Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Ideally, suicide would not be so frequent a topic of my thoughts. It's an exhausting thing to think about: wondering whether you should, wondering what would happen if you did, and much, much worse - wondering why your friends have.

The fact that I am unlikely to go more than a few days without reflecting deeply on the logistics and advisability of self-destruction is something I've come to accept as part of the normal round. Much of my thinking is quite detached in nature: I'm just thinking about suicide, not thinking ABOUT suicide...if you get me.

And even on those occasions when I'm actually considering it, I don't think I ever will. Partly this is cowardice. Partly it's FOMO - I just want to see what's going to happen. Partly it's a sort of fear of hurting my family that in my more optimistic moments I could call selflessness.

Because of course suicide is terribly selfish. This is well-known. Putting your own petty desire for oblivion ahead of the happiness of your loved ones? Ugh, who wants to be THAT guy?

It's true - killing yourself is not a nice thing to do to those people who don't want you to kill yourself. At my very very lowest, it may have been my ability to stay dimly aware of that fact that saved me - convinced as I have been that my family would be better off without me, the knowledge that at least in the short term they'd be pretty upset has held me back.

Because I don't want to be seen as selfish. Which is, in itself, a selfish reason to not do something, but if my particular kind of selfishness happens to produce the same outcome as genuine selflessness, I guess that's a win.

Of course, when I'm dead I won't know whether people are calling me selfish or not, so I'm still not sure why it matters to me. Maybe I subconsciously fear the existence of an afterlife.

But even if I am quite the selfish fellow, at least I am not as selfish as people who tell me not to commit suicide. Because God, THOSE people...

Why do you want me to stay alive? Because you'd miss me? You'd be sad? Perhaps you could stop thinking about yourself for a minute.

Maybe you could think about this: I suffer depression and anxiety - days when absolutely everything seems pointless, when I can't see any glimmer of hope anywhere and I'm positive that everything I do fails and everyone I care about hates me. Nights when an invisible boulder sits on my chest, an invisible rope tightens around my neck and an invisible adviser whispers to me that I'm going to die right here and right now.

Other times...things are OK. Some days I'm happy. Some days I can see the good things I have and the good things I do. Some days I can believe I have friends, even. Some nights I go to bed smiling and without a breathless fight or flight response urging me to throw myself onto the rocks.

But every day and night I get through feeling fine, I know the next subterranean low and the next blind panic is that little bit closer. One of the most important things to remember when you're suffering is that it will pass, things will get better. But any honest appraisal of reality will illustrate that it works just as well in reverse: when I'm feeling good, "this too will pass".

So if I've got to live my life like this, knowing I'm going to be pummelled by this over and over and over again, for no good reason, for however many decades I've got ahead...how selfish are you to tell me I have to endure?

It's not like an assessment of the world I live in gives me much external cause to rejoice in the value of life. This is a stupid, cruel, vicious world in which suffering is the rule and joy is the exception, and I'm unable either to ignore the nightmare that is humanity, or to do anything to improve it. There is murder and torture and tragedy filling the world to the brim every day, and it seems a hell of a lot more delusional to think there's cause for hope than to abandon it.

So, if a desire to leave this world is understandable...and if I, personally, spend most of my life either in pain or in the anticipation of pain...where does anyone get the idea that suicide is not a reasonable response to circumstances?

To quit my life now would be selfish. To tell me that I mustn't is surely at least AS selfish.

Not that I will. I'm still a coward, after all.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

*hugs* It's a fair call. You know that a lot of your friends suffer depression too, so we know what you're experiencing and the inevitability of it happening again and how the world will frequently feel purposeless.

So let me say that I get what you say. I hear it in my bones. And I have a friend currently in a psych ward, we talk every day by email. And I've told her, if you die I'll be sad but not devastated. I'll be ok with it, because I know that I've told you I loved you, that I've listened to your story and told you mine honestly, that we had joy and that you've tried everything you could.

We haven't talked, not like that. I would feel regret that I couldn't help. Joy remembering how we met, how much you made me laugh. And a deep sorrow for your children, because they just aren't old enough to not somehow feel responsible for your death.

Give it time, hon. As they get older, you can talk to them. Explain that you find life exceptionally hard. That chemicals in your brain make the world feel awful to you and that you're trying to stick around and that doing that takes everything you have some days. Be honest with them and let them know that you're doing your best.

Just - try to stick it out til they're a bit bigger and can have some great moments with you, pivotal moments they want a dad around for. And just in case, write them letters to open in the future. Because I know you want to be there.

And then I think I'll feel the same way for you as I feel for my friend. That we had a good time together. That we tried our best. And that there are no regrets. xx