Psychological Self-Help

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knowledge to deal with these particularly difficult problems. I discuss
the importance of finding a therapist in several places in this book. If
you haven’t tried therapy before, the idea can be a little scary at first,
but you will quickly discover how easy and reassuring it is. Therapists
know what they are doing. They care. Getting help is vitally important.
When the situation is very serious, preventing suicide is certainly not a
self-help project! 
As you work your way through your thoughts of suicide and get
help, you will see that it would be very helpful to understand suicide
better, especially the conditions and emotions that lead to depression,
self-criticism, hopelessness, anger, conflicts and disappointments with
others. This entire chapter deals with aspects of depression,
negativity, pessimism, and self-blame, which are closely related to
suicide. Explore the rest of the chapter, even the happiness topics,
when you have finished this section. 
A powerful argument against suicide 
Life can be hell in the distraught mind of a person trying to resolve
the complex, confusing and fierce arguments between the advantages
and disadvantages of living and dying. In a time of unbearably painful
hurt, stress, and misery, one can understand the appeal of quiet,
peaceful oblivion. However, there is a downside to dying. Those
consequences may not be clear to you without careful, objective
thought about the future. Here is one simple study that makes the
point I want every suicidal person to think about: 
A famous study was done of people prevented from jumping off
the Golden Gate Bridge between 1937 and 1971 (Seiden, 1978). The
bridge has been associated with more suicides than probably any other
structure. Between 1937 and 1978, 625 people are known to have
died of suicide there, perhaps another 200 possible deaths may have
occurred unseen at night or in bad weather. Dr. Seiden carefully
followed the 515 “attempters” who were restrained from leaping off
the bridge, and found that 94% were still alive an average of 26
years later or had died from natural causes. The follow up also found
that these persons were slightly but significantly more prone
(compared to the general public) to die violently, i.e., in accidents,
homicides, or suicides, but these deaths were often within 6 months of
the almost terminal experience on the bridge. Two important
points: (1) If a person who feels like killing him/herself can be
stopped, the chances are good that they will live a long and satisfying
life. If you chose to end your life by suicide, you may be overlooking
all the good that might happen in the rest of your life—the good
feelings you would have and the good you could do for others,
including the gift of life to all your possible descendants. Think about
it. (2) Of course suicidal people should be given psychological help
immediately and supported closely and carefully for at least six
months; they shouldn’t be left to handle these strong emotions on
their own. Local Mental Health Centers and health insurance
companies have this responsibility. 
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