Some Practical Thoughts on Suicide

timterrace___Flickr_-_Photo_Sharing_This happy-looking shot was taken in 1999, when I almost destroyed myself.

In this post, I’m going to talk about suicide, and why I’m still on this planet.

These are stories I’ve kept secret from my family, girlfriends, and closest friends for years. Recently, however, I had an experience that shook me — woke me up — and I decided that it was time to share it all.

So, despite the shame I might feel, the fear that is making my palms sweat as I type this, allow me to get started.

Here we go…

A TWIST OF FATE

“Could you please sign this for my brother? It would mean a lot to him.”

He was a kind fan. There were perhaps a dozen people around me asking questions, and he had politely waited his turn. The ask: A simple signature.

It was Friday night, around 7pm, and a live recording of the TWiST podcast had just ended. There was electricity in the air. Jason Calacanis, the host and interviewer, sure knows how to put on a show. He’d hyped up the crowd and kept things rolling for more than 2 hours on stage, asking me every imaginable question. The venue–Pivotal Labs’ offices in downtown SF–had been packed to capacity. Now, more than 200 people were milling about, drinking wine, or heading off for their weekends.

A handful of attendees gathered near the mics for pics and book inscriptions.

“Anything in particular you’d like me to say to him? To your brother?” I asked this one gent, who was immaculately dressed in a suit. His name was Silas.

He froze for few seconds but kept eye contact. I saw his eyes flutter. There was something unusual that I couldn’t put a finger on.

I decided to take the pressure off: “I’m sure I can come up with something. Are you cool with that?” Silas nodded.

I wrote a few lines, added a smiley face, signed the book he’d brought, and handed it back. He thanked me and backed out of the crowd. I waived and returned to chatting with the others.

Roughly 30 minutes later, I had to run. My girlfriend had just landed at SFO and I needed to meet her for dinner. I started walking towards the elevators.

“Excuse me, Tim?” It was Silas. He’d been waiting for me. “Can I talk to you for a second?”

“Sure,” I said, “but walk with me.”

We meandered around tables and desks to the relative privacy of the elevator vestibule, and I hit the Down button. As soon as Silas started his story, I forgot about the elevator.

He apologized for freezing earlier, for not having an answer. His younger brother–the one I signed the book for–had recently committed suicide. He was 22.

“He looked up to you,” Silas explained, “He loved listening to you and Joe Rogan. I wanted to get your signature for him. I’m going to put this in his room.” He gestured to the book. I could see tears welling up in his eyes, and I felt my own doing the same. He continued.

“People listen to you. Have you ever thought about talking about these things? About suicide or depression? You might be able to save someone.” Now, it was my turn to stare at him blankly. I didn’t know what to say.

I also didn’t have an excuse. Unbeknownst to him, I had every reason to talk about suicide. I’d only skimmed the surface with a few short posts about depression.

Some of my closest high school friends killed themselves.

Some of my closest college friends killed themselves.

I almost killed myself.

“I’m so sorry for your loss,” I said to Silas. I wondered if he’d waited more than three hours just to tell me this. I suspected he had. Good for him. He had bigger balls than I. Certainly, I’d failed his brother by being such a coward in my writing. How many others had I failed? These questions swam in my mind.

“I will write about this” I said to Silas, awkwardly patting his shoulder. I was thrown off. “I promise.”

And with that, I got into the elevator.

INTO THE DARKNESS

“They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.”

– Mexican proverb

There are some secrets we don’t share because they’re embarrassing.

Like that time I met an icon by accidentally hitting on his girlfriend at a coffee shop? That’s a good one (Sorry, N!). Or the time a celebrity panelist borrowed my laptop to project a boring corporate video, and a flicker of porn popped up–a la Fight Club–in front of a crowd of 400 people? Another good example.

But then there are dark secrets. The things we tell no one. The shadows we keep covered for fear of unraveling our lives.

For me, 1999 was full of shadows.

So much so that I never wanted to revisit them.

I hadn’t talked about this traumatic period publicly until last week, first in a reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything), then in greater depth on Derek Halpern’s podcast.

What follows is the sequence of my downward spiral.

Reading the below, it’s incredible how trivial some of it seems in retrospect. At the time, though, it was the perfect storm.

I include wording like “impossible situation,” which was reflective of my thinking at the time, not objective reality.

I still vividly recall these events, but any quotes are paraphrased. Please also excuse any grammatical/tense errors, as it was hard for me to put this down. So, starting where it began…

  • It’s my senior year at Princeton. I’m slated to graduate around June of 1999. Somewhere in the first six months, several things happen in the span of a few weeks:

  • I fail to make it to final interviews for McKinsey Consulting and Trilogy Software, in addition to others. I have no idea what I’m doing wrong, and I start losing confidence after “winning” in the game of academics for so long.

  • A long-term (for a college kid, anyway) girlfriend breaks up with me shortly thereafter. Not because of the job stuff, but because I became more insecure during that period, wanted more time with her, and was massively disruptive to her final varsity sports season. What’s wrong with me?

  • I have a fateful meeting with one of my thesis advisors in the East Asian Studies department. Having read a partial draft of my work, he presents a large stack of original research in Japanese for me to incorporate. I walk out with my head spinning — how am I going to finish this thesis (which generally run 60-100 pages or more) before graduation? What am I going to do?

It’s important to note that at Princeton, the senior thesis is largely viewed as the pinnacle of your four-year undergrad career. That’s reflected in its grading. The thesis is often worth around 25% of your entire departmental GPA (English department example here).

After all of the above, things continued as follows…

  • I find a rescue option! In the course of researching language learning for the thesis, I’m introduced to a wonderful PhD who works at Berlitz International. Bernie was his name. We have a late dinner one night on Witherspoon Street in Princeton. He speaks multiple languages and is a nerd, just like me. One hour turns into two, which turns into three. At the end, he says, “You know, it’s too bad you’re graduating in a few months. I have a project that would be perfect for you, but it’s starting sooner.” This could be exactly the solution I’m looking for!

  • I chat with my parents about potentially taking a year off, beginning in the middle of my senior year. This would allow me time to finish and polish the thesis, while simultaneously testing jobs in the “real world.” It seems like a huge win-win, and my parents— to their credit —are hugely supportive.

  • The Princeton powers OK the idea, and I meet with the aforementioned thesis advisor to inform him of my decision. Instead of being happy that I’m taking time to get the thesis right (what I expected), he seems furious: “So you’re just going to quit?! To cop out?! This better be the best thesis I’ve ever seen in my life.” In my stressed out state, and in the exchange that follows, I hear a series of thinly veiled threats and ultimatums… but no professor would actually do that, right? The meeting ends with a dismissive laugh and a curt “Good luck.” I’m crushed and wander out in a daze.

  • Once I’ve regained my composure, my shock turns to anger. How could a thesis advisor threaten a student with a bad grade just because they’re taking time off? I knew my thesis wouldn’t be “the best thesis” he’d ever seen, so it was practically a guarantee of a bad grade, even if I did a great job. This would be obvious to anyone, right?

  • I meet with multiple people in the Princeton administration, and the response is — simply put — “He wouldn’t do that.” I’m speechless. Am I being called a liar? Why would I lie? What was my incentive? It seemed like no one was willing to rock the boat with a senior (I think tenured) professor. I’m speechless and feel betrayed. Faculty politics matter more than I do.

  • I leave my friends behind at school and move off campus to work — I find out remotely — for Berlitz. “Remote” means I end up working at home by myself. This is a recipe for disaster. The work is rewarding, but I spend all of my non-work time — from when I wake to when I go to bed — looking at hundreds of pages of thesis notes and research spread out on my bedroom floor. It’s an uncontainable mess.

  • After 2-3 months of attempting to incorporate my advisor’s original-language Japanese research, the thesis is a disaster. Despite (or perhaps because of) staring at paper alone for 8-16 hours a day, it’s a Frankenstein’s monster of false starts, dead ends, and research that shouldn’t be there in the first place. Totally unusable. I am, without a doubt, in worse shape than when I left school.

  • My friends are graduating, celebrating, and leaving Princeton behind. I am sitting in a condo off campus, trapped in an impossible situation. My thesis work is going nowhere, and even if it turns out spectacular, I have (in my mind) a vindictive advisor who’s going to burn me. By burning me, he’ll destroy everything I’ve sacrificed for since high school: great grades in high school got me to Princeton, great grades in Princeton should get me to a dream job, etc. By burning me, he’ll make Princeton’s astronomical tuition wasted money, nothing more than a small fortune my family has pissed away. I start sleeping in until 2 or 3pm. I can’t face the piles of unfinished work surrounding me. My coping mechanism is to cover myself in sheets, minimize time awake, and hope for a miracle.

  • No miracle arrives. Then one afternoon, as I’m wandering through a Barnes and Noble with no goal in particular, I chance upon a book about suicide. Right there in front of me on a display table. Perhaps this is the “miracle”? I sit down and read the entire book, taking copious notes into a journal, including other books listed in the bibliography. For the first time in ages, I’m excited about research. In a sea of uncertainty and hopeless situations, I feel like I’ve found hope: the final solution.

  • I return to Princeton campus. This time, I go straight to Firestone Library to check out all of the suicide-related books on my to-do list. One particularly promising-sounding title is out, so I reserve it. I’ll be next in line when it comes back. I wonder what poor bastard is reading it, and if they’ll be able to return it.

  • It’s important to mention here that, by this point, I was past deciding. The decision was obvious to me. I’d somehow failed, painted myself into this ridiculous corner, wasted a fortune on a school that didn’t care about me, and what would be the point of doing otherwise? To repeat these types of mistakes forever? To be a hopeless burden to myself and my family and friends? Fuck that. The world was better off without a loser who couldn’t figure this basic shit out. What would I ever contribute? Nothing. So the decision was made, and I was in full-on planning mode.

  • In this case, I was dangerously good at planning. I had 4-6 scenarios all spec’d out, start to finish, including collaborators and covers when needed. And that’s when I got the phone call.

  • [My mom?! That wasn’t in the plan.]

  • I’d forgotten that Firestone Library now had my family home address on file, as I’d technically taken a year of absence. This meant a note was mailed to my parents, something along the lines of “Good news! The suicide book you requested is now available at the library for pick up!”

  • Oops (and thank fucking God).

  • Suddenly caught on the phone with my mom, I was unprepared. She nervously asked about the book, so I thought fast and lied: “Oh, no need to worry about that. Sorry! One of my friends goes to Rutgers and didn’t have access to Firestone, so I reserved it for him. He’s writing about depression and stuff.”

  • I was shocked out of my own delusion by a one-in-a-million accident. It was only then that I realized something: my death wasn’t just about me. It would completely destroy the lives of those I cared most about. I imagined my mom, who had no part in creating my thesis mess, suffering until her dying day, blaming herself.

  • The very next week, I decided to take the rest of my “year off” truly off (to hell with the thesis) and focus on physical and mental health. That’s how the entire “sumo” story of the 1999 Chinese Kickboxing (Sanshou) Championships came to be, if you’ve read The 4-Hour Workweek.

  • Months later, after focusing on my body instead of being trapped in my head, things were much clearer. Everything seemed more manageable. The “hopeless” situation seemed like shitty luck but nothing permanent.

  • I returned to Princeton, turned in my now-finished thesis to my still-sour advisor, got chewed up in my thesis defense, and didn’t give a fuck. It wasn’t the best thesis he’d ever read, nor the best thing I’d ever written, but I had moved on.

  • Many thanks are due to a few people who helped me regain my confidence that final semester. None of them have heard this story, but I’d like to give them credit here. Among others: My parents and family (of course), Professor Ed Zschau, Professor John McPhee, Sympoh dance troupe, and my friends at the amazing Terrace Food Club.

  • I graduated with the class of 2000, and bid goodbye to Nassau Hall. I rarely go back, as you might imagine.

Given the purported jump in “suicidal gestures” at Princeton and its close cousins (Harvard appears to have 2x the national average for undergrad suicides), I hope the administration is taking things seriously.  If nearly half of your student population reports feeling depressed, there might be systemic issues to fix.

Left unfixed, you’ll have more dead kids on your hands, guaranteed.

It’s not enough to wait for people to reach out, or to request that at-risk kids take a leave of absence “off the clock” of the university.

Perhaps regularly reach out to the entire student body to catch people before they fall?  It could be as simple as email.

[Sidenote: After graduating, I promised myself that I would never write anything longer than an email ever again. Pretty hilarious that I now write 500-plus-page books, eh?]

 

OUT OF THE DARKNESS

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage…”

– Lao Tzu

First, let me give a retrospective analysis of my near obliteration.  Then, I’ll give you a bunch of tools and tricks that I still use for keeping the darkness at arm’s length.

Now, at this point, some of you might also be thinking “That’s it?! A Princeton student was at risk of getting a bad grade? Boo-fuckin’-hoo, man. Give me a break…”

But… that’s the entire point.  It’s easy to blow things out of proportion, to get lost in the story you tell yourself, and to think that your entire life hinges on one thing you’ll barely remember 5-10 years later. That seemingly all-important thing could be a bad grade, getting into college, a relationship, a divorce, getting fired, or just a bunch of hecklers on the Internet.

So, back to our story–why didn’t I kill myself?

Below are the realizations that helped me (and a few friends).  They certainly won’t work for everyone suffering from depression, but my hope is that they help some of you.

1. Call this number : 1 (800) 273-8255. I didn’t have it, and I wish I had. It’s the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (website and live chat here). It’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in both English and Spanish.

If you’re outside of the US, please click here for a list of international hotlines.

Sometimes, it just takes one conversation with one rational person to stop a horrible irrational decision. If you’re considering ending your life, please reach out to them.  If you’re too embarrassed to admit that, as I was, then you can ping them “just to chat for a few minutes.” Pretend you’re killing time or testing different suicide hotlines for a directory you’re compiling. Whatever works.

Speaking personally, I want to see the gifts you have to offer the world. And speaking from personal experience, believe me: this too shall pass, whatever it is.

2. I realized it would destroy other people’s lives. Killing yourself can spiritually kill other people.

Even if you’re not lucky enough, as I was, to feel loved by other people, I think this is worth meditating on.

Your death is not perfectly isolated. It can destroy a lot, whether your family (who will blame themselves), other loved ones, or simply the law enforcement officers or coroners who have to haul your death mask-wearing carcass out of an apartment or the woods. The guaranteed outcome of suicide is NOT things improving for you (or going blank), but creating a catastrophe for others. Even if your intention is to get revenge through suicide, the damage won’t be limited to your targets.

A friend once told me that killing yourself is like taking your pain, multiplying it 10x, and giving it to the ones who love you.  I agree with this, but there’s more.  Beyond any loved ones, you could include neighbors, innocent bystanders exposed to your death, and people — often kids — who commit “copycat suicides” when they read about your demise. This is the reality, not the cure-all fantasy, of suicide.

If think about killing yourself, imagine yourself wearing a suicide bomber’s vest of explosives and walking into a crowd of innocents.

That’s effectively what it is.  Even if you “feel” like no one loves you or cares about you, you are most likely loved–and most definitely lovable and worthy of love.

3. There’s no guarantee that killing yourself improves things!

In a tragically comic way, this was a depressing realization when I was considering blowing my head off or getting run over.  Damnation!  No guarantees.  Death and taxes, yes, but not a breezy afterlife.

The “afterlife” could be 1,000x worse than life, even at its worst.  No one knows. I personally believe that consciousness persists after physical death, and it dawned on me that I literally had zero evidence that my death would improve things. It’s a terrible bet. At least here, in this life, we have known variables we can tweak and change. The unknown void could be Dante’s Inferno or far worse. When we just “want the pain to stop,” it’s easy to forget this. You simply don’t know what’s behind door #3.

In our desperation, we often just don’t think it through. It’s kind of like the murder-suicide joke by one of my favorite comics, Demetri Martin:

“Someone who commits a murder-suicide is probably somebody who isn’t thinking through the afterlife. Bam! You’re dead. Bam! I’m dead. Oh shit … this is going to be awkward forever.”

4. Tips from friends, related to #2 above.

For some of my friends (all high achievers, for those wondering), a “non-suicide vow” is what made all the difference. Here is one friend’s description:

“It only mattered when I made a vow to the one person in my life I knew I would never break it to [a sibling]. It’s powerful when you do that. All of a sudden, this option that I sometimes played around in my mind, it was off the table. I would never break a vow to my brother, ever. After the vow and him accepting it, I’ve had to approach life in a different way. There is no fantasy escape hatch. I’m in it. In the end, making a vow to him is the greatest gift I could have given myself.”

As silly as it might sound, it’s sometimes easier to focus on keeping your word, and avoiding hurting someone, than preserving your own life.

And that’s OK. Use what works first, and you can fix the rest later. If you need to disguise a vow out of embarrassment (“How would I confess that to a friend?!”), find a struggling friend to make a mutual “non-suicide vow” with.  Make it seem like you’re only trying to protect him or her. Still too much? Make it a “mutual non-self-hurt” vow with a friend who beats themselves up.

Make it about him or her as much as you.

If you don’t care about yourself, make it about other people.

Make a promise you can’t break, or at the very least realize this: killing yourself will destroy other people’s lives.

 

PRACTICAL GREMLIN DEFENSE

Now, let’s talk day-to-day tactics.

The fact of the matter is this: if you’re driven, an entrepreneur, a type-A personality, or a hundred other things, mood swings are part of your genetic hardwiring.  It’s a blessing and a curse.

Below are a number of habits and routines that help me. They might seem simplistic, but they keep me from careening too far off the tracks.  They are my defense against the abyss. They might help you find your own, or use them as a starting point.

Most of this boxed text is from a previous post on “productivity ‘hacks’ for the neurotic, manic-depressive, and crazy (like me)“, but I’ve added a few things:

Most “superheroes” are nothing of the sort. They’re weird, neurotic creatures who do big things DESPITE lots of self-defeating habits and self-talk.

Here are some of my coping mechanisms for making it through the day:

1) Wake up at least 1 hour before you have to be at a computer screen. E-mail is the mind killer.

2) Make a cup of tea (I like pu-erh like this) and sit down with a pen/pencil and paper.

3) Write down the 3-5 things — and no more — that are making you most anxious or uncomfortable. They’re often things that have been punted from one day’s to-do list to the next, to the next, to the next, and so on. Most important usually = most uncomfortable, with some chance of rejection or conflict.

4) For each item, ask yourself:

– “If this were the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day?”

– “Will moving this forward make all the other to-do’s unimportant or easier to knock off later?”

5) Look only at the items you’ve answered “yes” to for at least one of these questions.

6) Block out at 2-3 hours to focus on ONE of them for today. Let the rest of the urgent but less important stuff slide. It will still be there tomorrow.

7) TO BE CLEAR: Block out at 2-3 HOURS to focus on ONE of them for today. This is ONE BLOCK OF TIME. Cobbling together 10 minutes here and there to add up to 120 minutes does not work.

8) If you get distracted or start procrastinating, don’t freak out and downward spiral; just gently come back to your ONE to-do.

9) Physically MOVE for at least 20 minutes each day. Go for a long walk, lift weights, take a free online yoga class (YouTube), anything. Ideally, get outside. I was once asked by friend for advice on overcoming debilitating stress. The answer I repeated over and over again was: “Remember to EXERCISE daily. That is 80% of the battle.”

10) Follow a diet that prevents wild blood sugar swings. This means avoiding grains and refined carbohydrates most of the time. I follow the slow-carb diet with one cheat day per week and have done so for 10+ years.  Paleo also works great. Don’t forget to eat plenty of fat. High protein and low fat can give you low-grade symptoms of rabbit starvation.

11) Schedule at least one group dinner with friends per week.  Get it on the calendar no later than 5pm on Monday.  Ideal to have at least three people, but two is still great medicine.

12) Take a minute each day to call or email someone to express gratitude of some type. Consider someone you haven’t spoken with in a long time.  It can be a one-line text or a 5-second voicemail.

Congratulations! That’s it.

Those are the rules I use, and they help steer the ship in the right direction.

Routines are the only way I can feel “successful” despite my never-ending impulse to procrastinate, hit snooze, nap, and otherwise fritter away my days with bullshit. If I have 10 “important” things to do in a day, I’ll feel overwhelmed, and it’s 100% certain nothing important will get done that day. On the other hand, I can usually handle 1 must-do item and block out my lesser behaviors for 2-3 hours a day.

And when — despite your best efforts — you feel like you’re losing at the game of life, never forget: Even the best of the best feel this way sometimes. When I’m in the pit of despair with new book projects, I recall what iconic writer Kurt Vonnegut said about his process: “When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.”

Don’t overestimate the world and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.

TO WRAP UP THIS LONG-ASS POST

My “perfect storm” was nothing permanent.

If we let the storms pass and choose to reflect, we come out better than ever. In the end, regardless of the fucked up acts of others, we have to reach within ourselves and grow. It’s our responsibility to ourselves and–just as critical–to those who love and surround us.

You have gifts to share with the world.

You are not alone.

You are not flawed.

You are human.

And when the darkness comes, when you are fighting the demons, just remember: I’m right there fighting with you.

The gems I’ve found were forged in the struggle. Never ever give up.

Much love,

Tim

P.S. If you have tips that have helped you overcome or manage depression, please share in the comments. I would love for this post to become a growing resource for people. I will also do my best to improve it over time. Thank you.


Additional Resources:

If you occasionally struggle like me, these resources, videos, and articles might help you rebound. I watch the video of Nick Vujicic quite often, just as a reminder of how fortunate I am:

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1 (800) 273-8255 (website and live chat here). It’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in both English and Spanish. Outside the US? Please click here for a list of international hotlines.

My recent interview with Derek Halpern – The core of the conversation is about how to overcome struggle and the above suicide-related story, but it also includes business strategies and other lessons learned.  My apologies for the weird lip smacking, which is a nervous tic. I thought I’d fixed it, but these stories brought it back 🙂

15-Minute Audio from Tony Robbins I asked Tony for his thoughts on suicide. He responded with a very insightful audio clip, recorded while in the air. It covers a lot, and the hilarious anecdote about the raw-foodist mom at the end alone makes it worth a listen. NOTE: Of course, NEVER stop taking anti-depressants or any medicine without medical supervision. That is not what Tony is recommending.

Listen in the player above, or download by right-clicking here and choosing “save as.”

The Prescription for Self-Doubt? Watch This Short Video (Nick Vujicic)

Harnessing Entrepreneurial Manic-Depression: Making the Rollercoaster Work for You

Two Root Causes of My Recent Depression – This article is by Brad Feld, one of my favorite start-up investors and a world-class entrepreneur in his own right. It’s just more proof that you’re not alone. Even the best out there feel hopeless at times.  It can be beaten.

Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach.  This book is not nearly as woo-woo as it might seem.  It was recommended to me by a neuroscience PhD who said it changed her life, then by another cynical friend who said the same.  It is one of the most useful books I’ve read in the last two years.  It’s easy to digest, and I suggest one short chapter before bed each night.  For those of us who beat ourselves up, it’s a godsend.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with over 400 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

1,205 Replies to “Some Practical Thoughts on Suicide”

    1. Well said and timely given mental health awareness month. Emotional Intelligence still an underdeveloped and undervalued skill. Can Affective Computing and Emotion Analytics provide new insights into Health and Wellness?

      Tim, @vlab is hosting an Affective Computing panel talk @stanford on May 21st. We would love to get you involved. Please reach out to us. [Moderator: # removed]

  1. For me, professional help was incredibly effective and useful, especially when many of my lasting, chronic symptoms were severe fatigue that meant I was able to do very little. Talking with someone objective, regularly, about what was causing all my fears and painful emotional responses really let me react in a more healthy manner to many things that previously would throw me into despair or rage, or make me feel helpless.

    On top of this, even if you know a lot of your symptoms’ sources, that isn’t always enough to get past them, and medication can really help for a lot of things. Medication serves a role I think most people don’t quite understand, or have the experience to make a good conclusion about how to use them. First, it takes a while to work, and the first week will suck. Second, if you haven’t figured out what was causing all the problems yet first, it won’t do much for you. Medication lets you start fixing the sources of your problems, by making the response to them more bearable. Its that little bit of protection and extra motivation that you need to go from feeling helpless, to being able to get little things done again without feeling overwhelmed.

    Don’t be afraid of professional help just because of what you’ve seen in any media, none of it comes even close to reality, and medication can really help in addition to therapy. Find someone around your own age, and just start working through what you’re comfortable with.

    1. Thank you for pointing out that professional help is incredibly effective. I too had severe fatigue, a number of endings over 2 years (divorce, moving twice, leaving a home of many years, empty nesting, breakup with new boyfriend) and was living alone for the first time in my life at age 55. I was exhausted and due to the fatigue I moved from negative internal thoughts (which I am pretty good at shifting as a very self-aware Life Coach) to an inability to ‘think’ my way out of it. In Social Intelligence, Daniel Goleman talks about the physiological response to long term stress (p. 226). My physiology had definitely changed due to the fatigue and I needed medication and rest to support my recovery.

      My 3 keys for shifting out of this depression:

      1) While I desperately wanted to die, doing that to my children made it out of the question.

      2) Surrendering complete control to God. I remember sitting on the couch one evening, crying and I prayed “God I don’t know what else to do to make myself well. Please help me.” I felt an immediate shift that started me on a long path to healing.

      3) Seeking help of a therapist and Psychiatrist (for the medication).

      4) Patience that it will take time to feel 100% again.

      1. I worked with a good old fashioned psychotherapist. I would have liked more of a coaching approach but she gave me a structure and someone to talk to. I started with 3 times a week and took about a year. I also saw a Psychiatrist for the meds. Even when I am severely depressed I am so much more functional than 99 percent of people. I continue to take a low dose of Zoloft since depression runs in my family and while this was the worst time for me I had a number of bouts in the past.

    2. The point about professional health is true, but exercise caution. A talented professional can help you like no one else, and offers someone you can talk to with with total confidence in your privacy. Medication can give you the room you need to work through your problems – it won’t (shouldn’t) disable your emotions, but it should give you space to cope with them properly.

      A less talented professional, however, can mis-medicate you and worsen problems or create new ones. If they’re tied to an institution (military or college especially) then their confidentiality rules may not protect you from consequences like required leave or a glass ceiling. They may also have a huge number of patients to deal with, and use medication as a first line of defense because it’s fastest.

      Seeking professional help is worthwhile, but deserves caution. Be careful with institutional psychiatrists and check out the rules they operate under. Be careful with people who recommend medication first, or without hearing details. Don’t give up though, just move on. It really is worth it.

  2. I too was on the very edge if suicide . I’d lost my life to alcohol. For me it was the thought of the pain and the heartbreak killing myself would cause my children and my mother ( my father had already passed) that stopped me. Since that day I have achieved so much. 14 years sober, I’ve written a best selling book that is being made into a film. Two other books about life, I’ve earner a degree ( I was an uneducated man) I now make podcasts and share my life story around the world. There is always hope in the darkness. Please if your suicidal seek help look for those that listen and talk to people that man the help lines. Do not suffer alone suffering is temporary there is light in the dark I promise and in that light lies a whole new future. If your struggling I urge you to share your thoughts feelings and emotions right now. Help will come.

  3. Tim, your courage and responsibility for your audience pushes you way up on my respect ladder. Thanks for speaking out and being there for your community. You make the world a better place man.

    With gratitude,

    – Todd

  4. Tim, your courage and responsibility for your audience pushes you way up on my respect ladder. Thanks for speaking out and being there for your community. You make the world a better place man.

    With gratitude,

    – Todd

  5. Wow, this is so amazing. Thank you so much for sharing. The impact you’ve had on my life and others is enormous, and knowing this about you only adds another dimension to who you are. Thank you for your podcast, your blog posts, and everything.

  6. Thank you Tim, the post was not too long. My perfect storm was in high school. That was 20+ yrs ago. It wasn’t permanent either, I survived, and have done well. I too, have kept the period of time silent, hidden, buried. Ashamed I suppose, embarrassed. Sometimes, I still find myself battling. Nothing as serious as when I was younger. Daily exercise helps a lot, and has been a savior. A pet can be a great support as well.

  7. Thank you for writing about this, Tim. I would also second that exercise/moving around each day helps tremendously. It is very difficult to talk about these feelings with anyone, but reaching out to a close friend helped me a lot. Your friends are there for you when you need them – trust them.

  8. Not really sure I want to share this, in case people who know me end up finding this but…

    One “tactic” I came up with a long time ago, when things were bad, was to promise myself that if I EVER start seriously thinking about ending myself, and actually make the decision, as you said, I will do one thing first:

    Sell everything I own and travel the world for as long as I can with the money. And if I still feel like doing it, only then do I have the permission to proceed.

    Not sure if this makes sense to others, but for me it does…

    1. Sami, I quit my job and started a regimen of heavy travel (but haven’t sold everything off yet) in 2008 in an effort to find a reason to live and have enjoyed the time greatly at least most of the time anyway. There’s so much I can’t imagine never having done and new friends I’d have never met had I just ended things when I’d initially wanted to. That being said, I’m not completely certain of what the final outcome will be, but I’ve had a nice time trying to figure it out. I’ve had a vow with a friend where we’ve promised to call each other when the time might come that we cannot carry on any longer and I’ve definitely got the “what’s behind door number three” paranoia that we don’t know what awaits us on the other side, so there are definitely a lot of milestones that have to happen before I find myself tied to a millstone and dropped into the sea. I hold in my mind the haunting words of a survivor who’d jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge who’d said that he knew he’d made a mistake the moment he let go and is now happy as he can be, even now that he’s in worse physical shape than before he jumped. I believe they said that of those who survived the jump, most all had never attempted it again in the 2006 documentary, “The Bridge.” I still struggle every day but know that each day is closer to my ultimate and natural end anyway and am trying to be as grateful as I can and make the world a better place for those I love.

