The movies always get it wrong, so I thought I'd give the correct procedure to you fellow noders. Just something to think about when you feel you have contributed all you can to everything.

Make sure you answer these questions honestly and carefully, because you won't get a chance to change your answer later on. If you did answer 'yes' to all the questions listed above, then you are ready to slash your wrists.

  1. In the 24 hours preceding your suicide, drink several glasses of water. This will help enlarge your veins and make it easier for the blood to escape when you make your cuts.
  2. Go and get your straight razor. If you do not have one, I strongly recommend going out and buying one. Use your credit card. A scalpel or fresh X-Acto knife will also work. The important thing here is that we are looking for a sharp object. You are going to be cutting your own flesh here, and if your utensil is not sufficiently sharp, the cut will be painful, and you won't have the inclination to do a proper job.
  3. Fill a tub with hot water. You want your water to be hot enough to plump up your veins and keep them open as your blood escapes, but not so hot that you will have trouble relaxing. Bath oils will also help here.
  4. Now you're almost ready to slash your wrists. Strip down, lay back in the tub, and try to relax. The hardest part is coming up, so be sure to think of all the pain and suffering in your life, and how much better you'll be when you end it all.
  5. As soon as you are ready, take your right arm and turn it palm side up. Hold your razor in your left hand. If you are left-handed, reverse these instructions. It is important to make the first cut with your bad hand, because otherwise, in two steps from now, you'll need to slash your good hand with a hand that is both unfamiliar and draining of blood.
  6. Place the tip of the razor on your forearm, about two thirds of the way from your wrist to your elbow, with the blade facing your palm. Now slash down, along the vein, towards the wrist. Make sure you slash straight down. You don't want to sever any tendons for your hand, since you'll need the use of that hand in the next step. Too many Hollywood movies these days get it wrong and show suicide victims slashing across the wrist. This is impractical, because:
    1. It is harder for the blood to escape your body, and you will die more slowly, and in more pain.
    2. If you slash as deep as you should in this way, you'll sever your tendons, and you won't be able to perform the next step.
    (You might want to print out this writeup and keep it next to the tub as you do this).
  7. Quickly place your razor in your right hand and repeat the last step for your left forearm.
  8. Congratulations! You have successfully slashed your wrists! Place the razor next to the tub and lie back into the warm water. Don't think about how you are now going to die, since that will only make you panic. Instead, focus on the growing peace and tranquility inside your body as the loss of blood makes you steadily weaker.

Other issues to keep in mind before you slash your wrists:

  • Have you written a proper suicide note?
  • If you do use bath oils, make sure they aren't the kind that use aromatherapy to make you feel better about yourself. That would be counterproductive.
  • If you live in a dorm, or if you have any family members in the house, make sure that you have locked the bathroom door. This is not the kind of procedure that your friends can help you with.
  • And above all else, remember: have fun.

Happy slashing!

Useless real-life anecdote:

When I was just a tyke, 8 or 9 or so, my mother told me how to slash my wrists. "Down, not across", she told me. I am not making this up.

Mom: "If you cut across, it doesn't work. you bleed a lot slower, and it's a lot more painful. You're supposed to ALONG the wrist, so you cut open all these veins."
Me: "But.. Mom.. how do you know that?"
Mom: "Well.. I tried to kill myself a couple of times when I was a teenager..."

Observations:
1. Although I, as a child, was told how to go about slashing my wrists in an effective, painless (or less painful) manner, I'm still alive now.
2. Had my mother known how to slash her wrists in this way, she probably would have died, and I would not be here.

The moral implications of this make my brain hurt.

It doesn't work.
Don't bother.

No, seriously, trust me on this. There are many other, much more effective ways to achieve the same purpose, and you should go for one of those instead. Pulling this particular way off is a lot more difficult than you'd expect-- you have to hit the artery to have the slightest chance, that's deeper down than you'd expect, and the cutting is difficult. Ask anyone who knows and they'll tell you the same thing.

Using this method will almost certainly result in failure, which in this case will only make things worse-- really its only use is if you're just faking it to get attention, in which case you're disgusting.

Slitting your wrists is an oft used method of suicide. It is also an oft used method for failing to commit suicide. Forget what you've seen on TV or in the movies, of people slashing the underside of their forearms right along the tendons. Three times. It doesn't work. It won't work, unless you damn near cut your hand off. Sure, there are small veins there, but it won't do you any good to cut them, unless you're looking to inflict severe pain and incapacitate your hand until the tendons heal.

