Two of my friends have killed themselves this year and I want badly to know how to help others deal with suicidal thoughts and depression with more than psychotropic medications.

When I wrote INVISIBLE CHILDREN in 2005, a 70 year old friend asked me out to lunch. After the meal he explained how he told no one of his abuse at the hands of a priest when he was a twelve year old boy and how finally at 45, after 2 failed marriages and several failed business partnerships, he sought out a therapist.

He was still seeing that therapist 25 years later.

Of the children I’ve worked with as a guardian ad-Litem, a high percentage of them have been sexually abused. I have seen the horror of child sex abuse and how 10 or 25 years later, a troubled being still fighting the darkness every day.

Child sex abuse may be the most under-reported crime in America. It could also be the most under-treated horror in America. As a guardian ad-Litem, my first visit to a hospital suicide ward to visit a four year old girl that had been horribly abused was never made public, or when I worked with the seven year old that had been prostituted, or any of the family members that practiced child sex abuse.

There are successful sex abuse recovery programs, but our local governments and state agencies don’t support them in a large scale, and the under-reporting of abuse means most children do not receive the help they need. As these children age, the damage from abuse does not disappear – it is often magnified and becomes a serious behavioral problem.

The medical people at http://www.avahealth.org/ are working to make the discovery and treatment of child abuse a normal part of medical examinations (support them). This would be a big first step in identifying the scope and scale of the problem and making treatment available to those that need it.

This is the most powerful and articulate suicide note I’ve ever read and it has great meaning to me for its power to relate these two incomprehensible sorrows (abuse & suicide).

I could not read Bill Zeller’s last letter without feeling the terror, physical and mental impediments, and daily reminders of his childhood nightmares, adult confusion and suicide.

From the Huffington Post;
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/07/bill-zeller-dead-princeto_n_805689.html

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Bill Zeller, Princeton Grad Student And ‘Brilliant’ Programmer, Dies In Apparent Suicide

First Posted: 01- 7-11 08:40 AM | Updated: 01- 7-11 03:16 PM

Bill Zeller, a Princeton Ph.D candidate and renowned internet programmer, died Wednesday from injuries sustained in a suicide attempt. He was 27.

Zeller stunned the programming community with a 4,000-word suicide note detailing a childhood of physical and sexual abuse, which he had never before disclosed to anyone.

“I’ve never been able to stop thinking about what happened to me and this hampered my social interactions,” Zeller wrote. “… I wondered what it would be like to take to other people without what happened constantly on my mind, and I wondered if other people had similar experiences that they were better able to mask.”

According to the Daily Princetonian, Zeller posted the note on his website and e-mailed it to friends before taking his own life. The note in full can be seen below.

Zeller was a programming whiz kid, responsible for creating applications such as Graph Your Inbox, which visualizes Gmail use over time, and myTunes, which enables users to download others’ iTunes music. Zeller made the latter program while an undergraduate at Trinity College.

Zeller’s death has prompted an outpouring of grief on the internet, from those who knew him and those who didn’t.

“I’d first encountered Bill online years ago when he made a blog posting app, and then re-meeting him at a Princeton event last year, he’d begun by saying, ‘You probably don’t remember…,'” One user wrote on MetaFilter. “But we immediately reconnected about the cool project he’d done back then. More amazingly, he was doing super, super brilliant work at Princeton, which I found really inspiring and was so excited to see how far this young guy had come from such promising roots.”


Zeller’s note:

I have the urge to declare my sanity and justify my actions, but I assume I’ll never be able to convince anyone that this was the right decision. Maybe it’s true that anyone who does this is insane by definition, but I can at least explain my reasoning.

I considered not writing any of this because of how personal it is, but I like tying up loose ends and don’t want people to wonder why I did this. Since I’ve never spoken to anyone about what happened to me, people would likely draw the wrong conclusions.

My first memories as a child are of being raped, repeatedly. This has affected every aspect of my life. This darkness, which is the only way I can describe it, has followed me like a fog, but at times intensified and overwhelmed me, usually triggered by a distinct situation. In kindergarten I couldn’t use the bathroom and would stand petrified whenever I needed to, which started a trend of awkward and unexplained social behavior.

The damage that was done to my body still prevents me from using the bathroom normally, but now it’s less of a physical impediment than a daily reminder of what was done to me.

This darkness followed me as I grew up. I remember spending hours playing with legos, having my world consist of me and a box of cold, plastic blocks. Just waiting for everything to end. It’s the same thing I do now, but instead of legos it’s surfing the web or reading or listening to a baseball game. Most of my life has been spent feeling dead inside, waiting for my body to catch up.

