Suicide Is Painless? - The Craccum Articles
Suicide Is Painless?
Craccum Magazine makes no apologies for this article. We know that suicide is one of the few taboo subjects still left in society. We know that New Zealand has the highest youth suicide rate in the world.
We don't know why this is, and we don't know guaranteed solutions to the problem. We are sure that a lot of people's suggestions on prevention or 'curing' suicidal tendencies are likely to be wrong. We don't believe that God, or psychotherapy, or anti-depressant medication are individually able to aid every suicidal person in the country.
All we do know is that support helps and silence doesn't. Years of misinformation about suicide being caused by backwardly masked lyrics in Judas Priest songs, or satanic cults, or marijuana abuse have led to finger pointing by people with an unwillingness to convey responsibility to other, more viable, sources.
Our prime reason for printing this article is to provide information. If you think that you want to commit suicide, you need to know what you're getting into. Very, VERY few forms of suicide are relatively painless. Those that are have not been listed - this guide is not intended to advocate or promote suicide. This guide is designed to explode the myth that suicide is a 'painless, easy way out'.
The human body does not want to die, and physiologically attempts to preserve itself. When you burn alive, your body curls into a foetal position. This is one main way that policemen identify whether a person was alive before they were immolated. When you fall, your body also pulls into a foetal position to attempt to minimize the damage. Blood clots to try to prevent death by bleeding.
The key point of suicide
is over-coming the natural instincts of self preservation
possessed by your body and mind. This is a decision that is
not to be taken lightly, and while it is not the place of
this particular article to moralise, it MUST be said that
there is so much senseless death in this world already that
you must make as informed a decision as possible on this
most important of matters. People provide genuinely helpful
support networks in the community, and there are always
people to discuss
What follows has been printed in order to ensure that you know the full consequences of any decision you make to end your life.
Death by gunshot
There is a reason why so many attempted gunshot
suicides leave the victim alive, but ultimately comatose or
retarded. The brain is a lot more resilient than many of us
give it credit for, and the bone structures of the human
body are a lot stronger. Even if the gun is on your
temple/in your mouth before you pull the trigger, recoil
almost guarantees that it won't be in the right place when
the bullet is ejected from the gun. You can VERY easily
remove part of your frontal lobe and still be alive and
If you care even slightly for the people who are probably going to find you, you will stay away from this method. If you're such an arsehole that you want your family's last memories of you to be scraping your brains off the furniture, the reasons you have chosen to commit suicide may well require examination. See the box-out later in the article.
Death by Carbon Monoxide (Car exhaust fumes)
A Craccum reporter related this story about one of the supposedly least painful ways to kill yourself :
"When an acquaintance of mine killed himself using exhaust fumes, he became so disfigured the police wouldn't allow his family in to see the body. All of the capillaries in his face burst, his eyeballs popped and his tongue was so badly swollen that it protruded from his mouth and held his jaw in a totally unnatural position."
This is in stark contrast to the widely held belief that one just falls asleep. Carbon monoxide works in the following way - haemoglobin, the body's way of carrying oxygen around the body, mistakes the monoxide ion for oxygen and 'absorbs' it. The difference between oxygen and monoxide is that monoxide 'sticks' to the haemoglobin, and isn't removed. This means, in short, that actual, life-giving oxygen is no longer distributed throughout your body.
Motor Vehicles (Driving a car into anything)
Remember what we said about your body's survival instinct? No matter how much you are sure you want to kill yourself, your body will almost invariably press the brake pedal at the last moment. This reaction is almost involuntary, and your psychological demeanor will do little to avoid it. Also you will curl and/or shield your face to try and reduce damage.
Be aware that because of this protective instinct, you may well survive the initial crash. Much like the road safety advertisements on television, your secondary concern is whether or not you'll survive the car igniting or subsequent bleeding. If you've changed your mind in the interim, there's not that much you can do about it.
In America, some insurance agents gauge whether or not an automobile death was suicide or not by measuring, amongst other things, the distance of the tire marks to indicate when the driver started braking.
