Why I Attempted Suicide

Why I Attempted Suicide

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I’m pretty stingy when it comes to guest posts on here. I probably get three to five offers each week from people who want me to publish a post here. And it goes without saying, most of the proposals are either unoriginal or just downright bad.

A few weeks ago a reader named Dave emailed me offering to write an article about suicide and his attempt when he was in university. A number of articles have been published recently about how suicide rates in men have been rising over the past couple decades and that they now outpace women by more than three male suicides for every female suicide.

The problem is that few people talk about this. And I don’t mean just about men’s suicide rates, but suicidal men don’t talk about their suicidal thoughts. Men don’t talk about other men’s suicidal thoughts. Men are socialized to keep quiet about their problems and handle them on their own. Obviously, this is having some tragic repercussions.

It was for this reason that I took Dave up on his offer. He wrote a great piece and I spent some time editing it and refining it. I’m proud of the result.

I don’t expect this to be necessarily earth-shattering. But I do hope it can give some men who suffer from suicidal thoughts a little reassurance and make suicide a little less stigmatized for people.

So without further ado, I’ll let Dave take over…


When I woke up on Tuesday, October 14th, 2008, I didn’t plan on trying to kill myself. Maybe some people plan it way in advance, but I didn’t.

That Tuesday was a strange day for me. I had just transferred to a new university that year and freshman orientation began the week before in earnest. It was the annual ritual in which friendship, flirting and good times were supposedly guaranteed in a haze of booze and pre-planned festivities.

I had already been through a week like this before. I dropped out of my previous university due to unmanageable depression. I had been repeatedly told by adults my entire adolescence and convinced by TV shows and films that university was where I would truly become myself and ‘bloom’, which of course just made the isolation even worse. I saw friendships and romantic relationships form all around me, and the feelings of failure intensified. Everyone told me these were going to be “the best years of my life”, but I had utterly failed.

After my first university experience I was reluctant to try again at a new school, but there seemed to be no choice. I had been friendless for the past few years and therefore had no life to go back to. There was no turning around.

So a year later I found myself in a similar situation in a new school. Social interaction did not progress beyond small talk, attempted jokes and some insecure laughter. After a night of being generally ignored by all other people, I began to feel suicidal again.

While I had contemplated suicide at my previous university, I could rationalize that I was merely unlucky in terms of my flat mates, housing, etc. and that the problem lay with circumstance rather than me.

But as the pattern duly repeated itself, it became clear that my circumstances were not at fault. It was me. I blamed myself and concluded that I had a deficient personality.

I thought of a lonely four years at this university, a future in which I would never be more than an acquaintance or a social burden wheeled out for charity (my mind had long learnt to shut down any expectation of sex). I felt that I could no longer live in that future.

Paracetamol, the method of choice.

Paracetamol, the method of choice.

I decided to take action. I swallowed 25 paracetamol and tried to go to sleep, with the intention of not waking up the next day.

Surprisingly, I did wake up the next day.

I had thrown up, though I did not remember doing so. Puzzled I looked on the internet to see why I had survived and found out that the results of a paracetamol overdose may be asymptomatic for the first 24 hours and only fatal after 5 days.

I talked to the chaplain of my college. He drove me to the hospital. There, I was told that survival was not certain, at least not without an organ transplant.

Hours later, after a battery of tests, I was finally given the news that I would survive without the need of a transplant. I had taken a dose that bordered on fatal but I would be fine because I threw it up.

I was ashamed of what I did. I would spend the next year trying to excise the incident from my memory, though I never succeeded. It’s not the sort of thing you just forget.

Suicide and attempted suicide is a difficult subject for men to broach. Though global suicide rates for men top the rates for women, they are also less likely to seek help with suicidal thoughts or get treatment for depression.

This is perhaps because depression and suicidal thoughts contravene the qualities of resilience and self control which have long been integral to the masculine identity. To admit to suicidal thoughts and to suicidal actions is to admit to weakness and to be a failure of a man.

Given that men rarely talk openly about issues of depression and suicide I decided to try and make sense of my attempt through honest introspection and some reading. After a while I found that there was an internal logic to suicidal thoughts that is hard to break, especially for young men trapped in a cycle of insecurity, anxiety and fear.

Control, society and the rationale behind suicide

A fundamental problem is the issue of control. Throughout my teens I felt out of control of my social life. I did not want to be lonely or a virgin but I felt as if I lacked the qualities necessary to change my life.

When you are hungry or tired the problem can be solved entirely through your own action (eating and sleeping), but changing your social life is dependent on other people’s reactions to you.

During freshman orientation week I had tried to get people to like me and failed. I was unable to control people’s indifference to me. Whenever I was with another man talking to a girl, I was unable to control the fact that she primarily talked, made eye contact, and interacted with him and not me. I felt that I could not change this state of affairs as I lacked the necessary personality traits for people to ever perceive me as a friend or romantic partner.

Suicide, on the other hand, always presents an option for generating a definite future. At a certain point, a depressed person may begin to see this controlled and predictable result of death as more attractive than the unpredictable loneliness and pain of years and years of isolation. On the day I attempted to take my life, I thought that if I chose to continue living that I would spend my life as a lonely outcast and that only suicide could guarantee that this would not happen. It literally appeared to be the only reliable solution from the pain.

This, of course, ties into the fear of failure. Socially risky behaviors that form friendships and generate intimacy — such as teasing, flirting, touching, practical jokes — can fail or backfire causing awkwardness, criticism and shame.

There were instances before my suicide attempt (and there have been instances afterwards too) in which my attempts at flirting or jokes were met with outright criticism and a judgment on the poor quality of my social skills. These reactions ruined my self-esteem and served as an external reinforcement to my low opinion of myself.

On the other hand, when such risky actions work it generates intimacy, approval and excitement. For a long time I hated the socially outrageous people who could get away with socially risky behavior and reap the benefits, because I felt that whenever I tried I was punished by indifference or worse.

This explains why “losers” tend to gravitate to the stereotypical activities of video games, internet forums and pornography. These are “low risk” activities that can still fulfill –- even if temporarily –- basic emotional needs.

But the largest issue here is the culture of shame that surrounds social rejection.

If a person experiences social and sexual rejection, they often suffer from shame and ridicule at the hands of their peers. They’re seen as deficient and inherently inferior.