At times growing up I would feel inconsolable rage, but I never connected this to what happened until puberty. I was able to keep the darkness at bay for a few hours at a time by doing things that required intense concentration, but it would always come back. Programming appealed to me for this reason. I was never particularly fond of computers or mathematically inclined, but the temporary peace it would provide was like a drug.

But the darkness always returned and built up something like a tolerance, because programming has become less and less of a refuge.
The darkness is with me nearly every time I wake up. I feel like a grime is covering me.

I feel like I’m trapped in a contimated body that no amount of washing will clean. Whenever I think about what happened I feel manic and itchy and can’t concentrate on anything else. It manifests itself in hours of eating or staying up for days at a time or sleeping for sixteen hours straight or week long programming binges or constantly going to the gym. I’m exhausted from feeling like this every hour of every day.

Three to four nights a week I have nightmares about what happened. It makes me avoid sleep and constantly tired, because sleeping with what feels like hours of nightmares is not restful. I wake up sweaty and furious. I’m reminded every morning of what was done to me and the control it has over my life.

I’ve never been able to stop thinking about what happened to me and this hampered my social interactions. I would be angry and lost in thought and then be interrupted by someone saying “Hi” or making small talk, unable to understand why I seemed cold and distant. I walked around, viewing the outside world from a distant portal behind my eyes, unable to perform normal human niceties.

I wondered what it would be like to take to other people without what happened constantly on my mind, and I wondered if other people had similar experiences that they were better able to mask.

Alcohol was also something that let me escape the darkness. It would always find me later, though, and it was always angry that I managed to escape and it made me pay. Many of the irresponsible things I did were the result of the darkness. Obviously I’m responsible for every decision and action, including this one, but there are reasons why things happen the way they do.

Alcohol and other drugs provided a way to ignore the realities of my situation. It was easy to spend the night drinking and forget that I had no future to look forward to. I never liked what alcohol did to me, but it was better than facing my existence honestly. I haven’t touched alcohol or any other drug in over seven months (and no drugs or alcohol will be involved when I do this) and this has forced me to evaluate my life in an honest and clear way. There’s no future here. The darkness will always be with me.

I used to think if I solved some problem or achieved some goal, maybe he would leave. It was comforting to identify tangible issues as the source of my problems instead of something that I’ll never be able to change.

I thought that if I got into to a good college, or a good grad school, or lost weight, or went to the gym nearly every day for a year, or created programs that millions of people used, or spent a summer or California or New York or published papers that I was proud of, then maybe I would feel some peace and not be constantly haunted and unhappy. But nothing I did made a dent in how depressed I was on a daily basis and nothing was in any way fulfilling. I’m not sure why I ever thought that would change anything.

I didn’t realize how deep a hold he had on me and my life until my first relationship. I stupidly assumed that no matter how the darkness affected me personally, my romantic relationships would somehow be separated and protected. Growing up I viewed my future relationships as a possible escape from this thing that haunts me every day, but I began to realize how entangled it was with every aspect of my life and how it is never going to release me.

Instead of being an escape, relationships and romantic contact with other people only intensified everything about him that I couldn’t stand. I will never be able to have a relationship in which he is not the focus, affecting every aspect of my romantic interactions.

Relationships always started out fine and I’d be able to ignore him for a few weeks. But as we got closer emotionally the darkness would return and every night it’d be me, her and the darkness in a black and gruesome threesome. He would surround me and penetrate me and the more we did the more intense it became. It made me hate being touched, because as long as we were separated I could view her like an outsider viewing something good and kind and untainted. Once we touched, the darkness would envelope her too and take her over and the evil inside me would surround her. I always felt like I was infecting anyone I was with.

Relationships didn’t work. No one I dated was the right match, and I thought that maybe if I found the right person it would overwhelm him. Part of me knew that finding the right person wouldn’t help, so I became interested in girls who obviously had no interest in me. For a while I thought I was gay.

I convinced myself that it wasn’t the darkness at all, but rather my orientation, because this would give me control over why things didn’t feel “right”. The fact that the darkness affected sexual matters most intensely made this idea make some sense and I convinced myself of this for a number of years, starting in college after my first relationship ended. I told people I was gay (at Trinity, not at Princeton), even though I wasn’t attracted to men and kept finding myself interested in girls.