    2. Had very such thought as you. Just what I have told myself I actually made a deal with God. I told him (in my mind): if you can give me an idea to find a way out of this situation I gonna do my best, live the fullest I can, if not than just take me away not to torture myself.

      I have got an answer and so far so good 🙂

      P.s. I even started to believe in God as before I had no faith at all 🙂

      1. To add even Jobs embraced death as a tool to come up with something great understanding, that there is much to do before we leave 🙂

    3. I love practical stop-gaps like this. Fact is, typically when the choice has been made and how/why is worked out, there is a sense of relief. I can see the travel option working quite well. Thanks.

    4. This is very much worth posting here. Tim talks about making “vows” – I made one to myself. I’m not sure why I know I’ll keep it, but I do. It sounds like you did the same thing, and I’m glad it helped.

      My rules:

      1. No permanent choices on the spur of the moment – if I don’t want it for a week straight, I don’t want to do it.

      2. Nothing during the bad times late at night – I have to go stand out in nature, with the sun shining, and still want to do it.

      3. Tell someone – I have to call someone close to me and explain my choice to them, and let them answer me. If I’m willing to have them hear about the aftermath, I should have the courage to tell them myself.

      Across those three things, I know I won’t end my life. It doesn’t fix the problems, it doesn’t make my life any better, but I know I’ll stay here keep trying.

    5. When I was a kid, I thought suicide was the dumbest thing ever. I had the exact same idea, if I was going to end myself, why not just buy a ticket to visit the world until I run out of money and then end it. At least get some crazy enjoyment before it’s all over.

      When I did get that depressed, I had absolutely 0 motivation to travel or do anything. Why would I go through all that work before ending myself, it would just prolong the pain and annoyance. There really was no more joy to be found in life.

      It makes total sense but that’s not how depression works, at least not for me. Without realizing that, suicide seems like one of the dumbest ideas in the world.

  9. Can you write a follow up article about how to get over close friends’ suicides? Also have you considered repressed same sex feelings as a driving force for much of the self-loathing in male society?

    1. Agreed! My brother (we have been estranged for 10 years) killed himself 2 weeks ago and even though we rarely saw each other or spoke (his choice not mine) I find I am surprisingly devastated as well as thinking about all the things I could have tried to do to repair our relationship. I had no idea he was that desperate. Not only that neither did my sister nor apparently any of his friends.

      When we went to his house to go through his belongings we found 2 copies of the same book on suicide with newspaper articles going back over 20 years. Apparently he had been considering this for a long time and nobody even knew.

      I always held out hope that we would reconcile and have the relationship I always wanted to have with my only brother, but that will never happen now. I find that I miss him and the idea of a relationship with him greatly.

      1. It will take time to heal . All of your feelings are normal. AFSP.org has some great support groups and resources tohelp you through this difficult time. My thoughts are with you.

      2. Scott – I lost a friend a few weeks ago to suicide. I feel so guilty that we had fallen off in the friendship. She did reach out to me a while back but I was busy dealing with my own life stresses and didn’t meet with her. I went to her memorial service, wrote a tribute to her, but it stings. I suspect it will for a long time. I’m friends with her mom and sister so I’ll stay in touch with them. Like your brother, she had been estranged from her family for three years. I think that’s why I didn’t meet with her. I couldn’t understand abandoning your family. Poor Tracy. I hate thinking of her final moments…

      3. Hi Scott, I have spent decades thinking about this kind of thing, since 30 years ago after my failed attempt. I needed to understand myself and explain to others. One of the best things I’ve read is ‘night, mother a play/movie that is on YouTube now, which is a fictionalized conversation between mother and daughter as one prepares to kill herself. Second, I think its important to realize that suicidal people don’t want to be stopped. Or travel the world, or explain themselves, or keep trying. That is the irony of suicide (or divorce!), that people seem less depressed when they start to consider suicide because it offers a sense of hope. I think almost anyone can understand when someone is taken off life support, or wants to quit chemotherapy or in some other fashion does not want to fight a painful illness. If you can accept suicide there, why not elsewhere?

        Look, I don’t know what happened with your brother, but its deeply narcissistic to think he should have lived for you, or that you could have made his life worth living for himself. I’m deeply sorry if someone is scarred by a close relative choosing suicide or estrangement or eating meat, but that’s all it is, a personal choice. It is not a judgment on you, on your happiness, on your ability to befriend others.

    2. I can’t speak to the second question (though there is quite a bit of evidence that identification in general that conflicts with societal norms is a driving factor in suicide, at least among adolescents), nor can I speak for Tim on either, but I can share my own thoughts on the first question.

      Time is the big key to moving on. I don’t say “get over,” because you never really get over it. Instead, you move on from it and things eventually get easier. Allow yourself to grieve in the meantime, but don’t beat yourself up over “what-ifs.” Could you have saved them if only…? Maybe, maybe not. The decision was ultimately theirs to make, and without them around, all the what-ifs are just speculation. Don’t let survivor’s guilt be the end of you, too.

      If it helps you, then resolve to make improvements in your own life. Make more time for your friends and significant other. Listen to them when they want to talk, even if you’re not interested in what they want to talk about. Be there for them when they need it. Realize that work (or school) isn’t the most important thing in the world. It may be too late for that one friend, but it’s not too late for the others in your life, or yourself.

      Also, if you suffer from suicidal thoughts or any mental illness, consider speaking out about your experiences and how you get through them. Sometimes, knowing that you’re not alone in your feelings of despair, by reading the accounts of other people, is enough to pull someone back from the pit of darkness that is a depressive episode and suicide. Talking about it also helps to remove the stigma surrounding mental illness, so that people will (hopefully) no longer feel ashamed to reach out for help.

  10. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    This post is very informative, and very personal, and thank you for sharing it. It hit in all the right spots, and I can definitely say that everything you’ve said about depression and suicide is true. It’s especially scary because it can hit at any point in life, and many get hit when they are young and vulnerable. Listen to your kids, guys. Sometimes all they need is a sympathetic ear and the feeling that they have your back at all times. AT ALL TIMES, even when they did something wrong.

    For me, I find that journaling helps a whole lot in managing depression. Getting those poisonous thoughts out will help decompress the confused mind and perhaps stop that vicious running-around-in-circles thought process. It’s hard to get started, but the best advice I read about journaling is that no one needs to see any of it but yourself. That helps keep things in perspective and start the journey back to stability and life.

  11. The “funny” thing about depression is when you are aware of something that will make your state better but are choosing not to do it for some reason. Perhaps your “tactic” functions by making the illogical irrational nature of a wish to totally end it when you could have a fun trip around the world and let go of all concerns first.

  12. Some biochemical contributors to be mindful of are the MTHFR gene, Pyrroles, SIBO, PANDAS, intestinal strep infection. carbohydrate sensitivity,thyroid and adrenal imbalance as well as unprocessed childhood trauma, all of which are identifiable and treatable.

    Great post mr Ferriss.

    Greg Doney

    1. Wow, thanks for sharing. I am sure you know but this post I am sure will save many many lives for years to come. It make you think twice about the ridiculous hoops we go through (college) to be a productive part of society.

  13. Wow.

    It’s so comforting to hear that someone as ‘together’ as Tim Ferriss has experienced the darkness that is so much more prevalent than we realise.

    I lost a parent to suicide and myself have considered it countless times- it can be literally the ‘fight if your life’ and its a daily part of life.

    I used so called ‘self help’and positive literature to take my dark thoughts and it has helped.

    When you realise depression and suicide are an issue of perception and not reality, you’re in a position to change them.

    Things can turn bad of course but it’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it 🙂

    You are never as powerless as you may feel. There’s always another choice.

    I also follow hundreds of positive people in social media so that my Facebook Twitter etc are bursting with quotes, links and uplifting stuff- there’s no escape from positivity- it’s my safety net.

    I collate everything at http://www.everydayshouldbefun.com

    I dedicate my time now to compiling positive and thought provoking things I find online. I don’t have the reach of Tim but it’s my small effort to perhaps help someone else who maybe in a dark place.

    I like Tims angle that suicide may not be the cure all you hope for – that’s a very good point indeed- as he says it’s a ‘terrible bet’.

    As always Tim you’re an inspiration to us all.

    Thanks for writing this post. It could be the most important you ever write.

    Best

    James.

  14. Tim, I never really leave comments and I am not one to share much about myself personally. But every single word and emotion you shared in this post struck a chord with me… I am just glad that I am not alone. And that it is somewhat normal to have these downward spirals. Thank you so much for this post, and for finding the courage to share this with us. Much love Tim!

  15. This article is 100% important knowledge, 100% insights and 100% bravery & being human. That’s 300%, Tim. We owe you a lot for the quality you represent. Thank you.

    I don’t know if this was an intention as well, but this post is an important voice in the general discussion about how the society more often than not “deals” with young people. As the opposite of “raising” young people.

    One of the latest research of PhD Philip Zimbardo shows that there is more than a million “sad” children in Poland, Europe (where I live). For a 40 million people country, that’s A LOT. There’s evidence that other countries face similar stats as well.

    I was personally blessed with supporting parents who helped me through any situation I had (for example, teachers mocking my first “professional” blog that I started with my friend so we both could learn some real-life journalist skills) but that’s not possible for everybody. Since high school I became deeply interested in the psychology of why people do things, why they stop doing them and how to create an environment that enforces positive loops of feedback and motivation. Why and when people feel safe and secure and ready to grow.

    And the funny thing is: it’s not that hard. It really requires basic levels of empathy, listening to each other and some other old-fashioned words that– honestly? I’m amazed how many folks older then me (I’m in my mid 20s) forgot. And we still think that they were the last generation that supported them. Nope. Or at least not so often and not anymore.

    I’m on a different continent than you guys, but I 100% support Arnold Schwarzenegger’s mission of providing children and young adults with not money, not any means of “guarding” them but something way, way simpler: attention. Attention, even if forced, creates interest. Interest allows us to see a human being in that other person, be it a student or a teacher. And seing a human being is just an inch away from genuine empathy.

    And an empathy – both psychologically and biologically speaking – is a real-life magic. Not joking here. It changes the way our brains work, again: both metaphorically and literally speaking.

    Wow, sorry for the long post. I believe in a world where everybody can make it, so once again: thanks for writing about such an important issue and take care!

  16. Great quote from my UCLA Screenwriting lecturer: ” No tears on the typewriter means no tears in the audience.” Thank you for writing this post Tim.

  17. Oh my god Tim, this is fucking awesome. You’ve done a really good thing. People in the UK -the Samaritans are a great organisation to talk to, you can even talk via email.

  18. Solid post Tim. Appreciate your vulnerability in sharing. Been there myself in my late teens and was too scared/embarrassed to tell anyone. Looking back now I laugh, but it wasn’t funny…a mix of personal and work stress combined with a strict vegan diet low in fats and proteins left me unable to cope. Diet is such a huge part of good mental health! Follow a paleo diet now and even when going through high stress events I’m stable. Plus choosing each day to see the positive and actively express gratitude to others!

  19. Tim: Thanks for sharing this. I have been (and still go) to some pretty dark and disturbing places…and I think the problem is a lot more common than we’d all like to think.

    The three things I use to help me are 1) music. Since my first memory involves music, it’s a throughline for my existence. If music forms the soundtrack, then change your soundtrack and you can instantly change the scene you’re in. In other words, are you listening to more Tom Waits than Bob Marley? Might want to look into that.

    2) My work. I write…and I put a lot of my fears and darkness into my work. It’s probably why my stuff isn’t always “happy stuff.” I find the darkness is a lot easier to contend with when it’s on a page than when it’s in my head.

    3) Last resort time–whenever I’ve been really bad off, I not only do the “don’t hurt friends and family” approach, but also the opposite. Which of my enemies are going to be thrilled about me being gone? Again, not the happiest thought in the world, but we’re talking last resort time here.

    One last thing that I’ve said elsewhere: if we can lose Robin Williams and Philip Seymour Hoffman, who were at the top of their games and beloved and admired by millions, then the rest of us are well and truly screwed unless we look out for one another.

    Thanks again for “looking out” for a lot of us, chief.

  20. A brave post, Tim. I’m very grateful that you survived this dark period in your life, because you have shed so much light to other peoples lives, including mine.

    Fortunately I have never had to deal with a suicide in my close circles, but there have been some close calls… maybe once even my own came pretty close. Wow, writing that was more difficult than I thought. At the time all of the troubles seemed larger than the whole world, but it’s hard to see the reality when a person is so deep in the situation. Thankfully everything improved and now I’m living a really happy life and so are the people close to me, even the ones who thought about suicide.

    Thank you for writing this and using your influence for a greater cause… like you have done before. You are an idol to me and have changed my life for the better.

    All the best to you!

  21. Dear Tim,

    I love your writing style and certainly your love of creativity has helped you heal.

    The question that I would really appreciate a reply on is, what is your view on actually finding somebody who could actually spread this message and save the lives of as many people as possible?

    I read a lot of your material but my predisposition to fear what you have written here is outweighed by the same losses that have taken two dear members of my family.

    I’m trying to launch a book that can give others hope but it’s daunting work. Could you help me do what so few others have the courage to understand?

    My blog is http://www.davidrobertson.co.za. If you were willing to help me fine tune the beast I know it would benefit MANY people.

    Thank you

  22. “I personally believe that consciousness persists after physical death”

    I’ve become concerned that I shouldn’t take the 4 Hour Body or any of your other scientific/medical advice seriously after reading this sentence.

    Is this something you believe based on faith alone, or based evidence?

    Did you publish things in your books that you believe on faith? Or only when there is evidence?

    This belief is just an anomaly and not reflective of your thought processes in general?

    I understand a lot of people have special beliefs which they hold without evidence, like religious beliefs, revelations they’ve had while dropping acid at burning man, etc. I don’t understand why they do, but they do.

    I hope you’ll confirm that the medical stuff in your books are all evidence-based, not faith-based.

    Also, thanks for sharing this story. I’m a manic depressive entrepreneur and think about suicide all the time. But, I would never actually do it.

    1. From Reddit: If you’re thinking about suicide, spend your last dollars on cocaine and hookers.

      If you still want to kill yourself after that, go for it, but at least give the cocaine and hookers a try for a week first.

      “Went to Mexico to buy barbiturates for a humane and peaceful death.

      Decided that if I was gonna die anyway I might as well fuck a prostitute before it was all over. After that a cab driver offered to sell me cocaine. One thing lead to another, and I got a room above a whore house equipped with a heart shaped bed, a stripper pole, and a hot tub.

      Spent a full week snorting coke off tits, popping pain meds, drinking tequila, eating handfuls of Viagra to fight the whiskey/coke dick, and had three FFM threesomes.

      Somewhere in the midst of my coke-fueled orgy, I decided life wasn’t so bad after all.”

      https://www.reddit.com/r/casualiama/comments/2lbqym/traveled_to_mexico_to_buy_chemicals_to_humanely/

    2. The stuff in 4-Hour Body is evidence-based, not faith-based. The belief in persistence of consciousness comes from experiences like those shared in my podcast with Jim Fadiman.

  23. Thank you so much for sharing this Tim, I can imagine that sharing your “downward spiral” with everyone was not easy……when you share posts like these we can all relate at least to some extent because the great majority of us have experienced feelings of despair, worthlessness etc. at some point in our lives, its important to remember that those feelings are only temporary and if they persist to seek professional help. I think all of your readers feel closer to you when you talk about experiences that few would ever dare bring to surface.

    When I read posts like these, I don’t think of Tim Ferriss “the best selling author, human guinea pig, angel investor etc. etc…..I think of Tim Ferriss, a fellow human being that was at one point in his life in the darkness, fought his demons….and triumphed.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts

    Solrac

  24. Thank you so much Tim. I have been there too. and the darkness tries to get me back every once in a while. this post comes at the right time You are an inspiration for all of us.

  25. Rules/promises can work in my experience too.

    And not only to living people. I made a vow not to kill myself (and to never use drugs) at the age of 12 when my mom died – to her…

    It was very powerful somehow. Haven’t gone even near, but have been feeling down for quite some time (now doing therapy – for me it works great, it’s hard, but so worth it! – to decide to go took me years – a bike accident helped – I got lucky and just got bruises, but being unconscious for 2 hours and waking up in a hospital got me thinking…).

    I have this talk on my phone:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/kevin_breel_confessions_of_a_depressed_comic

    I could relate so much, watched it every day if I needed it, just so powerful and somehow made me feel not alone with this (it’s extremly hard to admit that you are depressed, it does have a huge social stigma…like Kevin says in the video).

    1. Great talk, Anna, thank you for the link. His comments about the stigma around mental illness, and how it isn’t an identity, are almost verbatim things that I’ve found myself saying in the last six months while working through some serious stuff in my own head. Also, I’ve found watching TED Talks in general to be incredibly therapeutic. This one was my lifeline for a while: https://www.ted.com/talks/alberto_cairo_there_are_no_scraps_of_men?language=en

  26. Thank you for an excellent, honest & insightful post Tim. Its all to easy to lose sight of the the fact that success is the ability to deal with difficulties rather than the absence of difficulties.

  27. Thanks for writing this. It’s wonderful when people (and especially prominent people) are open about their problems – it makes people feel less alone. (I know it must have been a very hard one to write, but as a reader it comes across as a natural, honest and necessary thing to do).

    I don’t claim to have full-blown depression myself, and I can’t begin to imagine what that’s like. I do sporadically have some lengthy, pretty unpleasant stays in its foothills, however.

    Your rules are a great idea – may I share a couple of thoughts? I don’t know if these will help anyone but me (please someone tell me if they’re detrimental and I’ll take them down).

    Getting outside, exercise and connecting with people (and particularly helping them out in some way – even if it’s just buying them a coffee) are key things for me. But they’re easier said than done when you need to do them most – even getting out of bed/into the shower/out of the house can seem impossible.

    For that reason, I try to have a ‘battle plan’ when I feel symptoms coming on. Something pre-set that’s a go-to when all I want to do is stay in bed. I tidy up, make sure I have food, and physically write down all the little steps required to go out to the park, for instance. (Things as trivial as ‘get shoes on’, etc.) It sounds silly, but it’s hard to make even little decisions when you don’t feel good. I also try to change the activities in some way – for some unknown reason, getting into the shower is hard for me when I don’t feel good (I love showers!). So I try to put on some banging tunes to entice me in, etc. (As I say, I don’t have full depression, so I don’t know if a list of steps like mine would be too overwhelming for someone who does. Anyone know?)

    Talking about it is also useful. It can make you feel better and makes people aware of your problems (they’ll often keep an eye out for you). You’ll frequently find out that seemingly ‘sorted’ people have similar problems, too. And in that case it’s a win-win: disclosure can help them in turn.

    I’m also thinking about writing about my episodes after they’ve gone. I wonder if it could help to have messages from the past to tell you that things always get better.

    Sorry for the rambling comments. Thanks, Jon

  28. Thank you Tim. As someone with a history of self-harm and depression who is in the middle of a stressful (70h+ per week, break-up etc) period, these kind of posts are a bright candle in the dark.

    What helped for me were the following words(which you called out in this post), which echo through my head almost every day: ‘This too shall pass’.

    If you just consider the things that are happening now, the things that give you stress and sadness, remember to change the timescale in your head.

    Messed up a presentation? People will have forgotten in a few weeks.

    Girlfriend broke up with you? Remember how you are not troubled by feelings for previous exes anymore? Will also happen now.

    The list goes on. Change the timescale to longer times, and you will see that problems all fade. Thus, we best stop worrying about them straight away, because ultimately, we and everyone will.

    Good luck to you all.

  29. Brother killed himself followed by my best friend nine months later. I had attempted suicide before too. We all vowed not to. I’m glad I survived though. I’ve made immense progress of which I’m genuinely proud.

    Part of survival for me was turning a depraved selfishness into a healthy selfishness.

    I like these more “spiritual posts”, they’re much more valuable than your other stuff. I’d love to see you apply your techniques to hacking happiness, compassion, and general morality in the future. What more important skills could there be?

  30. Profound thanks for this courageous and powerful piece of writing Tim. I’ve devoured your work for years but you have just helped me more in the last five minutes than all of your other stuff put together. Which is a huge compliment btw given how much I have learned from you over years.

    Deep thank yous and appreciation for the balls it took to write that.

    Andrew

  31. Thanks for this post Tim. My sister recently went through a severe depression because she wanted to meet all these stupid things society defines as ‘success’.

    In the end when things were bad we sent her to a health retreat where she learned how to cope with stress, she exercised every day and ate healthy foods. After a month she was so much better and she had the tools to cope with stress so she didn’t fall back into depression. These days doctors prescribe drugs without solving the root cause which is anxiety, isolation, no goals and lack of serotonin ( from a bad diet and no exercise.) I wish the government would wake up and create a program people can follow which will equip them with a skill set of how to cope with life. Without a doubt this would reduce the level of obesity, homelessness, and lost productivity.

    Thanks again for speaking about it. Hope you come to Sydney for an event in the future- would love the chance to meet you and hear you speak.

  32. Dear Tim, this is kinda embarrassing but seeing as you’ve put yourself on the line (again) I think I can manage it.

    I love you.

    (I have two kids, a steady girlfriend so don’t worry, I don’t mean anything like that..!)

    You more than anyone have given me hope, have helped me to find the tools, the belief and the reasons to grow and to do meaningful work.

    I imagine that tens of thousands of others feel as strongly. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for the very kind words, Wayne 🙂 And thank you all for commenting. It’s a huge sigh of relief, as I have been anxious about publishing this for months.

      1. Well said Wayne..and further to my comment above, it’s even more big ballsy to post it in the middle of the TFE media frenzy. You have changed many people’s lives today, saved their lives actually. The more real and exposed you go, the more people love and respect you because they feel your truthfulness. Big respect from the UK.

        Andrew

      2. I know that I am coming to this post almost 3 years later, but wanted to give my appreciation for such a vulnerable share, as many other readers have. My husband committed suicide when I was 29 years old. I don’t think men have enough strong role models IRL or in the media that they can look to and know it’s ok to be vulnerable and share difficult emotions openly. In his case it was a combination of things, where we were separating, he was impulsive (diagnosed with ADHD as an adult) and someone he knew gave him sleeping pills which cause suicidal behavior. I still feel him around me and at the funeral I experienced this deep inner knowing that I am not responsible for any other person’s soul. I found out later that when he was a teenager he also tried to commit suicide then and his girlfriend at the time had the same first name and almost identical last name to my maiden name. Some things are part of a person’s path and we can’t do anything about it, and don’t always understand it. (I also found out recently that the doberman I used to play with when I was 3 years old was purchased by my father from his parents a month after I was born – so many weird synchronicities like that around this situation). Thank you for being a light for others and for being brave enough to share it. You have helped many people in more ways than you probably know.

  33. Thanks for posting this Tim. I’ve been in that same dark place (I think most people have). When you are there it feels you are the only one, or that something is wrong with you for feeling that way (just be happy!), but the truth is it’s so freaking common. It’s just below the surface for most people.

    That’s why I try to be super honest about this – talking about it on interviews as well, because it’s so easy to see such a contrast between the depressed self and someone who is conventionally successfully, until it is revealed that the “successful” person was in the same boat a few years prior. It’s all about getting through it and coming out stronger. I’ve developed some unique skills that I attribute 100% to being deeply depressed for many years. There are even stories about how Lincoln was as well, and that’s why he was such a compassionate and great leader.

    As for tips, I think the best ones are extremely simple yet the most important:

    1) Take care of your health at all costs – this alone dramatically influences mood

    2) Prioritize establishing genuine deep connections with people. Most people who are depressed have lost sight of how this is more important than thesis papers, RMR, ROI, or just about anything else.

    3) Nowadays the ONLY time I EVER start to feel depressed is when I lose my purpose, and this is true despite having a major genetic predisposition towards depression. Having a purpose, a passionate project, a reason to move forward and kickass is the best antidepressant beyond exercise and red wine with friends.

    Once you get 1, 2 and 3…life tends to be pretty damn balanced and happy (most days at least!)

    My take on things anyway 🙂

    – Grant

  34. I started blogging about my depression last year as I was having quite a stressful year and the suicidal thoughts were returning…I’ve been dealing with depression for 30+ years since puberty and also only recently started being more open about it. I love the idea of making a vow to a friend … I have just made a mental one to my kids, who are now the main reason why I couldn’t go through with it. They don’t deserve to be left to deal with the repurcussions of a mother taking her life. Noone deserves to be left dealing with someone else’s suicide. I am also ready to break the cycle because I watched my mother attempt to take her own life many times. Time for a change. Here’s the blogpost with a few of the things I do to help me deal – my year of daily gratitude in 2014 made a HUGE difference wrt my happiness and it’s one of the major things I would recommend also: https://ecstacyandennui.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/the-big-black-dog-or-things-that-really-help/

  35. Meds. Drugs and medication and the thing where they electrocute your brain. That’s what kept me alive. Sometimes, like now, I’m pissed off because it’s never going to go away and I’m going to live in that perfect storm forever, but it’s been five years, and the monster still hasn’t eaten me. So maybe that’s enough.

  36. Oh Tim, I have been waiting for you to write this post for over half a decade! This comment is less about providing tips for others than it is essentially a grateful letter of adoration for how you’ve personally helped me overcome my own struggles with depression and suicide.

    When I discovered you in 2009, you were my saving grace – there’s really no other way to put it. I was raised in an isolated, abusive, misogynistic environment, and I spent nearly half a decade of my adult life trapped/stuck in that environment, completely housebound and actually agoraphobic. In no small part due to your books, content, speaking events, and stories, I slowly gained everything I needed to free myself from that dark place. I went from being a quiet, timid, self-doubting, scared, directionless girl, to an outspoken, assertive, confident woman who loves conquering fear and challenges (and infecting people with smiles and motivation!). But, for a long time during that journey, suicide was always a very real consideration. I’ve often wanted to ask you to speak to us about depression and mental/emotional health, but the taboo of it kept me from doing so. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your bravery.

    For what it’s worth, because of all of the skills I’ve learned from you, I now have my own business with the daily opportunity to encourage, lift up, and educate my own followers who struggle with anxiety and depression. And I’ve been able to team up with a few other women to expand our audience reach to over 50,000 awesome girls (and guys!) – from retired grandmothers, to young girls on the verge of starting high school and college. We are “planner girls”, predominantly introverts, harnessing the power of creativity and self-expression to take control of our lives and kick ass at our goals, one day at a time. Personally, paper-planning, tracking systems, and various types of journaling have helped me tremendously through recent years in gaining the upperhand on my recurring depression. Kind of a continuation of your #3-4, except much more expanded.

    Anyway, you’ve had quite the ripple effect already, Tim, and I’ve no doubt this blog post will cause even bigger, life-changing (and saving) waves.

    Much love,

    A now-outspoken fellow Type-A, language-loving, eternally-curious nerd.

    Thanks for paving the way.

    1. Thank you so much for this comment, Chelley. It totally made my night. And…thank you for doing what you do! It’s hugely important work, and you should be very proud 🙂

      Pura vida,

      Tim

  37. Tim, thank you for your sincere post! It takes real courage to be such true to others.

    I want to share this Tony Robbins’ intervention video from my Robbins-Madanes coach training program. This particular case is about multi-millionaire guy who lost every cent and wanted to commit suicide: http://youtu.be/U8_N_tVR2dA

    It can help to understand Tony’s audio better and in details.

    Personally I have “non-suicide vow”. In hard times I remember Bono’s words about his close friend who killed himself: “if he had waited for 30 minutes more he would have calmed down and changed his mind”. So I meditate in my perfect storms, it helps.

    I hope I’ve helped somebody somehow.

  38. Beautiful post Tim! I’m sure this will help many. Something else that could help fight depression and increase general happiness is something simple as coloring, painting, sculpting (anything creative that involves using your hands) . I’ve noticed with my group (we sketch as a group on a regular basis) how happy and relax they are (they tell me too) when we sketch together. It’s been shown to help with depression and anxiety.

  39. as always, thank you so much for your candidness and transparency tim. it’s hard to imagine that some may have never felt the urge to not be part of this world at some point, as depression, specially circumstantial, seems an inherent condition of simply being human. i sure have had my share of very, very, dark days — and only in connecting with one another in conversation, and sharing as you did, can we help ourselves and as well as others.

    / love you. xo

  40. This is a fantastic and brave post, Tim.

    Thank you for sharing in such detail, with tons of advice on how to get help. I know this will save someone’s life, I just hope it reaches them all in time.

  41. Great post,

    That’s why I was compelled to make my website (will link if there’s interest but don’t wanna spam) that basically is a sounding board email to me for people to rant an talk to someone I they want via email. Most rewarding think I’ve ever done.

    Thanks for using your ability to communicate to a large audience for such a good topic!

  42. Sound advice. A couple thoughts: being isolated magnifies these thoughts ten fold. It is important to surround yourself with people who know you well. When in a downward spiral, sometimes doing something that feels good and made you happy in the past can be enough to jar you out of the funk you’ve been in, especially if it has been ongoing for awhile. Finally, reconnecting with friends you were close with at one time can be a revealing experience. I recently reconnected with a friend I served in Afghanistan with and was surprised when he told me he had been struggling with depression. I had thought I was the only one. Learning this made me feel like my problems were more normal and manageable. Sharing this struggle with a friend whom I had endured so much adversity with in the past, made it easier to overcome.

  43. As someone who has been through perfect storm’s and been at the ledge myself with only 1 true attempt to this day. I am in tears.

    As I type this this past week I’ve been making some fairly intricate plans to end it. The thing you said about others is why I’m still here typing this and not dead already. I’ve thought about calling those numbers but……never have.

    It isn’t something I talk about or share with anyone and in the past when I had shared it with someone I basically was told I was full of it and that “really suicidal people don’t talk about it and they just do it” In fact this above phrase was repeated to me this past week as well.