Even attempting to improve one’s social life inevitably leads to social rejection and the formation of a reputation as a loser or outcast. For a lonely and desperate person, this feels like a no-win situation. You’re punished for trying, and also punished for not trying.

In contrast, you expect suicide or attempted suicide elicits a completely different reaction from people: namely, sympathy, and the validation you’ve always craved.

As Stewie Griffin from Family Guy said to his sister: “Meg if you kill yourself now you’ll get a whole page in the yearbook”.

People sympathize with people who are dead. Your absence will force people to miss you, or at least claim they will miss you. It will finally validate you for the qualities you always felt went unnoticed. It will force the appreciation out of them that they never expressed. It will make people think twice about the shame they caused you and the rejection they leveled on you.
Yes, it’s sick, but when you’re this lonely and depressed, this begins to look like a legitimate solution.

How attempted suicide affected my life

My suicide attempt caused me to feel a great deal of guilt.

The first instance of real guilt occurred when I was told that I might need a transplant to live. I felt unworthy to be offered such a costly new lease on life when my position was self-inflicted and when I was unsure about whether I would want to continue living. I could not deal with the idea of living at the expense of someone else who could have been assigned the organ. I told the doctor that I did not want an organ transplant and I meant it.

The second and more enduring source of guilt was my family. I was forced to tell my parents who were understandably devastated. I was always aware that suicide was a selfish act as you are putting your problems and feelings ahead of the distress your death will cause to those who love you, but in my depression it was hard to ever see beyond my unmet needs.

Last year my friend’s sister committed suicide, leaving my friend and her family emotionally destroyed. It forced me to consider what I would have left behind me if I had succeeded. The validation that comes with death is born out of the hurt of those who actually cared for the deceased. In short, it is not an outcome that is actually good for anyone, it’s horrible.

The guilt I harbor means that I have kept my suicide attempt a secret from a large portion of my peers. Most of my siblings and friends still do not know.

But there’s another interesting effect from my suicide attempt. Since I got back into socializing, I became more aware of people publically expressing suicidal thoughts and the reactions they garner.

One example was a girl who was insecure about her weight and frequently went into manic public outbursts of depression. The reaction to these outbursts was an overwhelming validation that she looked fine and had nothing to be insecure about.

The problem was that these comments were done under emotional blackmail and were said to calm her down, not because they were true. Chances are that she knew this and that meant that no amount of kind words would improve her self-esteem, and so the outbursts continued.

This is the reason why I have kept my secret from all of my friends except one. I don’t want to pressure them to give me sympathy. I don’t want to rely on their sympathy. The one friend I told, it took me four years to tell him, but his ability to keep it a secret has increased my trust and confidence in him. I know he genuinely cares about me.

Lastly, I have found that I am, ironically, generally more optimistic about things. I am still not where I want to be in life. Nevertheless, my suicide attempt marks a base point, a very low base-point, [Editor’s note: many refer to this as “ hitting rock bottom”] which I can compare my current state against. Every time I look back I realize I have moved forward. I have faced numerous situations since that would have pushed the “old me” over the edge. But instead, I have sought to improve my situation and take some control.

For example, in my third year at university when I felt unsatisfied with my group of friends, I went out and made new ones. Although not ideal, this is miles beyond where I was years prior.

Advice for those with suicidal thoughts and those who are recovering

I’d like to take a moment and give advice to anyone reading who may be having suicidal thoughts.

It’s important that you talk to someone, but I would recommend making it someone close to you who you can trust. Don’t make it public. Fishing for sympathy or creating drama only invalidates any sympathy you may receive from people.

I recommend parents, a trusted friend, or a counselor. I never talked about my suicidal thoughts and it allowed me to become trapped in my own head. I began to believe that no one actually cared, when really, no one knew.

No one can help you if they don't know.

No one can help you if they don’t know.

If you are having suicidal thoughts and feel trapped and like you have no one to talk to, call a suicide hotline (1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK) and seek professional help as soon as possible. It can’t get any worse, right? So you may as well try it. These are trained professionals and can get you the help you need to make your life better.

Another point of advice would be slowly try and increase the level of social risk you are willing to take and try to do it in an environment where you feel you at least have some safety. It is important to look for arenas in which the effect of ridicule on your self esteem is minimized or the risk of ridicule is low. Start with your family and long-time family friends. Don’t try to be popular or the “cool kid” all at once. Find pre-defined social groups (clubs at school, extra-curricular activities, etc.) where risk of rejection is less because there’s some external focus. The point is to slowly build up your social risk in a way that failure doesn’t devastate you all at once.

Lastly, if you are recovering from suicidal thoughts or actions, take your time and think about how much your life has improved.

It may take a long time to become the person you want to be, in fact it may never happen at all, but it is important to compare your status now (concerning friends, dating and confidence in general) to how you felt at your lowest rather than against what other people appear to be.

[Editor’s Note: There are plenty of popular and “successful” people who kill themselves. Don’t always be so sure other people have it better off than you.]

For example, I am still worse than most with women, but I have improved and got myself a sex life and a wonderful group of friends. I may not be an incredibly attractive man but I feel myself improving all the time. That’s what matters.

This is a guest post by Dave. He’s not dead.

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60 Comments

Leave a Comment

  • Reply

    TheoJ91

    3 months ago

    Fine post. There is hope for everyone, if that helps anyone.
     
    Mark, excuse me for the uncalled-for criticism, my humble opinion is that it would be better as an editor to save the notes for a bulky paragraph at the end (and your intro is good too!).

    • Reply

      anonymeows

      3 months ago

      @TheoJ91 I disagree. They would lose their context.

  • Reply

    realtalk415

    3 months ago

    What a lot of people fail to realize and will most likely look at this comment “wierd” is that when people have “sucidal thoughts” they are really spirits whispering sh!t like: Kill yourself, Nodboy loves you anyway, come on die and so on.
     
    The bible even speaks on this but then again: 1 Corinthians 2 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

    • Reply

      ayjay

      3 months ago

      @realtalk415 Not everyone is biblical and religious.  I’m an atheist/agnostic.

    • Reply

      edward4am

      3 months ago

      @realtalk415 Go. Away.
      Your religious tripe is worse than useless. Your own words say that we cannot get better without help, your ‘holy’ book says that human kind is inherently evil.
       
      Well, I say that humans are better than that.
       