Because if being gay wasn’t the answer, then what was? People thought I was avoiding my orientation, but I was actually avoiding the truth, which is that while I’m straight, I will never be content with anyone. I know now that the darkness will never leave.
Last spring I met someone who was unlike anyone else I’d ever met. Someone who showed me just how well two people could get along and how much I could care about another human being. Someone I know I could be with and love for the rest of my life, if I weren’t so fucked up. Amazingly, she liked me. She liked the shell of the man the darkness had left behind. But it didn’t matter because I couldn’t be alone with her.

It was never just the two of us, it was always the three of us: her, me and the darkness. The closer we got, the more intensely I’d feel the darkness, like some evil mirror of my emotions. All the closeness we had and I loved was complemented by agony that I couldn’t stand, from him. I realized that I would never be able to give her, or anyone, all of me or only me. She could never have me without the darkness and evil inside me. I could never have just her, without the darkness being a part of all of our interactions.

I will never be able to be at peace or content or in a healthy relationship. I realized the futility of the romantic part of my life. If I had never met her, I would have realized this as soon as I met someone else who I meshed similarly well with. It’s likely that things wouldn’t have worked out with her and we would have broken up (with our relationship ending, like the majority of relationships do) even if I didn’t have this problem, since we only dated for a short time. But I will face exactly the same problems with the darkness with anyone else. Despite my hopes, love and compatability is not enough. Nothing is enough.

There’s no way I can fix this or even push the darkness down far enough to make a relationship or any type of intimacy feasible.
So I watched as things fell apart between us. I had put an explicit time limit on our relationship, since I knew it couldn’t last because of the darkness and didn’t want to hold her back, and this caused a variety of problems. She was put in an unnatural situation that she never should have been a part of. It must have been very hard for her, not knowing what was actually going on with me, but this is not something I’ve ever been able to talk about with anyone.

Losing her was very hard for me as well. Not because of her (I got over our relationship relatively quickly), but because of the realization that I would never have another relationship and because it signified the last true, exclusive personal connection I could ever have. This wasn’t apparent to other people, because I could never talk about the real reasons for my sadness. I was very sad in the summer and fall, but it was not because of her, it was because I will never escape the darkness with anyone.

She was so loving and kind to me and gave me everything I could have asked for under the circumstances. I’ll never forget how much happiness she brought me in those briefs moments when I could ignore the darkness. I had originally planned to kill myself last winter but never got around to it. (Parts of this letter were written over a year ago, other parts days before doing this.) It was wrong of me to involve myself in her life if this were a possibility and I should have just left her alone, even though we only dated for a few months and things ended a long time ago. She’s just one more person in a long list of people I’ve hurt.

I could spend pages talking about the other relationships I’ve had that were ruined because of my problems and my confusion related to the darkness. I’ve hurt so many great people because of who I am and my inability to experience what needs to be experienced. All I can say is that I tried to be honest with people about what I thought was true.

I’ve spent my life hurting people. Today will be the last time.
I’ve told different people a lot of things, but I’ve never told anyone about what happened to me, ever, for obvious reasons. It took me a while to realize that no matter how close you are to someone or how much they claim to love you, people simply cannot keep secrets. I learned this a few years ago when I thought I was gay and told people.

The more harmful the secret, the juicier the gossip and the more likely you are to be betrayed. People don’t care about their word or what they’ve promised, they just do whatever the fuck they want and justify it later. It feels incredibly lonely to realize you can never share something with someone and have it be between just the two of you.

I don’t blame anyone in particular, I guess it’s just how people are. Even if I felt like this is something I could have shared, I have no interest in being part of a friendship or relationship where the other person views me as the damaged and contaminated person that I am. So even if I were able to trust someone, I probably would not have told them about what happened to me. At this point I simply don’t care who knows.

I feel an evil inside me. An evil that makes me want to end life. I need to stop this. I need to make sure I don’t kill someone, which is not something that can be easily undone. I don’t know if this is related to what happened to me or something different. I recognize the irony of killing myself to prevent myself from killing someone else, but this decision should indicate what I’m capable of.
So I’ve realized I will never escape the darkness or misery associated with it and I have a responsibility to stop myself from physically harming others.

I’m just a broken, miserable shell of a human being. Being molested has defined me as a person and shaped me as a human being and it has made me the monster I am and there’s nothing I can do to escape it. I don’t know any other existence. I don’t know what life feels like where I’m apart from any of this. I actively despise the person I am. I just feel fundamentally broken, almost non-human. I feel like an animal that woke up one day in a human body, trying to make sense of a foreign world, living among creatures it doesn’t understand and can’t connect with.

