This was a question on Quora.

My answer:

My wife follows some weekend course. It takes place in a school. Today she was told that a 16 year old girl hung herself in the gym yesterday, or possibly the day before.

My wife was quite shaken by this news, the group following the course (none of them knew the girl) was depressed all day, my wife keeps asking why somebody could do that. It was the last thing she talked about before falling asleep two hours ago. I have never even been to this school, but through my wife I thought about that girl all evening.

Imagine what her suicide is doing to people that DID know her. Total strangers are affected, what must it be like for the people that were a part of her life?

There is no suicide without pain.

My father killed himself in 2009.

His father, my grandfather, killed himself in 1982. His brother tried several times. My aunt, who I grew up with, tried 3 times, she has all sorts of complications because of her last and worst attempt.

As a therapist I have worked with survivors who ended up partly paralyzed, but happy that they are still alive today.

The first time I thought of killing myself I was four years old, suicide was all around me when I was growing up. We lived in an atmosphere of fatalism, often cheerful fatalism, we had a lot of fun too, but somehow we all assumed things would end horribly. That was the mood. Fun on the highway to hell. Since my teenage years I have had suicidal thoughts almost every day, sometimes very intense.

I don’t do it, because of the massive hurt it would cause to my mum, my wife, etc

Plus, no matter how vicious and dark my thoughts get, the sun always breaks through eventually, and sometimes I even experience something that I wouldn’t have wanted to miss.

Today I noticed that Bill Gates was born only a couple days earlier than my father. I can’t wrap my head around how two very intelligent men can end up so differently, because the one had massive demons, inherited from his parents, and the other one inherited almost only opportunity. It almost made me cry. Again. I never cried before my father died, after that I cried often, more than I ever imagined I could.