​ except us.

  20. I just wanna stuck in my dream forever because at there i have a perfect life.. and im always happy.. in my dreams i always hug my dad even that his dead in my reality

  21. If you try to kill yourself because of how bad the world is,

    Just add a texture pack lmao

    suicide rate drops to 0%

  22. This seems to be the only Ted Talk within this topic that I can really understand and agree with. I can relate with him. To me this is the best by far. 🤷 It may not cure me and and my sick brain but it feels nice to actually be understood by once, and not "understood" by a therapist whose job is to "know" what you're going through, but by someone who has gone through it themselves.

    If that makes any sense.

  23. What puts me off from it, its just my moms presence. dad, sister and grandpa.

    But I'm always feeling like nobody would help.

  24. I would give anything to end my life but I have a family, a little sister, twin brother, amazing mom and dad, I'm only alive for everyone else.

  25. I did it once, didn't work.
    sad to see I don't have control over my own life. And unfortunately, I can't find the hope he is talking about.
    and without that HOPE it's all pointless. And I'm feeling the second attempt is coming soon, which is really scary.
    It's kinda funny, those who are going to mourn for me are the ones who this to me.
    So the world is fair after all…

  26. "Stay alive stay alive for me you will die but now your life is free
    Take pride in what is sure to die"
    -Truce by Twenty one pilots
    Stay alive frens |-/

  27. eventually your body seems to build up a natural tolerance to that gut wrenching depression chemical it releases, life doesn't really get better at this point just slightly easier

  28. ‘because i just didn’t want it to hurt anymore.’ this summer was supposed to be one of the best but i’m not even living anymore

  29. Theres suicides and theres suicides … every case is different . Some people who are faced with incurable illnesses and there is no hope in sight have good reason to end it all .Also those that battle depression and other mental illnesses for years and theres no relief have good reason to want to end it. (Just my thoughts on it .)
    But some who kill themselves after a break up with a partner , I dont have much empathy for . JS

  30. I once told my mother about my thoughts and she said she’d look for a therapist and a few months later I asked “so uh is there any therapy sessions I can go to?” She told me “You don’t really need it right?” I just- I can’t that broke me I’m sure I just said that I’m fine now or something but it b r o k e me

  31. I'm not suffering from any mental illness yet I'm sensitive when people thinks lowly of mental illness, I also get disappointed and dismayed when my classmates and some of my teachers brushes off mental illness.

    Sometimes I just wanted to scream at them to open their minds and not be blinded by ignorance yet, they couldn't possibly understand. The happy ones could not understand the misery of the sufferings. It's a great thing if someone is patient enough to help you.

  32. I'm 90 percent to death. I have thought hard strongly of killing myself for five days now. One more day .. idk if I can.

  33. Well, I dont wanna live because i feel late and failed. I want to start all over again but you only come to this world once and your genetics are predetermined. Your potential, your voice, your way of thinking, your status… You have so little effect on yourself. And when you are a failure, you are a failure. I only feel lucky when I am succesful at something. Not because I worked hard and earned it. I was just lucky. I cant admit it even to myself but I am lonely. And I am scared that this loneliness will last forever.

  34. I want darkness.. I cry every night and my friends push me away bc I'm depressed. I cry at night so no one hears. I go on drives so I can cry so no one hears.

  35. Suicide is one of the most basic human rights there is. Locking suicidal people up involuntarily is not care, it's brutal and selfish. Forcing someone into the hospital because you would hurt if they died is selfish, you don't care how humiliating it is or how much pain they're in. And the government only "cares" enough to do this because dead men don't pay taxes

  36. All the real suicidal people are dead, it's not that hard to succeed. The "one more day" types are drama queens seeking attention. Surviving a true attempt is exceedingly rare

  37. Only 20% of people who commit suicide have a mental illness. The fact that you are alive means you are gutless and very bad at planning.

  38. "….90% of the people who die by suicide have a treatable cause…." Too bad I'm among the remaining 10% cause I have a chronic un-treatable physical illness that is destroying me day by day. Suicide seems like the best way out. I wish they talked more about people like me.

  39. People with suicidal thoughts please look into getting SPECT scans and a good psychiatrist. I also recommend watching the channel "Life after losing my son to suicide". Life is worth living, is your perception of it what's not letting you see it.

  40. This made me cry multiple times. I've been struggling with suicidal thoughts for years and it's almost a foreign idea to NOT think about it at this point. All I hear inside of me is "you're not pretty enough" or "you're not smart enough" or "you aren't kind enough" or "you're not working hard enough".
    And it devours my thoughts until that's all I can think about, it's always there.
    I have help right now for my anger issues at home, but I still haven't found a voice when it comes to the suicidal thoughts.
    Something inside of me keeps telling me "hold on for one more day" even though everything else screams against it. I always choose to follow that voice, and I dread waking up in the morning, I dread doing normal tasks everyone finds easy, and what's worse is I can't express it to anyone from fear. It keeps me silent, so when I snap out of frustration due to the fighting inside my own head everyone gets mad at me and it makes it worse.

    Out of all the speeches I've heard, this one is going to stick with me.

  41. People Don’t Want to Kill Themselves They Just Don’t Know How to Kill the Pain!!!!!!!!!

    Every Thunderstorm Runs Out of Rain!!!!!!

  42. The Voyage of Return

    I set sail across the desert to leave the pain of misery.

    Searching for the ocean, I have heard so much of its splendid beauty

    and tranquility.

    My sails were full of the hot desert air as I passed motionless dunes.

    I remember what was said to me when searching for content afar.

    “For man is never content as he seeks contentment when he cannot seem to find it.”

    I looked out across my bow and noticed an oasis drawing near. I saw

    a weary traveler with camel at hand, getting drink from the cool.

    Our I eyes had met and I let down my sails and it mysteriously drew me there

    and coasted to his near.

    He asked me, "Son, where does your journey take thee?"

    I replied, "Far away from the pain and misery and to the great ocean of

    splendid beauty and tranquility:”

    He turned and drank another drink from the cool, looked back at me

    and asked, "My Son, what is the heaviest load a man can carry?"

    I pondered, what an odd question he was placing upon me, and could

    not think of a satisfying answer.

    He knew I was alone and puzzled. He spoke, "A grudge, my Son -for he cannot see clearly ahead because of his pains and becomes an inmate of the past."

  43. This is a relevant topic. I'm not sure how safe it is is though, to release this to the public as it takes more than half of the video to get to the point we search for when we're watching.

  44. I'm so scared of getting help, but I don't wanna end up like this. Actually, I don't know what I want.

  45. A few years ago my sister put a gun in her mouth and blew her head off after her only two children were killed by a drunk driver

  46. I've never attempted suicide, but I've spent countless moments examining myself and only coming up with the idea that my life is nothing more than a negligible statistic. Years of dread and apathy crushing my frame of mind to a single conclusion: I'm better off to the world dead. Self harm is a struggle I can't find myself out of and at several points I fantasized about cutting just a little deeper. Just a little more blood. Just a little more pain to get all these bad thoughts set to a lower priority, if not completely eliminated for just a brief moment. I can't take my own life, but I can't bare the burden of life either, just as nobody could possibly sprint an entire marathon.

  47. Suicide is not always a result of mental illness. Sometimes, suicide is an option for dealing with a bad situation or bad circumstances. Sometimes, it’s just time to leave. You’ve done all you can do, and now, it’s time to go.

  48. I have days where I want to end it all. But I have my family, my life to live. That reminds me to keep on going and I know God is out there. Life is really simple.

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