I have accepted that the darkness will never allow me to be in a relationship. I will never go to sleep with someone in my arms, feeling the comfort of their hands around me. I will never know what uncontimated intimacy is like. I will never have an exclusive bond with someone, someone who can be the recipient of all the love I have to give.

I will never have children, and I wanted to be a father so badly. I think I would have made a good dad. And even if I had fought through the darkness and married and had children all while being unable to feel intimacy, I could have never done that if suicide were a possibility. I did try to minimize pain, although I know that this decision will hurt many of you. If this hurts you, I hope that you can at least forget about me quickly.

There’s no point in identifying who molested me, so I’m just going to leave it at that. I doubt the word of a dead guy with no evidence about something that happened over twenty years ago would have much sway.

You may wonder why I didn’t just talk to a professional about this. I’ve seen a number of doctors since I was a teenager to talk about other issues and I’m positive that another doctor would not have helped. I was never given one piece of actionable advice, ever. More than a few spent a large part of the session reading their notes to remember who I was.

And I have no interest in talking about being raped as a child, both because I know it wouldn’t help and because I have no confidence it would remain secret. I know the legal and practical limits of doctor/patient confidentiality, growing up in a house where we’d hear stories about the various mental illnesses of famous people, stories that were passed down through generations.

All it takes is one doctor who thinks my story is interesting enough to share or a doctor who thinks it’s her right or responsibility to contact the authorities and have me identify the molestor (justifying her decision by telling herself that someone else might be in danger). All it takes is a single doctor who violates my trust, just like the “friends” who I told I was gay did, and everything would be made public and I’d be forced to live in a world where people would know how fucked up I am.

And yes, I realize this indicates that I have severe trust issues, but they’re based on a large number of experiences with people who have shown a profound disrepect for their word and the privacy of others.

People say suicide is selfish. I think it’s selfish to ask people to continue living painful and miserable lives, just so you possibly won’t feel sad for a week or two. Suicide may be a permanent solution to a temporary problem, but it’s also a permanent solution to a ~23 year-old problem that grows more intense and overwhelming every day.

Some people are just dealt bad hands in this life. I know many people have it worse than I do, and maybe I’m just not a strong person, but I really did try to deal with this. I’ve tried to deal with this every day for the last 23 years and I just can’t fucking take it anymore.

I often wonder what life must be like for other people. People who can feel the love from others and give it back unadulterated, people who can experience sex as an intimate and joyous experience, people who can experience the colors and happenings of this world without constant misery. I wonder who I’d be if things had been different or if I were a stronger person. It sounds pretty great.

I’m prepared for death. I’m prepared for the pain and I am ready to no longer exist. Thanks to the strictness of New Jersey gun laws this will probably be much more painful than it needs to be, but what can you do. My only fear at this point is messing something up and surviving.

I’d also like to address my family, if you can call them that. I despise everything they stand for and I truly hate them, in a non-emotional, dispassionate and what I believe is a healthy way. The world will be a better place when they’re dead–one with less hatred and intolerance.
If you’re unfamiliar with the situation, my parents are fundamentalist Christians who kicked me out of their house and cut me off financially when I was 19 because I refused to attend seven hours of church a week.

They live in a black and white reality they’ve constructed for themselves. They partition the world into good and evil and survive by hating everything they fear or misunderstand and calling it love. They don’t understand that good and decent people exist all around us, “saved” or not, and that evil and cruel people occupy a large percentage of their church. They take advantage of people looking for hope by teaching them to practice the same hatred they practice.
A random example:
“I am personally convinced that if a Muslim truly believes and obeys the Koran, he will be a terrorist.” – George Zeller, August 24, 2010.

If you choose to follow a religion where, for example, devout Catholics who are trying to be good people are all going to Hell but child molestors go to Heaven (as long as they were “saved” at some point), that’s your choice, but it’s fucked up. Maybe a God who operates by those rules does exist. If so, fuck Him.

Their church was always more important than the members of their family and they happily sacrificed whatever necessary in order to satisfy their contrived beliefs about who they should be.

I grew up in a house where love was proxied through a God I could never believe in. A house where the love of music with any sort of a beat was literally beaten out of me. A house full of hatred and intolerance, run by two people who were experts at appearing kind and warm when others were around. Parents who tell an eight year old that his grandmother is going to Hell because she’s Catholic. Parents who claim not to be racist but then talk about the horrors of miscegenation.

I could list hundreds of other examples, but it’s tiring.
Since being kicked out, I’ve interacted with them in relatively normal ways. I talk to them on the phone like nothing happened. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I like pretending I have a family. Maybe I like having people I can talk to about what’s been going on in my life. Whatever the reason, it’s not real and it feels like a sham. I should have never allowed this reconnection to happen.

