My Un-Suicide Note

Dear family and friends,

I have everything to live for. I do not want to die — not for a very long time, anyway. And when I do, I want to be an old silver fox looking back on a deeply satisfying life filled with love and laughter, as evidenced by the nostalgic stories I’ll tell ad nauseam detailing my numerous youthful adventures.

I write this to you now, while I am still (relatively) young and of sound body and mind — because the sad reality is, I may not always be able to hold onto this healthy perspective. I say that based on my family history and personal experiences. Depression runs in my family. My father actually died by suicide as a result of it.

Growing up, everyone told me I looked and acted a lot like him. So in high school, when I became severely depressed, I started thinking I was destined to die by suicide, too.

Fortunately, my mom was an amazing advocate for me. She recognized the crisis warning signs and got me the help I needed. She saved my life when I had given up all hope.

Despite her support, I still really struggled with depression for many years after that. But having an ally by my side allowed me to see a light at the end of the tunnel. It took a long time to find a sustainable wellness plan, but I did, and I’m happy to say that I haven’t had a major bout of depression for a long time.

So, why am I writing this letter?

You see, my father was 31 when he took his own life. Once I made it past that age, the fear of my own suicide ebbed, and I relaxed a bit. Recently, though, I read something that really shook me to the core: Most of the recent high-profile suicides (Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, Dave Mirra, and my personal hero, Robin Williams) all happened when those wonderful, talented people were past their 30s. It made me realize that I may not be out of the woods yet.

To be clear, my history does not at all mean I am destined for suicide. Still: I want to keep it that way. This wake-up call has given me a renewed sense of diligence toward my un-suicide. That’s why I’m putting together this action plan. Because it’s way easier to talk about this now, when I’m in good health and thinking straight, than in the situation that could occur if depression comes after me again.

According to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, here are some warning signs you may see from me someday:

—Talking about wanting to die or to kill myself
—Looking for a way to kill myself, like searching online or buying a gun
—Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
—Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
—Talking about being a burden to others
—Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
—Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
—Sleeping too little or too much
—Withdrawing or isolating myself
—Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
—Extreme mood swings

If I am exhibiting any of these symptoms or have abandoned the desire for longevity, it is likely that my mental illness is making me suicidal, and I hereby give you my permission to take positive action on my behalf.

They say that early treatment and intervention are the most effective ways to help prevent suicide. So I’d like to share some tactics from the National Institute of Mental Health that you might use to help if you find me in crisis:

Ask: “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” It’s not an easy question, but studies show that asking at-risk individuals  if they are suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts.

Keep them safe: Reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal items or places is an important part of suicide prevention. While this is not always easy, asking if the at-risk person has a plan and removing or disabling the lethal means  can make a difference.

Be there: Listen carefully and learn what the individual is thinking and feeling. Findings suggest acknowledging and talking about suicide may in fact reduce rather than increase  suicidal thoughts.

Help them connect: Save the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s number in your phone so it’s there when you need it: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You can also help make a connection with a trusted individual like a family member, friend, spiritual advisor or mental health professional.

Stay connected: Staying in touch after a crisis or after being discharged from care can make a difference. Studies have shown the number of suicide deaths goes down when someone follows up with the at-risk person.

We can even set up what I call an “If-Then Plan” to help navigate specific situations. For instance: If you don’t hear back from me after 24 hours, then you have my permission to call again. Because here’s the thing: Despite your best intentions, I will likely do my awful best to impede your efforts. What you have to remember is that these behaviors, should they occur, are contrary to my true nature, and I would really, truly appreciate your continued help despite how I may act in the moment.

To that end: If I am resistant to seeking professional help, then you could show me this letter to remind me of my commitment to my wellness.

It’s important to know that just because I need help does not mean I’m being selfish or weak. I work really hard to keep myself balanced through therapy, peer support, nutritional planning, physical fitness, mindfulness and several other modalities. But brain disorders have a terrible way of tricking our minds into thinking that suicide is the only solution for ending terrible pain. I promise that, no matter how unwell I may seem in the future, I am still the same Jake you know and love, though I may be harder to recognize. I apologize in advance for anything that future-Jake may say or do should I be in such a state. Please don’t give up on me.

Listen, I know that this is a big ask. Suicide and mental illness are scary and really hard to talk about. Even more so, it can be confusing and frustrating to deal with someone in that state. So please understand: I’m not saying that it’s your responsibility to “save” me. As much as I believe that we all have an obligation to help one another, I also believe that each of us has a personal responsibility for ourselves. I’m not asking you to carry me — just walk beside me as I try to find my way out of the darkness. You may say or do just the right thing to help me see past my future-present circumstances.

When in doubt, simply listen without judgment. It helps more than you’ll ever know. From future-happy-old-man me after a long life of un-suicide, thank you.

With love,

Jacob Moore
(1980 – ????)

p.s. Caretakers and allies need support too! Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it. You are not alone.

This article was originally published at

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Getty image via lolostock

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Suicide

Reasons You Might Not Notice Your Friend Is Thinking About Suicide

Members of The Mighty’s mental health community share reasons why their friends may not know they are thinking about suicide. if(typeof(jQuery)=="function"){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)}; jwplayer('jwplayer_ACIuJ0Qh_zURkbSIg_div').setup( {"playlist":"https:\/\/\/feeds\/ACIuJ0Qh.json","ph":2} ); Read the full version of 15 Reasons You Might Not Notice Your Friend Is Thinking About Suicide. Read the full transcript: Reasons You Might Not Notice Your Friend Is Thinking About Suicide [...]
upset woman with tears in eyes and praying against gray background

To the Psychiatric Nurse Who Said I Couldn't Be a Christian

Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Dear Psychiatric Nurse, I came to you terrified, scared out of my mind. I had just been sent from residential treatment to a psychiatric hospital in a nearby city; [...]
Michelle Carter and her attorney Joseph Cataldo stand to hear Judge Lawrence Moniz announce his verdict on Friday, June 16, 2017, in Bristol Juvenile Court in Taunton, Mass. Carter was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the suicide of Conrad Roy III. (Glenn Silva/Fairhaven Neighborhood News, Pool)

Michelle Carter Sued for $4.2 Million in Wrongful Death Following Conrad Roy's Suicide

Earlier this week, Michelle Carter received a two-and-a-half-year sentence for her role in the suicide of her boyfriend Conrad Roy III, who died in 2014. Now, the 20-year-old faces a $4.2 million wrongful death civil suit filed by Roy’s mother Lynn Roy, BuzzFeed News reports. Carter was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in June after text [...]
Hannah Baker

What You Need to Know About Google Search Trends Following ‘13 Reasons Why’

A study published this week has given us the first data-driven glimpse into the aftermath of “13 Reasons Why,” a popular Netflix show which suicide prevention experts have argued is triggering for suicide attempt survivors and loss survivors — and potentially dangerous for those at risk. Most notably, the show features an approximately three-minute long scene of the main [...]