Surprisingly, death by drowning has been related to us as one of the more pleasant ways to pass, once hypoxia has set in (reports which have, rather obviously, been obtained from people who have been resuscitated after clinical death).
If only it were pleasant up until that point. Struggling will lead to a build up of lactic acid in your muscles, and when you combine that with the lack of oxygen in your system, you face the possibility of any or all of your muscles cramping. If you are within grasp of air, you WILL struggle to reach it. People who have drowned describe the state of near madness attained before accepting the first gasp of water into your system.
Taking Too Many Pills/Poisoning
First things first, make sure that the pills you've got will actually kill you. Many will ruin a vital organ in your body like the kidneys or liver. Painful, yes - death, no.
Your body will utilise its survival instinct and try to evacuate the poisons - in other words, you are likely to vomit your lights out. You don't have to remove all of the toxins from your system in order to survive, and you may well wake up in a few hours time feeling like death, but not actually being dead.
Also, while not wanting to belittle any person's
suicidal wish, if you DO happen to change your mind, with
certain medications will leave you alive for a period of
many hours. Remember too that many of the most common pills
and chemicals around the house (Aspirin/Panadol, Window
Cleaner, Battery Acid etc) will make you endure the most
agonising death possible. In particular, bleach and
dishwashing powder work by eating through your stomach and
spreading through your other internal organs. If you
When hanging was a form of capital punishment in England, hangmen were veritable scientists in their trade. An equation exists that is still readily available on the internet. It links body weight to rope length, and is used to calculate an 'ideal' hanging. If the rope is too short, your neck doesn't snap at the right time, and you will die by strangulation. If the rope is too long, your body accelerates so much when you fall that you are more likely to decapitate yourself.
Unfortunately, if you try this at home, it's unlikely that you're going to have such a perfect passing. It has been documented in several hanging cases that the victim has been found with burst eyeballs (pressure build-up in the head), snapped spine (from bucking and struggling in the noose) and burst sphincter. Also, most homes are not equipped with objects capable of supporting the weight of an accelerating adult body.
If you doubt that your body tries to avoid death, no matter what your mindset is, examine some autopsy evidence on the internet. Many people who hang themselves claw marks into their necks trying to avoid death by hanging.
Jumping Off A High Surface
Don't buy into the long defunct theory that you die of 'fright' before you hit the ground. You'll experience a level of sheer terror that might make you wish you were dead, but that won't come until later. Possibly.
If you haven't chosen your location VERY
carefully, chances are good that you will survive your fall,
but be very much the worse for wear. You can never
overestimate how far you can fall, especially when your body
will naturally curl to minimise damage. People have survived
falls of over 20 stories without a scratch, whilst others
have died falling off the roof of a one storey house. If you
honestly just want this life to end without trying to make a
display for other people, this is not a way that you
Coincidentally, it's urban legend around these parts that most people that jump off the Harbour Bridge survive the fall, but get stuck in the mud that forms the base of the Hauraki Gulf.
Slashing Your Wrists
By now, most
people will know that it's easier to die by slashing your
wrists in a line from hand to elbow (as opposed to the
lateral technique favoured in movies). What the majority of
people don't realise is how REMARKABLY hard it is to drain
enough blood from your system without the wound clotting, no
matter how deep it is. The actual artery that you have to
cut is located between the tendons in your wrist. To cut it
effectively, you have to slash at your wrist several times,
parting each wound as you
The movies have got it right in one respect however - killing yourself in a steamy bathroom. The reason for this is not simple shot staging or dramatics. The theory of the bath is to keep the wound open, with both the water and the heat fighting blood coagulation. Also be aware that even if you faint, you still have more than enough blood in your system to survive for a long time. The wound may well close while you are in this condition, and you will survive.
Decapitation by other object (Train for example)
If you've read the rest of this article, and noted the body's propensity for damage avoidance, you will get an idea about what happens in this case. If you can SOMEHOW keep your head on the tracks in the above example for long enough, with the noise getting louder and louder and with the painful anticipation, death is fairly certain.
