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Golden Hour Books

How Not to Kill Yourself: A Portrait of the Suicidal Mind by Clancy Martin

How Not to Kill Yourself: A Portrait of the Suicidal Mind by Clancy Martin

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An intimate, insightful, at times even humorous blend of memoir and philosophy that looks at why the thought of death can be so compulsive for some while demonstrating that there’s always another solution.

"I can see [this book] becoming a rock for people who’ve been troubled by suicidal ideation." —The New York Times

"Illuminating, riveting, and—for those of us who are suffering, or know people who are—potentially life-savingly helpful.”—Scott Stossel, author of My Age of Anxiety

The last time Clancy Martin tried to kill himself was in his basement with a dog leash. It was one of over ten attempts throughout the course of his life. But he didn’t die, and like many who consider taking their own lives, he hid the attempt from his wife, family, coworkers, and students, slipping back into his daily life with a hoarse voice, a raw neck, and a series of vague explanations.
     In How Not to Kill Yourself, Martin chronicles his multiple suicide attempts in an intimate depiction of the mindset of someone obsessed with self-destruction. He argues that, for the vast majority of suicides, an attempt does not just come out of the blue, nor is it merely a violent reaction to a particular crisis or failure, but is the culmination of a host of long-standing issues. He also looks at the thinking of a number of great writers who have attempted suicide and detailed their experiences (such as David Foster Wallace, Yiyun Li, Akutagawa, Nelly Arcan, and others), at what the history of philosophy has to say both for and against suicide, and at the experiences of those who have reached out to him across the years to share their own struggles.
     The result combines memoir with critical inquiry to give voice to what for many has long been incomprehensible, while showing those presently grappling with suicidal thoughts that they are not alone, and that the desire to kill oneself—like other self-destructive desires—is almost always temporary and avoidable.

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