      I walked your path. I was depressed when I joined the church, and I was depressed when I left. I started to get better only when I accepted that I was the only person in control of my fate, and that no matter how painful the process may be, I must ruthlessly look at why I was depressed, and actively work to fix those habits and situations and thoughts that drove me to despair.
       
      Only when I took matters into my own hands, did I get better.
       
      You would have us bow our heads and cry in the dark, waiting like a snivelling child for someone to save us.
      I say that we light our torches and find our way out like the adults we are.

      • Reply

        realtalk415

        3 months ago

        @edward4am
        That´s the number one mistake people make to think one is “Religious” -religion is a word that was designed to separate people.
         
        All I´m saying is that people will never look deeply into this, I am convinced  a higher power exists.
         
        And since we are talking about a subject “suicide” let´s be honest no one was born wanting to die, something happened to them .
         
        As I mentioned before,
         
        It´s NOT your “suicidal thoughts” that tell you to kill yourself but rather a spiritual force whispering sh!t in your ear like : Kill yourself, you aren´t worthy an so on.
         
        Ephesians 6:12
         
        For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
         
        I will go even deeper to explain this: Why do you think that there is a ton of college grads, that are smart as heak, and then during spring break they do all sorts of stupid sh!t that puts them in jail at times, because their spirit is fvckued up
         
         
        Another example would be: When in a horoscope they say the same cliché sh!t “Think positive to feel positive” Yeah right, if YOU spirit is defeated ( YOU are depressed) how in the hell do you do that????

    • Reply

      postmasculine

      3 months ago

      @realtalk415 Yeah, gotta say that religiosity isn’t that welcome here.

      • Reply

        realtalk415

        3 months ago

        @postmasculine All in all, I think the spirit has to be reconstructed ( YOU Internally) to get your a$$ up and Man Up! to these “suiidal thoughts” and take control of one´s life!
         
        And by the way I am NOT religious. I havve a blog called
         
        http://realmacktalk.blogspot.com
         
        Which is Far from religion though I do believe in GOD.

      • Reply

        ayjay

        3 months ago

        @realtalk415  @postmasculine Your belief is your belief.  If it helps get you through the day, then more power to you, but don’t go about rubbing it to people as if they don’t have their own beliefs (atheism is a belief).  It’s kind of like having a penis; you should be happy and proud for having one.  However, once you start rubbing it to other people’s faces, don’t expect a welcoming attitude from them.For someone who claims he’s not religious, you certainly post a lot of bible passages.  Oh, and really classy in promoting your personal blog on this site. I hope Mark removes it.

      • Reply

        HarrisonEngel

        3 months ago

        @realtalk415  @postmasculine  “Man Up!” is exactly why so many more men commit suicide than women. Depression to the point of suicidal thoughts, especially over an extended period of time, is a BIOLOGICAL CONDITION. Have you ever told someone to “Man Up” and fix their broken arm themselves? Or how about “Man Up” and cure their Celiacs disease themselves(about the same heritability as severe depression)? “Man Up” DOESN’T WORK on severe depression. Modern medicine and professional therapy DOES.

      • Reply

        realtalk415

        3 months ago

        @ayjay  @realtalk415  @postmasculine 
         
        Im NOT trying to promote my site. I just wanted to make a point that I am NOT “Religious” and that if I was my site would be full of that. You will only find 1 post that merly touches on something similar. 
         
        I don´t mind what Mark does with my comment, it´s his site. I do NOT need the traffic trust me.
         
        I posted 2 bible passage.
         
        for being an “Atheist” you sure b!tch a lot about religiosity.
        NO one is trying to shove anything down your throat-or get you to believe anything you can´t understand. If you beleive there is NO higher power more power to you bruh.!!

      • Reply

        realtalk415

        3 months ago

        @HarrisonEngel  @postmasculine 
         
        What is “professional therapy”? the   psychiatrist? Please……..
         
        “Modern Medecine” you mean those pills you take that release serotonin into the brain that you have to take everyday and If you don´t you are even more depressed than the previous day?
         
        NOT to say the don´t fully work, but you do need to Man up! and have the heart and balls, to want out of suicididal thoughts.
         
        Killing yourself in my opinion is letting the world know you are a loser and you ain´t sh!t 
         
        Now Im NOT trying to sh!t on those that suffer from “suicidal thoughts” I sure is a desease but just like a person that has HIV- he/she can learn to live with it and still be happy!
         
        A soldier in war WOULD man up! if he had a broekn arm. and so on and so forth.

        • Reply

          Redwana

          1 month ago

          Someone block this bitch please.

      • Reply

        HarrisonEngel

        3 months ago

        @realtalk415 @HarrisonEngel @postmasculine
        There’s so much ignorance in that I don’t know where to start. You’ve obviously never known someone suffering from severe depression. Psychiatry and modern therapy, such as cbt, is scientifically backed and proven to be effective. Modern medication is diverse and extremely accurate, and most act over a long period of time to increase the brains ability to handle negative emotions. “Man Up” is a nice philosophy for non life-threatening things like “man up and talk to that girl” or “man up and get to work”. Not for suicidal depression. People DIE from not fixing their depression. Dead. Not rejected, not sad, dead. It ruins families and friends. A human life shouldn’t be left to simply “Man Up”

        • Reply

          Celestial G.

          7 weeks ago

          EXACTLY!!!!!!

      • Reply

        ayjay

        3 months ago

        @realtalk415    
         
        Your belief is your belief.  If it helps get you through the day, then more power to you.

    • Reply

      ZacChamp

      3 months ago

      @realtalk415 I don’t want to go off too much on this, but it’s thinking like this that ends up hurting people instead of helping them. It makes me sad when I think of how many people got “help” religiously instead of the way they really needed it. Not to say that religion, community, ect, can’t have a great influence on people’s lives. I just shudder when I think of the poor kid that needs a therapist who is told he just has demons inside of him.

      • Reply

        LaurentYves

        3 months ago

        @ZacChamp  @realtalk415  I agree , growing up in the church I never really felt like they touched upon actual problems and helping people. I just kinda felt like they gave what I perceive to be get healed and go on your way solutions. While I am Christian and do believe in the power of god, I feel like it is an actual human’s job to  care about and understand someone’s problem. Frankly I don’t know what to say about the guy posting scripture. He has poor social skills, father forgive him.

