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

ISBN: 0060936215
ISBN 13: 9780060936211
By: Susan Rose Blauner

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About this book

The statistics on suicide are staggering. According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 1997 in the USA more teenagers and young adults died from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza and chronic lung disease combined. It is also an international epidemic.Susan Blauner is the perfect emissary for a message of hope and a program of action for these millions of people. She's been though it, and speaks and writes eloquently about feelings and fantasies surrounding suicide.

Reader's Thoughts

Kristina Woodland

It's kinda labor intensive, but does have some good advice. You just have to be committed to the book itself though.

Curtis Edmonds

My review at -


Excellent workbook for people struggling with depression.


Helpful guide for someone chronically suicidal. Saw it work.

Chloé Mannix

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 that someone who had been through the hell of depression made it out and was able to write a book. It gave me hope when I looked back on how much my mental illness had messed up my life especially career wise that I to could piece things back together and work towards having a good life. Thanks Susan Blauner for writing this book :)

Christine White

Although I think the author was little self absorbed and focused on her own remedies for overcoming depression and suicidal thinking which was sometimes odd and infantile; the statistics and methods for helping family members better empathize were important and valuable and something I haven't read much of in other books on the subject.


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.

Stephanie Ricker

I'm reading this to better understand a friend who is going through a tough time. The situation is so foreign to me that I'm finding this book helpful as a translator, putting my friend's circumstances in terms to which I can relate. I don't agree or understand everything she says, but the author's perspective is definitely a valuable one.


Some useful advice for times of crisis but quite 'triggering' on the whole.

Lynn Tolson

Review of How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me: One Person’s Guide to Suicide Prevention by Susan Rose BlaunerOn the jacket of the hardcover, Susan Rose Blauner writes, “I searched for a book like this, but found none, so I wrote one.” The first edition was printed in 2002, when there were few books about suicide. What was available lacked a story of recovery, and Ms. Blauner filled that void. Making oneself vulnerable by writing about one’s own suicidal thinking takes courage.It’s brave for an author to state that she has borderline personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and major depression. It’s difficult to continue the cycle of life under these conditions. Blauner says that she was a victim of sexual abuse. (Rape victims are 13 times more likely to have attempted suicide than their non-assaulted counterparts.) Blauner shares her personal journey from suicidal thinking to hope and healing.The premise of the book is that most people who think about suicide don’t want to die; they want relief from emotional pain. Blauner was responsible to the readers by doing her homework. Included in her book are notations from specialists who study suicide, thereby offering research as a foundation for her statements. (Those who experience the suicidal thoughts are also experts on the topic.)In the “Tricks of the Trade” section, Susan shares sources of help, as well as skills developed in therapy. Blauner explains the difference between statements such as “I am depressed” versus “I feel depressed.” She uses analogies to illustrate the “Neuron Superhighway,” simplifying a complex neurological pattern. She offers numerous suggestions for the reader to explore. Sometimes, when one is suicidal, there are no other options. She encourages the reader to explore an activity, such as journal writing. It’s not the answer, but each bit of information is a step toward life.If you are looking for a book that will help you help someone with suicidal thoughts, How I Stayed Alive has specific instructions, including how to listen well and respond appropriately.Blauner put an enormous amount of work into this book. Part Seven includes hotlines, websites, and resources. There is a sectioned bibliography, references to citations, permissions, and an index. It takes effort to convey this helpful information to readers.Susan Blauner structured her intangible journey into a book that has substance for therapists, suicidal thinkers, and those around them. A portion of the proceeds of the book go to the National Hopeline Network 1-800-SUICIDE. If you are in crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Amanda Jones

This book is a MUST READ for people with chronic suicidal thoughts. It's really helped me.

Misty Dawn

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.

Christina Wilder

This book saved my life. Review to come.


I keep this book close by and reread it frequently. A must-have for anyone who suffers from severe depression.


Ugh. Not my cup of tea.

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