I dislike suicide, not for the obvious reasons. I dislike it because the absolute end leaves behind so much stupidity. The person who ends up losing the war in their mind and commits suicide is rarely remembered with fondness or warmth. No, they’re remembered for the sole act of committing suicide. A singular act in their life that redefined everything else they may have accomplished to that date. I would point out that I’m not talking about things like assisted suicide for the terminally ill or someone who is just tired of life in general. I had indirect association with a man in his early 50’s who shot himself because he was simply tired of the way life had been for him. Having lived in poverty, I can understand that mentality and sympathize.
Instead, I’m talking about the people that struggle with depressive components of mental illness and end up killing themselves. Those types of problems do not just appear overnight. They ramp up over a long period of time. In the case of Don Cornelius, he had been expressed dark and depressive thoughts the last few years since his divorce which his friends are now realizing were indicators of a more serious problem. And therein is the problem; hindsight is 20/20. It’s easy to go back and realize there was a problem after the fact. That doesn’t really help anyone though. People will inevitably miss indicators, the mentally ill will periodically take their own lives; it is impossible to “save” everyone.
So when someone does lose the fight, why is it that they are remembered for that singular act? That one act where the scales finally tipped far enough to the suicidal side of the spectrum to cause them to act. In my own family, we have a history of mental illness with some murders and suicides thrown in for good measure. Since my mother was adopted, she did not find her biological mother until she was about 50. I was the only person in my family with mental difficulties that I knew about until that family was found. It would be easier for me to milk a honey badger than it is to get people to talk about the suicides.
“We don’t talk about that.” “Um, that makes me uncomfortable to talk about.” “I don’t think we should talk about that.”
I get it. It’s easy to paint that person as selfish for making the choice they did. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly how suicidal thinking works. It’s not so much as a choice as it is a culmination of bullshit stacking up with the perception that there is no way out. Most people that attempt suicide are not doing so because they want to die, they do so because they can no longer deal with their problems and they have no hope it will change. I have 1 active and 6 passive suicide attempts under my belt, if I thought for a second that the next 18 years would be anything like the past 18 years; I would slit my wrists and jump off the bridge. But no, I have hope things can be different.
I am sorry that a person close to you caused you so much pain. But you know what? YOU’RE STILL ALIVE. By not talking about these things it is far more difficult for other people going through it in a family to come forward or seek help. Why? They don’t want to be labelled as a “nutcase” or treated differently. But no, what really matters is the feelings of the living and how deceased’s action made them feel. Not the fact that the person laying in the box no longer has that choice.
Dear reader, I am very weary. I’m weary of people using emotions and feelings as a crutch. As much as I have tried, I simply do not have the energy to care about how these people feel about something that they clearly don’t understand. A week after, I can understand. 20, 30 years later? Really? When is it appropriate to talk about suicide?
If you had someone in your life close to you commit suicide, forgive them. It will do wonders for your own mentality. Remember them fondly. Hell, set a place for them at your next holiday dinner. They walked a long, hard, lonely road and lost their war. But here’s the thing. If you have kids or family members around who are walking the same path in their mind, they will be more open to talking about what’s in their mind.
A great number of mental illnesses have their roots in genetics. Which means if your family line up to that point has struggled with mental illness, it’s a pretty safe assumption it’s going to continue down the line. Changing that perception may prevent your grandkids or great grandkids from taking the same route the deceased did.
Silence benefits no one.
Now it’s too late to change the fate
To change the way, the time is out
Way too soon you had to go away
Why so soon you had to fly away
The guilt, The pain burning like a flame
The pain we feel too bad it’s so real
Feelings of shame ourselves we blame
Throughout the years speaking to deaf ears
– ‘Wasted Years’ – Norther
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