        • Reply

          Me

          1 month ago

          I don’t go to church but there has to be a creator. Things don’t just appear. I am a science major and the DNA and RNA are incredibly intricate. They didn’t just happen. What came first, the eye or the optic nerve? Or the ear, or the auditory canal? The list goes on and on. So my point is, depression / suididal thoughts may be a spiritual thing. It could also be a chemical imbalance. If your depressed, try St. John’s wort. If your still depressed, call a local bible believing church and have someone pray over you. But know this. The scientific part of suicidal thoughts and depression go like this. Messages and thoughts are transmitted through small electrical impulses. A few negative thoughts because something bad happened could happen. But if it happens several times the path gets so use to that message being sent that it keeps on sending the same message! Not good! You have to break this cycle. SSRI selective saratonin reuptake inhibitors can stop this pattern and so can the St. John’s wort. St. John’s wort will have less side effects if any and is readily available. But don’t take my word on any of this. Do your own research and see if this is correct. Get help so you can have a better life. Life is short enough, make the best of it.

          • Redwana

            1 month ago

            Well, to be fair, the intricacy of DNA and RNA do not by any means prove that there’s a creator. And DNA and RNA aren’t all that intricate. They’re just a chain of nucleotides in a helix pattern, so that’s not a good example to use. The accumulation of all the evidence up to this point in time support evolution. The theory isn’t perfect and still has a few small holes in it, but for the most part, we know that DNA and RNA were formed as a result of increasing complexity in organisms over punctuated periods of time, and that the first organism wasn’t very complex at all. I think of it as Lego blocks. The first organism was a single lego block, and it’s descendants are just more and more complex constructions of Lego blocks. As for what came first, the eye or the optic nerve, I have to say that that’s a really stupid question to ask now, since embryology studies have already solved that sort of stuff for us.

            Something tells me that you’re not an actual biological/chemical/hard science major. Let me guess, Computer science? Political Science? Actuarial Science? Being a science major doesn’t validate you or make your opinions disguised as “facts” the truth that they masquerade to be.

            As for treating depression with religion, it may work, but it is NOT the end all be all. For many, it can do more harm than good. I would be VERY careful about handing off people with depression to my local mosque, since their mental health would probably be worse coming out than going in, and they’d probably be even more suicidal than before.

            I’m not going to recommend medical advice over the internet because I don’t know enough to.

  • Reply

    Cecilia Harry

    3 months ago

    Thank you so much for sharing, Dave.

  • Reply

    Max Nachamkin

    3 months ago

    Wow, that story really got to me. That is great that you are doing much better — thank you for feeling open to tell us your story.
     
    Depression sucks. It’s like crying for help, but without the actual crying part. When I was depressed a couple years ago, I hoped that other people would solve my problems or figure it out and find help for me. And when it didn’t happen, I went even deeper into the hole. What helped me was changing my environment significantly: new location, new faces, and new activities. 
     
    Once I changed my environment, it was much easier for me to talk to someone about it. It’s taught me a lot about myself and about how people work. 
     
    The lesson: just talk to a person you trust about it, or a stranger if it helps. Counselors are paid to understand and help you out, so don’t feel ashamed going to them. You aren’t letting anyone down or being ‘weak’ — you’re simply being human and looking for the emotional support that you need. Everyone needs someone to talk to, and it helps tremendously.

  • Reply

    ZacChamp

    3 months ago

    Thank you for sharing Dave.

  • Reply

    ayjay

    3 months ago

    Thanks, Dave!  I had suicidal thoughts late last year.  About the same time when I hit rock-bottom when it comes to social needs.  I’m doing better now.   Currently working on my self-esteem by reading Nathaniel Branden’s Six Pillars of Self-esteem.

  • Reply

    markaurel05

    3 months ago

    Hi Dave,
     
    and thank you for sharing this. I never attempted suicide, but I do understand how you have felt, at least up to a certain point. It certainly takes courage to talk or write about this.

  • Reply

    EdmondDantes

    3 months ago

    This article makes me mad, but inspires me on another level as well. Why? Because I can identify with the author’s experience and his feeling of helplessness and the feeling of being stuck and being “certain about never-ending pain”. I know what it’s like and it makes me incredibly angry to know that there are so many guys out there, who are in the same situation and never ask for help or even believe that they can’t be helped. Some of them are still alive, others ended their lives and their story will never be told. Nobody talks about their fates and nobody will remember them. Nobody will ever have the chance to tell them what a great man they became or how awesome they’re as fathers.
     
    That’s why it’s important to put a spotlight on this issue and I’m glad this article exists.
     
    One of my main inspirations behind my own development is the desire to help exactly these kinds of people.
     
    Because I KNOW.
     
    And I know nowadays how to get out of this shithole. I gave my struggle a meaning, you know. As corny as it sounds. When you’ve been in such a situation, then you don’t just fight for yourself. You fight for all the ones that came before you and didn’t make it. You fight for the ones coming after you, so they make it…
     
    Though I’m not at the end of my journey where I can say: Yeah I did it, I can say that whenever you survive hard conditions, challenges and hardships in life, you’ll become a stronger person.It’s not a pleasant journey, but it’s a worthwhile one.
     
    It’s like the old saying: What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.
     
    So dear reader, if you’re in this situation right now, know this: There is hope. Yes, even for you. Be glad that you’re on this site. It’s a great resource, which can help you. Take the initiative and move forward.
     
    Edmond

  • Reply

    bswhunter

    3 months ago

    Definitely touched by this post. As someone who hasn’t gone more then a week without sucicidal thoughts I can definitely relate to all of it. While most of it is common knowledge, putting it out there in a condensed format, along with the author giving us his own experiences makes it a more personal read compared to some of the other stuff I have read on sucicide

  • Reply

    LaurentYves

    3 months ago

    This is amazing. While I can’t say that i’m a shut in and haven’t been able to make friends. I have experienced what Dave has, just to a lesser degree. Comfort zones are a bitch. Life will have you thinking that your current problem will just fix itself , but in reality it’s up to you . I kinda feel like in American culture at least, there is a passiveness in actually doing something that improves upon your life or a complain that you may have. Look at any political video on youtube, and some people actually have valid reasons or gripes, but the thing is that they just voice them and will never take it into consideration that it’s their job to make the change happen and not the president. Gotta say, this helped me a lot. The bad thing about articles like this is you can  fall into mental masturbation and ironically not do anything about your life, gotta make sure I don’t slack off.