    1. AY, thank you for the comment and thank you for being so vulnerable. I’ve been there. Please call the phone # in the post. I want you to stick around. Deal?

      Much love,

      Tim

      1. AY,

        Awesome comment. If you don’t have it in you, you just can’t muster the courage to call the line 1-800- 273-8255 (best choice) – Call someone; Call anyone or me (724-3791 in the 208 area code in the US) my name is Christopher – You have shown a remarkable act of bravery and courage posting your feelings – picking up the phone takes courage too but you have proven you can take a step – great work!

        Just one situation that I had convinced myself of – had me so anxiety and depression ridden I was curled up in the fetal position alone in the bath tub and in the dark. Had I possessed the guts to kill myself, (which I didn’t thank God) I was so physically debilitated, I wouldn’t have been able.

        Moreover this happened over and over again (sometimes or no reason at all that I could identify and believe me I mind chattered myself to insanity trying to find out). Till I finally mustered to courage and reached out to ONE person, just one call, to one person that had offered help. And it kicked a series of events that finds me recovered today. What a relief!

        My name is Christopher and I am just another person, just another one of us who has fallen victim to the Depression. And as result wants to help – Just like Tim does every single day! Oh, and if nothing else I’m really fuckin funny. Who knows, maybe you’ll get a laugh, levity is great medicine.

        I don’t know how you feel exactly, nobody can; exactly. I do know one thing FOR SURE. If you have one ounce of willing left to do something, just one miniscule ounce, which it sounds like you do, IT IS GOING TO BE OK. THINGS ARE GOING TO GET BETTER.

        If you just want to tell someone what you’re going through that is completely ok – I want to listen.

        I’m not a physician nor do I claim to have the answers – quite the contrary – I still need help every day. But I have found that helping others when they need it most always, and I mean always – helps everyone involved.

        So many people did this for me and it saved me. I am so fuckin grateful today – so I want you to know what my promise is to you – you can call me anywhere, anytime, for any reason if you need to talk through this if you just can’t fathom calling the hotline or a friend, or for any other reason. 724-3791 in the 208. You don’t even have to tell me who you are just AY from Ferriss’ circus will do.

    2. Dear AY, as you see even on this blog you’re not alone.

      I know exactly where you are. Just stick even to little things everyday.

      Even 1 squat or push up or any exercice you like. Just 1 every day and stick to not lose contact.

      As Tim said, any exercise is the fastest way to improve the mood.

      Keep your sleep hours protected too absolutely.

      9 years ago I had the final day and definitive decision to end it.

      As dentist I had unfortunately all materials to even end it “easy way”.

      Was lucky my dental assistant at the time saw unusual materials ready despite the last patient was gone. Called my GF who without telling it, called me and was “missing me so badly that we had to meet immediately…”

      That wasn’t the only day… and years after still have days when it seems as solution to at least stop things which are tortures for years and for weeks and months I don’t find one single day that I didn’t hate myself and felt useless…

      In worse weeks, I just try to stick even to one single little thing to not sink deeper. Just 1 exercise. Just shaving.

      And mostly, even if someone is in prison for 20 years and has absolutely no family and anybody who would care… Still there is someone inside to answer the question: Do you accept to lose? Do you accept to quit?

      What bigger than “life” to accept to lose or quit?

      Am sure you hear the voice inside who answers No I don’t accept to lose. No I don’t accept to quit. And as you repeat that No I don’t want to lose, just walk, move and shake your body.

      Listen to audio of voices of people who fight and started at zero.

      Who say simply strong ideas.

      (examples of Schwarzenegger or Muhammad Ali… or whoever you feel good with the voice, and who say it simple short and loud)

      For example in my worse days I avoid Tim Ferriss voice, because when you feel already shitty, Tim’s rhythm of achievements make me feel even less than nothing.

      So Tim podcasts are for learning and tactics in my good days, and Schwarzenneger “6 rules” 😉 for worse days.

      Before Foreman fight is a period where you have the best of Muhammad Ali talks. He lost it all at the time and no way to listen and stay passive to his voice of hunger to come back.

      When a journalist asked him how scared is he after the way young Foreman destroyed Frazer,

      Ali answered “scared…!!? scared of what? and again repeats “what…!? scared of what?”

      Simple 3 words with a tonality which is contagious.

      You already know there are always millions in worse and millions in better situation than each one of us, so it isn’t even the question of how many problems we have…

      We feel good when there is progress.

      So don’t accept to lose in worse days and stick to 1 single movement of your body. Just your posture.

      And in other days, focus on the very first hour of the day.

      Don’t use it in usual breakfast shower in semi conscious way.

      No, use those very first 60 minutes in 1 single thing that you finish, and the rest of the day you can remember as proud you did that.

      When we’re vulnerable, there’s hypersensitivity and how we start our 60 first minutes condition disproportionally the feeling of the day.

      And lastly for “problems” that you already know everybody have at every level:

      Just start.

      Cut the “wohohoo scary problem” in small pieces and just ask yourself which little piece you can act on.

      Take the smallest and easiest action, just start to act and finish just that action.

      Immediately you feel how actually you can, and there is any problems which deserves being scared of. It creates momentum and feel of it’s moving forward.

      And in any days, ask to that voice inside, who answers No, I don’t accept to lose.

      We’re all in the same road, and you’re not alone. We stick too in worse days, you just don’t see worse days of others 😉

      Much love.

      P.S. sorry for my english (am french so natural slow language learner 😉 )

  44. I have friend who didn’t have kidneys. Just the though of his time running out, it drove him in deep depression. He took anti-depressive drugs, but instead of being cured, he felt he was becoming dependent on it. So he scoured the web for an alternative, and he found taichi. Every morning he did taichi exercises. After a few weeks he was drug free, and he lived for 11 years without kidneys.

  45. I am exactly where you were in 1999.

    Right now I’m a final year undergrad at a top world university, and after all the rejection from firms like Bain and McKinsey my self-esteem plummeted and I buckled under the stress of it all. I had to take time out and won’t graduate until next year. I’ve put myself in a position of total isolation and for the last week all I have thought about is my need to die. What’s kept me hanging on is (like you say) the thought of breaking my parents hearts.

    This post is what I needed. To know that I’m not alone and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. If you can go through this and comeback stronger and build a solid life for yourself then I know there is hope for me. It’s time to turn things around.

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Gina, thanks so much for posting this. Please hold tight. As you said, I’ve been there. The fact is: you’ve proven you can win at the game of life by getting to where you are. These are just hiccups. They seem like earthquakes right now, but you’ll look back and thank God (or yourself, or the universe, or whatever) that you didn’t do something horrible.

      Please give the phone number from this post a ring. Just chat with them for a few minutes. Give a fake name if needed, test ’em out and kick the tires. There’s no harm in it.

      Harming yourself would destroy your parents. Don’t do it. Not worth it.

      Hang on!

      Tim

    2. Hang in there Gina. I don’t know you personally and I appreciate your frustrations and it does get much better. All my best

  46. I am exactly where you were in 1999.

    Right now I’m a final year undergrad at a top world university, and after all the rejection from firms like Bain and McKinsey my self-esteem plummeted and I buckled under the stress of it all. I had to take time out and won’t graduate until next year. I’ve put myself in a position of total isolation and for the last week all I have thought about is my need to die. What’s kept me hanging on is (like you say) the thought of breaking my parents hearts.

    This post is what I needed. To know that I’m not alone and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. If you can go through this and comeback stronger and build a solid life for yourself then I know there is hope for me. It’s time to turn things around.

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Gina, thanks so much for posting this. Please hold tight. As you said, I’ve been there. The fact is: you’ve proven you can win at the game of life by getting to where you are. These are just hiccups. They seem like earthquakes right now, but you’ll look back and thank God (or yourself, or the universe, or whatever) that you didn’t do something horrible.

      Please give the phone number from this post a ring. Just chat with them for a few minutes. Give a fake name if needed, test ’em out and kick the tires. There’s no harm in it.

      Harming yourself would destroy your parents. Don’t do it. Not worth it.

      Hang on!

      Tim

      1. Gina,

        One of things I found from my hours (after I was able to look back) was the power of our own beliefs to not only destroy ourselves, but to act as a filter to the amazing things to what we are capable. It is an oddly twisted proposition that when we need hope the most, we focus and imagine on the worst outcomes. Intellect at this point can serve as a detriment as we tend to manufacture elaborate worse case scenarios. I think Tim’s suggestion is powerful. This forum is amazing and its anonymous if need be so give it a whirl. The HOPE and LOVE you desperately need may be right here in this forum! Hang in there Gina things are going to get better!

  47. Thank you for sharing Tim. What helped me were two things: Julia Ross’s book the Mood Cure and weight resistance training (kettlebell swing).

  48. Hey Tim,

    Long time fan and follower. Never really leave comments cos I know you’re usually probably overwhelmed with them! But in this case I thought I would. Thanks so much for writing this. I have experienced this exact same thing and its always accompanied by guilt and a feeling of worthlessness, like failing at the mosy basic of tasks; simply existing. Its great to know (in a kind of fucked up way) someone I look up to a lot has been through the same thing and has to keep it at arms length as well. Thanks again mate, keep up the great work 🙂

  49. Thank you for sharing this, thank you for finding the courage to write it.

    It’s so majorly important to realise that each and every one of us is or can be susceptible to suicidal tendencies.. No one is spared… The only thing that differentiate between the tendency, the thought and the action is the frame of mind… Something that might be considered utterly trivial by someone, it might mean the tipping point for someone else..and their frame of mind, the perspective it’s the only difference .

    Unusual for me to comment on a post, but I felt the need to thank you for tackling this major issue. So, again, thank you!

  50. Bit of a long post but bear with me:

    Two of things I really enjoy when feeling down is the philospher Alain de Botton with school of life and Zenpencils. Zenpencils does cartoons based on quotes, like this one by Stephen Fry http://zenpencils.com/comic/89-stephen-fry-ultimate-self-help-book/. And whilst I’m glad you succeeded in getting over your difficult times, some of us have different problems. I really truly am glad for you because your writing, your art, is fantastic and inspiring.

    But I really relate to Stephen fry because he, as I, carries with him a problem that will never go away. I can get out of a depression only to have it remain on the sidelines, it never really goes away, and eventually it takes over again. So I use other emotions to control myself, I use anger extensively because it works as a driving force and if I slow down during hard times, the sorrow will swallow me, it’s like a swamp. And I don’t mean anger AT anything, just that rush you get inside you with anger, channeled fury. Aimed anger, at others or yourself, will hurt you.

    But with time one learns to deal with it, to accept it. It’s just a part of who I am and a disability I’ve learned to anticipate and deal with when it turns up, even if it is a struggle every time.

    I’ve been depressed for as long as I can remember, it started when I started school as a child as I never really fit in. Suicide was on my mind a long time and when I was 14 I stood on our homes balcony, ready to jump. I had figured that if I grab the rail just right and flip myself before letting go I should land head first and that should get it done. But as I grabbed the rail I remembered my mother, who was going through rough times as well, and I stopped. I just couldn’t do that to her. No matter how much I hurt, I could never hurt the ones I love. Now our family wasn’t a perfect and happy family and circumstances had led to me having to grow up really fast.

    Escaping suicide didn’t solve the issue though, it just let me live a broken life and fall into alcoholism and cycles on lighter and heavier depression. And as such I never did well in any school, I did good in math and physics and the like as I had a head for it but what does any of it matter when you’re in that sate? So I drank and did some drugs from around 18 to 22 when I finally hit a floor where I couldn’t speak to people anymore so I stayed in my flat feeling sorry for myself, and so very embarrassed. I don’t know of others but my sadness led me to have an extremely wide perspective.

    Who am I to feel so sad? There are kids with leukaemia, wars happening around the world, famine, natural disasters, human trafficking, families being torn apart by disasters and all the unspeakable horrors in the world happening all the time. And my education suffered, my credit went bad as I wasn’t paying bills but what did it matter? In the grand scheme of things who am I? A small insignificant boy of a man living in north european country, I can even pull of school, I couldn’t even get into the school I wanted. I felt ashamed, lonely and barely keeping myself alive. Finally some teachers in the school I was going to, learning goldsmithing, got me to come to school and helped me get professional help. That was a gesture of kindness which made me cry when I got home, because what I so very desperately needed was help, but asking was far too terrifying in so many ways.

    I had a wonderful psychologist who helped me, with the help of a bit of anti-depressants as well, talk out the issues inside me. I eventually moved out of that town where I was studying back into Helsinki, the Finnish Capital, but didn’t seek more help here. A mistake I tell you! As I fell back into my hole with no way out, until after a couple of years, with the help of what I had learned from my psychologist, I aggressively fought against my mind and soul by forcing myself to talk to people. And now I’ve got myself back into a good mindset. Winter especially brings me down into self-loathing and depression and it never really seems to go away, even after all this time.

    But you know what? I’m okay with it now. With age came acceptance of myself, I’ve found good sides with my depression as it really increases my creativity. And using similar tactics to the advice above I keep on doing my best to stay happy with whatever is happening in my life.

    Most important of all, after my last long term relationship ended, during those years I learned to be happy being alone. If you NEED someone in order to remain happy and balanced? Then maybe being alone is a lesson you still really need to learn. It’s a very important skill to have, being able to be happy alone. I’m now in a relationship again, it happened a bit by accident but everything is going pretty well especially because i love and appreciate her, but I don’t NEED her in order to feel good. Demanding someone to help upkeep my sanity is actually a pretty huge demand to put on a relationship and it will never end well, trust me.

    Bit of a word vomit but I started and had trouble stopping, this is an important issue for me as I really want to help with problems similar to mine, or dissimilar, if I can in any way be of help.

    If someone you know is having a rough time, remember to offer help or even just someone to talk to. Even if the help is declined the fact that you showed interest can be a huge help.

    And if you’re feeling bad, let me tell you that you’re awesome. Of all the possible things to happen, you were born and you’re alive here now. To achieve greatness is not a necessary goal for anyone. The greatest success for you is to find happiness. Remember the cashier you saw? or the cleaning lady? their jobs might or might not bring them happiness, but their lives might be full of joy. We humans are social animals, happiness comes from being helpful to others, feeling useful. Enjoy your hobby! talk to people! try not to judge others unless you understand their circumstances and in remember to be kind to yourself. You are all wonderful because you are capable of amazing acts of kindness. I don’t know who you are or where you are or what your circumstances are but I wanna tell you this, you are worthy. You are worth of love and appreciation and dreaming and asking for things! Here’s a corny end but I love you, you beautiful bastard, because I know you can be happy and make others happy.

    Loving regards

    Max from Finland

  51. Thank you for your brutal honesty. It’s brave enough to talk about having considered suicide, but to detail that period of your life like you’ve done here is what makes this post so striking and – for lack of a better word – convincing.

    The Tony Robbins clip is incredible as well.

  52. Steve Blampied As a therapist I promise you PSTEC is the single most powerful thing I have ever used with my clients when it comes to suicidal thoughts.

    It seem strange but it really works. Tim, you need to feature it.

  53. Well done Tim for having the courage to speak up. If you suspect someone you know is suicidal, ask them. Don’t say “are you OK?” or “are things tough?” but say it directly, no mistaking the truth, as in: “Do you want to kill yourself?” – no one lies when confronted with that question. If they answer no, then let them know you’re concerned for them, how it’s making you feel and say “tell me what’s going on for you” and then listen. Really listen. If they answer Yes, (they do want to kill themselves) say “tell me what’s going on for you” and be there, in the moment, listening. 80% of what people in the “caring” community do is listen. Anyone can listen. Sometimes that is all someone needs to keep them here in this world. Have the courage to speak up. You may just save a life.

  54. I was skeptical of this post at first because so many 21st century online ‘guru’ types are arrogant pricks and I have also unfairly mixed you in with them; even though I’ve bought two of your books and enjoyed them – the other ones who pop up in youtube advertisements rub off poorly on the good ones – such as yourself. Having said all that – I quickly found out that this post is legit.

    Thank you for sharing this Tim, it’s important to talk about it and I can relate all too well.

    Merci.

  55. Tim, I’ve recently been through a scary, anxiety-related episode with someone close to me. We’ve come through it but I wish I’d had this blog to refer to.

    Aside from this post, you have changed (and are changing) my life.

    Because of you I gave up 20 years of corporate life to start my own business. I have time to exercise and be with the people I love. Time to breathe. It took 3 months before I didn’t feel wired all the time. I am now creating a better life for others.

    All this because your Mom was brave enough to call you … and you spoke at TED and my husband watched and told me about this smart guy, so I read 4HWW and got the idea that life could be better. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for being here to share your gifts with the world.

  56. Hey Tim,

    I’m commenting under a false name, due to personal shame. This post undoubtedly is bringing to the comments everyone who currently wants to kill themselves, because they can get attention quickly through this post. Which as Tony said in his audio is easier than killing yourself, so we complain and flail about in comment sections like these. And that’s what I’m here to do. Because I’m at the end of the ropes. It’s just so intense man, it all is. So damn intense. I know you feel it, I can see it in how you react to things in videos – you are a very intense person. We all know that. So how do you handle the intensity of everything – just every emotion can get so caught up in your head tumbling around like a monster storming out of control. Is it meditation?

    I’ve started meditating this week, on and off. I can’t stick with a habit for more than literally 3 days. Any habit bike riding, meditation, brushing my teeth (how insanely pathetic is that). I am so bad at everything, yet I am “accomplished” in work and in my career. Really frustrating and upsetting. That doesn’t even scratch the surface of the frustration I feel around money, which psychological I understand all my problems. I have read the Millionare mind. I just need to take the time and really build the anchors to all of my bad habits to get them to stop. If I build positive anchors I can maybe break them all. On top of that I masterbate 3 – 7 times of day WHILE working from home after intense meetings. It’s so insanely stupid. Everything is just too much and I honestly am not sure how to handle it anymore. I take on more than I can handle just to stay above the water financially. All the while sitting in my office stressing the fuck out of my mind whilst DOING NOTHING OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN. How insanely psychotic is that? Heh. First world problems, for sure. But fuck are they rough. I used to be a heroin addict so my addictive bad habits never went away, they just switched. I got clean about 2 years ago and my career took off, but now idk. My life is falling apart and I cant fnid the right thing to help me get it back together.

    This post has no purpose though, just like the other pointless flailing to get attention. I too, am trying to get attention. Because if someone looks and reads this then I know at least they care, even if by accident, long enough to read this. And that maybe is enough.

    Thanks

    – A coward

    1. That has taken courage even to write this reply. You are as important as anyone else on this site and the fact you managed to come off heroin and you got your career off the ground shows there must be some unbelievable mental strength and resourcefulness. You obviously have a lot of strength and intensity, that may be the qualities that will get you through this tough period. Hope you find some inspiration from this blog and all the brilliant comments.

  57. Thank you so much for this. We don’t talk about suicide enough. Not like it’s a fun thing to talk about… But it’s happening to so many people and it’s so awesome to see someone really talk about it. Thank you.

    Suicide has touched my life too many times and it’s just too heavy of a burden to bare. You were so authentic and real and I really appreciate it as I’m sure so many others appreciate as well. You are going to help so many people with this. A million thank you’s

    Andrea

  58. Excellent post. I’m certain it will help a lot of people.

    I’ve had my own issues with depression and I thoroughly endorse Tim’s advice – particularly the importance of exercise. Two additional hacks which may help people:

    1. Positive self-talk: Even if you don’t feel happy – talk happy – say positive things to yourself out loud. Its a way to trick your unconscious into being happy. You might feel ridiculous doing it the first few times but I know from experience it does work. Also a useful motivational tool for when you’re not depressed. I thoroughly recommend the book ‘What to say when you talk to yourself’ by Dr. Shad Helmstetter.

    2. Psychedelics: Not for everyone – but I know Tim blogs about the benefits of these quite a lot. Google it – there is considerable evidence that they are an extremely effective treatment for depression in both the immediate and longer term. I have only done two ‘trips’ in my life – after the second rather intense one I found that I just couldn’t channel the old despair any more – I genuinely believe it fixed something in my brain. It is shame that they are illegal or difficult to obtain in many jurisdictions.

  59. Very important post – thanks for having the courage to talk about this. You’re tactical advice on routines has helped me tremendously. It’s been 3 years since I first read 4HWW, and I am in my second year of working from home. I’m very close now to leaving “employment” behind forever, but am still miserable as hell (even though I am right where I want to be). Reading your stuff helped me realize that MANY people feel that same way, and it’s something that can be overcome with routines and a smart approach. And this –> value of this quote can’t be understated:

    “Months later, after focusing on my body instead of being trapped in my head, things were much clearer.”

  60. Tim, thank you for sharing, man! I just want to let you know that I, personally, am so glad that you did not complete your plan. You are an inspiration to a ton of people across a wide range of interests, and this post and its resources will make a difference for years to come. Thank you for the courage to admit to having been there, and thank you for the tips on how to avoid the abyss.

  61. Thank you for sharing. Your authenticity and honesty are as heartfelt as they are brave. I have been in dark places, as well, so shining the light is powerful.

  62. It took true courage and compassion for others to write that and i respect you hugely for doing so.

    Life is struggle but your books give people hope, your a bright star in a dark dark night.

    Tim ferris… I salute you !

  63. Thank you for sharing this, Tim.

    I’ve been to some very dark places myself over the years, and your advice, especially about diet, exercise, and focus, is spot on. Managing those three things has helped me tread water and eventually swim to shore during my toughest times.

    Also, thank you for sharing in such an open and unfiltered way. It’s a shame that people who experience depression feel they need to hide it from the world because of the stigma that comes with it. Hopefully, more people like yourself and Brad will come forward and share their experiences so that as a society, we can have an open and honest conversation about depression and suicide and empower the people who have been afraid to seek help for fear of other people finding out.

  64. I found what helped me get through tough times was to keep a journal and focus on all the good things in my life. When I felt down I would get a pen and write a list of all the positive things and people in my life (it was always a hard process and even if I ended in tears it helped me get through)

  65. Having lost a sibling to suicide I can speak to the importance of sharing stories such as yours. You may never know the good you’ve done… A very heartfelt thank you, Tim.

  66. Thank you mate , on behalf of anybody who needs this , you are an amazing person who gives so much to the community you have created

  67. Thank yuo Tim for writing about suicide. I was never actually suicidal but i suffered from depression. I used herbal medication such as St. John’s Wort, visited a psychiatrist and used anti-depressent pills. But the best help i found was the self-help book Feeling Good by David D. Burns. I still refer to the book when i feel down.

  68. It’s important that we recognise that we all have mental health in the same way as physical health and that it’s a spectrum that we constantly move along. Just as an unexpected fall can break a bone, we see from Tim’s post how easily an unexpected series of difficult events can lead your mind to a dark place before you have time to regroup.

    Notice patterns in your behaviour during both good and bad periods and if you’re lucky enough to have support networks, trust them to highlight when you’re beginning to spiral.

    When you have a negative thought about yourself or your situation, think of a friend or colleague (or even Mr Tim) and imagine yourself saying that thought directed towards them. If it feels uncomfortable or unjustified then try to realise how unfair and demanding you’re being to yourself.

    Negative thoughts are like clouds, sometimes they’re all you can see, but you still know the sky exists above.

    If this post triggers anything, good or bad, let’s talk.

    x

  69. Good man! This is how it needs to be spoken of more. This is exactly the kind of thinking that helped me out of a rut years ago and helps me enjoy life more overall. I think when you put suicide in perspective you realize how easy it is to be happy and can enjoy a richer life.

    Good man! You’re doing great things Tim, it is fantastic to see someone grabbing life by the balls and sharing so much.

  70. Like (way too many others) this is a topic that is painfully close to home for me, too, and I wanted to thank Tim and all the amazing people commenting here for working their arses off to be part of the solution rather than the problem.

    I won’t go into our personal backstory, but I would like to say that myself, my partner, and two of our three kids are now using Nutrient Therapy, and it’s been phenomenal to manage assorted labels attached to us. It’s worth a good hard look at (and then actually read the science yourself!).

    Also, diet IS important. High five for eating real food.

  71. Tim,

    Possibly the most important thing you’ve ever written and shared. Beautiful. THANK YOU

    –keith

  72. oh just thank you. I have tears in my eyes. just got out of my therapeutist and this text is perfect timing. your problems resonate with me and i think indeed we must realize and remember we are all at this game fighting together. all making mistakes, all being weak from time to time and all in need of love and support no matter how strongly we deny it. thank you. Much love for you, Natalia.

  73. What if you have no loved ones who you could make that vow to? What when you know that you are on the outer circle for everyone you know? It’s funny how people always assume that everyone has loved ones. I guess us forgotten people are not the target group of this post.

    1. Helen,

      It has been half a year since you posted this comment, and I really hope you are still alive and somehow reading this.

      I don’t know your life. It might be true that you actually don’t have people close to you. But depression is a cruel bitch, it makes you feel absolutely sure that no one actually cares about you and you are not important to anyone.

      This is, in the vast majority of the cases, not true.

      But well, as I said, I don’t know your life. So I’m here, and if you are still alive (and whether or not still contemplating suicide) let’s make a mutual anti-suicide vow.

      I start. Helen, I promise you, under no circumstances will I commit suicide.

      Your turn.

  74. Thank you Tim, you’re a hero. I know how difficult it is to write and share about this sort of thing, let alone with hundreds of thousands of people publicly. I hope some of the things I mention here will help some people, as it’s taken me a long time to work this thing out. Over the years I have managed to get a better grip on depression and suicide, but this post has re-injected some “positivity”, as it’s far too easy to slip back into dark corners of the mind…

    I had a similar scenario during my undergraduate years, and spiralled into a deep and almost unshakable place of negativity (drinking myself into oblivion and taking drugs), I was close to ending it all on a handful of occasions… I have no idea how I managed to come out the other side with a degree but over recent years things like meditation, and philosophy (particularly Eastern) has massively changed my perspective on life, and where I once allowed myself to be trapped in my own self-esteem issues, I can now ‘return’ to a more positive frame (that I’ve created and nurtured over recent years) when I find myself slipping back into negative head space.

    I think depression often arises from a friction between the way the world is and the way you ‘want’ it to be. Once you let go of external expectations and begin to truly value yourself (you have no reason not to – you always have something to offer) you can climb out of destructive thought patterns. Certain ideas from Buddhism, such as “you create all of the suffering in your life” teaches that you *always* have a choice. You choose how you respond (not react) to any particular situation or environment. Once I realised this it was hugely liberating, to know that I was in control and I, at any given time, am able to shape my response to particular situations. Another part of Buddhism or meditation is simply the act of ‘acknowledging’/accepting something. You can’t control your emotional/physiological reaction to certain things per se, but you can acknowledge those feelings and manage them as they move through you.

    I am strongly against medication as a long term treatment. I feel that the majority of us have the capacity within ourselves to shift perspective. One of the biggest hurdles I went over was the acceptance that maybe depression can never truly be removed, and that simply we must learn to manage it when it arises and mitigate the damage it can potentially do, while staying strong until it passes – because it does pass. There are so many other factors you can adjust to maximise your efficacy in this area. Aside from the inner healing and searching you can do through meditation and reading up on spiritual philosophies, the more practical things such as exercising (trust me – swimming for me is one of the most therapeutic and grounding activities you can do – it forces you to breathe in a particular way – basically meditation/yoga in water), as well as eating well (remove all that shit from your diet – sugar, most wheat/gluten, caffeine reliance etc. – PLUS omega 3 fish oil, extremely good for treating anxiety etc.), as well as good sleep (your brain requires deep sleep to replenish dopamine/melatonin – happiness chemicals), and human social contact. It’s easy to slide into deep and rigid periods of isolation and this is toxic because you get more and more into your head. You need to get out of your head, spend time with friends, people, bring back your experience into simply experiencing life, rather than allowing your experience to be dominated by your own self-created problems. Sorry for the essay, hope that was helpful for someone…

  75. Sharing this is like taking a sacred piece of your soul and throwing it out to the world to see and ultimately judge. People have so many fears about talking about the most important thing there is to talk about and we think we are better off for pretending it’s not there.

    You have helped a lot of people and this will continue to help people who read it in the future. It’s a perspective we don’t often hear and it needed to be told. You are a good person.

  76. Big blessings to all who will read your story, thanks for your leadership in this most important hack yet. Excellent piece, Tim. One tip and one thought. The tip: acupuncture helped me find an anxiety free baseline, so I can know how my choices and experiences move me closer to sustainable peace, or further away. I return for a reset when I feel too far off center to recover with my usual grounding forces. I would not have survived without this. The thought: Gloria Steinem noted after the death of her only husband, a man she married in her seventies and who died within the year. Now, she said, she knew there is a difference between appropriate sadness and depression. Our culture increasingly confuses the two, stifling emotional processing of sadness that contributes to depression.

  77. Tim, thank you so much for posting this. I broke down just after reading about Silas. I made a pact (like the one your friend made) with a friend many years ago, and last August, I told him that I could no longer promise to keep the pact. It was the first time since highschool that I’d been suicidal. It was right after Robin William’s death (that was a major trigger for me).

    I grew up in a fanatical religious cult (I left almost exactly four years ago, at age 22), and I’m in the very beginning stages of writing about it, after having quite a few people ask me to. I’ve had so many friends kill themselves, and I’ve come close a few times myself. People need to know how common religious cults are, what they are, and most importantly, what kind of intense psychological damage they do, especially when one is born into the cult.

    I’m absolutely terrified of the repercussions of writing about my past, not excluding the inevitable reaction of my so-called family. Recently, I haven’t written anything, and it’s largely because I’m so scared of what people’s reactions will be (mostly from the people that I know). I know that people need to hear what I have to say, so I’ve been feeling guilty and ashamed that I haven’t gotten further along with the writing process. My hope is that my writing can help people…people like my friends that killed themselves, and people like me who thought there was nothing else in life than how we were brought up.