A painless death is less certain. Whilst we are not chickens that can survive for minutes after decapitation, there is evidence to suggest that the mind will function sufficiently to register the horrific pain that you are enduring.
Cranial Penetration (with a needle/sharp object)
If you've only heard half the story, you might understand this method to be painless. It is true that the brain itself feels very little in the way of pain due to the absence of nerve endings there. The pain comes in trying to insert an object INTO the brain. The most obvious way is through the ear, as the bone plating is far weaker there.
Even IF you manage to keep constant pressure for long enough to penetrate the brain, you're still left with the problem of death by gunshot. You could severely impair your neurological functions, but still be left alive.
Box-out : While many 'triggers' of suicide do involve issues like difficulties in expressing your true feelings (especially with regards to gender roles and/or homosexuality) , anger or spurned affections, you should think VERY carefully about deciding to kill yourself because of another person. You won't be around to see your funeral, or their reactions. Also, if someone doesn't care about you in life, they may well not care that much in death either.
By Tim Selwyn
It is time we had a real debate about the nature of suicide. In the barrage of propaganda from the government, in which they use our money to convince us that we ought to keep living, they will never offer a philosophical justification. They bark, they demand, they tut-tut, they wag their finger and they organise conferences, and always the answer is the same: more money must be spent, the government is not doing enough. If the correct answer is more money and government intervention, the question itself must surely be wrong.
But the government, the medical-psychiatric-counselling fraternity, the coroners, the do-gooders and the media, collude in a consensus of denial because they do not want to face the home truths that suicide brings. Suicide is a personal act that is treated on a macro scale in most people's thinking; and it suits the interested parties in this self-enriching and self justifying game to keep people in ignorance of the issues behind their convenient approach. The hysterical reaction to an earlier (and subsequently unpublished) version of this article by the university counsellors illustrates the intellectual bankruptcy and propagandist nature of the suicide industry and the weakness of the press. The hypocrisy of the crusading zealots who claim to want a debate on the suicide issue is quite clear - they want the exact opposite: a soapbox for their lobbying and censorship of ideas contrary to their interests.
In an era where millions are spent to officially endorse mental illness, in an attempt to legitimise and normalise human weakness and insanity, we could be forgiven for thinking that the final decay of our society into an Orwellian freakshow of the Politically Correct variety is dawning like a mushroom cloud on the horizon. Ironically enough, it seems the more we try to be liberal the more illiberal the results. The crime rate soars as fast as psychologists emerge to create new and evermore implausible "syndromes" to excuse it. The weak feel vindicated and the evil are encouraged - disturbing times. Is it any wonder that some high-profile politicians of the left, acting unwittingly in their capacity as parental role models have had children who have suicided?
Would they ever suggest that maybe the parents should take reponsibility for their children's moral development and character? Or would they say it is the State's duty? Either way, they know in their hearts, after the rhetoric and the ideological dogma has been trotted out that it was the personal decision of their child, insane or not, and not any defect of government that is ultimately responsible. The significance of the values that their parents instilled in them will remain a moot point.
Is it any wonder that in our society where values are in flux, and self discipline is waning, that in this age of wealth and unparalleled access to hedonistic consumer goods, where the fear of war and destruction is a by-gone memory, where the life expectancy is still climbing ever upwards, that in this environment it is precisely because of this sterile and safe world that people can now suicide over the silliest things because we have the luxury to think about them and brood over them where once we were to busy eeking out an existence to worry about such matters. This may only explain a fraction of the youth suicides, and means that it is a good indicator of how economically well we are doing. If this minority cannot cope in a nihilistic society because they fail to value themselves, then so be it. It is their own fault and their own decision, we simply cannot reinstate compulsory military training so that the handful of would-be suiciders can be given meaning to their lives. This does not go down well in a society where, crazy as it seems, if noone is to blame then it is assumed that everyone is to blame.