    • Reply

      Russ_Garcia

      3 months ago

      @LaurentYves ah yes, very good points. It is up to us, making tough decisions, and taking the risk. In real life, not just within the confines of our own mind.

  • Reply

    phaeocise

    3 months ago

    Very pathetic. Not because of the suicide part. I’m eerily in the same position as you, I am a transfer student in my current university suffering from depression, anxiety, you name it. The reason I think Dave is pathetic is his reason. Attempting suicide because he doesn’t have any friends? Notsureifsrs. I’m suicidal as well, but for career and academic reasons, shit that matters.

    • Reply

      postmasculine

      3 months ago

      @phaeocise few things here:
      1) Many people including myself have gotten much further in the world because of who they know rather than academic performance. One could easily make the same argument to you in reverse. In my humble opinion, academics are a stupid reason to kill yourself.
      2) Your comment implies there is a “good reason” to kill yourself. False.
      3) The fact you judge someone else’s suicidal thoughts as “stupid” surely has a correlation to the quantity of your own.

    • Reply

      EnkiduAwakened

      3 months ago

      @phaeocise This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.  If you’re that apathetic to people who may be different from you, I urge you to go ahead and off yourself.  We already have plenty of people in the world who lack empathy.  We don’t need any more.

    • Reply

      anonymeows

      3 months ago

      @phaeocise I think a lot of times not realizing how many problems most people have, or giving other people’s problems less value than your own, can contribute to suicidal thoughts. It’s a ‘no one else has -real- problems, not like I do’ mentally that helps people convince themselves suicide is a good option for them, because they feel so unique in their suffering. In reality, something that doesn’t seem so bad to you because you haven’t experienced life without it (not having friends, and I know you may be thinking you have, but it’s egotism that leads you to believe that there aren’t people in the world who have experienced a sort of loneliness you’ve never dreamed of, I assure you that they exist and that their pain is legitimate), can actually be devastating to another person to the extent that they’d prefer not to live. I’m sure someone else who has a decent career and academic background might think you’re being unreasonable because they’ve never had to deal with what you’re experiencing, so they assume it can’t be as bad as you think it is. So many people love to underestimate other people’s problems and overestimate their own. In a way, it’s egotism and self-centeredness, and people end up hurting themselves and the people around them because of it.

    • Reply

      Tim

      4 weeks ago

      I believe that empathy is one of the most important and greatest traits that a human being can have. Empathy is the key to creating a much happier and better world, with much less suffering. Your lack of empathy for Dave is upsetting, and I would also strongly argue that somebody’s social life is significantly more important than their academic life. Every life is precious, and as Mark has said there is absolutely no “good” reason to commit suicide. Suicide is indeed a permanent solution to a potentially temporary problem and there is no scientific evidence to suggest that after we die there is an after-life, therefore to commit suicide is to essentially condemn yourself to non-existence for eternity. For these two reasons alone suicide can never be rational.

      For those who are depressed or suicidal just know that there is ALWAYS hope. I urge you to seek out a professional therapist who will help guide you to full recovery, and I say this because I CARE for my fellow human beings and all other life on this little planet residing in this unimaginably vast universe.

  • Reply

    yournotwillersreally

    3 months ago

    Great post. Below is just me letting stuff out, hopefully its relevantish.
     
    I’m currently trying to change my lifestyle. The easier things I’ve done have already been helpful, eating fresh fruit, vegetables, cutting out rubbish fast food and exercising a lot more. With zero personal development this has already made me feel better. However the reliance on alcohol as  a social crutch is deeply ingrained in me. My social life has revolved around pubs, and my social skills and confidence are limited.
     
    Being around people sober feels like being naked, I find myself stumbling over words, putting everything I say through a mental sieve before I say it. Having a number of people look at me simultaneously fills me with fear and Ive always avoided social situations that put more pressure on this.
     
    I was out tonight and felt the same sense of loserness socially that I usually do but didn’t just go to the booze straight away. The good thing is I’m thinking about my physical and mental shape a lot more and know what a session on the beer will do to both. Even if I never become that socially confident I’d rather have the sense of well being I get from living healthier than be the pisshead who people like in the pub. Sober me results in lines like ” what have you done with Willers!” I’m not sure I like this new guy! (this is largely a conversation in my own head)
     
    Crucially I need to build this social confidence slowly and find small steps. It hurts to end up the self-isolated guy in the corner. Hence I always used to prefer being the “hammered” irritating, wind-up, point scoring, jokey, sarcy guy than the more introspective quiet type. Its a good job I’m good at pool! You can get away with more when your good at stuff!
     
    All the narcissistic get outs, internet, tv, porn, grandiose fantasies, game blogs etc etc have allowed me to avoid this real me that other people see. Even the mention of my real name brings a disheartening pull to the stomach as I know theres a dissonance between whats going on in my head and whats actually happening and who I am and how I behave. Breaking that isn’t going to be easy particularly as I have an easy life and make a living without social pressures (now I’m living healthier I do think about how good I have it in that respect)
     
    I have a friend who is studying counselling who’s helped me out. Went out for a meal for the first time ever with him, without drinking as well! Knowing he wouldn’t judge me helped. Just need to do stuff like that and find subtle ways of developing rather than jumping in the deep end and crumbling inside. Breaking away from my reliance on the pub world and booze is like splitting up with the love of your life.
     
    I never did write that song “Stella Tears”. Seemingly about a long lost girlfriend its actually a tale of a man and his love for the bottle.

  • Reply

    HarrisonEngel

    3 months ago

    Great post, I like the recommendation to seek professional help if your having suicidal thoughts and attempt suicide. If you’re depressed to the point of honestly wanting to end your life you have most likely severe clinical depression, which is a MEDICAL condition caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. Seek professional medical attention like you would for any disease. Modern medicine and counseling are very effective and safe, there’s absolutely no reason you should live your life like this or end your life because of it.