    I’ve cried several times while writing this…this isn’t stuff I’ve admitted to very many people. I just wanted to say thank you for writing this piece. I have a great amount of respect for you, and even more so now that you wrote this.

    I genuinely appreciate how raw and genuine you were in this piece; it really had an impact on me. I feel like if you can have the courage to admit what you have, then I need to find the courage to do the same. I plan on taking the advice from your books, in hopes of making my own books best sellers as well, so as to reach a wider audience, and to hopefully help people who are in the same position that I was, just a few years ago.

    I don’t know that you’ll even see this, I just wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. I cannot tell you how much I needed to read this right now. Thank you for having the courage to speak up and write. I’d say you don’t know how much it means, but I have a feeling that you probably do.

    1. Sweetmprecious, I was also born into a religious cult about the same time as you were. Luckily, my family took the big step to officially leave what seemed to be the mother of all bad cults shortly after I was born. However, the psychological scars and patterns that were prevalent in this cult carried over into much of my upbringing, and the void that was left by leaving the cult was often filled with other less-fanatical version of the same sickness. I believe that many of the patterns that are prevalent in cult ideology quickly turn into the path of a downward spiral when a disharmonious thought is added to the mix. In other words, it works until it doesn’t. With relation to suicide, the cult mindset thrives on many toxic mindsets that create a similar path of toxic thoughts that lead to depression, paranoia, anxiety, and ultimately self-destruction.

      1) The cult mindset teaches you to have a mental filter that poisons your perception. This represents a distortion of reality where negatives are dealt with an inordinate amount of attention. Being part of a cult injects a primal fear that you will be separated from the cult and become a pariah, or in my case become a “back-slider”. I would dwell on the imperfections of myself that could only be cured by “drinking the kool-aid”. This proved to be very dangerous because when the rug was swept out from under me when I rejected the cult-like ideas I was still left with the habit of dealing with the negatives with an inordinate amount of attention, and I did not have the common salve of the cult to fix it. The cult mentality seems to me a sinister master of marketing. They create idea that you are the problem, and then offer the solution.

      2) The cult mindset also states that your future is often pre-determined. The laws of cause and effect leave little room for ambiguity or exploration. You follow the path that is given to you without asking inconvenient questions. Like the mental filter, this works until it doesn’t, and is designed to make you feel powerless apart from the cult.

      3) Your personal accomplishments mean nothing, except in how they relate to the promulgation of the cult. This mindset seems like it goes through several cults. The personal identity is crushed and accomplishment can only be judge as how it relates to the ideology.

      4) Manipulation of Guilt — If you feel guilty then you are guilty. I have found that cult leaders are often masters of manipulating guilt. This ties into making oneself neglect reason and place an inordinate amount of the decision making process on the emotions.

      5) Everything is Black and White. You are either for or against the cult.

      6) All of these blow things up out of proportion. The extreme example is that a small misstep can lead to an eternity of pain in the afterlife or Armageddon- event.

      7) They label short comings with things that are really meaningless.

      8) The Plague of Should. Every action is staged against a moral backdrop that leaves no room for moral ambiguity. None of your actions are ever enough and you should always be doing more. You are taught to “should” on yourself.

      9) You become responsible for things that you were soley liable. Often a cult leader will enact a punishment that does not fit the “crime” — Look what you are forcing me to do.

      10) Setting you up for failure. The cult puts impossible standards up for you to achieve, and you inevitably fail. Your only redemption comes through submission, once again, to the poisonous ideology.

      Many of the mental distortions became clearer to me after reading the Feeling Good Handbook by David D. Burns, MD. This book is where this list of 10 distortions is based. The mental distortions that the cult capitalizes on to enforce control are actual common to the human experience. It’s like mental distortions on steroids.

      When the cult’s “foundation” of dealing with all of life’s problems was taken away from me, I found that the distortions became overwhelming. In my early twenties it felt like I had to create a process for living start all over again. It was a daunting feeling. I threw furniture across my apartment and walked a mile to a bridge where I pounded the cement until my fists bled. Part of me really wanted to jump. All of the distortions felt like they were crashing down on me and I was going into an unmanageable whirlpool of chaos. But I crossed that bridge in pursuit of beauty to a friends apartment where I was able to find a quantum of solace. If she had not reached out to me earlier, and noted that she saw my internal struggle and had not offered a listening ear, I could imagine a path where I would have met my fate at the bottom of the Tennessee River.

      However, I am happy to say that I did not follow the path of self-destruction. Although I continued to struggle with suicidal thoughts for the next couple of years, moment by moment I was able to make progress out of the pit of despair. Some of it came through reaching out to friends, seeking professional help, reading self-help, philosophy and psychological books. Listening to Bach’s Suite One for Cello was an incredible anchor for me to have, as well. It was a reminder that there was beauty in the world worth experiencing. In many cults, you are told not to fall in love with reality as it presents itself, however, this is one of the most profound ways to experience being human. If I resign to this, then I feel like my soul has been amputated.

      Please, write your thoughts. I know that the backlash can seem really bad and painful. But, I would encourage you to do it out of love for yourself, an idea that is often rejected in the cult mentality.

  78. Good on you Tim! Good post, got me in the feels. Having been to the dark place many a time I am glad that you’ve taken this Step to reach out to such a large audience, you never know who you have just helped x

  79. A very thoughtful and eye-opening read…I have been following you Tim since about 2009 and now you are more human to me than any other “personality” that I read their books, follow/listen to. Being “overwhelmed” is a common feeling and you have connected the “feeling” to suicide for me. I have always pondered why someone would commit suicide, for many of the after-effects you point out. I think I get it now. I am a little OCD, make those lists every day for work and personal life, get spazzy when I can’t seem to focus and get things done so if I imagine that feeling multiplied by 10, I think I may understand why a person would get to that point. My husbands father committed suicide well before I ever met my husband but when he told me this, I could never process it. My hope is that this gets more reads and we as a society try to look more for the signs and support our loved ones, friends, colleagues, neighbors. Simple steps and getting support are key. People who don’t even know you love you.

  80. Thank you for this Tim. I’m currently at university, I experienced depression in the first year and I’ve recognized it in a few of my friends. It’s so reassuring to know that a man I respect as much as you experiences the same problems of depression and procrastination that I do.

  81. Tim,

    Thanks for sharing your experience and your thoughts. I think this can go beyond suicide and is applicable to people who are suffering from depression.

    You provide some great ideas for folks who are looking for a way out but can’t think of how to do it. Depression, like suicide, also affects the lives of those around you, and not in a good way.

    Cheers,

    Marc

  82. Tim, you are more beautiful than ever in your openness & vulnerability. So beautiful. I had some very specific life events kick me into a phase of suicidal ideation a few years back.

    A very black comedy element of the experience is that one of my best friends is a very gifted researcher & practitioner in the field of suicide prevention, so I knew all the boxes I was ticking and how far I was gone to be considered a serious risk to myself. I didn’t want to speak to anyone I knew about where I was internally & I didn’t want to speak to anyone else about it either.

    One guy saved my life with this; “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength.” He didn’t love me like a friend or partner, he was a holistic health practitioner I went under duress from my dentist…this guy was so filled to bursting with life & joy & love, I could just feel that he loved me for who I was in a perfectly pure and unencumbered way.

    I left the session and couldn’t stop wondering,”how the fuck can someone be so fucking happy? How can he be so incredibly alive?” He emanates love & joy with the openness I’d only ever seen in very young children. This one guy, just by being himself, shone a light into my own darkness pulled me back out of it.

    Anything I ever accomplish in life is thanks to him, because he reminded me to keep coming back into the light until I no longer needed reminding.

  83. Thank you for doing such a good job of describing how little things can become very big problems for someone whose mind is not healthy. The self-management tips are good, but they are not enough for people like me who require medication for major depressive disorder and anxiety. I know, because I tried managing without medication, and it was a disaster – and actually dangerous. Going back on my medication changed my perspective 180 degrees rather quickly. So I would add to this post, please speak with a medical professional about whether you need medication. If there is no shame in taking Lipitor or Viagra, there should be no shame in taking Lexapro.

  84. Very important post and quite moving in places. I drew a lot from the last section and also the suggestion that we do not believe ourselves.

    However, I do have a issue with the idea of the people you love and how much you will hurt them being a solution or a trick for getting out of an episode. I have barrel a good many years with my own share of suicidal highs and lows and to a lesser extend on any given day I still can. However, I have noticed that when I am in states similar to what you described above there is almost a sense of insanity that accompanies the experience. Anything rational or positive is usually chewed up the the overwhelming nature of what I am feeling. Obviously I have thought about my loved ones in these times and perhaps that is what has kept me from doing anything extreme, but often these thoughts of there love can conjure up a profound sense of guilt and shame to the tune of: these people love me so much and I am think such thing or this is a betrayal of them. In a way the very fact of their love becomes ammunition for my sense of disgust with myself and my lot. So the idea a pact with another person alleviating this intensity although well meaning a perhaps useful for some, would only offer fickle support when I am in such a state. My own strategy is simply holding on a observing what I term an emotional form of madness until the weather clears. Earlier in my life this was much more difficult than it has become, as I had little evidence that such episodes would pass, but now I can see the edges of them much more clearly and I have seen them last as short as an hour. The trick for me is to put one foot in front of the other and then repeat on the other side. Suicide is a permanent solution to a very temporary state of being.

    I wish you and anyone else reading this continued freedom and long lives.

  85. The silly sausage that I am accidentally put my own tips in the facebook comments so I’ll repost here.

    Thanks for sharing Tim. Sorry you had to go through that hellish time.

    I agree with all the tips you gave. Below are some strategies that I’ve found have worked for me after going through a bad mental patch early last year – not to the extent that you went through, but I definitely felt like I was falling apart. Also, I have burned in my brain the horrific image of a friend’s coffin being lowered into the ground after he committed suicide a couple of years ago, so I know all too well that the only way is up. (If you’re ever worried about someone’s mental health, ask them if they’re okay. Sometimes you just never know.)

    But I will say upfront that a psychologist helped me greatly. She explained that I was going through a time of unstable moods, and I just had to get through that time and get better, rather than beat myself up for not being superwoman. To focus on small, day-to-day achievements. I really do recommend talking to a good psychologist, if it’s possible. In Australia, Medicare pays for a large chunk of the fee, but I don’t know if people in the US have the same opportunity. I also have to admit that after years of trying to avoid it, I finally went on mild antidepressants (temporarily), and they made a surprisingly huge difference. I still feel like me and I still have emotions, but I feel more normal, have more energy and can think more clearly. However, there are lots of little non-medicinal things you can do to help yourself too.

    -Firstly, know that all the little things add up, day by day. Skipping a 20-minute walk outside may not seem like a big deal, but going for that walk makes a big difference. I tell myself I’m going for a walk outside for my mental health rather than for my body, and that diffuses the pressure of thinking I have to run and push myself. Often I end up running anyway, but it’s more likely to get me outside and enjoy my surroundings.

    -Try your very best to get good quality sleep. This means having clean sheets, having a shower before going to bed, putting on nice comfy pyjamas and going to bed as early as you can. And not sleeping next to your laptop!

    -Cut down on sugar, carbs and cut out alcohol. But you can’t just cut down on something, you have to replace it. So I frequent iquitsugar.com and thehealthychef.com for good recipes. (There’s a great GF carrot cake recipe on the latter!).

    -Instead of eating lots of chocolate, chips or lollies to calm your nerves, drink tea! And, never underestimate the nourishing effects of sharing your thoughts with an empathetic friend over a hot cup of tea!

    -Try doing some hands-on activities. Baking seems to get me into a good headspace. I have to focus on the recipes rather than the thoughts in my own head, and have something yummy to eat and share with others at the end. I once read that if you’re feeling down, do something nice for someone else.

    -Journalling is really helpful. Having a brain dump, on paper or even on a pages or Word document, shows you what’s on your mind. Write the stuff that seems silly, or that you’re scared to write down. Otherwise, avoidance fuels anxiety.

    -If you’re a musician, get out that instrument! Play your feelings! Or learn to play along with your favourite song! I find that playing music slows down my overwhelming thoughts and has a meditative quality.

    -Meditate or do breathing exercises. Again, this seems like a tiny activity that can be skipped, but putting in the effort is worth it. I downloaded the guided meditation app “Headspace” after hearing Kevin Rose recommended it in a podcast with Tim. Andy’s voice on the app is really calming and comforting!

    -Keep your surroundings clean, and tidy. Take things out of messy cupboards and put them back in neatly if you have to. Get out a sponge and clean a dirty wall if you have to. It gives you a sense of achievement, AND makes things easier to find. I always feel less anxious after I do that.

    -Keep your hair clean (especially if it’s long). Having a good hair day makes a world of difference!

    -Spend more time with positive, understanding people, and less time around people who make you feel bad about yourself, or are generally negative. That also goes for the people you let into your head via the media. (eg Avoid watching bitchy people on TV or reading tacky news sites). I find listening to the Tim Ferriss podcast and the Osher Gunsberg podcast put me in a good mood, and I can listen to them while cleaning or baking. Osher’s had his own struggles with anxiety, so he often talks about that in the intros and offers some of his own good tips.

    -Listen to your gut, know what works for you, and write your own list of tips. Refer to your document as often as you wish.

    -Avoid social media, or at least, passively hanging out on it. It can mess with your head. I find Pinterest to be okay because it’s more aspirational for me. I can use it like a vision board, rather than use it to compare myself to others.

    -Avoid comparing yourself to others. If someone else has a personality trait or skill that you’d like, then put steps into place to learn that same skill if you can, but know that it’s not helping anyone to glumly sit in your room and think you’re not as good as that person you went to primary school with.

    -Learn to monitor your thoughts and break them down into small pieces. Ask yourself, “Is this a helpful thought?”. I’ve heard Elon Musk say in interviews that his work strategy is to “Boil things down to their fundamental truths, then work your way up from there”. I know he’s talking about projects there, but I find it a helpful strategy for everyday situations.

    -Read “Man’s Search For Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. I also found reading “Life After Death” by Damien Echols to be incredibly inspirational, and it made me really appreciate the outdoors! (He was unfairly put on death row for 18 years, but was released a couple of years ago and now makes art).

    -Be kind to yourself! Know that you’re going through a rough patch and you’ll be strong again soon enough! This sounds cheesy, but it works. 🙂

  86. In middle school through college I battled through depression. At that time of my life it was all I knew. The more I read about it, the more I glorified in it. I felt beautiful and creative in my depressed. Like in an abusive relationship, I couldn’t and wouldn’t find help. In high school, I had turned to self-hurting, not to kill myself but to feel pain to cut into the numbness. I would cut myself just to know I could bleed. I would secretly feel empowered running my fingers over my healing cuts.

    Its may be silly but it wasn’t until I was introduced to a movie that I could break through this downward spiral. The movie was so vividly beautiful and made me feel again. It pains me to think it couldn’t save the actor that made it to be. Whenever, I feel the dark waves creeping back in I will watch it like a prescription and it makes me cry. It makes me feel. I am proud to say that now at 29 it has not been as dark for me for many years. I does get better.

    http://www.itgetsbetter.org/

    Movie- “What Dreams May Come” starring Robin Williams

  87. Tim, thank you so much for sharing this. I had suicidal thoughts 15 years ago, but my new puppies helped keep me tethered. Now, 15 years later, I’m dealing not only with the loss of my two dogs, but my marriage, all within just a few weeks. At times (most times), I feel completely unmoored, lonely and lost. Talking to people helps, but my friends and family can’t be by my side 24/7. So I’ve found that the next best things are walking in the woods, and discovering amazingly honest, sometimes brutally honest, but always helpful resources like your post. Thank you again.

  88. Well done, man. It’s refreshing to hear your story and know that the best of us struggle with this kind of stuff. Your practical list is well worth printing out and acting on. Thank you for taking time to write this out.

  89. Telling this story took balls Tim. And you’ve managed to impact me in a way I’m still processing. You took yourself off the pedestal and said to the world “I am human like you!”

    Tim, I have great respect for your accomplishments. I have respect for your tenacity and your perseverance. And you are a human being. You finally managed in this one blog post to make me understand the meaning of “he puts his pants on one leg at a time.”

    If you ever find yourself in need of some friendly stranger to talk to, my email is in the detail line — really. Thanks for putting yourself out there.

    All my best,

    John

  90. Tim, this did it for me: “You have to realize that depression doesn’t last forever” (from your Reddit AMA).

  91. Brave and beautiful post, Tim. I agree that movement will move you to a better place. Love and thanks, Michele

  92. Thanks for your honesty Tim. As a mom, I find being able to teach my kids positive coping mechanisms as soon as I can before the stressors of school and life start affecting them is so important. These are excellent strategies that I can talk to them about.

  93. It is important to share and discuss with others. The more that speak up about this, the more it becomes a common issue and the medical fields will be able to treat better. The struggles one goes through. It hits home for me on so many levels. I just wish there were more supportive groups everywhere. Thank you Tim.

  94. Hey Tim,

    I feel like this post is strange timing. I won first place in a entrepreneurship competition this past Friday, and recieved one of those big checks for $50,000. I received a call two days ago that I am being disqualified for being an alumni. Although I recieved permission from a professor. Now that the provost is involved, the professor is denying he told me this. I feel I’m in a similar fight (nothing suicidal).

    When I won the competition I called Stephen Key, my mentor in the inventRight program and was so excited. He was the one who turned me on to you. Both your books helped me win this competition. The first thing the judge said to me was ‘sometimes it just take a simple idea’. My idea is a device that teaches correct lifting form. Anyway, I’m going to continue to fight Hofstra University but it’s me against a professor.. I want to thank you for the inspiration in your posts and book and hope you have some advice.

  95. Much respect Tim for having the balls to write what you never wanted to write about! Times are dark for all of us at times, not quitting is key… And we all have stories just like that, which for us seem to be unsolvable but for other People might be just a minor struggle.

    What I took out of the post is not making things bigger than they are and just start doing what you can today towards the solution of the Problem/Trouble, etc.

    In consequence I have just cleared my desk at work and start all fresh now to not move the whole mountain at work, but to get it done bit by bit… that is all I can do anyways.

    Many thanks for sharing Tim. Very appreciated.

    Best

    Michael D. from Germany

  96. Hi Tim-

    First, thanks for this. The feelings of depression and helplessness I’m familiar with, but I’ve fortunately never got to that point where taking my own life seemed like a real option. I recently had the unfortunate experience of trying to resuscitate my 15-year-old neighbor after her ultimately successful suicide attempt. In my whole life, I’ve never wanted to go back so much to talk to someone, to tell them that I cared (and we were not close- barely knew each other), to remind them that, as they say, “it gets better.” In short, the point about the effects of suicide on others is well made.

    Maybe it’s selfish of me, but I wish I could have helped more.

  97. Tim already brilliantly gave tactical tips, for adding on strategic, in 2 words:

    1) “Long term involvement” to achieve a “dream”

    AND

    2) Inside a “stable team”.

    Both notions in the large sens.

    2 cent tips and thoughts mostly for driven, entrepreneurs, type-A personalities:

    First to know it’s very common, actually surprising how often historic genius like Napoleon Bonaparte and many others, were too on chronic suicidal planet.

    Detail oriented, high IQ, perfectionists, etc… have ability to receive more informations and so attention fatigue, analytical fatigue, understanding fatigue, decision fatigue… and all highest levels they have ability of methodology to reach but rarely reach because of limited execution level related to their lack of resource of delegation and stable teams around.

    That notion of “stable team around” is the key.

    Napoleon Bonaparte was mostly suicidal in his youth and this stopped when he had constant 3 writers simultaneously around to dictate instructions, laws, thoughts, etc…

    On perfectionism, Leonardo Da Vinci has quote:

    “Details make perfection and perfection is no detail”.

    Trying to convince a brilliant perfectionist for happier “low expectations” and “minimal effective doses” on results, just don’t work in the same way the security of the cage won’t replace the excitement for an eagle who already perceived highest heights and look from sky of snow-covered summits.

    That’s why the proverbe “Ignorance is Bliss” has many level meanings.

    Or why all brilliant people are addicted to their daily meditation to On/Off and retake full control of the beast.

    And the other “cliché” of “Don’t be so harsh and demanding on yourself” doesn’t work either.

    Because kindness and morality of accepting diversity of human beings, make it easy to not be harsh and demanding to others, but impossible to not be demanding to oneself because it’s very hard to not go to what you can see and reach.

    Michael Jordan had famously said to Tony Robbins:

    “Everyday I’m demanding more to my self than anybody can humanely expect.

    I’m not competing with somebody else, but with what I’m capable of.”

    Who could say there could be compatibility with “happy lower expectations” and this quote?

    And when that category are aware of the causality between highest achievements resulting from that detail oriented brain which is harsh and demanding for perfection and the process and final compromises to reach the “right puzzle of elements” called “perfection”, asking for lower expectations is asking to kill those 2 elements with direct causal relation.

    So practically it’s only possible to manage this beast category of brain which creates simultaneously opportunities, success and… misery.

    This is why I hear Tim often repeat rightfully limiting to the indispensable 2-3 things to achieve in 1 single day.

    And meditation to train the beast to accept this 2-3 executions and to renounce to the other curiosities and creativities in reach, but to avoid absolutely, if not nothing will be done.

    So the long term solution:

    1) Accepting once for all the price to pay for this category of genetic Brain and being brilliant.

    Accepting that the fastest Ferrari must pay a price to not be as comfortable than a Roll’s Royce.

    At least fully understanding there’s no rational to complain about “higher-lower” /average mood and maniac-depressive states when accepting that this is standard category of misery for that type of brain.

    That if you want the speed of Ferrari, got to accept also the misery of vibrations under the seat and back pain.

    2) The essential difference between temporary teams for a specific result, and stable teams for a long term outputting system to produce.

    (team in the large sens)

    Only the latter makes happy.

    Napoleon Hills cites as happiest people between all billionaires / “successful” people he analyzed being:

    – Thomas Edison

    – Andrew Carnegie

    And generally when the genius has created stable teams around, AND is in “producing process”. Output of real products in sens of “object” possible to touch or take in hand.

    Because soon or late the demanding brain won’t accept the 2-3 things in day if a system can produce more with less misery.

    3) The analytical planet of “ressource allocation” and “risk aversion”… sorry this is for later and older businessmen, not entrepreneurs.

    The “I test before” and the new strange considering Warren Buffet or the “late Richard Branson” as entrepreneurs, is big mistake and confusion between businessman and entrepreneurship.

    The “burn the boat to take the island” and risk takers are the only real entrepreneurs. Which doesn’t mean they’re crazy irrational and don’t meticulously analyze their variable ressources. They don’t “test before” with “risk aversion”. Why? because they have “dream” and “vision”.

    And so see their “ressources” as highly variable in time, and then don’t allocate as in the “fixe ressources to allocate” approach.

    Businessmen are less happy than entrepreneurs those with a product/object to touch.

    Dream and having a vision to achieve is not compatible with staying too deep and long in the measuring and analytic world.

    Bruce Lee’s quote: “If you think too long about a thing, you’ll never do it.”

    So again, long term involvement inside a stable team, to achieve dreams and visions.

    “Total freedom” has a price of misery for the absence of long term structure to achieve dreams and make impossible possible during a long term planned process.

    We need often what we don’t want, and apparently “responsibility” and “structure” we think to not want, is needed for homosapiens.

    Few men want spontaneously to marry, and think the “Male” is a gene spreader as the good mammal he is programmed to be.

    Many are surprised to be happier after marrying and having children that again spontaneously are “responsibilities”, “costs”…

    Because we need “long term involevments” inside “teams”, whatever field it could be.

    Children for some…

    Going on March for Elon Musk…

    Creating “Tools” for Steve Jobs… (who cited as click the article on Condor energy efficiency compared to humans and others… and the fact that the same human “with bicycle” suddenly became the most efficient. So humans are there to create “tools”.)

    (and his ad “crazy ones”.)

  98. This is an important post and I admire you for sharing your story. I think it’s going to help a lot of people. I know it has helped me. Unfortunately there still is a huge stigma around depression (and other mental health problems) which causes shame, and this shame actually maintains the problem. I took control of my experience with depression through a number of strategies such as professional help, behavioural activation, social connection, and mindfulness. Different things will work for people, but what I have mentioned will work for most. I would also highly recommend a book called The Upward Spiral by Alex Korb. It’s a book about using the neuroscientific knowledge of depression to reverse the downward spiral and move towards stable wellbeing. Thanks again and all the best to everyone x

  99. Tim, this is such an important article and I want to thank you for having the courage to write it. I’m glad you’re still around buddy!

  100. Thanks for sharing Tim. It’s so easy to think that successful people like you don’t suffer from depression or suicide thoughts. I fight my depression regularly and it gets in the way of my success in business all the time. Here’s what I’m doing right now that is helping: first thing in the morning, I journal about how I’m feeling and just free write everything out. Then I set the timer on my phone for 2 minutes and just breath, trying to keep my mind blank. Then I do another 2 minutes of visualizing a great outcome for the day and how I want the day to go. I don’t get to it every day, but I try to do it as many days as I can. It does help and I can tell that my days are getting better.

  101. I went through my perfect storm about 3 and half years ago, just before I turned 40. It was a combination of a marriage breakup (we’d been together since I was 19), a failing business and then a sense of overwhelming failure.

    I still clearly remember the night I stood next to an overpass on a motorway willing myself to jump but not being able to. It was the thought of leaving my son without a dad that stopped me. Since then I have managed to turn so much around, but it hasn’t been easy or smooth, but I battle on.

    I’ve found meditation and mindfulness techniques plus seeing a therapist invaluable. I found the exercises in the book the happiness trap to be the most beneficial on a day to day basis.

    Thanks for writing this post Tim, its incredibly important that mental health isn’t swept under the rug and having high profile people talk about it will make a huge difference in stopping that happening.

  102. Most suicides and suicide attempts are a temporary crisis of hope. 90% of people that unsuccessfully try never attempt it again.

    Great post Tim. I just got news yesterday that a good friends son who is 25 had killed him self. I have lost 5 friends in the last year due to suicide. All were men in their late 40’s. It is an epidemic in our society that no one is talking about and needs to be addressed.

    I had a crisis of hope in 2007 when my Real Estate business collapsed due to my integrity and refusal to be a crook in a crooked business. Fortunately I met the girl of my dreams that week. A beautiful blonde with big boobs that played in a stoner metal band. A couple of weeks later I closed my Real Estate business picked up the guitar again after not playing for 4 years and got a copy of The 4 Hour Work Week and changed my life. Life has been awesome ever since.

  103. I have been struggling with depression for the past 15 months (yes…15 months). Even the thought of being in bed in the morning or afternoon freaks me out, just thinking that I was exactly like this a year ago. And before that, I’ve been having issues for 1.5 years because of a personal traumatic event which had me crying in the morning (7am onwards) and at night. And before that it was a few years dealing with a high pressure job. And before that, several years in high school dealing with growing up…to the first point when I was 10 and had my first attempt. I had to see the school counselor and my family, we ended up moving out and switching schools.

    Even today, as someone in my mid-20s, I still get the thoughts. Especially in the past 15 months having to move back to my parents. No one, except for 1-2 people, has really bothered to email to me to see how I was. I have 13,000-15,000 followers on Twitter, won several awards at work, my name is recognizable when I add it on my resume and yet, only a couple of people have bothered to send a personal email asking me how I was. How is it possible to be like this, and still feel so lonely? There is an upside – which is I realize how much family is important to me. And then I realize that as long as I keep this to myself no one is going to know..

    Anyway thanks for sharing your entry. I’ve definitely had those dark days, and I am trying to cope in a healthy way. Just taking steps getting there (first step – have the motivation to even read and reply to my emails…before, it would take me weeks to even reply to a personal email).

  104. Raw, brave and honest…………..commuicating our stories helps dis-empower depression itself. It thrives on the person being isolated.

    Onwards

  105. Adding to the list.

    Depression is literally an altered state, bearing this in mind tells you two things. 1. Just like having a designated driver you SHOULD get help on this. 2. Just knowing its an altered state can remind you that there is something about the situation you can’t see right now or that something is out of proportion.

    The next tip is to identify what stories you keep telling yourself. While it is true that sometimes we need to accept hard truths, I would challenge you to ask yourself. Would I ever say this, like this, to someone I love?.How would you tell someone you really loved these hard truths? This way you’re not running, but you’re also not being a dick to yourself.

    (Please bare in mind that the self talk we practice comes out to the people we talk to when we least expect it, even if we don’t mean it, so practicing this love to yourself will also make you more loving in the long run to others)

  106. Thanks! I really needed this.

    I’m going through recovery from Chronic Hypervitaminosis A (from Cod liver oil misuse), an established symptom of which is “Suicidal Ideation” accompanied by severe intracranial pain.

    This comes in episodes of 2-12 hours, and can last entire nights.

    Not very fun, as you can understand.

    Exercise and Reading (esp. Seneca), and logically dissecting that feeling through Writing have been my tools to deal with it.

    Your work has helped me a lot, especially how you identify and dissect emotions like fear and excitement, and pinpoint their causes, and apply rational judgment to them.

    Will be useful for the rest of my life (25 y.o. now), so thanks a lot! 🙂

    P.s.:

    Url says “http://fourhourworkweek.com/2015/05/06/how-to-commit-suicide/”, which could be a bit misleading.

    I’d prefer if it said “how-not-to-commit-suicide”.

    What do you think?

  107. Important and powerful stuff. Good you wrote it.

    I come from a suicidal family. Dad and step-father both committed suicide, Mom made an attempt that left her paralyzed for 30 years before she finally died. First time I considered suicide was when I was 7. Last time I considered it with any seriousness was 12 years ago, while undergoing cancer treatment.

