Waking Up, Alive: The Descent, the Suicide Attempt,
and the Return to Life

Richard A. Heckler


"Sometimes I feel like crying, but the tears just don't come...."

"I had no idea there was a state of mind like this. Everything turned black...."

"It was a zombie place where I just couldn't be a part of anything...."

These are the words of survivors who have lived through one of the most insidious conditions of our time: the desire to die. Five million Americans have attempted suicide. Every seventeen minutes, one of them succeeds. And the numbers continue to grow. Through fifty startling interviews with suicide survivors of all ages and backgrounds, psychologist Richard A. Heckler takes us into the very heart of despair, documenting the varied paths that lead to that crucial place where one's world seems to stretch, tear, and then break apart. In these intimate accounts we begin to understand the determination and clarity of that fatal choice. But after the failed attempt, healing is possible. For the first time, with great care and penetrating insight, Heckler traces the heroic patterns of recovery. By offering clear, profound portraits of hope, this extraordinary and unprecedented book attests to the resilience of the human spirit, by bearing witness to those who stood at death's door, and found the courage to live.

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