"As a rule, it will be found that as soon as the terrors of life outweigh the terrors of death a
man will put an end to his life. The resistance of the terrors of death is, however,
considerable; they stand like a sentinel at the gate that leads out of life. Perhaps there is no
one living who would not have already put an end to his life if this end had been
something that was purely negative, a sudden cessation of existence. But there is
something positive about it, namely, the destruction of the body. And this alarms a man
simply because his body is the manifestation of the will to live.
Meanwhile, the fight as a rule with these sentinels is not so hard as it may appear to be
from a distance; in consequence, it is true, of the antagonism between mental and physical
suffering. For instance, if we suffer very great bodily pain, or if the pain lasts a long time,
we become indifferent to all other troubles: our recovery is what we desire most dearly. In
the same way, great mental suffering makes us insensible to bodily suffering: we despise
it. Nay, if it outweighs the other, we find it a beneficial distraction, a pause in our mental
suffering. And so it is that suicide becomes easy; for the bodily pain that is bound up with
it loses all importance in the eyes of one who is tormented by excessive mental suffering.
This is particularly obvious in the case of those who are driven to commit suicide through
some purely morbid and discordant feeling. They have no feelings to overcome; they do
not need to rush at it, but as soon as the keeper who looks after them leaves them for two
minutes they quickly put an end to their life.
When in some horrid and frightful dream we reach the highest pitch of terror, it awakens
us, scattering all the monsters of the night. The same thing happens in the dream of life,
when the greatest degree of terror compels us to break it off."