    The one thing that has always stopped me was #2. What it would do to family, friends, people who were invested in me and my survival.

    Remind people that there is more to consider than their own pain. None of us is an island.

    Thanks for writing.

  108. In my darkest periods I have found only one thing that can bring me out, even for a short period, and that is noticing someone else’s grief.

    I’m the hippy always radically pulling off the road to rescue wildlife and escaped pets. Seeing another in pain or need brings me to life, makes me forget myself and act to help.

    Paying attention to other people’s behaviours or even just asking questions, being personable with others can help you to help someone else and in the end helping others builds self-worth, connectedness and love.

    Also I’ve learned to be open. Tell someone, “I’m really sad this week, I’m really angry or I’m just offing lost right now”. Most people care, but they assume everything is ok because we spend so much time pretending so.

  109. Good timing.. “A friend once told me that killing yourself is like taking your pain, multiplying it 10x, and giving it to the ones who love you.”

  110. Really brave of you to come forward and talk about this Tim. I’ve had my own problems with mental illness and 4 suicide attempts, the last one being exactly a year ago. I learned from the last experience (many of the same lessons you did) and have grown. I still have my problems, but now I am focusing on helping others instead of wallowing in negative thoughts. I am now a certified life coach and consultant and am building a website for people affected by mental illness. Sure, I still have my bad days, but the good far outweighs the bad.

    I think about my family and all the people I can help with my story and it feels great to have some purpose.

    Thanks for writing this!

  111. Tim,

    First I have to say this was just an amazing post. It takes a lot of balls to be able to post this for millions to read. It takes balls for anyone to even share it with a close friend or therapist. So my hat goes off to you.

    (Long Book of post Ignore if busy)

    Background: Entering 4th year of medical school. WIll be pursuing Psychiatry for a speciality. Obsessed with fitness, all aspects from strenght, body sculpting, diet, and how it all ties to mental health as well. Recently launched a website to help dispell some myths of fitness, share the massive amount of experiments I have done and the struggles as well as highlight other people and there sturggles and what got them through.

    I have bought all your books and they have been fantastic. Listen to the podcast and will be getting the TV show since i can’t seem to help myself so thank you for all of your resources. I feel this post eclipses them all. Mental health is something that is glossed over so easily by most and yet the paradigm is so wrong. Its seen as weakness and something the person just needs to deal with.

    I used to even be one of those that beleived that. Even though struggling with some health issues, lead to a state of depression secondary to medical conditoins. My path into fitness instead of making me feel better actually has grown a new monster of body dysmorphia and depression.

    I was slated to be a surgeon but my psychiatry rotation changed it all. It highlighted the need for mental health and a paradigm shift. And how wrong i had been for many years. I look forward to diving into this specialty and area full force. And I plan and helping making large shifts in thought for everyone.

    Practical tips for anyone who made it this far:

    Write down your successes no matter how small. They seem to disappear when something goes wrong. They become completely overshadowed. This is a nice reference for dark times.

    Get up and move. Even if you feel your body is full of lead and the daylight is darkness. Move for 10min and reevaluate how you feel. If it helpled keep moving. Walk, lift weights, yoga, anything

    Talk to someone. A therpaist, family member significant other, a hot line. Again any place that you can start to get those feelings and emotions out. Just get them out to someone. Let them help you talk through it. They may not even need to say anything.

    Feel free to ignore this because its a link to my site. But its a perfectly timed interview with an amazing woman who suffers from depression and through fitness and working out she has not only changed her body but she has learned a great way to keep her depression at bay. Please feel free to check it out. I think it dovetails nicely and she is fantastic. She went into a level of detail I did not ask for. She is amazingly strong and I feel her story can help many many people. (I see I shouldn’t put links. Contact me if you would like to read it) (thewhitecoatfitness)

    I hope at least some of this helps. I appreciate anyone who read this. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments.

    Tim if you read this thank you for everything you’ve done,

    Ryan Bergren

  112. I would suggest “Awareness” by Anothony De Mello. It’s one of my favorite books. The best part is that, it’s not long its something like 80 pages. If you are struggling with other people or anything else, READ THIS BOOK and read it 4 or 5 times ideally that month you start reading it. Try to understand it, some of the things he says might sound selfish and shocking but have an open mind and if you do so, believe me you will change. Forever because nothing really does matter. (You’ll understand this lasst part after you understand that book)

  113. I’ve been there, more than once. Overwhelming fear of failure and rejection has dominated much of my adult life, along with battles with depression and being in an abusive relationship for the better part of 5-6 years. My growth and recovery has come in bursts. I totally agree about diet and exercise – my demons are much more likely to take over if I haven’t exercised in a few days. I love the book Radical Acceptance, it helped me a lot. I’m currently reading the book Mindset by Carol Dweck. I wished I had read it years ago, when I was struggling to pass the bar exam. 2 failures and I believed i WAS a failure, not meant to practice law. And more depression, hopelessness, and downward spirals. Now I am learning how to see my failures as stepping stones to success. Mindset and beliefs can be very powerful – we can think ourselves into and out of depression. As you mention, expressing gratitude is a powerful method of changing our thoughts and beliefs. Thank you for sharing your story.

  114. Hey Tim, just to let you know the Tony Robbins audio appears to be broken. Maybe its just my computer but I’m getting a message that says “Video can’t be played because file is corrupt.”

  115. Thanks so much for this Tim.. I have a great respect for you and the people you surround yourself with. I’ll share this with my friends and hope the wisdom spreads. Keep it up.

  116. Have much to comment on this but will keep most to myself. I appreciate your honesty and sharing. Tears have been streaming since the first few words and anyone who has experienced the same kind of despair knows why. It does not take much to set it off. I’m glad you were able to “win”.

  117. Thank You Tim . . I would like to recommend “The Tapping Solution” and “The Tapping Solution for Pain Relief” by Nick Ortner. The benefits Are Amazing!!! There is also A Documentary by the same name. Love and Peace to All

  118. Thank you for writing about this. As a volunteer EMT in a small rural community, the level of depression and suicide attempts would surprise people. Also, someone very close to me suffers from depression and has contemplated this. It is a struggle for these people, and as more people are educated, we can bring peace and understanding and reach those people who feel lost.

  119. whilst this article is good and is necessary it, as does most articles, makes the mistake of assuming that suicidal people have loved ones who care about them. You can not make that assumption. Some people, like myself, don’t have anyone.

    I have no famiily and no close friends. I’d been through hell and lost everything. Four years ago I attempted suicide and was found not breathing and heart stopped. They brought me back to life and i was in a coma for a week. I had 10 brain seizures, my heart had stopped three times……. i was in hospital for a few months. I was serious about ending my life and was disappointed that I’d failed.

    Now my life is better but I still feel that there is no future for me. it’s been a tough few years getting over the suicide attempt as I was very very ill and had side effects. People were not supportive at all, in fact a couple of people i’d known for many years unfriended me. My partner left me a couple of weeks after I came out of hospital.

    What do you do when you feel there is nothing for you in the future? When I was younger I had faith that everything would work out. when I got down and was worried I’d tell myself that it will all work out and be good. I worked hard, was very ambitious, was a success before losing it all. Now I’m nearly 50 and I don’t think there is a future for me. I was wrong, it didn’t all work out. So I don’t have that to make me feel better.

    Calling a lifeline number is futile, at least where I live, they can’t and don’t help much at all. I don’t know what to do. I don’t have any close friends or family. And I no longer can just hope and have faith that it will all work out in the end, because the end is now.

    1. There is hope man. Hold on. Maybe find someone you can love and help. Someone with even bigger problems than yourself. Someone in poverty, Someone with mental illness. Sit down and listen to their story and life and make a commitment to help them in their life. put your creative energy into helping them. you might not have anyone right now but someone in the world needs you and wants your help, and if you ended it, they wouldn’t be able to receive that help. with love and peace, ben

  120. Thank you for finally going strait for it. I read your stuff about stoicism, productivity, paranoia etc. even stuff from 4hww like writing down your worst fear and breaking it down (worst case scenario) and it always. I was suicidal for several years during high school, mostly from isolation, a horrible narcissistic controlling parent, but in my case I was young and kept this thought in the back of my head that I still had 50 years to keep trying. Anyway, got away from home and family. Depression, severe depression is still my nemesis, I fight it nearly every day. Sometimes the very things that should give me joy are what frustrates me-angers me-makes me feel hopeless-depressed….like kids and a loving husband. For me, no amount if reasoning and pep talks work until 1: I go for a walk, or a swim, or the gym 2: write it all out in my journal. Yes, my journal is a bunch if shit I would never say to anyone. But once stuff is out, the burden lifts a bit. 3: drink a ton of water and take fermented cod liver oil (or any good vitamin d supplement)

    Vitamin d in way bigger doses than the RDA. It’s magical. If I skip a few days, I know it. 4: follow the slow carb diet. It works wonders. If I stray, I get depressed-sugar swings, bloating, grogginess, weight gain, etc. all will get you on the standard american diet.

    These are the things that help me. Oh, yes, and be sure to have a supportive, loving, energetic positive partner! If you have anything less, get out. Don’t put up with drama.

  121. I’ve suffered with depression since I was 17 and last year was really bad. I wanted to kill myself quite often, because of things that aren’t such a big deal to me now.

    Meditation, morning pages, following a morning routine, taking care of my health and knowing I can do more than the average are all things I learnt about through Tim and they have been really helpful.

    He may not have discussed suicide in the open until now but he’s helped at least one person not fuck everything up.

    A good company in the UK helping this cause:

    Campaign Against Living Miserably

    @theCALMzone

    thecalmzone.net

  122. like Alexander commented below- after my suicide attempt i FINALLY got the professionals i needed to help with my bipolar disorder. PROFESSIONALS are so important you really do need an objective person you can “run things by” and to get the “yucky’s out.” medicine is there because we need it. too many times our brains are missing a chemical or two that medicine (like insulin for diabetics) replaces.

    I have finally found a book i recommend “FRESH HOPE” BY BRAD HOLFS. he takes you from diagnosis to recovery and he is a recovering bipolar patient.

    thank you for being so honest with this subject so many of us are scared to talk about

  123. Very strong post! Been there, 6 years ago. And had almost the same circumstances like you. It led me to a point, where I end up calling the psychological support at my university (here in germany, many universities provide that).

    Just by talking to an outsider helped a lot. They also advised, to write some kind of journal. And this helped out, too.

    I think, there is a thin line in one´s thinking-process, where suicide comes from an option to the only one solution. And besides counting on a trigger from the outside (like Tim´s mum) one should set triggers for themself to stay on the right side of this line. And the best triggers are described in the post and the comments!

  124. I’ve suffered with depression since I was 17 and last year was really bad. I wanted to kill myself quite often, because of things that aren’t such a big deal to me now.

    Meditation, morning pages, following a morning routine, taking care of my health and knowing I can do more than the average are all things I learnt about through Tim and they have been really helpful.

    He may not have discussed suicide in the open until now but he’s helped at least one person not fuck everything up.

    A good company in the UK helping this cause:

    Campaign Against Living Miserably

    @theCALMzone

    thecalmzone.net

  125. I lost my daughter in Jan 2015. Your term perfect storm echoes our counseling sessions. The aftermath is devastating. Thank you for writing this. I’ve been a big fan for a long time, I’m a bigger fan today. I will meet you one day and thank you in person.

  126. I struggled on and off with suicidal thoughts for many years in my teens and twenties. It was your point #3 (There’s no guarantee that killing yourself improves things) that made the difference to me. I was watching the movie Groundhog Day, and there’s a moment where Bill Murray is tired of living forever so he commits suicide, only to wake up in the same situation. He does this again and again in a montage that gets pants-shittingly funny, and the same thing happens: he keeps waking up in the same situation.

    That did it for me. What if I killed myself, and…nothing changed?

    No hell. No heaven. No annihilation. Just right back to where I was before.

    I would feel really STUPID. Embarrassed. I’d have taken the most life-altering step possible, and it would have done NOTHING AT ALL.

    I could not accept that possibility. So I put away the idea of suicide. And when it came back, which happened occasionally), I remembered that lesson: it might not do a damn thing.

    Thanks for sharing, Tim. Well done.

  127. Tim,

    I had settled into my morning routine when I saw this one come up. It had me from the start … and now I’ve literally left the Bloomberg terminal where I do my work, to write you this thank you note.

    I was sixteen when I attempted. Pills. Thank God I was not the planner you are.

    When my parents found out, they pretended it didn’t happen. In fact, they yelled at me for being selfish and then promptly left me alone.

    So I almost tried again. But somewhere in the crevasses of my brain, I realized that I didn’t really want to disappear – what I wanted was to feel loved by people who are supposed to care.

    Fuck it, I decided. Ok, so maybe things were miserable at home… but I was going to make it. And I wasn’t going to allow anyone, anymore, to tell me how miserable of a person I was (story of my life since I was six). Luckily, I had a couple of friends who really loved me and a deep sense of adventure that had always simultaneously gotten me into trouble and given me great moments of joy.

    Fourteen years later, it is really hard to remember that dark place I was in. When I left for university, I was given the freedom to grow into the woman I wanted to be. I traveled. I made a ton of friends. I started up businesses, national conferences, and directed plays. I eventually landed a dream job investing billions of dollars around the world in stock markets, an endlessly intellectually fascinating career that has also given me room to travel.

    What saved me was latching onto a hunger in me. This hunger sustained me when things got tough, propelled me to take on big challenges, and eventually pushed me forward. As I started to flourish, so did my confidence (and arrogance) and things kept getting better. Eventually, life taught me to be humble and giving, too.

    It took me about a decade to finally build the mental and emotional tools to be really resilient.

    I write this having just gotten back from Maui, where I was for the last five days. My body is nicely tanned from surfing and cycling, although I do have a rather unfortunate tan line on my arm. But it’s all good because I was there doing what I love. I am training now to compete in the World Championships for 24 hour solo mountain bike racing in October – a sport I took up last year (Tks 4-hr Chef).

    Audacity and a few key relationships saved me. Love and strong mental tools allowed me to flourish.

    Thank you for writing this post. It took courage and I know it will be valuable.

    Keep doing the good work, Tim.

    Kara

    PS. I turn thirty on Saturday. This was my Facebook post from Maui:

    I turn thirty this week. I thought you might want to know that I have not gotten married, own no cats, and feel not the slightest anxiety about this – even though I gather my ovaries are shrivelling up and dying inside me with each passing moment.

    A friend recently told me it is silly to be anxious about birthdays. She said growing old is a privilege – one denied to many.

    My one intention for this year is to just live the hell out of life. That is everything. And enough.

  128. Here is another reason why you are one of the most kick ass people on the planet, thank you for still being here and sharing your story. Thank you for your courage and you are not alone.

    I have been down that path of a few times because of not knowing how to take physical, mental, spiritual, care of myself. The woes of childhood, years of self worth issues would bring depression and anxiety to the raw surface are various times my lowest points 1999, 2007-8, and most recently in early in 2013. I was so close to that edge where looking up painless ways on the internet. The pain tried to convince me that decision was good idea. What woke me up? I thought about the people I would leave behind even at the time it wasn’t an immense population but one of the most important my 1 year old nephew. He deserved better than my own lack of self love/care. I am lucky because without seeing his face in my mind I know I wouldn’t be here. Connection to others and extreme self care are the two pieces are essential to staying above the waterline. I still fall short at both at times but now know what I must do consistently for my survival. No one knew in 2013 I was that close the edge. Afterwords when I would share, people asked why I didn’t reach out? You don’t always reach out in a look at me I need freaking help. I reached out in an obscure way by calling or talking to my friends/family just to connect, got out of the freaking house and restarted taking care of myself one small bite at a time. I am happy I did and happy you did too! I know your post will help more than a few and grateful that you decided to to stay and share who you are with the world.

    Much love and gratitude. Jen <3

  129. The best post you have ever written. I became a fan after reading the 4 hour body because your never-ending inquisition about life inspired me so much. I have lost so many family members and friends due to suicide and I cannot honestly say I have never considered it myself. People tell me “wow I can’t believe you lived through all that, you are so strong and positive!” and I usually, in a matter-of-fact kind of way, laugh it off responding with something like “just one day at a time!” or some kind of generic bullshit line (which I stopped doing). Little do they know about the deep darkness that almost devoured me on so many occasions in my life. What kept the monster at bay? A five year old. I was a nanny for a 5yo about 12 years ago and to this day I remember that moment that changed everything. I was sitting in the car, ready to take the 5yo (sitting in the back seat) to pre-school. It was a particularly hard time in my life and for a moment before I started the car I held my breath as to not burst into tears, I did not want to upset the 5yo. A moment of silence passed and then the words: “Do you know what I tell myself when I’m in trouble? This too shall pass.” Word for word. From a 5yo!!!!! I sat there and couldn’t stop the tears from running down at that point because this was the ray of light that I needed. I needed it so bad. Thank you for this post, I know that it will be helpful to more people that you can imagine. We are all human, and that is one thing we seem to forget. Humans fail, but humans also have an inherent survival instinct which I found to be the one of the last sources I had to tap in to. This leads me to another helpful habbit I developed over the years.. Comparison. There’s two kind of comparisons you should utilize: (1) Think of the worst time/moment in your life, even if you think the current moment is worse, and realize/admit to yourself that you got through that. You made it. It passed. Try to learn from past experiences by tapping into that source that helped you through it, whatever it was. Find ways to make what helped you before, better. I know this is a very general point but we all HAVE that capability to be resourceful. I agree 100% with ‘a healthy body houses a healthy mind’, that is where you should start. I started running. It works. Mini goals turn into bigger goals which then turn into success. (2) Compare your problems/issues/troubles with people who had/have it worse. There are sooo many examples. General history books are a great start. Look at those who has failed but didn’t fail to stand up again. Look at the starving children in Africa! Just try to imagine yourself in an unimaginable situation in life. See? You should lift yourself up and dust yourself off because people in worse situations than yourself have survived, have CHANGED THE WORLD, helped OTHERS while in agony themselves. DO NOT let anything cloud your mind, and if you should find that it does, just know that clouds passes on too. Do not compare yourself to someone who has never shared their pains – how can you possibly attempt to compare an open book to a shut one?? Sadly so many people seem to think that by looking strong from the outside, they accomplish something (a good image, etc.), while in reality it makes others feel like failures and it takes away from the hope that could have been offered: that everyone has a cross to bear. Hold on to something, to a sunny day, to your family, to your friends, and don’t ever forget to show your appreciation. Tim, many thanks for sharing your pain. Hero status in my books, no matter what lies beneath – we all have an iceberg beneath with the potential to sink our titanic, some of us are just better at lying/pretending than others.

  130. I graduate from school (high school for americans) in about 2 months and I often find myself feeling slightly depressed. Most of the time it’s because I’m scared about the future and making bad decisions that will bite me in the ass later.

    Many of the people we look up to or follow on twitter or whatever never speak about their low points, people don’t realise they struggle just as much as you do. So thank you Tim for being very honest and open about you own experiences.

  131. Thank you—so much. Best treatise on suicide survival I’ve read since William Styron’s vulnerable little book “Darkness Visible”. This may save lives.

    An important thing you say is that distress and despair, which can seem permanent and eternal, often pass. When the roller coaster ride of my own life has taken a sickening lurch, it has helped me to remember the words of Lao Tzu: “New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings”.

  132. Tim, thank you for this post. I especially appreciate the remark how an event you may be unable to recall 5-10 years from now can feel like a black hole you’ll never escape from. Years after the event, some may experience shame in the thought of hurting themselves over something that now seems insignificant. But at the moment, the strangling thought loop creates the perception of only one permanent option. Forgiving and showing grace to yourself is important.

    Whenever something comes up that may lead to a period of depression, it’s helpful for me to ask myself if “this” will matter in 10,000 years. Failing at a relationship or making a mess of your finances or a work project is a bump in the road of life, which in the end makes our story one worth hearing about. I believe our relationships and how we treat others will make a difference 10,000 years from now. Something as simple as a smile or an “I love you” to/from a family member, friend or significant other releases an energy that will never be extinguished.

  133. Incredible article and I wish I had read it a year earlier. This is/would have been a great blueprint to help.

    We should definitely strive to get this into as many hands as possible.

  134. I heard the short podcast from Tony Robbins and am about half way through your interview with Derek Halpern. I have to say that I had no idea that you went through this, but on the other hand it is not too surprising. People who spend a lot of time measuring themselves are bound to have some disappointments. Knowing you through your blog and books I have come to understand that you hold yourself to a high standard.

    Thank you for not going Hemingway and delivering all this great content. I am appreciative of it and so are so many others. If you ever get to feeling the same way I hope you collect the positive comments from this and review them over and over to know that you are making a huge difference in many lives.

    My mother went though a long bout of depression which I still don’t fully understand. However I do feel after these episodes I can empathize with her much better.

    Thank you.

  135. I have a tribe of people that read, follow, listen to, learn from and pretty much commune with (even if it’s only through books and stereo speakers). You, Rogan, Kyle Maynard, and a hand full more motivate me on a daily basis to live life to it’s fullest and not get too caught up in the trials and tribulations of living and breathing. That said, as much as I love and respect all of you, this is the first time I have ever commented on anything from any of my tribe.

    A few months back Kyle Maynard posted a video on his own depression and it made me feel the same way. Here is a guy with congenital amputation that seems to achieve everything he sets out to do. Just like you, he is an inspiration for so many and yet it’s easy to forget he is human. It’s so easy to get caught up in believing that people who achieve at the levels you guys have are built of something different; that you all have some sort of steely resolve that the rest of us can only dream about. But when Kyle posted that video about how he feels like a failure, like a fake, and when you post something so relieving about yourself, it allows the rest of us to connect with you on a different level. I’m sure I am not the only one, but posts like this give me a renewed sense of resolve to keep fighting the good fight and not let life get me down (for too long).

    And FYI, I love the Mexican Proverb. Since you posted it on Facebook a week ago or so, It has run through my mind every time something has seemingly gone wrong.

    Thanks So Much!

  136. Thanks for sharing and encouraging 🙂

    What saved me was my dog. I didn’t think any people would be permanently scarred any more than they had scarred me, but my pup is innocent, and gets traumatized if I so much as leave her at a boarder for more than a day. Once I came to grips that I couldn’t just desert her, I tried thinking of someone I trusted to take her. I’ve had pets killed while in others’ care. I stayed to take care of her. She’s truly a rescue who rescued me 🙂

    I still have some of those questions you highlighted, and they really sting at my much older age. I keep trying though. I’m often not very focused, but I’m practicing some of your tips from previous writings, books & podcasts – you *have* helped before, whether you realized it or not – and I get things done, sometimes not what I set out to do, but I’m getting better 🙂

  137. I think you’re speaking the truth, in showing how suicide is violence against others. I think it might help to encourage people to seek community – as I understand it, a significant amount of depression and spirals can come from being isolated, where perception about your own self worth can get ever more distorted. I invite you to explore and encourage people to find community. Part of community is healing, but also helping others can get you outside of your own head.

    The other thing you may want to explore, is look at the hard data for the risk of how psychoactive drugs can set chemical changes in the body that can result in physiological depression. I don’t know the stats, but I’m pretty sure there’s not only correlation between psychedelics/psychoactive drug use and depression, but also causation. I’d challenge you to dig deep into the stats, and consider pulling coverage of psychedelics from your media. Not only can they cause depression, but they’re increasingly regulated. My instinct says that there’s a disconnect between offering (excellent) advice for dealing with depression, and then having a comment link in an email that leads directly to a post of exploring psychedelics. It was ironic, but I think it highlights.

    Even if there wasn’t causality with depression and psychedelics, I’m pretty sure most/all counselors would agree you have to be really, really careful – any psychoactive experience could become a crutch. If you care about the quiet person in the background (the suicidal), then the value of basically promoting psychedlics/psychoactive experiences, on the whole, may not be worth the casualties. (i.e. those who see the exploration and say hey this is ok if tim ferriss is exploring it).

    And I’m also pretty sure that anyone with a pre-existing potential or tendency for mental illness, depression – especially bipolar, etc. – that the risk level is far, far higher.

    So if it’s a life or death matter (it is), perhaps worth considering distancing yourself from whatever is your writing is perceived as promotion/blessing of psychedelics — i.e. not your intentions, but the way it actually comes across to the slient visitors who also happen to be suicidal, or for whom psychedelics could trigger depression and suicidal behavior.

    It’s absolutely the case that with some of the new designed legal synthetics, it has definitely triggered suicidal and death-causing behavior.

    There’s a lot of joy to be found in healthy adventure where there might be some risk, but where the essence is not poison – as I understand it, basically all psychoactive/psychedelics cause a dysphasic poison reaction of some kind. So if it’s biologically poison, regardless of the “experience”, it’s probably not a good idea.

  138. Growing up in foster care was a byproduct of drug addict parents and it led to years of depression, self doubt and feelings of inadequacy. What helped me out of the hole is perspective. Always know that no matter what happens someone had or has it worse than you and still contributed to the world in a positive way.

    Side note to Tim: your first book changed my life, thanks for not killing yourself.

  139. This is quite possibly the most courageous piece of writing I’ve ever come across. Thank you so much for sharing this Tim. I recently loss a friend to suicide. I’ve also had some dark times in my past, though thankfully I’m in a much better place now. Your writing really hit home.

    Thank you.

  140. Thank you for writing this, especially the part about blowing things out of proportion. I’ve heard you speak on podcasts about feeling like you’re not making enough of a difference (paraphrased), but stuff like this definitely changes lives. Forwarding this to all of my friends.

  141. I just happened to wake up early and saw this article on Twitter. It alone has probably saved me (for at least today).

    I think about committing suicide every day. I’ve thought about it every day for over a year. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety since high school and it’s only gotten progressively worse. I’ve seen professionals. I’ve been hospitalized. Nothing seems to work (and the hospitalizations make it worse). I began having incidents of self-harm a few years ago. They subsided for a while but have come back with a vengeance about 6 months ago, especially after my best friend abandoned me. I’m thinking about doing it right now at work. I’ve been in a terrible corporate job for 8 years now which has contributed to the depression tremendously. I write suicide notes while I’m at work. They’re more like journal entries and actually seem to help a little bit to get those emotions out.

    The only time I feel OK is when I’m with a few good friends or trying to work on pursuing my passion. But even then does the depression and anxiety get in the way and hinder my enjoyment with my friends or stop me trying to work on something better. I feel like I don’t know what to do. I have no plans to do anything at the moment, I’m just more afraid of when the pain and struggle become to much for me to handle.

    Thank you for writing this article Tim. It’s always good to know that we’re not alone with our issues, especially when it’s someone as respected as you.

    1. Please be good to yourself. This thing you are passionate about – set some goals to do more of it. Start a blog and write what you’re feeling. You are not alone.

      Hundreds came to my brother’s funeral when he killed himself. Every one of them miss him.

      There are people who will miss you, too. Work is work – we all hate it. Corporate jobs are the worst! Write down some of the really stupid things that happen at work. Read Dilbert.

      Please be good to yourself.

    2. Hey Phil,

      I was in a really similar place a little over a year ago. I was working 60+ hours a week for a poisonous company, went through a truly horrendous parting with someone, and let my social circle near-collapse. I was having multiple-times-a-day suicidal ideation at one point, which was particularly difficult as I rode a train to work every day (twice a day, I’d have to bite my hand or pinch myself as the train pulled up to distract myself as I imagined throwing myself on the tracks). I ended up trying to self-medicate with an anti-depressant that then triggered a severe psychiatric emergency. That took a while to get sorted, and was Not Fun Times.

      At some point, right around the worst bit, I made a really important discovery: I am not my depression, or my anxiety, or my OCD, or anything else of that stripe. Whether those things are due to genetic or environmental brain differences, childhood trauma, or whatever… they are. Not. Me. Any more than I would be a broken leg, if I had one. And I had been identifying with them as if they *were* me, and letting them run the table of my life.

      And I’m going to venture a guess that your depression and anxiety are not you, either, not the real you, and so they aren’t fit to dictate terms about how you live your life.

      Humble suggestions in addition to what Tim posted, based on what sounds like shared experience:

      -Find a new job, if it is impacting your mental health. It does not matter if that seems unfeasible for some reason, or what the benefits of staying appear to be. Look at it this way: if you walked into work every day and your co-workers came up and started gnawing on you physically, and the floor was covered in rusty thumbtacks, you’d have left a long time ago and no one in the world would have said you’d made the wrong choice. That people put up with the psychological equivalent of this, or even congratulate others for it, is a symptom of cultural insanity. I’m saying this as somebody who nearly lost everything to a completely toxic work environment: find a new job. You have a RIGHT to an environment that does not wreck your mental health.

      -Remember that you are NOT the depression or the anxiety. Those are, ultimately, *physical* issues with physical causes, and remembering that can help. I hit rough patches every now and again and reminding myself something along the lines of “Okay, my brain is doing something chemically weird right now” can take a lot of the power out of whatever is going on. Meditation, some cognitive behavioral work, and some movement-based stuff (specifically the Alexander Technique) also really helped me get outside of my own head enough to realize how futzed up a lot of my thinking was.

      -Be kind to yourself, man. You didn’t ask for this load of crap, no matter what your life has been like; it got dumped in your lap. Be kind to yourself the same way you would somebody else going through this same thing. Keep pursuing that passion and going out to see good friends, even if the anxiety or depression makes it difficult. One thing that really helped me along these lines was to pick a thing that I’d wanted to do for a long time but was scared of and just force myself to go do it. Shake off some of that shell I’d let build up around me. For me, the first one was paddle-boarding off the local coast, and it made me happier than just about anything I’ve ever done.

      And you have a right to do things that make you happy, and that bring you real joy. Life is short enough without making it shorter, and while you’re here, you have a right to do things that bring you joy.

      Good luck, man. I’ll be pulling for you.