    • Reply

      Lin

      1 month ago

      the chemical imbalance thing is absolutely true. medications can take up to a month to correct the chemical imbalance. for an emergency first aid for depression and suicidality, I was lucky enough to find a naturopathic doctor who gave me IV magnesium injections which completely reversed the condition in about 15 minutes. mainstream doctors haven’t adopted the practice of using magnesium. its a quick way to balance your body pH which one can also learn to balance with diet exercise and healthy habits. if there are no naturopath in your area, find a regular doctor who does Ivy vitamin therapy, sometimes called Myers cocktail and includes magnesium. the vitamin injections have become popularized by people such as Madonna. these injections work short term like a week or so. can too while seeking regular depression medication. but if you learn how to balance your pH with healthy habits when may be able to eventually go of the depression medication as well. I find that if I don’t practice healthy habits while taking medication that the medication doesn’t work so well. is injections are not a high, just a chemical normalizing Factor. therapy is good for everybody if we want to continue to grow in life.

  • Reply

    fakemanihi

    3 months ago

    Just like many of the comments here, I too went through depression which lead to hopelessness, and thoughts of suicide.  I can relate to everything in this article from social isolation, ‘hitting rock bottom’, guilt of suicide.  During that period, thoughts of desiring an end to my life was always in my head but I knew I couldn’t leave my caring mother to suffer the loss of me, and for that I’m thankful.  If she wasn’t there I honestly think I would have attempted it since nothing was there to hold me back.Its been over 2 years since my rock bottom and although I would never ever want to experience those feelings again (I’m still fearful of a potential ‘rebound’) it really has made me think and more importantly realize about myself and surrounding people, and most importantly there was hope.  I feel I was one of the more lucky ones to have family and close friends that I could talk to.  (Of corse telling a person that has never experienced this (and thus does not understand the pain) can be frustrating as they honestly don’t have a clue what it feels like)Getting out of depression via proffesional help, medication, etc is one thing but it doesn’t end there.Eventually I went back to my ‘pre-depression’ aka normal life without any change or action and after a while it crawled back into me.  This is before I started reading books/sites like PM and discovered action, even true hope, not just a bandage (medication).PM is spot on about what makes happiness and I’m glad I discovered this site.

    • Reply

      fakemanihi

      3 months ago

      weird, above post was paragraphed in my typing box but it came out as 1 big chunk.  sorry for the inconvinience

  • Reply

    blueska8r

    3 months ago

    Thanks Dave…really, thanks

  • Reply

    ayjay

    2 months ago

    An awesome Youtube video that may be related to suicide:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltun92DfnPY

  • Reply

    Spyder Z

    2 months ago

    I’m having a hard time understanding the logic in some of these responses. “You” might not have had problems with depression, or suicidal thoughts… but how does that translate to criticizing people who do? (This is the Internet, LoLs… if that’s honestly your logic, then don’t bother reading this comment as this isn’t the forum for discussing what is wrong with you. ;?)

    The ‘point’ of this post is to promote conversation where there is currently very little of it. Sure, having a serious conversation on the internet on a “Public” forum is inherently difficult, so why add negatively to that? Let’s be real here, if someone is having suicidal thoughts… then nothing negative you can say could possibly be any worse than what’s already going through their mind, unless of course you believe that it’s worse to be made fun of, than to end your life… at which point I have to question the order in which you arrange your personal strifes…

    So that said, insults, criticism (Given without the intent to improve, but only passed along to degrade), or talk of dramatic shifts in one’s personal impression of the world are seriously out of context here… and frankly contribute little more than static to the conversation. ;? (There’s no question that change is needed if you’ve come that low… but it will have to be a relative change… )

    Thanks Dave for sharing your experience, and hopefully it provides some insight to those who need it. (And of course, thanks PostMasculine for publishing this.)

  • Reply

    J.D.

    2 months ago

    Excellent article. I hope it helps many people. It’s hard for me to relate to it (and many of the comments) because it’s from a young person’s perspective. I remember those days, and I know how tough they can be for some guys. But on another level, there’s always hope when you’re young. You’ve got so much time to turn things around, and (hopefully) so much energy to make it happen. For someone of my age (mid-40′s) it’s different. Life experience allows us to put things in perspective, and hopefully not blow things out of proportion and allow them to make us suicidal. But on the flip side, the future can look bleak. Every year that passes, we get balder and greyer and more lethargic and less cool. If things aren’t great now, it’s hard to see how they’ll get much better.

  • Reply

    sadat

    2 months ago

    well here i have sympathy for dave and his courage to go on even he went though a rough period of life.dave i am no diffrent than you. finding youself and conquer ing youself is greatest victory as the old saying going. this all i can say to all those ppl have thought. of sucide

  • Reply

    Alexis R.

    2 months ago

    This was a very well written post and I’ve thought about this extensively. I consider myself extremely rational and I don’t really care what people think about me. Then again I am very good at convincing myself purely through reason. But I also know reason can be subjective. I guess the best thing I can say to this regard is what I heard in some TV show or I forgot where, but suicide is a selfish act. What I found helpful from myself when I used to have down times for suicidal thoughts was to face the fear of the thoughts and realize they have no power over you. Unlike you though I never came close to actually attempting it because my logic and reason where so profound that it would protect me from all the bullshit.

    Lately I just feel there’s been too many people caring about what others think about them. Too many people who are uptight and take everything seriously. One of the biggest sayings in pickup is the girl doesn’t reject you, she rejects your approach. Take everything with a lightheart and just frankly laugh and don’t care. Also another huge thing is have a hobby. Have something you do that totally puts you in the zone and makes you feel alive. Music production, gardening, biking, cooking, programming you name it, but have something you can attach yourself completely to. Something free from people’s subjective opinions.

  • Reply

    Richardson

    2 months ago

    This was a great post, and it did help me a little. I have been suicidal a few times, the last being November 1 2011. It is hard to stay positive but I am trying. Thanks to this post, I may call one of those numbers. Like most men, I thought I could handle these things myself, but maybe I need more. I know a few other men who have been in or close to that state. We do talk to each other, and I try and give them a safe space. If you look at it on paper, I really have nothing much to be depressed about, but whats on paper is not the full story or even how you look at the full story. We all need to support each other as men in this world.

  • Reply

    steve

    2 months ago

    Great article by Dave. I finally finished reading Mark’s Models: Attract Women through Honesty and it to be the best book I have seen on dating but need to read it a second time to understand how to apply it.