I wrote the above a while ago, and I do feel like that much of the time. At other times, though, I feel less hateful. I know my parents honestly believe the crap they believe in. I know that my mom, at least, loved me very much and tried her best.

One reason I put this off for so long is because I know how much pain it will cause her. She has been sad since she found out I wasn’t “saved”, since she believes I’m going to Hell, which is not a sadness for which I am responsible. That was never going to change, and presumably she believes the state of my physical body is much less important than the state of my soul. Still, I cannot intellectually justify this decision, knowing how much it will hurt her. Maybe my ability to take my own life, knowing how much pain it will cause, shows that I am a monster who doesn’t deserve to live.

All I know is that I can’t deal with this pain any longer and I’m am truly sorry I couldn’t wait until my family and everyone I knew died so this could be done without hurting anyone. For years I’ve wished that I’d be hit by a bus or die while saving a baby from drowning so my death might be more acceptable, but I was never so lucky.

To those of you who have shown me love, thank you for putting up with all my shittiness and moodiness and arbitrariness. I was never the person I wanted to be. Maybe without the darkness I would have been a better person, maybe not. I did try to be a good person, but I realize I never got very far.

I’m sorry for the pain this causes. I really do wish I had another option. I hope this letter explains why I needed to do this. If you can’t understand this decision, I hope you can at least forgive me.
Bill Zeller

Please save this letter and repost it if gets deleted. I don’t want people to wonder why I did this. I disseminated it more widely than I might have otherwise because I’m worried that my family might try to restrict access to it. I don’t mind if this letter is made public. In fact, I’d prefer it be made public to people being unable to read it and drawing their own conclusions.

Feel free to republish this letter, but only if it is reproduced in its entirety.

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44 Comments

  1. I’ll tell you what life is like for an incest survivor, it is xfg HELL. I still hear my father’s name in my head. The bastard got away with it all. Rage? It can’t even begin to touch how I feel. I was also mistreated by teachers in Catholic school and public school (varying degrees of abuse) and a co-worker, not to mention some bullshit “friends” I had. I’m over 40 and never have had a boyfriend due to the abuse. I am on disability. I suffer from the complex post traumatic stress disorder symptoms. God does not take away my pain. I’ve been literally without anywhere to live and have been in the hospital. One of my siblings ended up homeless and wandering the streets. He currently is in a halfway home. My upper middle class alcoholic parents deny ALL OF IT, taking credit for helping my brother who is schizoaffective. I have no peace. I moved for years due to intense stress levels exacerbated by noisy living conditions as disability hardly allows for any kind of decent living arrangement. I worked for years until I returned to the scene of the crime, living with my perpetrator after my brother went missing. After that life fell into hell. It was a complex process leading me back to my parents and my hometown, but the book Secret Survivors described what I went through the best, a book I recommend to all survivors. It’s by E. Sue Blume. I have been stigmatized due to being on the disability. You finally realize what crap life is and what crap people are, cruel and evil and twisted. I hate the whole fucking world and everybody in it.
    My father paid no price. I pay the price. I think of suicide as well as nobody including God has helped me. In fact suicide haunts me, the release and the relief death must provide is so beautiful to me now after so much cruelty at the hands of evil humans. Fuck you all. I want to work again and move away from here but am now terrified of what will befall me after years of so much pain and torture – and to what end? To no end. No one understands it unless they’ve known it, therapists and people do more harm than good, most of them are too ego ridden and in their own denial to help us. This world is run by satan.
    I had dreams and they are all shattered now. Fuck the people who do this, fuck my “father” and my “mother” who was as evil as he was, not protecting me, encouraging it, the sickest, lowest, most twisted form of scum who have fooled EVERYONE but me. My siblings are in denial, I have courage, they do not, but I am the one who gets kicked in the face every fucking day of my life.
    It’s a bad world. I still hear his voice and have the body sensations, the flashbacks. People suck. I hate this world. I’ll say it again: I HATE THIS WORLD. Nobody deserves this. I can barely function at this point, attend my church, can barely take care of an animal it seems like to me. Things I have to do I procrastinate on, meds never helped me, I couldn’t keep friendships even and the ones I have are hardly worth cheering about, I feel I sabotaged stuff and blamed myself like most victims, like we don’t deserve happiness, then get to see the whole world be happy seemingly while we go on with this satanic crap.
    If God is a healer, I have yet to see evidence of the healing, and am tired of working for God’s approval. All fear rage terror hell, yes.
    That’s all from me, nobody will understand this letter anyway, all people do is judge, most of them, but thanks for letting me get some of this bile and vile OUT.
    Peace to the children and the animals and the trees, the adults can go to hell.