  142. I cant thank you enough for your thoughts and wisdom. I have had indirect exeperience with an individual very dear to me whom through his time confronting and struggling with bipolar disorder had multiple times underwent sucidal ideations. This is knowledge you share here, has played a critical role in my life of late and for remining me of the strength and will to endure hardships I thank you.

  143. I think the most important thing with depression especially when it’s caused by a specific event but rather a long term feeling of “nothingness” is to know that despite what you feel, or how little you feel, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel always. Whether it takes a year to get better, two years to get better, five, ten or more- the wait is always going to be worth it and the feeling of nothingness will pass. No condition is permanent, no feeling is final, and it will get better.

  144. What kept me alive was the fear that instead of killing myself, I’d end up like the guy in Metallica’s One video. After coming up with my latest plan, I would ask myself if there was ANY chance I’d end up like the “armless, legless wonder of the 20th century” from “Johnny Got His Gun” (and, if I did-and somehow managed to find a way to communicate, would anyone care enough about me to let me die? Because I definitely didn’t believe that.).

    I would also like to note that my brother had killed himself 7 years before my lowest point, and even knowing how much it hurt all of us, I still believed everyone would be better off without me-even though I KNEW first hand how they would actually feel. I had also been in and out of therapy since age 14 (so about 15 years at the worst point) and on and off antidepressants so I KNEW it would get better-I’d experienced it MANY times already! Depression and its cohorts can distort any and everything and it’s CRUCIAL to keep trying to do ANYTHING it takes to get better.

    Thank you for sharing Tim. It’s vital that those of us who survive tell our stories. It’s equally important for those of us who have managed with an “average” life and those how have overcome and created greatness. We all matter: your story reaches millions more than mine but mine lets everyone know that it’s ok to be average too. And, without your blog, I wouldn’t be sharing my story today. I’m also incredibly grateful to Silas for encouraging your share. I hope he knows how important it was for him to ask.

  145. Thank you for your courage in writing this. I think you’re saving lives.

    What has helped me get out, and most importantly, permanently stay out of the black place where there seems to be no way out:

    1. Diet. No blood sugar swings, and optimizing for serotonin and beta endorphin. A great book on this is Potatoes not Prozac by Kathleen DesMaisons, PhD. This changed my life. No more every day struggle.

    2. Mindfulness meditation. Changes the brain in beneficial ways and makes acceptance easier. Everyday staple.

    3. Therapy. Or, Schema Therapy in particular. Love its approach. It’s based on both psychoanalytical and cognitive behavioural therapies, and also mindfulness. Somehow it incorporates the best of all of them. Can’t say enough good of this one.

  146. Thanks for this, as someone who many people would consider as having their shit together, it often comes as a surprise to them that I’ve been deeply depressed. Nevertheless, I’m myself always surprised, and in a way inspired, when people I follow, and who I consider to ‘have their shit together,’ share their stories of depression and thoughts of suicide. It such a necessary reminder/demonstration of the non-discriminating nature of it all–that it doesn’t always wear a familiar face.

    I’ve found comfort in a life devoted to finding balance through all of that mentioned in your post: meditation, exercise, yoga and especially developing the ability to pay close attention to when I begin to isolate myself so that I can counteract the behavior. After many years devoted to self-improvement and mindfulness, it’s become much easier, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ups and downs and dark moments. But, I’ve learned that it’s more about taking it in stride and understanding that it’s not scary or permanent, that it’s perhaps, just normal. One final point, I now live in NYC, but one of my favorite yoga instructors when I lived in SF shared her story via a TEDx talk. After having fallen in love with her classes and her ‘peaciness’ I saw her talk and was, at first, completely dumbfounded. At the time it was so hard to reconcile the person I knew with the story being told. Much in the way that your post just has, it helped me understand that some of the most successful life-livers have found their way because of a deep, dedicated effort to find happiness. Learning to Live: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSYPONtkClQ

  147. It’s great to see a post on this topic written by someone who’s actually been to the edge of that particular cliff, ready to take the final step off the edge. I’ve seen too many articles written by self-professed “experts” (many of them eminently qualified psychologists and mental-health professionals) but unless you have been there you have NO idea what is going through the mind of someone in this state. I HAVE been there and I wish I’d had this post to read back then, although I probably wouldn’t have taken much notice of it at the time.

    Great post Tim and to anyone who is in the same, or similar, situation, never, EVER feel embarassed about how you’re feeling. Try to get the strength to talk to someone. It isn’t easy, I know I felt like a failure and admitting that failure to someone else was the hardest thing in the world, but give one of the numbers Tim quoted a call. They’re trained to listen, they won’t judge, they’ll let you say as much or as little as you want.

    It doesn’t matter how dark the tunnel is right now, there IS a light at the end of it. I know there is. Tim knows there is and so do many, many others.

  148. Great post. As someone who has been caught up recently in a maelstrom of bad circumstances, it’s very important to remember that this too shall pass. I often invoke the thought of what such an action would do to my family. Those two points carry me quickly past any rumination on the subject. To quote Churchill (I believe), “When you’re going through Hell, don’t stop. Keep going!!”

  149. Tips for becoming/staying a high-functioning depressive:

    1. Make your bed every morning as soon as you get up. This one small thing can make a huge difference. It means you are up. It mentally closes the bed off as an option and in it’s tiny way means you have accomplished at least one thing. It starts the day off with something productive and can mean A LOT considering its simplicity.

    2. Take time EVERY day to do something just for you, for fun, something that makes you happy. I’m not talking HUGE, just something simple- 30 minutes of uninterrupted Family Guy, cooking a nice meal, taking a bath, read a few chapters–whatever works for you. STOP, and DO IT. Taking care of ourselves becomes a last priority when we are busy, and we can easily lose track, finding out too late that we are at our breaking point.

    3. Get adequate sleep. I swing between insomnia and over-sleeping. Making yourself have a regular schedule of sleep can help in the long run. Lack of sleep only intensifies everything- making us reactive and unable to cope/think logically or clearly about situations.

    4. Be incredibly careful about taking prescription drugs and meds. Many can cause depression, anxiety, etc. and if you are already prone, you must responsibly discuss with your physician the risks and side effects to make an informed decision. You have to be your own advocate in medicine (doctors only know what you tell them sometimes) and make sure you are aware of where you are emotionally– where the thoughts and feelings are coming from and if taking your prescription is becoming a problem. Your doctor can discuss alternatives if you feel like you are spiraling. (To give you an example: I suffer from intractable migraines- many migraine meds alter your serotonin levels and can cause MAJOR lows, some can cause panic attacks–these types things can be especially dangerous for those who are already “at risk”.)

    5. Do something in your spare time (or better, for life) that is about other people. Taking the focus off of yourself, out of your head and your self-talk and making your action about helping others and doing some good in the world in a very obvious way can provide a much needed lifeline. I happen to do pro-bono architectural work because that is my close to my heart, but there is something for everyone. When we do something to improve the lives of others, it reminds us that maybe we do have a reason to be here and keep going.

  150. I can’t begin to thank you enough for posting this. I’ve battled suicidal thoughts (and attempts) pretty much my entire life. I know I should seek professional help, but something about doing so seems disingenuous to me for some reason I still can’t comprehend.

    Nevertheless, I HAVE found a couple methods that seem to help me in particular:

    1) Since a great deal of my suicidal thoughts and general depression stems from feeling like I’ve never accomplished enough, I have a list of really awesome moments from my life that I’ve compiled that I can look back upon to remind myself of just how much I HAVE done. This gives me some promise as to how much more I can potentially enjoy in the future, even if I feel like I’m wasting my life right at the current moment.

    2) Studying nutrition, nootropics, and brain science (thanks in part to “The Four Hour Body”), I developed what I call my Emergency Depression Snack Kit. I actually just used this to great effect last week when I was dangerously close to committing suicide. The snack kit includes:

    –Dark chocolate (to increase endorphins that fight depression)

    –Blueberries (to increase serotonin, responsible for our feelings of self worth)

    –Any drink with a B-vitamin complex (to increase the energy that depression drains from us)

    –Green tea (containing L-Theanine to reduce stress)

    I still need to test this formula a bit more to see if it needs tweaking, but taking this in the past has helped my mood do a complete 180 inside of 2 hours.

  151. Tim, thanks for having the guts to write this post.

    I’ve acted on suicide plans twice and thought about it many times. It’s hard to express the black tunnel of despair that covers me when I hit that point, and I’m now terrified at my lack of consideration of any implications for those who loved me – all I wanted was for it all to stop being so painful and hard, and I’d persuaded myself that as such a worthless person they wouldn’t miss me that much anyway. I was failing at everything, and felt like I was in freefall.

    Only several months later did I realize how warped my lens was. What saved me? The first time, I was too broke to buy enough aspirin to do more than make my ears ring and vomit for a night, and I was embarrassed enough at facing my roommate and the dorm advisor that I had to fake the ‘I’m fine, I’m fine, it was dumb, I’m fine’ just long enough to snap out of it. The second time, I’d gotten a pile of movies to watch while I polished off both bottles of scotch. I have to thank the performers from the bottom of my heart, because it is their work that sucked me in to the stories, made me laugh, cry, and want to see what came next, so I never got around to finishing the booze.

    Any actors/singers/performers out there who have bleak moments when you figure that you’re not working on a cure for cancer: you may have been the ones that saved my life that day, and I thank you more than you can know.

    Now, I’ve got an agreement with myself. After 40 years of this, I can recognize, at least a little, when I’m spiraling down and know that these are the demons talking. When I feel this way, I will postpone until the weekend, or until next month (and sometimes it’s just an hour) to see how I feel then. I have notes to myself to ‘find out what happens next’ to try to pique my curiosity. After my parents’ deaths, I have a better idea what my siblings would go through, and I can’t make them do that. Exercise helps a lot, adequate sleep helps a lot, and when I need to get awful images out of my head, some medication. Talking (typing) about it helps too; thanks again, Tim.

  152. Tim,

    You kicked ass with this one. Especially for ADHDs, (I bet you’re one as well), in the latter part of STOPPING PROCRASTINATIONS.

    Thanks

    Aaron

  153. My father committed suicide when I was 16. I had kind of put it away in the back of my mind, and never fully grieved his death. Came back to haunt me years later…took a long time to figure out why I had so many irrational emotions, and took a year of healing and discovery to fully complete the process. Thanks for your courage.

  154. This was a perfect reflection on suicide- non-judgmental, thoughtful, and constructive. I attempted suicide seven years ago and everyday I’m incredibly grateful that it didn’t work. Mine was a slow simmer of a painful year with a toxic guy that led to a boil that was shocking even to me. I often think about how quickly it happened- I didn’t think about my family, friends, where I would go, etc- but really, there were signs all along the road. I was pretty far up my own ass. I had stopped thinking about anything but my own romantic, torturous, flailing life a long time before I took any pills. You get depressive tunnel vision, you know? If I hadn’t isolated myself, in this irrational reality I shared with that guy, maybe I would have recognized all of the people and things I love. I try to see the world with bigger eyes now.

  155. It’s amazing at the things we hide for “fear” of “embarrassment”. I typically skim over your newsletters but this one stood out. I’ve experienced extreme depression and came close to suicide, twice, in my life. What I discovered is that it was linked to the events going on in my life:

    1) I was freshly a teenager and my life was collapsing around me: parents were newly divorced, my grandmother had just died, my mom pulled me out of school to “home school” me, and I had been forced to take care of my year old baby brother (excessively) on a day to day basis.

    2) I was a sophomore in college and my girlfriend of 3.5 years left me for her boss, a few weeks after Valentine’s Day in 2005. Mind you this was after I had bought a cheap ring to propose to her, but she said, “If you’re going to pop the question, you better not give me a cheap ring.” Instead, it became a “promise ring” that she left on the counter the day she walked out on me.

    I was so distraught and crushed by what happened, that I failed ALL of my classes that semester and secluded myself from the world. I didn’t have any other dating experience so I was completely in the dark as to what I should do. My friends had to come check on me because they thought I was dead. A lot of people I hung out with abandoned me because I was “sad all of the time” and they couldn’t deal with it. I had a handful of friends who did everything they could to stand by my side and help me through the slump. They knew it was a phase and wouldn’t last forever.

    One day, something inside of me broke. A switch was turned off and I had 0 fucks to give about anything. I went from being weak and depressed to strong and mechanical. That also drove people away because I “lacked emotion”. It took about a year and I finally leveled out and was back in the middle again. I never thought I would be “myself” again. For about 2 years, I was a wreck, but grew a lot in that span of time.

    I still struggle with “emotions” and a lot of times just “turn my brain off” to avoid emotionalizing things and getting inside my head. My wife is frustrated a lot of times because she relates to people on an emotional level, and if I’m not emitting any kind of emotional frequency, she can’t connect with me. I understand that it’s difficult to connect with me, but I’m trying to accomplish a lot and pave a way for us to live a life of freedom where we’re not shackled to a desk every day. I think part of the problem is I function like a machine: on or off, 1’s or 0’s. I don’t know how to hover around the middle. I’m hoping that I figure it out one day. In the meantime, I continue to work on myself and the habits/traits that are unhealthy for me.

    Anytime I see someone in distress, I reach out to them and try to be an ear to fill and a voice of reason when necessary. Life is difficult. What is trivial for one person is everything to another. We’re all in this together, so why not reach out and extend kindness to one another? You never know whose life you’ll change.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  156. Yup – that was long but it was worth it. Thanks for sharing 👍 Loved this sentence (in particular): “If think about killing yourself, imagine yourself wearing a suicide bomber’s vest of explosives and walking into a crowd of innocents.” Great piece, kudos. Warmly, Sally and Tanya.

  157. Thank you. So many people think that their problems are insurmountable. Me included. Thank you for helping people understand that there is always a way out. Thanks for being so brave.

  158. Thank you for writing this Tim, I just woke up and it really made my day. I know this comment is going to get buried under hundreds of your other fans but this is a topic that’s very important and relevant in my life at the moment.

    I am graduating from college in May and am totally lost. My father is sick and has not been getting better. My (now) ex-girlfriend decided that she was ready for a different guy. The weight of these problems, and various others, had acclimated over the past few months to seemingly unbearable proportions.

    Then I decided to go to therapy. It has helped immensely. I love all of the things you talk about in your post. However, I think that you missed out on a huge point. Everyone should go to therapy. Whether you’re depressed, neurotic, or totally “normal”. We all have problems and we all don’t always know how to handle those problems.

    By going to a therapist (that you like and are comfortable with), you can just talk about your life to a third-party, unbiased, professional that will help you perceive things in a new way. I like to describe it as playing racquetball with a very helpful wall. You hit the ball against the wall and it says: “Good shot! Hey maybe if you try rotating your hips a bit you can get more power out of your swing!” To which I reply: “Wow, I never thought about my relationship with my ex like that before!”

    So like you said in your post, it’s easy to get lost in the abyss when everything (seemingly) comes crashing down. As friends and mentors have reiterated to me when I have told them about the rough patch I’m going through, the important thing is to hold on. The sun will always come up tomorrow and things will always get better.

    The important thing is when things get hard, be honest with yourself and the ones you care about. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak, being ignorant of the people who are willing to help does.

    Thanks for reading, I appreciate it.

  159. I suffer from major depression, I live in SF, I’ve been following you since your start and this by far is the most important piece of information you have distributed.

    Thanks

  160. Bravo, Tim! Am thankful for you, and your willingness to share this deep dark secret with the world, to open many eyes about this topic that most turn a blind eye to. This post is the beginning to saving many lives.

    BTW – My only regret of the past few years was not wrestling you at Stephen Pierce’s house in Texas at that gathering of marketing minds. We joked about going outside and wrestling in the lawn, but didn’t. Maybe a match will occur somewhere in the future. LOL!

  161. Thanks for the courage. Something similar happened to me as well. It turns out that the most amazing things in life originates from our worst nightmares. 🙂

  162. For me it was a slow process of learning how the brain works, began to take classes and learn how the brain functions from a neuroscience and psychological perspective ( it just happened one day). i came upon a lecture of an nlp instructor and thought the idea was trivial but as im an adventurous guy decided to test the reprogramming on myself. i thought at the time i had little to go for but slowly as the need arouse used it to taler my dwindling foresight. I started to exercising and remove porn from my life as disconnected and left a 4 year relationship. it took many tries and various failed attempts but i found myself in an unknown part of my life, family and friends did help and being part of a triathlon racing team helped immensely. The biggest thing that changed me is controlled amounts of modafinil. I didn’t realize i had so many blocks in my subconscious, it forced me to see my subconscious blocks from an different perspective and find a way toward my goals. I soon after, reorganized my life , revamped my startup and resigned from my position and am venturing toward my endeavors.

  163. Thank you for posting this, Tim. It took incredible courage to write, and I really respect you for it. As a teacher, I have had past students confide in me their pain and struggle. Thank you for the resources you posted. I will definitely pass these along. <3

  164. Thank you for this, Tim. What happened to me is what similarly happened to you, only earlier in high school. In hindsight, I wish I had reached out for help long before it came to me in the form of my loving mom putting me in a mental health hospital for teenagers.

    Keep doing what you do. Sending love, hope, and tactics to keep us going. I’m fighting with you too.

  165. I haven’t had the courage to get my “S” stories in full print yet, but I know the time will come… This was so great. Thanks for caring as much as you do. So many young men and women will be touched by this. Wow. xo

  166. Thank you for this. We lost my son’s Dad in 2011 to Suicide. While I still struggle to grasp how or why, it hasn’t tainted my ability to be grateful for the years he spent as an amazing Dad to our now 19 year old son. We openly communicate about how or why regularly and I feel that being able to comfortably speak about the awkward way suicide makes us feel is the best way to pull those out of the darkness so that we may help one another cope. I will share your notes with my son today….

  167. Wow, I was very impressed on your article. Wanted to reach out to you. We are loosing one paramedic/EMT to suicide every 2.5-3.5 days as is estimated in the US alone. In Canada the numbers are also very high. I’ll pass your article on to some friends. If you would like some more information on this The Code Green Campaign is doing a lot of tracking and awareness in this field. And some of us are looking into the causes for this rise in suicide as it appears to be an occupational illness now.

  168. Great post Tim. I too believe that our consciousness persists after physical death. And who knows if how you die might determine the circumstances of your next adventure? So I’ll err on the side of the Norsemen and take the precautions necessary to enter Valhalla. To die fighting is a glorious death. 😉

  169. It may be a coincidence, or not, but after reading this post, I read in Betsy Piez’s post in WSJ book club that, “…when an individual decides to stand up, it inspires others to do the same..” Beautiful share, and I think it is fantastic that you want to be a resource to help others. I love the love. 🙂

  170. Wow. THIS post is an incredible resource. Ive battled with this my entire adult life and when it has been bad, it’s like being held at gunpoint. There is NO PERSPECTIVE when I am IN IT. Two things (that may seem obvious but are invariably important): 1- I find that having someone to call and ask “am i ok?” can be lifeline and 2- Having a pet helps me return to a grounded place. I live alone with my labrador and there is no question that caring for him and being loved by him has staved off some very real tendencies of thinking the world is better without me.

  171. The best advice I can give to anyone who is reading this who is in the contemplation stage is to know that you’ve just reached a stage of pain that exceeds your coping skills at the moment. You can quickly learn to cope and recover. Reach out to someone, anyone and talk about it. People can help you.

    That being said, there are two books that helped me immensely when I was struggling with thoughts of suicide.

    They are:

    Overcoming Worry and Fear by Paul A Hauck

    Overcoming Jealousy and Possessiveness by Paul A Hauck

    Both are books on rational emotive therapy. They are short, only about 100 pages each, but very powerful.

    I was in debt with no income and going through a divorce at the same time. There is life, love, and happiness even though you might not feel that way at the moment.

    Again, reach out and get help. You are among many people who have experienced the same problems.

  172. Thanks, Tim! That definitely needed to be written on the interwebs! I can add to that the more general realization that there are things worth living for – sometimes as simple as the beauty of a sunset.

  173. Thank you, Tim. This was a brave post.

    My youngest brother (also named Tim) killed himself last November. Tears still sting my eyes when I think about it.

    Let’s talk about a perfect storm. He was a Sgt in Kent County Jail, a place he worked for over 23 years. He ran a BJJ school. You were actually one of his heroes. He had a wife that won beauty contests and ran the Mrs. Michigan pageant. He had four amazing children, one engaged to be married in June, 2014.

    In March, 2014, a Kent County task force came to his home at midnight looking for illegal drugs. He had a Medical Marijuana card, but it made him feel funny, so he didn’t use it (though he needed it for pain – another story). There were no drugs on his property. They charge him and three other officers anyway. They all had MM cards.

    His life spiraled out of control. The jail put him on leave. Now he had no money and, I learned, his finances were always shoestring. They offered him a deal – plead to a felony and he’d get a minimum fine (or something like that – I don’t recall and don’t want to look at all my notes).

    This dragged on for months. He eventually found his wife cheated on him. They tried to fix their marriage. He became despondent, calling me often to tell me his kids were going to starve and nobody would hire him.

    We did what we could. We thought he was getting better.He seemed chipper when he visited my brother – the day before he hung himself.

    A witch hunt by the local constabulary killed my brother.

    The thing is, his funeral was packed. Hundreds of people gathered to say goodbye – and any of them would have helped if he just reached out. All he had to do was ask any of us.

    All he had to do was ask. All he had to do was tell us what he was thinking.

    We would have done anything.

    We could do nothing, because we didn’t know.

    He didn’t ask.

    I’ll miss him forever.

    That’s the perfect storm.

    If you’re sad, please – just ask a friend to talk. Tell them. We’ve all been depressed. Many of us have thought of suicide – it isn’t uncommon. Please stay with the people you love.

    We don’t want to miss you forever, with aching hearts and tear-filled eyes.

    Thanks for listening.

  174. Thank you for writing this Tim. 8 years ago I was coming out of a bad relationship and ended up overdosing on pills. It was the stupidest thing I had ever done in my life. I was fortunate that in a single moment of lucidity, I downed half a bottle instead of a whole bottle of codeine.

    That entire experience changed my life and how I look at ‘impossible situations’ now. It’s good to know that you are helping to raise awareness of this very real problem. More people need to realise that help is available and reach out for it.

  175. Thanks Tim. A tool that I use a lot is to watch motivational videos on youtube or read a book that inspires me. I was there once too, and now I’ve overcome the depression and suicidal thoughts by making a decision that life is worth living and whatever I may be feeling now will pass. Also, look around and be grateful for the little things, like your favorite food, or your favorite beer, or you a favorite tv show, or your sister, brother, or significant other.

  176. Thank you for posting this. One of the best resources I’ve seen on depression has been the Live Through This project. http://livethroughthis.org/

    Early on, I wasn’t helped by professionals giving advice when they’d never experienced suicidal depression. I think it’s a lot more meaningful to hear the stories of people who’ve been there, and come back to realize how meaningful a life can be.

  177. Thank you so much for having the courage to post this. Could not have been any easy time, but I’m sure it’s going to help.

  178. Getting Emotionally Focused Therapy with my husband (and it would work with a lover/girl/boyfriend) with a therapist who had experience working with trauma and experience with body-centered therapies finally helped me learn how to really connect with another human being, my third husband, and that made me so much happier in life. We are wired for connection and when that connection is truly fulfilled, it’s a game changer. So much out there tells us we should be able to be happy alone but our bodies tell a different story.

    This EFT (not tapping) has huge amounts of clinical data behind it. One bit is that couples one-year post-EFT are actually happier than when they completed EFT. The process creates a positive feedback loop for connection. Here is the website for Dr. Sue Johnson who developed EFT. I owe her my life and my happiness.

    http://www.drsuejohnson.com

    Tim, I feel your opening up and greatly appreciate your courage to do what you can to help others. I wish you all the happiness in the world.

  179. This is absolutely one of the best articles I have read. Tho I am saddened by what you went through, I love that your reaching out to help others. I myself work for “The Hopeline” which is a suicide crisis center among other problems people are suffering through. . Depression and suicide is one of our biggest subjects people call or chat in for. They always ask me what can I do, to stop feeling this way? They see no hope. The points you said for yourself to do daily is so encouraging and correct. If you don’t mind I am going to print them off and keep them right by my desk to offer these to people when they call. It’s so heartbreaking to me when I see despair and I am thankful for people like you to speak up. God bless your sweet sweet mama and the work that you do. You do matter and you did have a purpose.

  180. Fantastic piece Tim.

    A family friend committed suicide a month ago. I think he felt quite like you did at your time of crisis: Feeling a failure and not believing/knowing how sad his family and friends are at his loss.

    Unfortunately, he did not the get lifeline you got ….. I’m very glad you Mom called you. Mom’s rock!

    Serendipitously, I am attending a course on Positive Psychology and Life Coaching and hope to have a practice up and running by end of Summer.

    One of my main goals is to develop online and face to face courses for schools and colleges, to provide people with tools and techniques that will help them get through life’s crises – which none of us escape – but can manage, without losing hope for the future.

    I’m a firm believer that positive psychology skills should be part of the school experience, providing people with the ability to manage and/or know how to get professional help in times of emotional difficulty.

    The last thing I would want is to minimize people’s difficulties, but there are some very simple techniques (either working with someone or on your own) that can help us put our feelings/situations into perspective. By using techniques such as time/distance perspective, you can create some mental space and clarity, to help you make more positive and healthy decisions .

    I think you have a done a great service to a lot of people with this article Tim, I hope Sllas reads it!

  181. You’re a good man, Tim. Thank you for your honesty. Although we are flawed (I do stupid shit sometimes), the grace is, like you said, that we are not alone. 👊

  182. Tim — Thanks so much for your post. Your willingness to open up about your dark times is admirable, and it will undoubtedly help those who are going through dark times themselves.

    It especially resonated with me, as I likewise went to Princeton. At a young age where so much of my identity was wrapped up in being “successful,” which meant stellar grades and pleasing my teachers/professors, I struggled on-and-off throughout college dealing with the stress in an environment with lofty expectations and high performers.

    I hit one of my darkest periods senior year leading up to the thesis and made the tough decision to take a year off halfway through senior year. I just did not have the emotional strength or energy to continue. The year off did give me some perspective and allowed me to return and finish. A mindfulness meditation course at the Princeton counseling center during my last semester also helped, as well as reading Tara Brach’s Radical Acceptance book that they recommended.

    College was often a lonely and dark time. Early on in college I had gone to a psychologist, and later a psychiatrist and a Princeton counselor. I started taking some medicine (didn’t help), and all the professional help convinced me there was something truly wrong with me. During the particularly tough semesters, I would hole myself up in my single dorm room with the shades drawn to sleep and watch movies, anything to escape my reality and my feelings of shame, which would snowball.

    While I eventually got through it and rarely go back to that dark place, I am somewhat shaped by the experience. Even though it’s been over 10 years since graduating, I believe I am more cautious and anxious of a person, as I fear things could spiral out of control again if I’m not careful. So, I can’t completely say I’ve come out totally stronger because of it.

    In my opinion, schools, particularly those filled with high achievers, should not just exclusively teach facts and disciplines. They also should address the reality that its young students are also learning how to be human beings, what values are important to them, how they see themselves. Emotional intelligence and inner wisdom and peace are just as important to “success” in the real world (probably more) than learning facts or studying, and are critical for happiness. Yet, schools, from the earliest level through universities, generally avoid this. At the very least, they should have a supportive environment for growing human beings to have a constructive dialogue and be aware of resources to help them cope with the many challenges of growing up.

    Finally, I think a year off before or during Princeton is a wise thing and should be more the norm than the exception. Stepping away from the bubble of schooling, gaining perspective, and being exposed to other experiences off the treadmill of high academic achievement should help many young people mature, deal with the many challenges of college, and get more out of it.

    Thanks again, Tim.

    Tyler

  183. Thank you! I’m so grateful that I read this. I feel like I’m in a similar situation as you were and after reading this I KNOW everything is possible.

  184. Thank you Tim. Though that part of my life is passed I have certainly fought the demons at the gate and almost lost that battle.

    Truly I have no advice to share. There was no one moment that spurred a change. I simply just never got around to it. Then things just started getting better on their own.

    Recently on your podcasts and interviews I have watched you have mentioned “the one thing that scares you is likely the thing you need to do most” I feel with suicide this is so very vastly, intrinsically, fundementally, true. Not meaning suicide is hard you should do it! But rather the path that is hard, life, you should do it. Face the hardest part and take it head on and stab it in the throat with a butter knife.

    Thanks again Tim

  185. Tim,

    Thank you for sharing your personal experience. In my young life (27 years old), I came to find that deep thinkers attract other deep thinkers. Often times deep thinkers are very prone to depression because they tend to over-think their situation and plan too many negative scenarios.

    Considering myself a deep thinker (and I bet many of your followers are too), I had my encounters with serious self doubt as well. One situation that I can clearly remember was me preparing for the GMAT, crouching under my desk crying and telling myself what a stupid idiot I am because I could barely crack the 700 points-mark (if your first language is not English and you are not necessarily a genius, the GMAT is quiet a challenge).

    There is a line from a song that always pops into my head in situations like this, which is “the darkest hour never comes in the night, and when it comes you have to stand up and fight”. Whenever this darkest hour comes around, I remember that whatever is dragging me down so bad right now, it can never be heavy enough for me to give up.

    A good friend of mine used to be a manic depressive and he once told me, in a inebriated, slightly stoned and medicated state (three things that do not go well together), that his parents were the only reason that he was still alive.

    Like the non-suicide vow that you mentioned, Tim, I found that it helps to install an image or a sentence in your mind that is meaningful to you and that reminds you that nothing can ever be bad enough for you to give up. Whenever I start to question the purpose of everything, including myself, I try to focus on the fact that life is simply too rich and full of so many good things that it simply does not make any sense to trade that for uncertainty (or in other words death). This works especially well if you are a super rational diehard like myself, looking to maximize your personal utility function (just to throw in a bit of economics slang).