    Like Dave I have suffered from low level depression many times that I think came from my upbringing in household that showed no affection, love, and very strict Catholic church. I fear sometimes that I will never find anyone that will love me for a long term relationship not just be friends. The weird thing is I have few close friends, family, and coworkers that all like and respect me but something about social situations with single attractive women gets me scared and sometimes upset.

    One of my biggest problems is that I am a 38 year old virgin, and at my rate will be the 40 year old not as socially inept as Steve Carell in his movie but there is a little similarity. I did everything I could to put off marriage and getting rejected by woman such as getting more education, great career, buying a house, reading books, watching movies, eating at home, and putting on weight. Gaining weight allowed me to not worry about having women be attracted to me. I noticed I did things to keep me from getting rejected because it hurts not having someone approve of you. Nobody likes being rejected but if you don’t try then you don’t meet anyone.

    A couple months ago I got tired of being the only single person around. I swear just looking outside my window I see 12 years kids holding hands and probably having sex already and I can’t find an attractive women for a long term relationship. One thing that I hate is women tell me that I am great guy and can’t understand why I am single. I feel if I am such a good catch why can’t I attract the right type of women. If I wanted to date a women that are physically and emotionally unattractive that is not a problem but I won’t let myself cross that boundary.

    It hurts to see so many people in relationships and not being in one feels like you are a looser or just don’t have enough to offer a women. Back in December I went on a couple dates with a single nurse and we hit off great and she asked me a lots of questions, we danced a lot, held hands, kissed. Third date she got drunk made out with 4 guys and drove back home with me so I could drop her off at her house. I felt so happy on the first couple of dates but after the 3rd date got so depressed that I held a loaded 45 to my head but just couldn’t pull the trigger. Recently at times by myself I found myself crying because I am alone. Sometimes it seems that everyone has everything they want to be happy but me.

    Finally I changed my clothes, lost 40 lbs ( still have 30 lbs to go), changed haircut, starting wearing contacts. Then finally noticed occasionally a women standing closer to me, some looking me directly in the eye and smiling. A month ago I turned down a cute 18 year girl who wanted sex but when she told me that she graduates high school in a month I had to do the honorable thing and tell her where to meet guys her own age. You can’t imagine how frustrating it can be to turn down what felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity but I know that having sex just for pleasure and not for a deep emotionally connection is something I would not feel happy about.

    Suicide has been a thought in my mind but I worry about the others that will be left behind. Suicide I realize is about wanting to change but not knowing what to do, it feels like you are victim and everything is out of control. The weird thing like Mark mentioned in the book I have areas of my life such as work, education that I am really good at but dealing with attractive women just scares me. I can talk to an obese or average looking married women and not really feel much fear of rejection because I am not interested in having a sexual relationship with them.

    Mark did summarize a good thing being needy versus non needy. I am still needy in certain situations and that is why I can’t attract quality single women. I noticed that very attractive, married quality women love talking to me and it makes me wonder where can I find somewhere like her.

    It will be a struggle to change but this year I would like to go on a few dates and finally have a relationship that I feel comfortable to be physically intimate with an attractive women who is attracted to me.

    I like how in the conclusion of Mark’s book that he had 6 levels of exercise to get you to the point of dating attractive women regularly. I have completed level 1, and parts of level 2, level 3 & 4 will be a little bit of challenge but I should be able to finish in a couple of months while working. His level 5 scares me because that is finally having sex.

    Would appreciate any feedback from the more experienced members that have been following Mark.

  • Reply

    Jzgoodin

    2 months ago

    Having been through very a similar situation, I have tears in my eyes as I write this. The author is completely correct. My own starting point was figuring out that my religion was damaging to me, and that if I wanted to be the man I was working towards, I’d have to dump it. I’ve since gotten a job I enjoy, and have put myself on a career path that will take me places that I wouldn’t have been able to imagine years ago. Thanks for posting this. It means a lot to know there are people who have shared the same isolated feeling as I have.

  • Reply

    LeXi

    2 months ago

    “To admit to suicidal thoughts and to suicidal actions is to admit to weakness and to be a failure of a man.” … or a woman. Women are Independent and proud of it. Attempting suicide is admitting you can’t hack it. Which is why those “close” to me consider me extremely weak and incapable. I am to be looked after like a child. I’m 25 years old. I haven’t attempted suicide in over a decade. I bought into the whole “Just you wait, it gets better!” thing. For some, that is true and that’s good.

    “At a certain point, a depressed person may begin to see this controlled and predictable result of death as more attractive than the unpredictable loneliness and pain of years and years of isolation.” An old psychologist of mine considers me to be a success story simply because I am still alive. She is wrong. If I’m still alive, I’ve clearly failed. Failure at this specifically is considered a good thing, but is it really?…for everyone?…no matter what?

    Applause for Dave! It is difficult to share something personal with even one person, let alone however many people have come across this. He seems to be doing well now and I hope that continues for him.

  • Reply

    kellie g

    1 month ago

    I read this article because my brother committed suicide in 2007. Since that devastating day Ive often wondered why? What was he thinking? Why didnt he think about his kids or his siblings or his parents/grandparents? When my brother chose to end his life I lost it….I was only 20 and began drinking regularly and dropped out of school and quit my job….I would randomly cry or have outbursts of anger for no real reason. Ive recovered from the mess I dove into I realized that destroying myself wouldn’t bring him back and it if anything would only cause My parents and family more pain than they were already harboring from the loss of my brother. I realized that in the wake of my brothers death good had come from it. My family became closer more eager to spend time together. My grandma (who is a very “cold” person) started hugging me every time she saw me….I never remember her hugging me until the night Joe (my brother) died…we hugged and cried together which at the time made it worse somehow. Once I started to focus on the good things that came out of it I was able to rejoice in the fact that I had known Joe and that I had good memories of him. There’s a song by the band kill switch engage called rose of Sharon and that song kills me a little to listen to but there’s one line that I love “I mourn for those who never knew you” it made me realize that I was lucky to know my brother and be in his life while he was with us. I got to see him smile I got to see him graduate high school and have two beautiful boys and I got to be his little sister. There’s no real point to this comment other than to show the side of the story from someone who lived thru suicide and even though I was devastated and I still miss him everyday I can go on knowing he was in my life. If anyone is thinking about suicide or doesn’t think they can get thru what’s going on, get help and think of all the people who know and love you and how they will react to your absense. My family banded together but often it will tear a family apart.