  2. At last a letter that is honest about suicide as an escape from the waking hell of being a survivor. Mostly all I hear is that: it will get better, there is hope, think of your children, you owe them to try, it won’t always be this painful etc.. But a few weeks ago as I sat in hospital after an overdose explaining myself to my loved ones I said- it won’t get better, there is no hope, I’m doomed to live in a waking hell for the rest of my life. I was abused by my father from age 0-12 and suffered atrocities too degrading to bear. This will never go away, never be ok, the pain won’t fade, EMDR therapy nearly killed me and did so much harm. I start back with my psychotherapist tomorrow and I’m dreading it. I live life dulling the pain now with tramadol & diazepam instead of alcohol as I used to. I know that many of you on here will actually understand how I feel and these words I say. I’m not being ‘dramatic’ or pessimistic or closed off to trying to heal- I just feel that there can be no healing, I want to admit the truth to myself that life will always be a waking hell, I should have escaped long ago before I built up friendships, got married & had children, because now these are all ties to the world that I would be cruel to break- so then I become the perp not the victim. Iv trapped myself and theres nothing I can do about it. So I listen to the voices of hope, kind words from friends & close family, follow advice, read advice etc to try & find a way to ease the pain. But the reality is I crawl through every day and I think I always will. He went to prison this June, got 12 yrs so serving 10 with 10% off for pleading guilty on the final day where I had turned up to give evidence. That doesn’t ease my pain though. The worst thing is the pure exhaustion from constantly having to put on a brave face, smile and nod and pretend you agree and believe it when people who genuinely care for you are saying things will get better. It has been refreshing to read this today to hear others acknowledge that it really won’t get better, we are in hell. But we can try to make the best of it- that’s all we can do.

  3. I’m over here in tears and I wish someone could have figured it out. You know when someone is hurting and you just… want to wrap them up in your soul and help them? That’s what I’m feeling and it’s too late. There’s nothing anyone could do. :/ Ugh.

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  5. My, up to then, favorite uncle force me to ***** off, anally raped me, and *****on me when I was 11 and 12, including a ten day camping trip that was pretty bad and terrifying for me. In 1963 I had grown to be about 2/3 his weight and was very mean from football. I said no. He tried to kill me with a blow to the back of the head, but when I got up and was not dead, but figured it might be him or me, he let me go rather than risk that I could beat him to a Japanese dagger. He probably figured he’d take some time to work out how to manipulate me better, but my mother figured it out & he was exiled & none of the male cousins were told where he was when he came back to America with two young adopted sons after ten years. Of course being older and not as hurt as our late fellow sufferer, I have been successful(?) for fifty-two years in not committing suicide or becoming terribly addicted. I used to have a list of people who would die before me, but now I hold out until my next blood donation. In that time I felt whole for about two months, until my fiancee was raped and I got triggered back to brokenness and numbness, and I tried but couldn’t make her well and she killed herself. The only women I could keep for as long as two years were damned abusive to me. I haven’t held hands or kissed this century, and less than half-way believe after twenty years of therapy that now there may me some way to heal enough to have a relationship last long enough to risk the pain of abandonment or her pain of my unconscious numbing & who knows what sexual dysfunction. I have had some things I enjoyed, like raising a daughter by myself. I have done a reasonable amount of good for my country and other people, of course at a much lower level and without being able to deal with supervisors very well. I have also suffered the third party being there for most of the rare sex and physical intimacy. The flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, self sabotage, triggering, remembering how I felt, low self worth, and loneliness have been painful as much as I can stand. I can’t give a recommendation on suicide either way. I certainly wish I’d been given the opportunity to do a suicide mission for my country and been spared years of pain. Sometimes having responsibility for the welfare of the country or someone else has been all that kept me from leaving. I have had some relief the last year meeting and talking with other survivors. My definition of survivor is someone who hasn’t committed suicide–yet. I try to be mean enough to resist giving up. I have fought hard every day except for the two months of wholeness I had forty-two years ago. I do not consider the fighting to be more moral than leaving, nor wiser than leaving. Suicidal thoughts annoy me less than a mosquito bite. I fight to convince myself that there is hope of healing, or that I will ever have another day without pain. I self numb 24/7 in order to not feel skinned alive. I can sometimes unnumb myself on purpose to try to get control, but an hour is about the most I can take before I have to switch off and if I write down how I feel, the therapist can barely handle it. I am glad Bill wrote such a nice suicide note. He wrote for millions of us and I don’t think he hurts now.