The artery (not vein) for which would-be self-killers are aiming isn't on the underside of your forearm. It's in the wrist. The wrist is on the far side of the end of the bones in your forearm. It's that bendy part of your whole arm between the rigid part of your hand and the rigid part of your forearm. Which is why they call it "slitting your wrists," not "slitting your arm." The artery is in your wrist. If you still don't know where it is, first stop looking for it with your thumb. Your thumb has an artery in it which you'll probably feel pounding more than the artery in your wrist. Use a fingertip (paramedics use two, but they know where they're looking already). Now tighten up your thumb on the arm which holds the wrist on which you wish to find your pulse and point it outward. You should, hopefully, see two tendons from your thumb (if not, try to feel them). One runs along the top of your hand and over your arm, and the second runs along the side of your wrist. Place your fingertip directly beneath the tendon in your thumb ON your wrist. Your fingertip should be pressing into the bottom "corner" of your wrist on the inside. Now relax your thumb. You should, hopefully, be able the feel the gentle throbbing of the artery. If you can't, roll your fingertip slowly around in circles until you do. Eventually, you will be able to feel it.

That is the artery in question. That's why it's called "slitting your wrists." Now you know where it is.

I may be flamed to no end for posting this. If that's the case, well, I'm sorry. I feel being informed is much more important than being ignorant. I would rather someone know where to cut if it's truly their intent and want than have them fail and be forced into unwanted institutionalization. I would also rather someone who doesn't want to die know where NOT to cut in their bid for help. Yes, there are upsides and downsides to it all. Information isn't to blame, it's how it's used. If someone is able to feel for a heart attack victim's pulse properly as a result of this, then wonderful. If someone is able to kill themselves as a result of this, then I am disheartened that someone would be distraught enough to consider such an act, though I find comfort in the knowledge they are not suffering with such any longer.

A friend of mine recently tried to kill herself. Alone in the house for a couple of hours, she experienced a brand of clinical depression that was more painful than her fear of death, so she consumed three-quarters of a bottle of Advil.

A couple hours later, the family returned. They found her on the floor and called the ambulance. Dramatic prose escapes me, so I leave the specifics to the reader's imagination. Later, she experienced almost exactly what the author of this story writes about: a two-way (down, then up) activated charcoal milkshake, nurses who didn't even pretend to care, a terrifying psych ward, a subscription to powerful anti-depressant, and a gradual recovery.

Thank God this story has a happy ending: she is alive and recovering rapidly. But it wasn't warning signs that saved her. It wasn't well-meaning but misguided advice to suicidal teenagers ("Make a list of why your life sucks and then realize that it's salvagable after all"). And it certainly wasn't a trite, self-satisfied song like "Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem." No, what saved her life was a simple miscalculation: she took Advil and her family arrived home too quickly. Had she chosen Tylenol instead, she wouldn't have had a chance in hell. Apparently Tylenol ravages your liver that much faster. And here's the kicker: The two medicines were literally right next to one another in the cabinet, and it was only the incorrect preconception that Advil must be more powerful since it is traditionally a more adult medication that caused her hand to lift the left bottle rather than the right. Else, she would have died on the floor within the hour.

Misinformation saved my best friend's life less than one month ago.

Let's imagine that she had picked the other popular alternative to pill-popping: wrist-slashing. The common notion of wrist-slashing is a single, lateral cut on each wrist. As this node reminds us, said cuts do maximal damage to the tendons and minimal damage to the veins, thereby minimizing the victim's ability to make further cuts and maximizing the probability that the wounds will close before she suffers lethal blood loss. The node then helpfully outlines the exact procedure to follow for maximum likelihood of death with minimal discomfort. If you read this node as it currently stands and then try to kill yourself with a razor blade, odds are you will succeed.

I'm not spouting flames or submitting nuke requests or writing angry letters to the editor. I am simply asking... pleading... that before you write, you consider the implications very, very carefully. Information often means the difference between life and death. The freedom of speech is a profound and fundamental right, and it deserves to be treated with all the responsibility that such power demands. One ought to handle information like any other potential weapon: with care. It could save someone's life.


Think before you node.

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