  • Reply

    Wes Groleau

    18 weeks ago

    Having been prone to depression, probably physiological, but certainly worsened by the same sorts of social barriers, I can really appreciate this article. But one of the things that stands out for me is how much sex was a factor. Sex is a great thing, but our society as a whole has managed to make it a far higher priority than it deserves in the minds of most of us.

  • Reply

    Rebekah

    18 weeks ago

    “Lastly, if you are recovering from suicidal thoughts or actions, take your time and think about how much your life has improved. ” – what if life hasn’t improved? What if it only got worse? Or what if it got better on the outside (you got a prestigious and well-paid job), but you feel just the same on the inside? We all experience more and more loss as we age – what progress do you see here?

    And I disagree about talking with anybody about this – the stigma of mental health will hunt you down. It is much safer to put your thoughts in your diary only.

  • Reply

    Cyrus Thomson

    13 weeks ago

    This is an extraordinary piece.

    It’s amazing how people want basic emotional needs fulfilled, and yet — exactly as the author stated — taking social risks will backfire and result in crushing humiliation and the termination of a young man’s already fragile sense of self-worth.

    College presents a LOT of illusions about the best years of your life. NOT SO. These are the years when socially awkward post-high-schoolers are trying to fit in with people on the exact same level; only some are slightly better at disguising their social anxieties, insecurities, and need for recognition and acceptance.

  • Reply

    blahblah

    12 weeks ago

    I couldn’t get through this. I can’t relate to a young person’s angst who hasn’t been through much. Suicide”attempts” are not serious. The fact that he didn’t plan it tells me he wasn’t serious in the first place.

  • Reply

    nobody

    11 weeks ago

    That’s great for you, but there is a big diffrence bewteen us..

    The thing is I’ve had no friends in my entire life and it was fine, now thanks to some chemical BS when I turned 18 it’s now messing with my head and making me depsressed. So what now? i’m just forced to spend all my years despratly trying to fit in? mostly to people I don’t even like. and why? just because I have to? maybe i’m oblivious to the wonders of friends (highly likely) but regardless, I don’t freaking want them! only my brian can’t stop seeking validation…

    Our lifes were very similar except, he actually wanted to fit in. I DON’T, therefore my life won’t change because I don’t want to put any effort into changing it, JUST because my brain says so. I’m probably arrgoant, crazy, down right stupid, whatever.. but that’s how I think, it’s me agansit my brain and I can’t win. If you’re in a game you can’t win the only option is to quit.

    I don’t want sympathy or “help lines” I only posted this becasue of my brains need to share information with other human begins.

  • Reply

    Nova777

    10 weeks ago

    Thank you for your article. I rarely read this kind of topic. So touched. Toas for our lifes! Keep on fighting.

  • Reply

    Celestial G.

    7 weeks ago

    To all the people fussing about one man’s (or woman’s) quote about the bible, I have one thing to say: COME ON PEOPLE!!! Calm down about all of this! I personally believe in God, but that is not why I’m writing this comment; I’m writing this because everyone who is fretting about one comment is missing the big picture. He was just stating his opinion and quoting a piece of literature that has an effect on his life! This isn’t about religion, this article is about a man pouring his heart out to the world about how he felt during the lowest time of his life, not about how he views God. All of you are taking away from the main point: whether someone is religious or not doesn’t matter, what matters is millions of people in our world contemplate/commit suicide. It’s sad that all you adults have to be told this by a fifteen-year-old girl. Religion or not, pay attention to the article, not how someone quotes a book that you don’t believe in. Point blank.

  • Reply

    Me

    6 weeks ago

    REDWANA. You admit that evolution has a few small holes in it. Why don’t you create life then. Why don’t you make an earth. You make it sound so simple that its obvious that evolution had to happen. It takes greater faith to believe that evolution happened, or that “it” just happened, then it does to believe that there is a creator. DNA and RNA are not at all simple. They are extremely complicated, incredible small, and, they still are not fully understood. So answer my question. What came first, the complex eye with its lens and rods and cones that allows us to see? Or the optic nerve that sends the message to the brain? Or the ear and the auditory canal? The brain or the spinal cord? Or how about this thought. If what you say is true, and we did evolve, (which evolutionary scientist believe even though they cannot scientifically recreate this phenomenon. So by their own standard, they have no foundation to stand on because they cannot recreate what they hold to be fact.) we all die, and then nothing. That is your belief right? But the Bible says something different. Judgement is coming. We are all going to bow our knees to the creator. The only thing that matters at the moment is your relationship with Jesus Christ. We can just agree to disagree. I just want to encourage you to study what you believe so that you can bet your eternity on it. See where “they” filed down the jaw bone of an ape to fit a human skull and call it the missing link. See where even Darwin realized he was wrong before he died. I hope you will at least consider what I have told you.
    I wish you the best.

  • Reply

    cw

    5 weeks ago

    Suicide attempts are serious. There are people and places available to help. Dave, I feel you would benefit from getting help on several different levels. First, it sounds like maybe you are introverted. Being introverted is not a disorder but sometimes there is a lot of social anxiety involved. It makes it harder for you to get to know people as you are maybe hypersensitive to others reactions to you. You may need to work on accepting that you are a more quiet and less socially outgoing person. There is a world of people like you, you can find them. Just follow your interests. Depression is a tough one, you rarely can just “pull yourself out of it”. There are some good therapies out there like cognitive behavioral therapy that can help. It looks simplistic when you realize it is focused on changing negative thoughts to positive but it really can work to restructure your brain and the way you think. Thoughts trigger emotions which then leads to behavior. Also, antidepressants are very helpful for many people. My daughter has suffered from major depression since she was 18, there have been suicide attempts. She has pretty extreme social anxiety. Her depression became so severe that medications no longer worked and she ended up doing some ECT (electric shock) What a lifesaver that was for her, along with therapy and the right medication. She is so much better and actually able to function in a management position which forces her to talk in groups etc. She is a beautiful human being as I am sure you are as well. You sound like you are a caring loving person. I would suggest getting some help, slowly force yourself to take some risks socially, put yourself out there to help others, volunteer, join non threatening groups, accept and love yourself, you are worth it.

  • Reply

    Whoknows

    2 weeks ago

    Having just finished my first year at university and experienced exactly what is stated in this article. I want to say it is one of the best things I have ever read.

    Thank you so much.

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