  6. I found this site when I searched suicide and sexual abuse. I too am a survivor. My eldest brother sexually violated me from age 8-12. I have blacked out many times from alcohol because I feel it is the closest I’ll come to death before actual suicide. I have never felt caring of others like a non survivor. It ruins lives. My perpetrator brother died of a heroin overdose in November 2013. I did report him to the police when I was a junior in college, 3 years before his death. He denied it all, my 2nd eldest brother believed me but my remaining family shunned me away. I go through life much like Bill Zellmer had and all the other survivors. My perpetrator is dead but what isn’t are the dark thoughts I have regarding people and life. I sometimes wonder why my brother took up molesting me at such a young age himself. He was very manipulative, evil in many ways. If he had any remorse, he never revealed it. I’ve attempted suicide once while in my first year of law school. It wasn’t the stress of the program but the constant flashbacks of my childhood that not even the business of a law curriculum could overpower. I left law school because I was tired of trying to overcome my darkness with over achievement. Tired of pretending like I am an intelligent adult destined for a successful future. I prefer to live an honest life so I have resorted back to how I truly feel. I am forever the child I never should have been.

    • If there is a god, know that your brother is being punished for what he did to you.
      If this makes you feel any better, overdosing on heroine i heard is a pretty painful way to go.

      I hope eventually you can let go and enjoy life and be at peace like we all deserve to be.

  7. I never want to hear the word FORGIVENESS again. It is morally wrong to expect the Abused to forgive the Abuser.
    My heart is with you all.

  8. I was abused when I was ten years old. Now I am eighteen years old. The pain magnifies with every passing day. My mother’s boyfriend did this. I told her the day it happened. She did not believe me. She continued sending me to his home and then I started liking it at one point of time. Today I have to sleep in the very bed in which I was molested. Whenever I see her I think of what she did. She didn’t believe her own daughter. Had she taken some steps at that time it would not have happened for a long time. On the first day he showed me porn. My mother knew it and told me that I was shown porn because I wanted to see it. I didn’t understand at that age why he was lying about it. If anybody showed porn to my ten year old daughter I would have killed that person. I relive the moment each day. It doesn’t go away with time. It intensifies with time. The more I grow up the more dirty I feel. Now I am eighteen. I will probably live for 50 more years. There are 365 multiplied by 50 days. I will have to endure it for that many days. I didn’t tell my father about this. My family will break apart if I tell him. The abuse has made me the person I am today. I want to be normal. I know that I will never be able to be intimate with someone without feeling dirty. Is living really worth the pain? At first I thought I didn’t love myself. Maybe I do love myself in my own twisted way. Sometimes to protect the person you love you have to kill her. I have frequent suicidal thoughts. I didn’t decide to get help as my family will probably laugh at my face after three failed suicide attempts. I don’t want to live live in this fucked up world. I want to be in a better world where children don’t get molested. If such a world doesn’t exist I would rather be dead

    • Please don’t give up hope. I am a survivor in my 40s, also at the hands of my mother’s boyfriend, who later became her husband. I am not going to lie to you and tell you everything gets better. BUT, I have a grown son to whom I was a very good mama, and I have been with a man for the past seven years who is my true partner. I feel like life will always be more challenging, and take more energy than it does for most people because I am a survivor. At the same time I have found love and a lot of good in the world.

  9. I am out of my mind with grief. I worked so hard to go to school, to try to matter in this social world instead of just being assumed to be lazy and worthless and useless. The incest and torture I endured for the first 21 years of my life has destroyed my ability to focus. Now, time is broken into bits of disconnected pieces of time. They’re all bits of me, but they’ve all got varying degrees of points of time of me in them. In one hour, I am 50 different past me’s. I’m the four year old me, and I can’t understand the concepts and words that the 38 year old me understand. And on and on like that. I tried to read the school text book and each minute was the start, until I realized three hours had gone by. It must of have been three hours without a repeating “me” having shown up because each time I read that goddamn paragraph, it was like I’d never seen it before. AND IT MAKES ME WANT TO RIP MY HAIR OUT! IT MAKES ME WANT TO SCREAM IN A RAGE at my abusers who did this to me! Who made my memory this jumbled mess! I HATE that other people think I am just lazy or a fucking loser, and I work so fucking hard at this shit! I have to stand there and be the fucking idiot in school when I’m no idiot. It’s humiliating. How can I take care of myself when my brain is this disconnected mess, where I can’t control who I am at all. Suicide? YES! I’m always locked in that tiny space, in that tiny room, in the dark, alone, waiting, waiting, waiting, for — no. I stopped waiting. I like being alone. I like being in the dark. Which is why I HATE FORCING MYSELF TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS WORLD! IN A WORLD WHERE NOBODY UNDERSTANDS ME AND i CAN NEVER, EVER OFFER AN EXPLANATION. Because, people hear “trauma” and they shut down, they stop listening and they write you off as crazy. What kind of shit is this, where you get raped, you get tortured, and you’re fucking tortured by every fucking body everyday for the rest of your life after that? What kind of HELL is this?

