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How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me: One Person's Guide to Suicide Prevention
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How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me: One Person's Guide to Suicide Prevention

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  450 ratings  ·  53 reviews
An international epidemic, suicide has touched the lives of nearly half of all Americans, yet is rarely talked about openly. In this timely and important book, Susan Blauner breaks the silence to offer guidance and hope for those contemplating ending their lives -- and for their loved ones.

A survivor of multiple suicide attempts, Blauner eloquently describes th
Paperback, 352 pages
Published July 8th 2003 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 2002)
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I got approximately 5 pages into this book when I realized that the author has no idea what depression is, and got tired of being patronizingly called a "child of God."

If you are clinically depressed and/or an atheist, probably skip this one.
Jan 30, 2015 rated it liked it
There are several good suggestions in this book. I believe it will help me. It reminds me of some of the mindfulness exercises I have done in intensive outpatient programs. That being said, this book really gets on my nerves. The first reason is because the author asserts from "evidence" based in various suicide attempts that suicidal people don't really wish to die, when the conclusion I would come to is that if you are going to take your life, you ought to do it in a way that is sure to kill y ...more
I lost my grandfather to sucide and I work in crisis situations so I thought the book would be helpful. wrong! though I loved the safety plans I hated the patronizing way the writer wrote almost as if she were babying the reader and offering false comfort. There were a few times I found myself questioning the authors viewpoint like do you know what it's like to be depressed or struggle with sucide ideation for 10 years? I would only reread for the coping skills and plans.
Nov 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I keep this book close by and reread it frequently. A must-have for anyone who suffers from severe depression.
Randi Kennedy
I didn't read the whole thing, but I selected and read the most pertinent parts.

Recommended for anyone with depression and anxiety. Some of the tips are kinda niche (hence the three stars instead of more), but overall very useful.
Nikki Clark
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
It felt a bit condescending at times, but it had good coping strategies. I just largely ignored the spirituality sections as those hold no interest for me.
Songs and Sonnets
Oct 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
I wish I'd had a copy of this book when I was suicidal. It's full of simple, practical ideas for keeping yourself safe and beginning to feel better. The crisis plan is especially good, and easy to follow even when you find it hard to think straight. The only reason I gave this book four stars rather than five is that I came across it after I'd recovered, and haven't tried out all of its techniques myself - but from my experience of what did help me, they're all excellent.
"How I Stayed Aliv
Apr 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Those who read this book to support loved ones with suicidal ideation may be alarmed at the significant emotional turmoil of the author. Her history of sexual abuse as a child and her diagnosis of borderline personality disorder set her apart somewhat from other people struggling with suicidal ideation. Loved ones often struggle to understand the "why" of someone's suicidal ideation, questioning "can it really be that bad," particularly when presented with someone's story like Blauner's where th ...more
No, David! No!
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I wasn't sure when I first started what I would think. I didn't like the preface, and was worried that the book might be similar. I was pleased that it didn't continue that way.

The majority of the book talks about how the author learned to overcome suicidal thoughts. She shares her personal story. More useful, she shares very specific examples and exercises that she used to change her thinking. Because she focused on overcoming the suicidal thoughts, the tricks she teaches are helpful for add
Chloé Mannix
Jul 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I found this book very helpful. It is weird though that I actually did read it when I was in a stable place after a major period of depression.

I actually think that this worked better for me as there is a lot to take in with the book. I think that the title is fantastic because for me that is exactly how I felt, kinda stuck in a place where I was in a lot of emotional pain but didn't really want to die but because I couldn't see a way out it became my only option.
It was nice to see
Oct 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
I work in a residential setting with clients that manage severe and persistent mental illness.

When I ran across the title of this book it struck me and I thought there would be some valuable information I could use professionally while working with clients during volatile moments.


I'm on the fence.

The author does outline many good coping strategies and there is valuable tools here really for anyone and everyone.

On the other hand, the
Abie O
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For anyone who experiences "chronic" or constant suicidal thoughts, or getting past a mindset surrounded by that option... this book is amazing. I used post it tabs throughout the whole book so that I can revisit and be reminded of all the different ways I can help myself without reaching out externally!! THIS BOOK IS AMAZING AND I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT TO ANYONE WHO HAS ATTEMPTED SUICIDE OR STRUGGLES WITH THOUGHTS.