    Finally, I can only say that you are not alone. And I mean that in the way that ,on one side, there are people who are feeling the same way that you are right now and that, on the other side, there are people who care about you even if you do not think they are.

    Always remember that there is no point at which things can ever be so bad for you to let go.

    Greetings from a fellow deep thinker.

  186. I find that taking an inventory of what you do best, even though you think you suck at everything there is something you suck less at, and try to do some of that every day. For me it’s teaching. I’m not a teacher but I have a lot of “useless” info stored up that is sometimes useful to others. Yesterday, in an ice cream shop I was in line with some high school kids when James Brown came on the in store music. I said to kids I didn’t know” have you ever heard of James Brown? He’s the greatest entertainer of all time!” The kids started asking questions about him and one said she was going to look him up on you-tube. I felt great! a teaching moment!! Not in a classroom, not on stage but in an ice cream parlor.

  187. Thank you for posting this.

    One thing I would add is that feeling suicidal doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you as a person.

    Its a symptom of something not going according to plan in your life. Search for the root cause. That will allow you the opportunity to think of options to change things.

    I know this is a large over simplification of the thoughts and feelings that one goes through when stuck in the middle of a depressed state. But its how I try to frame things when I feel that way.

  188. Thank you so much for having the courage to write this. I went through a year-long depression from May 2013 through May 2014 after years of struggling with it intermittently. I had daily thoughts of suicide, but I live with my wonderful boyfriend and couldn’t stand the thought of him coming home and finding me.

    I’ve been on antidepressants since the start of my depression but, honestly, I didn’t start to feel better until I committed myself as an active participant in my personal development, rather than the spectator I’d turned into. A big breakthrough was realizing that anxiety was the major source of my depression. I would obsess over tiny things, turn them into mountains in my head, then feel hopelessly overwhelmed. So instead of trying to magically turn my depression into peace and happiness, I focused on stress relief.

    When I’m feeling particularly anxious, I climb the stairs in my building a few times or run around the block. Meditation has also proven extremely helpful, particularly those that focus on breathing. There are lots of free 15-minute meditations on YouTube (my personal favorite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPpUNAFHgxM).

    I try to start each day with a simple breakfast, 30 minutes of exercise, and fifteen minutes of meditation. I try to plan my mornings ahead of time so that I don’t have to think or make any decisions–I can just act. The absolute worst thing you can do when you’re feeling low is nothing. It gives what might have been just a light drizzle of worry the chance to turn into a monsoon.

  189. Thanks for the great post Tim. I am sure it was difficult for you to write but will be a great resource to so many.

    I have found that regular different exercises early in the morning tend to help. I had a simliar experience in college as you and I was able to feel a little better just by doing something physical each morning around 5AM. Nobody is usually up then so it is quiet and a good time to mediate and exercise.

    I would also try to focus on the most stressful things first before noon would arrive so I could relax somewhat the rest of the day. It didn’t always work but it did take me from having regular panic attacks to just feeling worried.

    Now that school is over I have applied it in my daily business and personal routine. I have three kids now as well and I realize I need to teach them how to deal with stress and these feelings or they will have to figure them out on their own as well.

    Thanks again!

  190. As antidepressants may well be considered by some reading this, I want to recommend the book Anatomy of an Epidemic, a scholarly book about the evidence base for psychiatric drugs. I read it after being hospitalized from severe withdrawal symptoms to antidepressants, and wish that I had found it sooner. There are many things we don’t know about these substances, including whether they make some people permanently worse.

    http://www.amazon.com/Anatomy-Epidemic-Bullets-Psychiatric-Astonishing/dp/1491513217

  191. Wonderful post.

    One thing you didn’t mention but it is very important in the process of overcoming depression is to understand depression. You can`t fight something you don’t know.

    I highly recommend the series of articles published on Art of Manliness called Leashing the Black Dog: My Struggle With Depression.

    http://www.artofmanliness.com/2015/03/09/leashing-the-black-dog-my-struggle-with-depression/

    Even if you don’t want depression I think it is important to understand it because someday it can be used to help someone.

  192. This might be the most profound thing you have ever written. And you write some pretty important things, things that help me move my life forward. It takes courage to share our stories of darkness but it saves lives. I am honored to be in your community and get this kind of offering in my inbox. This is what love looks like!

  193. Thank you for your honesty and transparency in sharing this!

    I was touched.

    This is an important issue to be talked about, especially for those who are deeply troubled and depressed.

    When I am felling out of sorts and troubled, I like to do the work of Byron Katie to restore my peace and centeredness: http://www.thework.com

  194. Tim,

    Thank you so much for writing this article, as much as I find myself saying that after reading anything you write, this time it’s serious. I really needed to hear this right now, as I have been letting the struggles of my academic career dwell in the forefront of my consciousness.

    sincerely, Brian

  195. Thank you, TY, TY. Men die by suicide far more than women (in 2013, 78% of US suicide deaths we men) yet we really haven’t got a handle on how to be helpful to men (speaking as a suicide prevention scientist and therapist who works with suicidal people). Hearing real stories (like yours) is the next step we need to move this field.

    A couple other notes:

    – The Crisis Text Line (text Hi to 741741) is a great resource for people who don’t want to start a phone conversation with the Lifeline.

    – The field of suicide prevention is moving towards saying ‘died by suicide’ and ‘kill myself’ instead of ‘committed suicide’ – see http://bit.ly/1FRuP0E

    – There are few treatments specifically for suicidal people. One is Dialectical Behavior Therapy. I’ve worked on making pieces of this treatment more accessible – see http://www.NowMattersNow.org

    – “Be brave if it matters” – you certainly have! Thanks again.

  196. Tim, thank you so much for this.

    For purely personal reasons, I’m very happy you stayed alive 🙂 You’ve done more for me than many of my family and friends, honestly, and that’s me, just some guy you’ve never met, out in Spain. Thanks to reading and re-reading your 4 Hour Work Week book I’m VERY close to quitting my day job and becoming a full-time blogger.

    And for the good of everyone, I love this post and the other one about your “dark side”–I think it’s really important for people to know that those we admire are JUST AS MESSED UP as we are. Probably more. And that probably it’s the obstacles and the overcoming of them that makes them worthy of emulation.

    Thanks again. For everything.

    Daniel.

  197. Powerful post, Tim. Unfortunately, it would take me just a few seconds to name half a dozen friends and family members who have sought help for depression through therapy and anti-depressants. I don’t know why it’s so prevalent in society, but it’s obvious that so many of us need more help dealing with it. Thank you for writing this post.

    I’m sorry to throw content at you, but two of my blog post for American Craft Council give advice for students and artists on ways to overcome fear, anxiety and failures. If there are any artists or craftspeople reading this and having problems, hopefully my posts will let you know that you are not alone. I don’t want to spam you with links, simply google these titles and they’ll pop right up:

    A Potter’s Journey: Conquering Art Major Anxiety

    A Potter’s Journey: Launching a Pottery Business Venture and Fighting to Keep it Alive

    The second post was a lot like your story- losing a long term girlfriend to depression, work piling up, almost running out of money and leaving an organization on bad terms with almost nothing to show for it. After sending my first draft to the ACC editor she replied, “Woah. What happened?”

    I kept moving forward and everything slowly got better, and continues to get better everyday.

    Thanks again,

    Joel

    P.S. Shout out to Tim’s recommendation for, “The “Artist’s Way” Journal. I use it five days per week with a morning breakfast ritual and it’s been a great way to calm my mind and focus on growth.

  198. Thank you so much for this post… I often feel much the way you described because I’m an entrepreneur and achieved a lot, at least on paper, but no one knows the struggles, the failures, the feeling like I’m a total fuck-up… I won’t take things too drastically because I have a family and sons and friends who I love and love me and the last thing I want to do is take anyone to hell with me… but just knowing that this is how you feel sometimes and how many successful entrepreneurs feel, gives me a lot of courage. Its not just me. I’m ok, more than ok, in fact. I feel a huge weight just lifted from my chest and I can breath easier…I vow not to hide from this reality… it helps to be open about it, for me and for others I may be in contact with.. Thanks again Tim for sharing.. xoxo

  199. It’s apparent from the comments that there’s an lot of pain people go through. How wonderful would it be if you have a series to hack emotional/psychological blocks? Thanks for sharing your story and allowing yourself to be vulnerable in the name of helping others.

  200. Thank you for writing this post. There is so much I could say as someone who battled with depression for years and was eventually led to shamanic healing practices to find what I experienced as a more thorough way of both understanding and bring back parts of myself lost over the years (soul retrieval). What we consider to be trauma in the Western world really is just the tip of the iceberg — as children, every embarrassing moment, every moment in which we are afraid that love and care will be taken from us, is traumatic and a seed for soul loss. We don’t just “get over” these experiences as we grow older – they slide into the unconscious and we simply don’t understand why we remain full of holes as adults. One of the greatest privileges of my life has been being able to conduct soul retrievals for others most days of the week — to see and bring back the child parts of ourselves that we lost along the way that are integral to who we came here to be.

  201. Hi Tim, I read your post and just wept. Wept for having gone through a similar set of circumstances (masters degree) and that dark place where things seem insurmountable and you question whether you add any value or whether it would be better if you left.

    That those you love would be better served by your departure.

    I was saved by my best friend who saw that I was drowning and she stepped in and helped me see that it’s ok to feel bad, fall over, make big mistakes and that it doesn’t change that you’re important and loved. She reminded me that I’m enough just as I am and deeply loved by my family and friends.

    My hands are shaking as I write this. Even to this day, I tremble when I talk about it because I remain overcome with gratitude and that pain that comes from letting go of all the fear.

    It can feel insurmountable to talk about suicide because it’s something that people shy away from and try to ignore. That they approach with a chosen denial because of the stigma and the perceived ugliness of it all.

    I think people forget that pain is personal as it’s weighted in the perspective of that moment. As in just because someone on the outside can see the situation more clearly, it doesn’t mean the person in the situation is able to see things clearly.

    I know for me that wasn’t that things were that bad, but because so many fundamental (what I perceived as fundamental) were in disarray, it felt like being in this dark, personal hell.

    Perspective is everything when mired in the fog of your own war.

    I wish I knew a better way to express my gratitude for your words, this post, but I keep choking up at the attempt to say how deeply it’s affected me. So, I’m going to just say thank you.

  202. Thank you so much for using your prominence to shed light on this most excruciating and human of struggles. Your courage and compassion are true gifts. Thanks for sharing.

  203. Tim,

    Love you bro for doing what you do! Ditto to Yoga or doing something physical. Showing up to a Yoga class that forced me to be present just to hold those challenging poses helped me a ton. I stopped thinking/worrying.

    The clouds lifted a little by little each day. These class became the most important act of day during my most challenging period. My optimism accelerated when I finally joined a running group – these accepting strangers with common purpose – just get a run in – gave me hope. It’s OK to struggle. Like the storm, the class and the run will end soon and I always felt more alive than before. They were nurturing.

  204. Just read your article “Practical Thoughts on Suicide”, Thank you, Tim, for being so open and honest and letting us all share your secret. I have a 20 yr old Sophmore who has been dealing with “non-happy” days as he has called them, and I am definitely going to pass this on to him. Making it “OK” to be confused about your purpose and failures is an important realization that many of us figure out too late. Thanks for all you do to inspire and innovate.

  205. well said Tim I always enjoy your writing and this is helpful and useful for anyone who reads whether struggling in the moment or not.

  206. Tim, thank you so much for writing this. Those of us who can talk about our depression and suicidal feeling should so those who can’t yet speak will know they aren’t alone. You’ve been a hero of mine for years and you just raised that bar even higher. Great job man.

    I’ve been writing about my depression and battle with suicide on my website http://www.sadrunner.com It’s great to see other people speaking out about their struggles too.

    You’re awesome as always man. And thanks for not tilting this post ‘4-hour Suicide.’ Appreciate that 🙂

  207. Hi, here are two resources that works very well in the long term to help change the negative thought habits that fuel depression:

    http://www.happify.com (look up the vid from Shaun Achor on ted talks) Fun, slick marketing. It seems a little simple at first but the small positives accrue over time.

    https://moodgym.anu.edu.au/welcome

    This site is fantastic (the ozzie humour is priceless too!). It’s a coherent program (free) that teaches you, step by step, how to turn your own mind around. This is the one I found more useful and powerful in the beginning – stepping into something with a good structure was invaluable.

    I took lots of notes and practiced little bits daily. Do NOT underestimate the power of small steps over a long time.

    Thanks Tim, I think you have just saved lives.

  208. Pray. I think we’re all hardwired for eternity by the God of the universe. He sends people and circumstances to bail us out. Just like when your mom called!

  209. Thank you for sharing your story, specifically the part about struggling with your thesis (I can relate and I know a ton of other people who feel the same way).

    It is important for people to understand how educational pressures for performance are only subjective. Real success (proven also by you, Mr. Tim) is knowing what you learned from your experiences and applying them to the real world to make a change or impact. Education and thesisi are merely the framework for your own creation and I feel as though people forget this…leaving education as the ultimatum of future success and happiness. Education should be a place of exploration and wonder, not stress. Why are we so stressed out now?

    This post can also be related to the toilsome treachery of being unemployed. Being reject continuously allows you to feel hopeless, lost and confused…leading to depression. After opening being rejected 1,500 (at current date), I’m hoping for one YES that will allow me to flourish as a human being. Shooting for the stars to one day land on the moon.

    Things always get better…..

  210. Tim,

    I’m really glad you wrote this post. I think one of the biggest dangers of depression and suicide is that so many people just don’t want to talk about.

    I’ve struggled with depression since I was a kid. I was raised in a good home, had a super blessed life with no personal trauma, and yet the darkness was a companion of mine most of my life. It’s just the way my brain chemistry works. My go to coping method was busyness and exhaustion. I was busy so that when I was exhausted people wouldn’t ask questions. It wasn’t until I crashed as a young adult that I began to understand that my ‘normal’ was not how life had to be.

    The best trick I have started to employ is code words. I have a few words and phrases that I can tell my husband, family and a few close friends so that they know what is going on. They know how to help, like encouraging me to take a walk, make sure I’ve eaten, or sending me out to my studio. And when all else fails, just being with me. They also know what doesn’t help, like asking for a ‘why’ or ‘what’s wrong’ or giving a bunch of emotional coaching to try and fix it. There just isn’t any ‘fixing’ the darkness. Having these code words makes it easier to reach out, because I know there isn’t a black lash, just people who are willing to sit with me as I wait for it to pass.

    I would encourage anyone who struggles with reaching out for help to a few code words that let people know, the darkness is coming and I need someone else to know. As you talked about in your post, realizing you’re not alone is half the battle.

    Continuing the adventure,

    Jess

  211. I very much appreciate this article! I wanted to share it with an online support group I’m in, but the URL made me squirm a little. “How-to-commit-suicide” is a bit misleading – did you intend it for individuals googling for an action plan, in the hopes of giving them pause? I imagine that this is the case, and would like to explain it to my support group friends who may not understand… Thanks, Tim. 🙂

  212. Tim – Thanks so much for posting this.

    LIke you, I know of many friends, family members and acquaintances who considered taking their lives – and some were successful. I, too considered it in my early 20’s and when I had a particularly rough break-up that I couldn’t see beyond. Fortunately, when I walked into the ER and said, “I need to see someone right now or I won’t be here tomorrow” there was a great team of people to help at Chicago’s Northwestern Hospital.

    I feel like that experience – and the months of depression that surrounded it – have helped me relate to friends and family who have been in the same state of mind. I feel like I know the level of support that they need and I make sure I’m there for them – no matter what.

    Your blog post does a great job of conveying how easy it is to focus too much on the preferred outcomes of your personal situation and neglect to see all the great possibilities that can come from changing your situation.

    Thanks too for providing additional resources that can empower people to learn more, help others and deal with their own situations.

  213. Hey Tim,

    // Quick side note: “How to commit suicide” might not be the best slug for this. That is, unless you want who people google, “How to commit suicide” to find this piece. Then leave it, of course.

    This is an incredibly important post. Thank you for sharing this.

    I’m an emergency first responder (like a paramedic minus the IV lines) at one of the largest universities in Ontario, Canada. We respond to all 911 emergencies on a campus of over 30,000 people. Of the 50+ calls I personally received this year (our team gets over 800), over half of them were mental health related.

    Whether it’s self harm, drug overdoses, suicidal ideations, intentions, I’ve seen it all. Over these experiences I’ve realized there are two things that hold true across almost all of them.

    1) It’s an easily hidden population

    The worst calls I’ve been to have been the ones where I’m second guessing myself if I’m even on the right floor in residence. The night is calm until you enter the room at the end of the hall to a radically differant scene. No one on the floor would know that their peer had spent that afternoon writing a letter with 50 pills of tylenol and a 40 of bacardi in their system.

    2) How many people are on anti-depressants

    This extends beyond dispatches that are mental health related. We have to know what medications a person takes and about 75% of people who I’ve treated are on some kind of anti-depressant or have been in the last 5 months.

    What I want people to realize is that a) you never know what someone is going through, and a simple smile, wave, or hello, can really change a person’s outlook on life. We have a residence program here called, “how are you? No really, how are you?” to engage students to caring about one another beyond the generally platonic interactions.

    And b) that if you’re feeling depressed or have suicidal ideations, that you are certainly not alone and there are so many resources for you to reach out to. As you piece shows, mental health is something we all have.

  214. As a follower of yours, it amazes me how much I find that we have in common (wrestling, travel, entrepreneurship, and now suicidal ideation). I must say, this is one of the most authentic posts I’ve ever seen, and it is absolutely necessary.

    I admire your courage in taking on this issue, and adding it to your personal brand. The stigma around mental illness (especially suicide) can cripple a person’s image; so thank you for overlooking it.

    I have nothing but gratitude for you and especially this post. As someone who strives to model my life after yours, knowing that you also have gone through this struggle is without-a-doubt the most encouraging piece of information I’ve learned in the past several years.

    Thank you, Tim.

  215. Tim, I’ve looked up to you for years now and you are one virtual friend that has never let me down. Because of you I’ve mastered salsa, make and sell jewelry, do yoga, hike, travel the world, and I’ve written three books (weren’t successful->but I did it), developed and started an ecommerce company, and quit my job (though I had to go back to work :(). The key is that your words reflect God’s light, they are of hope, love, and understanding. They keep people moving and learning, which is the key to life. It doesn’t matter that you fall but that you always get back up. I once had thoughts like this too and I am glad that you are sharing this and helping others. We are all connected. You are courageous. I love you!

  216. Hi Tim,

    Just have to say Kudos to you for posting this! It took a lot of courage and willingness to be raw and open.

    I too have struggled with feelings of wanting to quit in a permanent fashion, and I’m still here so I feel I have something of value to contribute. The two things that helped me get past the dark times are, 1) my love of horses and being in their special presence which is similar too but different that of being around dogs, and 2) working with a Life Coach.

    The one always gives me an internal sense of peace by just being around them. The other helped me to not only put things in perspective, but helped me identify what the core issue was and how to effectively neutralize the root cause.

    Those are my two empowerment pieces, and I hope it helps someone else who reads this post!

    Thank you Tim for this post and as always keep the amazing content coming!

  217. Tim, this is a beautiful post. You’re an inspiration to many of us who are struggling to be human. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    Best wishes.

  218. Great post, Tim – my own suicidal thoughts only came once in life, but like you, it was scarily easy and efficient to plan. Then, plan set, I set about trying other things – knowing I had “plan B” waiting in the wings.

    I also really like your point about there being NO guarantee that there’s better life after death (or no life at all). I think of it in relationship to that old saying “You can sleep when you’re dead!” The answer I give: “But what if you’re WRONG?”

  219. Well done on writing this. It not only makes people more likely to talk about this difficult subject but also makes people more likely to talk about other difficult ones (for example, people probably don’t talk about rape enough).

    For me, periods of excessively negative thinking are usually ended by unusually significant insights, as if my brain had been sucking energy into my unconscious in order to solve an unusually large problem. Unfortunately I tend to forget this fact every time another such period comes along, which is partially why I’m writing this, as a reminder to myself!

    Keep up the good work,

    Benedict

  220. Outstanding post Tim. Given the # of readers you have and the easily-forwarded nature of email, it’s an almost certainty you have personally saved several lives today. I hope you feel good about that for years to come. Please keep up the effort on all fronts; I enjoy your work. – Mike

  221. It’s takes a strong man to admit flaw. I greatly appreciate this and think you have done a service to mankind and hopefully saved a lot lives in the connection that you’ve just made.

    Thanks…

  222. Hey. Thank you for the last blog post on suicide. No really. Thank you. I said it a while ago when I won a quarterly package from you (#TIM04) and I’ll say it 100 ore times. You’re a good man tim, and this post is reflective of that. I’m happy you came out of your brain and spoke what was in it regarding this topic. Thank you for bringing awareness to suicide. I hope the post reaches who it needs to.

  223. I actually wrote a whole article in my own blog about ways to keep going even when you’re dealing with a “low” day [Moderator: link removed]. Many of them, when done consistently, work well to keep the low days at bay. Your tips on diet and exercise echo my own (I’ve personally found a whole foods based, nearly ketogenic diet to be my ideal for physical and mental health right now). I also include setting aside a day to just relax and keeping a clean work area, which I’ve found help to deal with the low-level stress that can build up.

  224. Hi Tim, thanks for sharing this with us. I guess these dark moments are a part of the hero’s journey like you talked about in your talk with Srini.

    Knowing my purpose in life helped significantly to get myself out of ending my miseries for the good. Another important thing was practicing the daily ritual as James Altucher recommends. One thing each towards physical (I did pushups), emotional (talked to my inner circle), mental (read non-fiction books) and spiritual health (prayers and 3 min meditation in the morning).

    I believe taking care of our well-being plays a big role in killing those demons in our head. Your story inspires me to keep moving forward. Thank you Tim. Happy Everyday!

  225. Thank you, Tim, for being authentic, vulnerable, and compassionate; you are a strong man.

    I have lost friends and I had two periods in my life where I greatly struggled with suicide. Now, my life is filled with more joy, peace, and adventures then I ever imagined. I want to reassure people that life does get better, and that struggles can bring awakenings, meaning, and joy.

    Now, I work as a therapist, and a common fear I hear about calling suicide hotlines is concerns of being put on a 72 hour hold. I’m guessing if you’re having suicidal thoughts you are probably feeling fairly powerless, and the last thing I would want to do is take choice and power away from you. While I can’t speak for everyone in the world, the counselors and hotline workers I know all want to support and empower their clients. So if you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out, you can pretend you’re calling for a friend or a report, if that makes you feel safer. If you’re debating calling, just call, we want to talk with you and support you. It was actually quite sad when I had a shift with no calls, so release any concerns about not wanting to bother someone, because calls make our day. For people struggling, you are making our day by placing that call. I thank everyone who has reached out for support for their bravery, strength, and courage.

  226. Thank you so much Tim. I had the fortunate experience of my mother sending me to a psychiatrist after my suicidal attempt. A lot of what you’ve discussed here immensely helped me in my personal struggles with depression and suicide. Thank you for bringing more attention to this.

  227. Great post – I was at this point as a college senior. My roomie saved me by just making me do stuff – she had no idea I was depressed. I saw so much of this among friends in college. So many things crashing down on folks when perspective/experience is still limited. It would be great if you could get this out to a college association for print in newspapers. I just looked this up: http://www.collegecounseling.org/

  228. Hey tim. I don’t know if you will see this or not. I’m not sure how to write this. I’m out of my native country right now working on myself and getting healthy. I’m alone and away from my family wife and kid. I got a call last night from my wife telling me a close friend of mine commited suicide by shooting himself. He was a good man and we had become close working on non profit initiatives. He was a hard worker, sometimes we would marvel at how much work he could get done. (Your type a personality like u mentioned I guess)

    I’m beside myself with shock and grief. But I don’t have any real friends to confide in here and all I want to do is go home to comfort and be comforted by my wife. He left behind a wife and two beautiful young kids. I just could not understand how it got so bad that he pulled that trigger. He was a stress case a lot of times, sometimes up and sometimes down.

    But what I wanted to convey while sitting at the airport waiting to board my first flight to go back home was I came across your blog. And it helped. I can see more clearly now how thoughts can overwhelm a person to the point where he thinks there is no way out.

    The worst part is he wanted to talk to me before I left about financial troubles but we didn’t have a chance to sit down so in a brief meeting (our last) I hugged him told him not to stress and he’s my brother and we will sit down when I get back and figure things out.

    I can’t believe I was so ignorant or naive to the signs of mental depression. It never occurred to me he might be depressed or having these thoughts. It was always “well that’s just the way he is, always stressing”.

    I don’t know what I wanted to accomplish with this msg. I guess I just wanted to write and get some stuff out. So why not your blog afterall you are someone I respect so much. What are the odds I would come across this blog entry right after this tragedy occurred. Thank you for reading to everyone. God bless and let’s make this world a better place by looking out for each other.

  229. Thank you for posting this. I lost my mom to suicide and I was just thinking of how I could leave this worl behind. D

  230. Thank you for this. The sharing of both your story and coping mechanisms is helpful. I am waiting for my psychiatrist appointment reading this. Iade a vow that I would never kill myself because of my husband, I could never do that to him. One thing I have learned to do is be outside. Good weather or bad, being outside in nature can calm you.

  231. My life has been touched and changed by suicide by those closest to me – my mother, my youngest aunt – and by others close to those I love most in my life. I wish they had had an opportunity to read this before making that final irrevocable decision.

    Much love and goodness to you, Tim for being generous enough to share your story and your journey.

  232. Thanks you for your suicide story. My family endured this 10 years ago and the pain is still there. Its so important to realize how this act impacts your family after that painful decision is made.

  233. Tim, it’s strange to think of you as making a jump to the next level, because you’ve always seemed like someone who’d maxed out the game board. But you just did it again with this.

    Hearing you mention the nervousness in your mom’s voice as she asked about the suicide book from the library broke my heart. A lucky miracle for sure. I don’t know if I believe in God but I sure believe in moms.

    My prosaic-sounding suggestion to anyone considering suicide: Don’t make this decision without seeing how you feel about your situation without spending at least a week completely clean of wheat, sugar and soda (especially diet soda, which I think is more addictive and has killed more people than cigarettes.)

    I’ve been clean for a week and I’m liking myself for the first time in many, many years. I can’t wait to rip a piece out of the world. (Believe me — I was a completely different person a week ago.)

  234. Nicely done and being a mom, I loved the punch line. You did a good job on this important topic. Thank you for sharing your story, it will help others.

  235. Thanks for having the courage to share Tim and I do believe this will help others. Similar thing happened to me after graduating school at the top, then losing my job, apartment, a similar breakup situation, and watching my mom go through cancer/chemo. Was in a very dark place, but life is much better now. Funny that I had similar thoughts on the afterlife– don’t know if it will be better or worse. I’ve found exercise, a good diet, plenty of water (not so much alcohol) helps me.

  236. Tim, thanks for sharing this. While I have never contemplating taking my life, I have also dealt with depression before. It’s a very hard place to battle your way out of, but I’ve always fought to do it.

    Sometimes, I’ve found the best way to beat depression is humor. I know it’s a cliche, but laughter really is the best medicine. So, when I’m in need of a good pick me up, or to get out of depressed mood, I listen to a comedy channel on Pandora or SiriusXM. When I laugh, I feel better.

    Also, when I need motivation, I think about what my goals are, and then I go there. I don’t just envision them, I go there, when possible, and see myself being there. That’s how I got back into college after dropping out first. I went back to the campus, and I walked around every square foot of it and reminded myself of how much fun I had there, how much I missed the place, and how much I wanted to get a degree from there. After three hours of doing that, I walked right into the admissions office and applied to get back in. I was accepted right away.

  237. Tim,

    I’ve been a fan of your work for years, but your recent willingness to share your personal struggles takes things to a new level. This is going to help a lot of people.

    In addition to the tips you mentioned, the following has helped me:

    -Meditation. Having a meditation practice has been life changing in terms of my mental space. Yet, I hesitate to list it hear, because when you’re depressed, the thought of taking on a new practice can just add to the feeling of being overwhelmed. If you’re new to meditating, try instead blocking off some time just sit, perhaps with a cup of tea of coffee. Don’t involve any screens. Simply being present for a bit and not trying to do anything has a great cleansing effect.

    -Journaling. Writing about my anxieties helps me release them.

    -Music. The right music sometimes really helps me, though it has to be chosen carefully. If it’s too upbeat, I can’t relate to it when I’m struggling, but if it’s too dark, it drags me down further.

    Thanks again for writing on this subject.

  238. I dealt with depression and alcoholism for a very long time and had many thoughts of suicide. After reading four hour body, I ran across a book called “Primal Body, Primal Mind”, by Nora Gedgaudas, which discusses the importance of ketosis for our mind and body. Being on a high fat low carb moderate protein ketogenic diet as described in the book, along with transcendental meditation, has had the most powerful effect on my mental health. I feel great and have not had any alcohol in two and a half years. Tim should definitely interview Nora in a podcast and talk about depression and other mental health issues. Nora is very knowledgeable about the effects of diet on our mental health.

  239. When I was in my teenage years I went through a bout of situational depression (about six months). It was a situation which I no longer had any control over and was therefore not something I could act on to “fix.” I found a very helpful way to fend off the constant pull of depressive thoughts, though it did take some mental effort. The key was to never all these negative thoughts to carry me away. I would notice them slither up into my consciousness, distracting me, and immediately mentally push the thoughts aside and refocus on the present moment. I would do this by clearing my mind and then focusing in on my surroundings. Essentially, I constantly reined in my mind and put it to work in the present. This focus on the present made room in my mind for hope and more positive thoughts. Though I wouldn’t say this practice was the “cure,” it allowed me to function well each day and eased the healing process. It was a selective forgetting that left the memory intact without allowing it to impinge on my everyday life. My hope is that this practice could help others too.

