My summary pretty much describes how I feel. My brother committed suicide in 2012 and I’m feeling like I understand how he was feeling and I feel like I’m feeling the same way. I’m frustrated with my work, my home life (though I love my family) it seems like nothing rarely makes me happy.

A: You recognize that your feelings are unusual, which means that you are sensing a problem. The biggest concern is the fact that your brother recently committed suicide, and you feel as though you can relate to how he was feeling when he ended his life. It seems as though you, too, might be considering suicide as an option.

In my experience, individuals who are contemplating suicide are unequivocally not thinking clearly. They have erroneous thoughts about ending their suffering. People who consider suicide often don’t possess the skills necessary to deal with life problems. They see suicide as an easy choice, one that will take away their pain.

There have been studies of people who have survived suicide. One researcher interviewed nine people who jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge, in California, and survived. What he found was not what many people expected. Despite jumping from the bridge with the goal of ending their lives, none of those people truly wanted to die. They simply wanted their pain and suffering to end. The most striking aspect of suicide survivor research, is that survivors were thankful to have survived. They also realized that their emotional pain was temporary and that their problems were solvable. They never really wanted to die, and I suspect that’s the case for most people contemplating suicide.

Problems are a part of life. We all experience problems, but not everyone has had the opportunity to acquire effective problem-solving skills. Counseling is the most efficient way to acquire these skills.

I would encourage you to seek professional help immediately. A therapist could assist you in dealing with the issues that you have described in your letter. He or she would objectively evaluate your symptoms and provide you with emotional support.

Suicide should not be considered as a solution to your problems. Your loss would devastate your family. I hope that my letter convinces you to seek professional help. Mental health treatment could both save your life and spare your family the immense pain and suffering that would accompany your premature death.

Dr. Kristina Randle