Sunday, December 8, 2013

Musings on Suicide

I thought about suicide. For many years, I contemplated whether it was worth it to leave the life I hated for something else. I didn't just hate my life either; I hated my body and resented my self. Every time I looked in the mirror, I loathed the thing looking back at me. Then, for years, I couldn't even look myself in the eye -- I didn't even turn on the lights to get dressed or use the restroom, because I didn't want to see my body. I hated every morning, because every night I wished I would die in my dreams. I was in a bad place mentally for a very long time, and I felt pain every day by just existing.

Now, I watch a law show about suicide. A woman was suicidal after the man in her life broke up with her, and the woman turned to another who supported the decision for people to commit suicide. The difference, though, is that the advocate was terminally ill and was slowly dying a painful death.

So I sit here and think about my beliefs on suicide, both assisted and self inflicted.

I've attended to a man who had Huntington's Disease, a neurological wasting disease. I couldn't imagine the kind of life I would have if I was suffering as he was. I would seriously consider ending my life while I could. Even in my family, I have seen certain cancers cause endless amounts of suffering -- the kind of cancers that you cannot recover from.

On the flip side, there are many diseases that are treatable and even curable if you have the help you need. Diabetes, for example, is treatable and manageable with a good support system and insulin. Some STIs and STDs are curable now, and many people can now improve their quality of life with medication. Celiac disease is treatable with a change in diet.

So I think the physical illness side should be looked at as, can you have the quality of life that you want? Can your condition be improved with medicines, therapy, holistic healing, or a combination of things? What kind of death will you be looking forward to; a silent, painless death or a death proceeded by excruciating pain and anguish?

On the other hand, we have mental illnesses. As someone who suffers with depression, it can be a struggle day to day. As I have talked about, I seriously thought about suicide. The only reason I pulled away from that end was due to events in my life. What about others who aren't so lucky?

As someone who has been there before, I lean more towards trying to resolve issues with help. But also someone who has been desperately poor, I understand that the kind of help people need isn't cheap or easy to come by; even medication can be expensive. Perhaps we need to change, as a society, the way we view and treat mental illness and physical disabilities. Actually, there is no "perhaps" about it. There should be no reason why seeking help should be expensive or hard to find and keep. This too should be the government's job since we the People aren't doing it.

Anyway, back to the point.

It's not just depression that impacts people's lives, and help can vary for people. I understand that sometimes, for some people, things just won't get better. Sometimes Life just gave you a shitty hand and it's time to quit until the next go around. And if anyone chose to end their life, I would be sad and upset, but ultimately it's that person's choice.

Still, I ask that if you or someone you know is considering suicide, try reaching out to someone first. When you are at the bottom of the pit, take a step to the side and look up. Many times, when you finally reach out, there will be someone there. For myself, I was surprised to finally find that I wasn't actually alone and that there were people who did really care about me. Sometimes it was a teacher, other times it was kind-hearted students who embraced me. Sometimes it was my dog who looked up to me and was there for me when I cried. Now, it's my brother who depends on me for everything.

I can't say that I regret not taking my life; I am glad I didn't. However, I cannot also say that I can condemn those who do, did, or will because ultimately it is a choice that someone should make themselves.

Again though, there are more nuances in life than just black and white. There are some mental illnesses that cannot be treated currently, like being a rapist or child molester or a serial killer. Some things like narcissism aren't effectively treatable, and even depression and bipolarism are difficult to treat and manage.

So I guess I end my ramblings with this: I think suicide is someone's choice to make, but that every other option should be pursued before committing. Suicide is an extreme and final last resort. Regardless though, you can email me and talk if no one else seems to listen. And if you want to talk about it anonymously (or even help people through their problems) try this site called BlahTherapy.

May you find everything you want.


  1. if people want to die you let them. who are we to give advice.

  2. I despise the fact that if a person is suicidal the police are called in as if they are a criminal. I think that when one is exhibiting suicidal feelings, this is a time when they need compassion, not to be treated like they are "bad" and "wrong."
    With regards to assisted suicide, I watched my father slowly die, with chronic pain and with his mind being taken from him. In the end, he refused treatment for a blood clot in his leg. My family is very grateful that hospice was there and that he wasn't forced to continue living under unbearable circumstances.
    My brother lives with severe chronic pain due to a back injury. His left foot constantly feels as if it is immersed in boiling water. This is the kind of pain that leads people to commit suicide. I hope he doesn't, but the thought does cross my mind. I don't know if I could deal with pain like he lives with every day. I live with chronic, low-grade pain (fibromyalgia and sciatica) and sometimes it depresses me because I can't remember a time when I wasn't in pain.
    Suicide needs to be decriminalized, and suicidal feelings need to be treated with compassion, regardless of the reason for them.

  3. The worst of it is knowing that you're not the one who created your self-hate - someone else did a great job of it, and forced you to believe them. It's a lie. There is nothing wrong with me, and if you're suicidal too, there is nothing wrong with you. It took me years to realize that I just want to die. Better that than lying to myself. Anyway, suicide seems to be mother nature's way of saying, "hey there, now you have nothing left to lose, good luck"