Suicide: Impulsers and Chronics

By Jessika Endsley

There seems to exist two main types of suicidal people; those who feel impulsive and act accordingly, and the less common chronically suicidal subjects.

Impulsive suicide

Art by J. Endsley

Most cases of suicide or suicidal behavior stem from the first type, which I will call Impulsers. A breakup happens, and suicide comes to the forefront of the mind. A job loss. A family death. Accidentally dropping your favorite coffee cup. Anything sudden, perhaps, could trigger the Impulser even if said Impulser is generally mentally sound. Most people who call hotlines (which surprisingly love to put people on hold) are Impulse types. This type of suicidality is messy, often ending in either a gunshot which leaves scattered teeth for the family to find, or a fall from a building which wasn't quite high enough, leaving the Impulser a cripple which in turn will create a Chronic of them.

The second type is what I will call a Chronic. These are the people who are suicidal and depressed for years on end, ones who have made attempts; those who have carefully written "escape plans" stored in a journal somewhere. Chronics can indeed come out of their suicidal feelings, if only for a moment, but more often than not, they relapse into their despair which I can only describe as heart-wrenching apathy. These people want to die, and they want to die all the time. Their suicidality is persistent. I have visited forums, groups for pro-suicide people; places in which people form pacts with other people who are too chicken to die alone, trade suicide plans like recipes (sometimes they ARE recipes, such as Nembutal…), rant, and say their goodbyes online rather than leaving a note to those who actually know them (the argument is that if they really knew them, they wouldn't need a note to understand the suicide.)

Nothing is particularly delightful about either type, Impulsers or Chronics. The only sunny side to chronic suicidality is that a subject who is chronically suicidal has more time to seek help - hence the word chronic. Someone acting on impulse is not going to have time to make an appointment with a psychologist or pill-dispensing shrink; a Chronic has been so depressingly apathetic about existence for so long that the subject will often decide they "may as well" give therapeutic practice a chance before acting on their often very rigid and well-thought out escape plans. You may also reverse this sentence.I suppose there is another slight upside for the Chronic - if they do indeed follow through with such a plan, it has a much better chance of working than that of an Impulser. However, the Impulser has the advantage of the light at the end of the tunnel once the desperation to end the pain has subsided; this is something the Chronic rarely experiences.

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