All suicides are usually lumped together by the authorities regardless of circumstance. This suits the lazy-minded and adds to the shock value of the lobbyists generic and always hyperbolic claims of "crisis" so as to justify vast expenditure and gain kudos for the person who can cry wolf the loudest. The media can be relied upon to shame itself with a total lack of analysis. Because suicide as an issue defined in parameters set by themselves and has only one monolithic side, and no counter-argument, the "crisis" angle can merrily spin like a perpetual motion machine: there's a suicide - isn't it awful - everyone says the gummint should do something - isn't it awful etc. etc.
Well people suicide for all manner of reasons, none of which can be helped by intervention, and most of which should not. People will tend to kill themselves if they perceive they are in a desperately hopeless predicament. Information to put this predicament into perspective may assist in the cases of a minute minority. But we can never assume that our perspective is the right one for someone else, or that their answer is not the right answer: and if their anwer is suicide then so be it. If we can respect every other decision they make then we ought to respect the ultimate one.
As for suicide being a "selfish act," it's far more selfish that a person should want someone alive for their own benefit. Firstly, there is nothing wrong with a selfish act if it is as important to the suicider as it obviously is, and secondly, the point of other people's existence ought to be determined by themselves rather than others, as it would mean that we only exist as slaves with no recourse to the ultimate in self-determination: self-destruction. If suicide stands for anything it is that it is others who are selfish. Is it others, the government, who should determine that we must live? If we cannot choose to die then it follows that we cannot really choose to live, and that it undermines the value of living. Through history we see the religious and the government authorities removing people's right to the final escape, in their attempt to remain in control of life itself.
Then there is the alarming thought that it is the living who are wrong and the suicide was the one with enough courage to put an end to it all. It is our pride, and our patronising arrogance that leads us to scorn and then to lament the him or her. We ask ourselves why do people suicide, when maybe we should be asking ourselves "why do we live?" The authorities would never risk telling people the obvious, that they must discover their own reasons to live, in case people find they don't have any. Darcy Clay suicided the day before he was to play a gig at an anti-youth suicide concert - a potent message.
As in the case of war and euthanasia, it can be quite rational, humane and appropriate to kill yourself, but it is the other instances of suicide that some people are unwilling to recognise as being the act of a rational clear thinking adult with all the facts in front of them. Apart from clear-cut instances of people shouting that they're god and jumping off a building in a superman outfit, suicides from deranged people would not make up the majority. It is not good enough to claim that depression is a mental condition akin to insanity either; after all how many people have thought "I'm so happy I could die."? Is happiness a mental illness too? Depressed people can make rational decisions and who is to say that suicide isn't one of them. Afterwards they may well claim that they are glad they did not suicide - but so what? It is like claiming you are glad you didn't go to a place that you have no information about or even know where it is. It isn't good or bad; it is what it is - final.
On the other hand there are no doubt many instances of people who were very sorry they didn't suicide when they had the chance. The horrors of this current war in Chechnya being an obvious example, but also social horrors and a life of misery in our society may warrant a mercifully curtailed existence.
The contention here is that suicide itself is a morally neutral act. The issues surrounding it, and the person themselves can be evaluated but the act itself is like their birth: it just happens. The person has their own reasons, an outsider's evaluation of the circumstances does not affect that. Some people suicide to avoid their worse fears, rejection in love, financial oblivion, social stigmatisation, incarceration and so on. Some fears, like the former ones are acute, and some are obtuse and morbid, like the fear of a living the rest of one's life in a meaningless mediocracy, the futility of existence in a world where one's goals will never be achieved, and so on. In both instances it would be justified that a person who was so pathetic as to let one relationship be the end-point of their life deserves to kill themselves, and a person who really was unhappy and unfulfilled would be better off dead since their position would not likely improve. Once again - it's all up to them.
The old man sick of his wife found in the garage, the businessman facing bankruptcy jumping off a bridge, Darcy Clay, a cop who shoots himself on a deserted beach, Kurt Cobain, a man found hanging in the back shed, the girl with a baby fostered out who drowns herself, and the man who "autocides" by simply driving off a cliff - they had all just had enough. They are young, old, black, brown, white, men, women, married, single, rich, poor, conservative, radical and could be the person next door. The only thing they had in common is the only relevant one: they had all just had enough.