  240. Tim, thank you for sharing your story, I can relate as I’m sure many people can, but despite that, so many of us say nothing to others out of shame. The only suggestion I’d like to add is practicing mental silence meditation. I recently started and have found benefits almost instantaneously. When one is plagued by dark shadows and negative, self-destructive thoughts, effective and healthy self-reflection can really seem impossible. However, practicing being in control of your mind and silencing those internal naysayers even if only for a few seconds at a time until you can meditate in mental silence for longer is, I believe, a step in the right direction. Free resource: http://www.onlinemeditation.org/ Your candid retelling of your experience is wholeheartedly appreciated. Thank you.

  241. I wanted to thank you.

    I’ve never left a comment here before, but I’ve followed your work for many years. I just wanted to say I think this is the most moving, personal thing I’ve ever seen you write, and I’m grateful that you were able to be so fearless in being publicly naked about the places in your life/head that make you uncomfortable.

    There was a time where I was pretty heavily struggling with depression and suicide, and it was a slow climb out of that hole– but the more open I am about it with friends personally, the more I find that we all have these secret stories, and the disservice we do to others is pretending we don’t. The result is we think we must be the only ones who feel this way, which is obviously untrue.

    As a side note, in a sort of funny twist, the thing that had the strongest effect on my ability to climb out my depression? Focusing on my health. Running. Cutting out sugar. Eating protein in the morning. Submerging myself in books like yours to try and tackle the emotionally-chemical-laden machine of my body, to buy myself inches of daylight until I felt like a sane human again.

    Sometimes the problems only seem insurmountably terrible because your body needs looking after.

    I’m really heartened by your story and I’m sure many others are too– using your platform for this is pretty incredible. Honesty inspires honesty, and we all learn more in the long run. Thank you.

  242. Tim,

    What a relief to know there are others out there that battle the same deamons. I have twice come shamefully close to ending my own life because I was feeling overwhelmed with dis pair and a never ending to do list. Thank you for posting this. I can’t tell you how valuable a tool this will be to me to reference in those times of need. I love your “routines” they seem to keep me grounded as well, and losing them often means losing perspective on everything else. In a word, thank you.

  243. This post resonates very strongly with me and my recent experiences. Personally, I’ve struggled with depression most of my life, and I’ve been in and out of therapy (with varying degrees of success) since I was 16 (I’m 27 now). Recently things had spiraled so far out that I just lay in bed for days on end thinking about how much I wanted to die. Eventually I decided that I needed to get more focused help and had myself admitted to a psychiatric hospital for treatment. It was a scary decision for me to make, especially since I knew that it would likely change a lot of things about my life, and that the hole I’d dug would still be there once I got out. It wasn’t a magic pill experience for me, and I’m still dealing with all of the same problems that sent me to the hospital in the first place, but the difference is that now I’m actually DEALING with them, with the help of some good allies (i.e. friends, family, therapist, medication).

    But if there’s one piece of advice I can give: There’s rarely a problem (or set of problems) that is too big to fix. You just have to give it time and take it one day at a time. Some days are going to be hard, and life is going to challenge you, but you don’t have to go at it alone. The world is more willing to help than you probably give it credit for. Never be afraid to reach out.

  244. Amazingly personal post! Took some guts. I hope you realize even though you have not written anything explicitly about this before, you have helped many people by teaching us implicitly all the positive lessons and perspective changes you have gained by this experience through your writing. I for one was helped tremendously by the 4HWW in gaining a broader and empowering perspective on my life. So thanks for that :)!

  245. Hey Tim:

    Thanks for the touching post (I teared up whilst reading b/c I can totally relate to your story) and for being vulnerable.

    I appreciated your tips and also want to share a resource that’s also helped me change my thought process especially if you don’t have any friends or family: Faster EFT.

    It’s helped me take control of unhealthy emotions & memories and STOP CREATING problems (we are great creators). I like this approach because it changes your mental/emotional state, and it works fast. (Please note I’m not an instructor or promoter. I’ve tried shrinks, EFT, meditation, psych books, personal development, etc., and this is the ONLY thing that has made a difference! BTW, #616 on YouTube is a good one to check out.)

  246. Whenever the topic of suicide would come up, my Mom would make a point of show us kids the supreme selfishness of such an act and the pain it causes those you love for eternity (your Point 2.) And she would mention nothing is forever or so bad that a forever act is required to fix it (related to Point 3.) As a result I’ve been inoculated against suicidal thoughts. Even at my lowest point of depression, homeless, and doing day labor for food money, I never seriously considered suicide a solution. If the thought does occur, one of the above arguments come to mind and I immediately move on. Thanks for this insightful post, Tim.

  247. Tim, thank you so much for this raw, honest and intimate sharing. When someone who is a role model for many can share a life story like you have here, it gives more of us permission to admit that we have had similar periods in our lives. Perhaps it will give someone who is currently in the throes of experiencing this permission to ask for help.

    I want to share the thing that has most helped me in my journey out of depression and suicidal ideation. Firstly, the importance of eating a diet that helps maintain stable blood sugar cannot be overstated. But the final key for me was found in a technique called Total Body Modification (TBM). Because of the success I found in this technique, both for suicidal ideation and other things, I have chosen to make it my life’s working treating patients with, and teaching, TBM. It is an energetic medicine technique and we use an energetically charged vial called the Zeta Virus Vial to treat suicidal ideation. Because the owner** of TBM also has also experienced depression and suicidal ideation, this topic is near to his heart. As a result, he created a volunteer program. Any practitioner who has taken seminars and is listed on our website has the option of offering the Zeta Virus treatment for free, they are called Zeta Volunteers. If anyone is interested in receiving this treatment, please check out our website. Go to the “Find a Practitioner” tab, and see if there is a Zeta Volunteer near you (designated by a “z”). The treatment process takes only a few minutes and is painless. You will leave with some written information about suicidal ideation, depression, and a diet that will help maintain stable blood sugar. You are under no obligation to receive any additional treatment from that TBM practitioner, although I’d recommend it if you are looking for more complete healing.

    I suspect that for some of you this treatment option sounds “way out there”. I hope that many of you will still check it out (it’s free, what do you have to loose?), as TBM has made the most significant difference in my journey from depression and suicidal ideation to having a joyful and amazing life.

    **Total transparency here, the owner of TBM is my husband

  248. I have been reading your work and following you for many years. This is hands down the most important and most impactful post you have ever written. Thank you for sharing your story, being vulnerable, and making a difference in the world. Much respect to you, Tim.

  249. Great post Tim and there are never “too long” or “too many” posts about preventing suicide. I’ve faced that demon and it’s been close in my direct family too. I’ve lost a couple of high school friends to it. Great advice and if I could add another group to check out on this it’s TWLOHA (http://twloha.com/)

  250. Hi, thank you so much for posting this article. I am a Social Worker and practical material such as this will really help in my practice. I would also suggest trying many of the personal tools Tim speaks about throughout his varying pod cast. Especially mediation and mindfulness. If you are struggling I have found Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to be very effective with my clients. You can easily find many books and work books on CBT. I hope this helps.

  251. Thanks for sharing. I sometimes feel depressed and I love listening to you and Joe Rogan, Shit! I’ve never made plans though. However, I have thought that my wife and kids are better off with the life insurance money than me. Dam. it was hard to type that, but that thought has been in my mind. Im not gonna tap out, Im going to push though and accomplish something significant.

    1. You have courage to write that. afsp.org offers some great resources. Just know that your story isnt over yet. best of luck.

  252. Before this post I respected you as an author and entrepreneur. Now, I respect you as a man as well. A few extra tips: It’s also important to understand where value comes from. Even if you don’t go on to write best selling books or feel you have made a massive contribution to society, you have worth and are loved simply because you are a human being. Even if you were hospitalized for the rest of your life, you have worth. (For those of you who hate spiritual posts/people, please discontinue reading now). Lastly, for those of you who are wondering what life there is after death, eternity, I am 100% convinced in God and heaven. You are not an accident. He made you with a purpose and longs to have relationship with you. The reward and guarantee of this is eternity with him. Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

  253. Fuck I’m sitting reading this with tears in my eyes. I can’t tell you how immensely encouraging it is to read this and see that there is life beyond the hopelessness. I am in almost exactly the situation you were in in 1999, life feels fucked up and I don’t see or feel any hope for the future. I’m in my 20s with a struggling business and now every problem seems to loom so high over me I can’t face the shame of potential failure in life. I can’t believe Tim Ferriss the beast-machine of success and productivity felt like this. I was listening to your podcast earlier and couldn’t enjoy it as I just felt despair over how “together” you have everything in life. To hear that you once felt things were this overwhelming has revived my hope. Thank you so much for sharing this, seriously, it’s the single most impactful thing you have ever put out there for me.

  254. Even expressing gratitude in this simple comment makes me feel more valuable and that’s what I needed 🙂 Thank you Tim.

  255. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been hugely influential in helping me overcome depression. It is proven to be just as effective as medication in treating depression.

  256. Thank you Tim. This was very courageous and enlightening. You have done a great service for all by writing this. I lost a friend to suicide almost a year ago and almost every day I wish I could have done something for him.

  257. Fuck I’m sitting reading this with tears in my eyes. I can’t tell you how immensely encouraging it is to read this and see that there is life beyond the hopelessness. I am in almost exactly the situation you were in in 1999, life feels fucked up and I don’t see or feel any hope for the future. I’m in my 20s with a struggling business and now every problem seems to loom so high over me I can’t face the shame of potential failure in life. I can’t believe Tim Ferriss the beast-machine of success and productivity felt like this. I was listening to your podcast earlier and couldn’t enjoy it as I just felt despair over how “together” you have everything in life. To hear that you once felt things were this overwhelming has revived my hope. Thank you so much for sharing this, it’s the single most impactful thing you have ever put out there for me.

  258. Thank you for this. I know how hard it must have been to write and “put out there”. We are all very silent and guarded about this subject. I’ve just lost my brilliant, gifted and very much loved 19 year old nephew to suicide in his 2nd year at University. Academically, he’d been a straight-A student his entire life, taking all AP courses and winning awards right and left. He was kind, handsome, innately talented, and we believed that he would ultimately cure cancer. Sadly, at the end, he was tormented by all those ugly demons you spoke of. A basically sober, friendly/shy and slightly geeky band kid who, after having ECT therapy recommended by his school therapist, was about to make his first-ever B, had not been hired for a job he wanted, broke up with his girlfriend, had his wisdom teeth removed the weekend before, and ran his car battery down. He died alone in his apartment on a Wednesday afternoon. Everything you wrote is true — those of us who knew him are devastated and will never be the same.

  259. Thank you doesn’t seem to begin to say it. You just reached another level in my mind and heart…I’d hug you if I could. Many, many thanks.

  260. First, Tim, great post. It always takes courage to share something like this.

    I want to reply as a suicide survivor. Maybe someone in the same shoes can get something out of this.

    My wife took her own life in December of 2013 after struggling with depression, anxiety and other emotional and psychological illness since at least 13 years old. She was 32 at the time. The final 4 years of her life were incredibly painful as every medication and therapy seemed to fail to help her. She had goals and a life to look forward to. She had just graduated with her bachelors degree and had been looking forward to a career teaching special education children, a field she had been interested in her entire adult life.

    For those contemplating suicide I want to reaffirm; if you do this it will be the single worst event those who love you are likely to live through. When they told me my wife was brain dead and would never recover the person I was simply ended at 42 y/o (I was 10 years older than her.) The next 6 months were non-stop horror and pain. I contemplated my own suicide more than once. The person I am now is not the person I was then. That guy is gone for good. And the pain has not ended. It is a daily, sometimes hourly, occasionally minute-minute part of my existence. If this will help you course correct, feel free to write it down somewhere.

    For those who have just recently had someone in their life commit suicide, here are the things I want to say;

    You can survive this. It’s going to suck forever but eventually it won’t hurt as much and it will hit less often. There’s still time, the world is still beautiful. Keep going.

    Feel all of it. Repress none of it. I get emotional repression, believe me. I’m ex-Army from a military family. Both my grandfather’s served in WWII. One of them fought at the invasion of Italy. My father retired from the Air Force after 21 years. My nephew goes to Marine Corps basic training this summer. You could say emotional repression is built into my DNA. But you can’t allow that. If you don’t express the anger, guilt, relief (yep, that’s one of them, particularly if the struggle was long) and all encompassing sadness you will be unable to answer it and it will live in your subconscious screwing you and every one of your relationships. For me, among others, I screamed Metallica’s Broken, Beat and Scarred at the top of my lungs everyday while commuting for work (“Show your scars!”)

    Lean on you friends. Use your supports. If you were the caretaker of someone with these sorts of issues you’ve likely been the supporter, the linchpin, the rock. It’s your turn now, brother or sister. Don’t try to stand on your own.

    If your supports are weak or you need more than that, go to a survivor’s group. More useful than individual therapy.

    Feel free to stop doing things that remind you of them that weren’t terribly important. I’ll likely not going back to the CA Bay area for many years. That was her place. We lived there for a while because she wanted to.

    Don’t avoid places that were important to both of you. We loved PAX. I went to the very next one after she died. I cried, I enjoyed it less, but I also felt connected to her and to my life.

    Don’t cheapen your memories of them. Try to remember them as they were. Make them neither an object of pain and pity nor lionize them as a flawed super-hero who did no wrong.

    These two resources also helped me a great deal;

    http://www.yourlifecounts.org/sites/default/files/a_handbook_for_survivors_of_suicide_1.pdf

    http://www.allianceofhope.org/blog_/loss-of-spouse-partner/

    Stay in the game.

  261. You know that phenomenon in which you encounter something new, like a new word, and then you see it everywhere? I’ve had an experience like that over the past few weeks, and it was triggered by something you posted (maybe on Facebook?) several weeks ago. You posted about sometimes struggling to respond with patience when writing emails, etc. (totally a paraphrase). Someone made a comment about not worrying about it, that emotional intelligence is overrated. That same day, I ran across this article: http://bit.ly/1GGEzeL discussing the development of the field of emotional intelligence. Then I started reading this book: http://amzn.to/1Eh4i6P about child development and the importance of character development as a predictor and/or facilitator of success. Then I saw this post of yours. I’ve not struggled much with intense depression or suicidal thoughts since high-school, though I do sometimes get that low-grade persistent sort of apathy that comes as a symptom of depression for me. But when I talk to people (a few of my loved ones) who do struggle with serious depression and suicidal thoughts, it’s usually in terms of how they develop coping mechanisms: recognizing the problem, building routines, exercise, careful attention to diet and alcohol consumption, etc. This is super rambling, but I guess what I’m seeing, from these various things that have been popping up in my newsfeed or that I’m reading or talking to people about, is that emotional intelligence, self-control, ‘character,’ the ability to withstand depressive periods, and the ability to control one’s instinct to lash out at obnoxious people, are all connected. It comes down to an ability to step back from a situation and view it on a meta-level, whether it’s an interaction with someone else or an interaction with one’s own demons. This is not “just snap out of it” or “resolve to be happy.” This is hard work on a skill that at least some of the research indicates can absolutely be learned. And since skill-development is completely your bailiwick, I wonder if you couldn’t expand this discussion and incorporate it into your larger work. Even if you never touch the subject of depression and suicide again (and I do appreciate how hard this topic can be to discuss), I want to thank you for having the courage to talk about it this time. And I want to thank you for getting me started on thinking more about this area with that first post you made asking for tips on self-control when responding to stupid emails 😉

  262. Thanks Tim!

    When I’m spiralling through a bout of depression I have a two word mantra that helps me get back on track:

    “No Judgement”

    For me, it’s the negative self-judgement that gets things sliding out of control and turns molehills into mountains. Not allowing myself this judgement puts things back in perspective.

  263. Keeping your word to Silas was both honorable and courages.

    My child, a type A-Personality got increasing depressed during her time away at college. It was completely unexpected, and it scared me.

    She, thank God was not near thoughts of suicide, but the depression took over her once bubbly personality and completely dulled her spirit. It was as if she became an entirely different person; one that was overwhelmed, disengaged, and short tempered. The Polar opposite of her true essence.

    I’m genuinely happy you made the decision to write this post. I hope college students, entrepreneurs, overwhelmed parents, and the list goes on and on – read this AND share it. Because it’s as you said, ‘It’s easy to blow things out of proportion, to get lost in the story you tell yourself.’ I think this post will help more people then even you’d imagined.

    Thanks!

  264. Thanks for posting this. I had a really dark year in 2014 and it was some advice from a friend that got me out of it. He said, “Don’t let the things you don’t like doing ruin the things you do like.” It made me realize that I was letting the shitty parts of my life consume everything. I had stopped hanging out with friends, given up my hobbies, and in general forsaken being happy all for the “benefit” of some situations that I hated. Saying “fuck it”, and focusing on the things that made me happy made all the difference in the world.

  265. Read this in Starbucks and almost teared up. Thank you Tim for opening up with this article. This could make all the difference in a lot of peoples lives.

  266. Very interesting post Tim. I have had to deal with that demon multiple times in life. Severe depression set in around 15, and I have had it till around 50. I am retired now. Things do not always get better, I am still where I was when I was 15. Life just stopped. Dead end jobs,careers. The worst part is I just do not care anymore about anyone or anything. No depression just numb. Meds and counseling never helped. You are just on your own to make the best of it.

    Came close on two occasions to ending it, now it just does not matter.

    Took a lot of courage to write that.

  267. Sorry, Tim…I forgot to add – A very important book by a friend, Kamal Ravikant – ‘LOVE YOURSELF LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT’ is a transformative piece that has helped many from not committing suicide.

  268. Thanks for sharing this, Tim. It was surprising that someone I look up to so much dealt with such similar obstacles as I did. I don’t usually comment on anything online, but what you wrote really resonated with me and I felt like sharing.

    During high school I was an extremely overweight computer nerd. As can be expected, bullying and zero self esteem contributed to severe depression and thoughts of killing myself inhabited a large portion of my day, which would continue for years after.

    I’d often contemplate what would be the best method to do myself in. It had to be immediate. No pain. I didn’t want to mentally scar the person who find my handiwork.

    A tall building – I bet if I landed on my head out would work well! Oh, but what if they had to have a family member identify my body? Messy. Scratch that.

    I’d actually get angry with myself for dragging it out and being such a fucking pussy. Just get it done. Man up. Lots of people do it. People that are younger than you. Wuss.

    I remember once being in a particularly bad state and without realising it, absent mindedly rifling through my cupboard for an extension cord in order to hang myself. Kind of like when killers say they go blank and don’t remember doing horrendous things. When I snapped back to reality, I just stared at the cord in my hand while tears poured out of my eyes for half an hour.

    Years have passed since my lowest points and while I won’t say I’m “cured” (I think it never disappears completely), I’ve definitely turned things around. The most important contributing factor for me was dropping 50 kilograms and getting into exceptional shape. I believe diet is very important too, and try to keep my food as natural as possible. Pack your body full of vitamins and nutrients.

    Also, if you don’t like your shit job, quit it and do something better. I’m working for myself now, am flat broke but have a sense of purpose and work to the point of obsession. I can’t sleep in anymore, I tend to beat my alarm clock in waking up because I want to get on with putting the next feature in my product.

    In essence, if anyone is having similar thoughts, please just know that it can get better. Invest in yourself and I promise you’ll get the spring back in your step. Looking back, I’m glad I was such a fucking pussy.

  269. I’ve never shared this but …..

    First some background.

    Found to be ‘intellectually gifted’ (or whatever the PC term is) in Grade 4. School wanted to put me in Grade 8 or 9. Parents knew not what to do. Oh yeah, schizophrenic mother, hard-drinking father, no school chums (too smart). Both liked to fight and the oldest boy (me) got to break it up.

    There was a huge apple tree in the backyard I used to climb because being above the rooftops made me feel like I was above my problems. I used to use some rope to help me.

    One evening, I escaped the mayhem in the house and climbed that tree. I don’t know how it happened but in the twilight the rope was around my neck. I remember it like it was yesterday. I looked down at my feet on the branch. I took one away. I put it back. I thought, “this will teach them”.

    Then, as clear as someone next to me was a voice.

    It said simply, “Those fucking assholes aren’t worth it”. (I’m getting emotional thinking this at my desk at work).

    Everytime I think that my life sucks and I want to check out, I remember that voice. If you are thinking of this waste of your gift, stop. Listen. There’s a voice in there that wants to be heard if only you will listen.

  270. Tim, it was actually your 1st book that saved me. I don’t know if I was ever truly suicidal (I always knew it wouldn’t necessarily get better after death) but I was pretty depressed. I was working at a depressing job, after years of success at school, dealing with an emotionally abusive parent and felt utterly alone in the world.

    Your book with its underlying philosophy- of taking control of your life, your body, got me out of my depression. The message of your book- if you don’t like it- change it, inspired me then and gave me hope that I could have the life I wanted.

    Thank you

  271. Tim, thank you for being so honest and vulnerable! Very courageous in posting this. Our society tries to hide suicide, depression, mental illness, etc but if we could actually see inside all of our stories, we would see a lot of us suffer or have gone through these seemingly impossible situations which are common to the human experience. This post will help a lot of people. I’m sure of it. Thanks for being courageous!

  272. Tim,

    Thank you for the comments. Suicide is a huge problem in the military and many of the Soldiers in my platoon have reported suicidal thoughts. I will share this with my Soldiers who are having issues and I believe it will be of great help. Thanks again.

    -1LT

  273. I volunteer in a ministry called MenSkills (there’s also a WomenSkills). Years ago my son became a drug addict not long after our divorce and my business burned down. Yup, heaps. I had no idea I was depressed until one day in the group the symptoms were discussed. What an eye opener. While I only had the thought of suicide for a moment or two, realizing I was depressed scared the crap out of me. I thought I was simply too strong for that. The realization changed my life, and gratefully brought empathy and compassion into my life for those who suffer from depression. I though depression was overcome by a simple decision. I experienced how wrong I was in my thinking. Now I make myself available to those with depression issues. I check my thoughts daily and very quickly realize the difference between what I THINK is truth and what actually IS truth. Most of the time there is a huge difference.

    Thanks for stepping out of your comfort zone Tim, I know how difficult that can be for many of us. No doubt this will take on a life (no pun intended) of its own. I hope more people will realize there is no shame in seeking help, it will change your life for the better, everyday. Make that decision like Tim did when he tool off of school and focused on his mental health.

    For anyone in the Southern California area that feels like you need help, check out MenSkills or WomenSkills at the marriage resource, online, there’s always someone to help.

  274. First of all, THANK YOU for sharing this story. Your honesty inspires others to share their own stories and ask for help.

    As teenagers, my brother and I both attempted suicide. We both survived. A few years later, when we were in our early twenties, my brother attempted again. He died.

    Eleven years have passed since my brother’s death, and I am now the mother of a son. As a survivor of suicide, in both senses of the term, these are the things I want him to know:

    1) Feel Your Feelings

    There will always be people who are uncomfortable with difficult feelings. Don’t be scared, they’ll say. Don’t be sad. Or worse: don’t cry. They’ll tell you to “toughen up.” Don’t listen. The deeper you bury your hurts and fears, the more painful they become. Instead, acknowledge your difficult feelings. Allow them to be what they are without trying to change them and trust that they will pass.

    2) Everything is Temporary

    Feelings, relationships, seasons—everything is always changing. This is one of the hardest things to remember, regardless of whether or not you are depressed. When you are experiencing a challenge, remind yourself of this as often as possible. Even better, ask others to remind you.

    3) Reach Out

    Individualism is the great American myth. The truth is that no one gets through life alone, real strength comes from honesty, and vulnerability is the foundation of community.

    Ask for help when you need it. Share your feelings with someone compassionate and supportive.

    I’m making this sound easier than it is. It’s actually terrifying. You may feel rejected or judged. If that happens, please try reaching out to someone else. It takes time and courage, but you will find the right people.

    4) Listen

    When you begin sharing your feelings with others, they begin sharing their feelings with you. You may be tempted to try and fix their problems or change the way they feel. Unless they ask you for help, the best way to support them is to listen without judgment.

    5) Tell Someone

    If you are having thoughts of suicide, tell someone who can help you: a family member, a friend, a teacher, a counselor. Then, let them help you.

    6) Ask Someone

    If you suspect that someone you care about is having thoughts of suicide, ask him/her. It may be uncomfortable, but it may save a life.

    7) Recognize Your Expectations

    You are never going to be perfect. Life is never going to be perfect. And guess what? That’s okay. The root of every disappointment is an expectation. When you are struggling with a situation or feeling, ask yourself whether or not there is an expectation attached. If there is, see if you can let it go.

    8) Forgive Yourself

    You are going to make mistakes—a lot of them. You are going to hurt the people you love and you are going to feel terrible about it. This is normal. Apologize when you need to and ask for forgiveness. Then, offer it to yourself.

    9) Trust That You Matter

    Depression has a way of making you feel like people would be better off without you. This isn’t true. You contribute to the universe in ways you can’t fathom. Believe that, even when it seems impossible.

    10) Decide to Live

    Make the decision today, and every day, that you will seek and accept whatever help you need to keep on living.

  275. Tim,

    Thank you so much for writing this. For years, you’ve been a big inspiration for me. I read your books, followed your blog, adopted your tactics. Today I truly feel as though you’ve gone a step beyond to connect and reach out with your fans.

    I went through a similar crisis this past fall. I worked my ass off all through my undergraduate degree, and was admitted to a top ten university for graduate school. I thought all my dreams had come true, but things came crashing down around me and I ended up taking a year off. In the past year I’ve dealt with crippling self doubt, a lack of purpose (seriously, what’s the point!?), and plenty of financial stress. My fitness has gone to hell, and I’m back at the weight I was prior to reading the 4-Hour body.

    At the same time, I’m confident now in what I need to do and who I am. What you wrote here today did a tremendous job showing that high performers tend to be manic messes at the same time. I’m going to move forward, knowing that I’m not alone in my experience. I’ll lose the weight again, get my head back in the game for my career, and make more efforts to stay close with those who are important to me.

    I’m keeping this short just because I know this post must be blowing up by now.

    I considered leaving my name or personal contact off of this, but decided it would be a shame given the courage you’ve shown today.

    Namaste, And thank you.

    Matt Mosquera

    PS: This comment was my one thing I had to get done today. 😉

  276. Suicide and Depression are very important topics, but almost nobody is brave enough to talk about them. What hinders most are specific thoughts in our head that are so strong, that we believe these thoughts automatically. But we don’t have to believe everything our head wants us to believe.

    Dr. Russ Harris is a pioneer of an approach of modern behavioral therapy called “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy”. He wrote a wonderful, easy to read book about this approach and I can tell out of my own experience that it helped myself and a lot of my patients (I’m a professional psychotherapist in Germany myself) to get a different view on our thoughts and feelings. The book is called: “The Happiness Trap” and today I discovered there is a corresponding website, too: http://www.thehappinesstrap.com

    So, check it out, I’m sure it could be helpful for some and not only concerning depression, but also various other “mental struggles” like addiction or obsessive-compulsive tendencies.

    Never give up!

  277. Fantastic post. I really identified with the predicament. My senior year at Brown I had no idea what I would do with my life after college, and my girlfriend dumped me, and I got caught in a downward spiral. It was tough. The question of why downward spirals happen to some people at certain points in their lives has always intrigued me. To understand it better I ended up getting a PhD in neuroscience doing research on depression. I recently wrote a book about it all, explaining what’s happening in the brain in depression and what you can do about it. It’s called The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time. Several of the suggestions in this post are also in my book, and I discuss the effects their actually having on the activity and chemistry of the brain. I think a lot of your readers will find it useful and interesting.

  278. Hey Tim – so your work to date is uber-impressive. I love that you provide a different lens for people to view the world, show them how to overcome perceived obstacles to their dreams and that you experiment on yourself. That’s all super inspiring. But it seems to me that this post right here is perhaps what all that stuff was leading to. I come originally from New Zealand where the suicide rate amongst men is particularly high, and there’s a real masculine stoicism around not wanting to appear weak or vulnerable. My sister’s father-in-law committed suicide as did a cousin’s husband. You’re someone with huge cultural clout and by giving people a first-hand account of your own struggles (all of them from just being overwhelmed to thoughts of suicide) you offer men in particular, a lifeline that shows that even the people who seem to have it all, are still human with all that entails. Men in paricular need to hear your story. That is some legacy work you’re doing there. Kudos to you.

  279. Thank you for this, Tim. Your writing has been a source of enrichment in my life for years now and this shines brightly.

  280. Fantastic post Tim. It has taken great courage and honesty to write this post. The sheer volume off comments already would tell you how relevant it is.

    As someone who went to a Tony Robbins seminar over a decade ago and was blown away by watching his interventions on someone who was suicidal in the audience, I became interested in the field. So much so I ended up volunteering for a suicide charity for over a decade and then retraining in the mental health field out of the inspiration I received that day. I really think he has something valuable to contribute to the field.

    I work with people with suicidal feelings on a daily basis. Whilst some of the work we do is outstanding for people, I often wondered if we “hacked” people like Tony Robbins and others who claim they have mastered helping people, then we would reduce suicides on a bigger scale. However work like Tony’s and other people in field such as NLP guru’s Bandler etc, make great claims but there is limited empirical evidence to back it up, hence it is unlikely to be taken seriously. There is also a lot of noise in the field with 1000s of techniques for working with clinically depressed and anxious people, but how much is superfluous. There is also a definite over-reliance on medical model.

    It would be fantastic if we could a) get this work tested to see is it more effective than current efforts b) get more of the front line staff and volunteers trained to master it, which if it worked, in theory would reduce the number of suicides and improve quality of peoples lives.