also!!! author suffers from borderline personality disorder- not so muc
Jul 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read this book as someone who has worked in the suicide prevention field (in fact, at one of the call centers listed in the book), not as someone in need of these techniques myself. This book would be more useful to people who are in crisis, but this recommended many of the things well researched as good tools for suicide prevention. The author is down to earth, and the act that she has experienced these feelings herself is made evident. I'd recommend this book to clients more than professiona ...more
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Although this book was triggering sometimes, Susan Blauner is a godsend. She had a great idea and she brought it to life with this book and I'm very grateful to have discovered it. It took a long time to work through it, but I'm glad I had it when I needed it. I already know I'm going to read it again in the future - multiple times - and I hope to keep it for the rest of my life. It's a resource that, as a depressed person who's thought about suicide (then and now), I need very much. I didn't kn ...more
Blauner wrote this book to share her experience with suicidal states and how she survived them, and I have used some of her strategies many times. As a person with bipolar disorder and PTSD, I recommend this book to anyone who struggles with severe mental illness and/or suicidal thoughts. A mentally ill brain will try to kill its owner at times, and this book is full of ways to distract that brain until it is again able to take care of itself.
Dec 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
okay this lady suggests taking a carton of eggs out into the woods and hitting them with a baseball bat (labelling the eggs with ur sadnesses optional) and i thought that was hilarious and awesome.

how many suicidal people are willing to pick up a book tho? not many i would hazard. there's valuable advice in here regarding making crisis plans and how to communicate your feels but it's not like you can just give this book to someone.
Apr 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'd be willing to bet that everyone has been touched by suicide in one way or another. This book not only gives insight into suicidal thinking, but gives practical tips for general stress management, and ways to be more effective to someone trying to be well. Many of the strategies in this book apply to other mental health difficulties. Very thoughtful and informative.
Jan 29, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: psych, non-fiction
I found many of the things in this book quite helpful, particularly given that there are no other books for suicidal thinkers explicitly by suicidal thinkers. The resources section is extensive and helpful as well.
May 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: suicidal individuals and those who love them
So far it seems helpful. Reminds me of The Courage to Heal, or The Feel Good Handbook, in that it has lots and lots of exercises and lists to do, and it recommends that you work through it slowly.
Amanda Jones
Jun 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mental-health
This book is a MUST READ for people with chronic suicidal thoughts. It's really helped me.
Feb 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
Really well done. Would recommend it for providers and patients.
Misty Dawn
May 07, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one.
Recommended to Misty by: Random library borrow.
Shelves: non-fiction
I learned absolutely nothing from this book. What little valuable information it contained I'd already crossed in real books. It's rather a feel-good piece o' crap. In my opinion.
If you are in crisis dial 911 or see this website for a list of help lines in your area (in Canada) (worldwide list of crisis hotlines)
In the States call 1-800-273-8255

“I wish I could make your suicidal thoughts disappear, but I can't. What I can do is teach you how to get through those excruciating moments when every cell in your brain and body is screaming, 'I want to die!' By surviving those m
Catharine Harrison
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommend. I got a copy when my daughter was in a therapy program because she was having intense suicidal thoughts. It is a book to dip in and out of, to pick and choose from depending on the need of the moment. You can read it cover to cover, but I found it more useful used as a reference. My daughter tried reading it from the beginning, and found it very difficult as their stories are alike.
There are a number of reviews I have seen saying that the author doesn’t know what it feels like
Mary Ellen
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a book everyone should own! It deals with people who have tried, are thinking of, people you may know or be in your family that suicide is in the forefront. It helps people who have tried learn why and how to redirect their brains. thinking of redirect and helps people who are dealing with family members or friends who are experiencing depression. So many places to help listed with full descriptions of what they provide. Shows you how to deal and talk with someone the best way.
Such a gr
Brandon Will
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-halp
This is a really human an open book. It can be a bit repetitive and redundant at times, but I'm not sure that's a bad thing. A lot of the things that repeat are the kinds of things that take repetition to sink in. I think it's great for people managing depression, without the suicidal thoughts, also. Just a lot of great rumination and practical advice told through experience and research.

I wish I'd had some of the tools and approaches it gives years ago when I was struggling in certa
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-own
This book is a great wake up call. Anyone who has experienced suicidal thoughts, attempted suicide, been a self-harmer, struggled with depression, or just wants to learn more about the suicidal mindset, READ THIS.

Seriously. I was skeptical but this book opened my eyes, and I’ve already ordered a copy because I know I want to come back to this again.
Oct 09, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
Like most books about depression and suicide, the experiences described do not reflect my own experiences with suicide attempts and suicidal ideation. This book only captures what is like to be a self-sufficient physically healthy adult with family, friends, and money to support oneself.

As a side note, the chapter on spirituality and the afterlife is patronizing AF.
Erin E
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those who are interested in Borderline Personality Disorder
Recommended to Erin by: LMFT
It was as if Susan crawled into my head and was reading my thoughts. Spot on and powerful.
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: physical
This book was very useful to me when I was in a dark time
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