We won't see a big ad campaign praising them, praising their courage to cross into the unknown abyss, praising their stoic fortitude in seeing through what others could not stomach, praising their ability to determine their own fate, praising their strength of will to overcome their survival instinct. The old chestnut about it being the easy way out is ridiculous, it must be an incredibly difficult decision - one involving much thought and mental stamina. These suicides are as close to gracious as it can get, with minimal involvement of others and the only ethical qualm being the degree to which people dependent on them are affected. Instead of praise the government actively encourages the ones who don't have the balls to see it through, and who insist on playing out the farce and dramatics to gain attention. It is the endorsement of the Clayton's suicide, that most wretched and detestable pastime of the useless and weak: an "attempted suicide."
The people who have the most suicide attempts are the ones who most deserve to get it right. The attempted suicide cheapens and debases the real suicides, and is not an attempt at all but a fake. It is the manifestation of self indulgence and self importance, with an air of the drama queen to add spice to their own little tragedy. It is a cry for help that ought to be answered by a bullet.
Each time the fake is enacted it is rewarded. The pathology is replayed as the faker becomes addicted to the thrill of a near-death experience and the resultant, usually feigned, compassion. The faker uses it as a mark of character when, of course it is exactly a mark of defective temperament and denotes a weak character. To boast of such faking (and they can go on about it) is contemptible and disgusting.
Faking is also the bread and butter of the counselling racket. Counsellors typically mirror their clientele: losers. Losers who choose to justify themselves by fooling themselves into thinking they are playing God with people (whose mere act of ringing up or talking indicates they are a faker in the first place). They see their pointless jobs as a calling, but they ingratiate themselves to fellow losers in gossip sessions and drama scenes because they get a perverse voyeuristic kick out of it, not only for a feeling of self importance. Fakers helping fakers - how very convenient it all is, the real suicide rate after a call to a crisis line must be incredibly low, and (a corollary of that) what a wonderful success rate they must enjoy. More money for them. Come on callers join the party.
In this sickening collusion add the coroners to the list. Those lippy mavericks, who literally are judge and jury (and act like they are the executioners) have their act of parliament to gag the press on all suicides and are only too willing to join in the rounds of finger pointing, pontificating and engaging in activist blather with the usual lack of intelligence that marks this phoney debate. As far as answers go they contribute nothing from within the safety of their lofty and unelected office. The level of the coroners' arguments seems to be hovering around that of talk-back radio after the pubs have just closed. And as for the brain-dead media, we have long stopped expecting anything less than reactionary fumblings as far as critiques of the status quo go.
The final segment of resistance to home truths is, naturally, the people close to the suicide. Every family somewhere along the line will have suicides in the closet. And every time it is the same: "we had no idea? Why didn't we know? Why didn't they tell us something was wrong?" and "if they did we would have helped." And there is always the other questions: how could a person we thought was good do something so bad to themselves? We feel let down, excluded, even humiliated, by their secretive actions, as if it were a personal betrayal. And at the same time we may feel partly guilty that it was our fault, our negligence, our failure that contributed to it. And since we have all been in that situation we may even project this guilt and blame on to society at large. Suicides being individual-specific and circumstance-specific, some scenarios may well be aggravated because of some individuals' actions, such as persecution or abuse. But our feelings towards the tragic act is all so futile.
Although tragedy would imply inevitability, the act of suicide must be premeditated to some degree, and still require a decision at the ultimate point. Our seeming irrelevance to their lives (and their death) may leave us bitter, and even lead us to a healthy questioning of the value of our own lives. What we must not lose sight of in these situations is that they had their reasons. No matter how foolish, old fashioned, bizarre, or misinformed their decision it was their decision and we ought to respect it. If they really thought they had to die then they deserved to die. The ultimate privilege was theirs alone to enact, and is neither good nor bad, it just is. We can't do a damn thing about it, and it's time we stopped acting as if we could.