    • This world we live in so far from perfect and random. There are those who are born smart, rich, and good looking and others who are born with some kind mental, health, and physical problems and are born into bad circumstances that are beyond their control.
      I was abused by only my stepmom,
      but i’m sure that I can’t begin to comprehend or relate to the pain you’ve dealt with your entire life.

      I’ve felt like i deserve to live only in darkness many times or I wish I could just go down into a dark abyss and die so I can stay away form everyone and everything who make me feel bad about myself.

      Know that even though I’m just some random stranger on the internet.
      I feel for you and I wish you happiness, love, and success.
      You may not feel this way now, but what happened to you was not your fault and your a good, intelligent, hardworking person who deserves better than the way you are feeling now.

      I wish you nothing but love and happiness and know that more than 50 percent of people who live in this country feel the same way you do or close to it.
      I wish you only Love and Peace.

  10. Oh My Dear Janis, I am so sorry that the cruel actions of others has left you with challenges no one should have to face. Memories & hardships. First and foremost: YOU ARE VALUABLE. You Are NOT stupid or any other negative labels assigned to you. You are a human being worthy of Peace, Love, Grace. My sibling was abused. Abused is such a tidy word for horrors no child should have to endure.

    Know that there are people who will not shy away when you mention trauma. Know that there are people who believe you, want you to succeed, however you define it. I am one of those people.

    Many are working to raise awareness & force this society to acknowledge and offer authentic support to those who have survived these acts of terrorism. That is what I call preying on children.

    I wish I could do more. No you are not alone.

  11. Suicide is always horrible.
    But when someone lives a life without joy, passion, love and everything that makes a life worth living and decides to kill themself,
    I don’t judge and I hope that person has some kind of peace and no longer feels the pain that drove them to do this.

    Like a lot of people who visit this site. I had to deal with abuse from my stepmom. My dad defended her actions when I would ask him to protect me.
    I’m a 28 year old guy now and I was screamed at, humiliated, emotionally and once in awhile (mostly when I was younger) physically abused, and threatened from when I was 8 years old till when I was about 16 or 17.
    i was taught to not talk back to adults by my mom ( the only one who gave me balance and comfort in my life). she brought my father and my stepmom to court on this on multiple occassions but there was no definitive proof of abuse.
    When I was in my teens I decided not to talk back to my stepmom or defend myself out of some misguided respect for my father.
    Last month, I disowned my father and his family. I’ll miss my father’s family though, because they were decent, normal people.

    Hayou Miyazaki said:
    ” 5 minutes in the life of a child is worth more than 5 minutes in the life of an adult.

    When your young and and being abused your mind and personality is still forming and its emotionally damaging.
    When a kid deals with abuse he/she only knows that it must be because they did something wrong and can’t comprehend that they are being attacked by an evil person.
    its only as they grow older and have a better understanding of what happened to them do they realize the full magnitude of what was done.

    Throughout my entire life I’ve felt worthless, inadequate and a loser because of what that fat cunt did to me.
    I can’t connect with anyone, I’ve never had any friends just aqquaintances. I’ve tried so hard, but I still never had a girlfriend or had sex before.
    Mainly because of this I’ve thought about killing myself at least once a week for about ten years now. i tried to slit my own throat about four years ago and was hospitalized and sent to a mental health hospital for a few days.
    I’m numb to everything emotionally and i feel like a ghost just watching life happen but not being able to control anything.

    After reading Bill Zeller’s suicide note.
    All I feel is rage and wrath.
    Adults who abuse children should be attacked on sight and beaten to death in public for everyone to see.

    I wish I could kill those piece of shit parents before they could abuse him so that maybe Zeller might be alive today.

    Child abusers are cowards and if there’s an afterlife they deserve to go the some of the lowest pits of hell.

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