Let’s talk about something more deadly than sharks, snakes, cars and lightning. Let’s talk about something that is seen by some as cowardly, selfish, a sin, simply incomprehensible.
Suicide is the permanent exit that people take when their life feels too painful to bear. When after months and years and even decades of struggling, they can’t take it anymore. When there is too much pain, grief, trauma, hate, fear, guilt. When it seems as if all these overwhelming feelings and powerful thoughts have bubbled up, spilt out of the brain like a volcano of hydrochloric acid, flown and frothed and are dissolving the entire little human body of innocent flesh.
Surviving and fighting on is selfless and brave, but I would never call suicide selfish or cowardly. Rather, the intrusive thoughts of suicide can create a cloudy barrier that causes the victim to forget a lot of external things. When feeling suicidal, it is so easy to forget that you pass on your pain to others. It is easy to convince yourself that you are a burden when you are not. It is easy to think that the world will be better off without you when it will miss you dearly. It is easy to think that this will be the only feeling you will ever feel for the rest of your existence, when that is not true.
I am currently dealing with suicidal thoughts. They are vicious bastards. At the moment my depression is too bad to see the light, so I have to force myself to think of how my family and friends would react. They would feel guilty and blame themselves even though they were so perfect to me. It might send my vulnerable friends over the edge. It would be messy and inconvenient and a waste. It pains my soul to have these counter-thoughts. But it’s ok, because they keep me going, they keep me here and I know that is the right thing to do.
I also have to remind myself that the last time I had extremely intrusive suicidal thoughts, a few years ago, and held on, I have had so many wonderful experiences, made some amazing friends and made some treasured memories. And on a more simple level, I have also enjoyed yummy food, funny TV shows, cool movies, nice moments and good hugs. Of course, I since then I have had some pretty rubbish and extremely lonely and heartbreaking times too, (I swear, I am not being melodramatic!) but it was worth holding on for the good times.
Some of my favourite quotes about suicide are below.
(Out of context, that was a morbid sentence, but bear with me. These are the ones that resonate with me. These are the ones that help to remind me that I just can’t give up. They are from the internet, the author Matt Haig, and also the last is from a good and wise friend of mine.)
“People often turn to suicide because they are seeking relief from pain. Remember that relief is a feeling. And you have to be alive to feel it. You will not feel the relief you so desperately seek if you are dead.”
“You can’t predict when new options might appear. It’s impossible to know what might happen if you just wait 2 more days. If you act on your thoughts now you’ll never find out what could have been.”
“You will die if you believe the lie: The lie is that suicide will solve all your problems. It implies there is no other way out of your predicament than to end your life… You may be feeling extremely overwhelmed right now. It probably feels like the pain is never going to go away. But remember, pain is temporary, suicide is forever.”
“You’re cared for. It may feel out of reach now but you will be ok. The world can’t stand to lose you. You matter and you’re here for a reason. You can make it through whatever it is you’re in.”
“You are loved, more than you have allowed yourself to believe. You are disappointed in yourself far more than you have disappointed anyone else. You have lost sight of what makes you magical and interesting in other people’s eyes. Work really hard to believe this, faking it until you make it. You are never alone, never, never, never. There will be good people who will help you do this.”
“Depression is smaller than you. Always, it is smaller than you, even when it feels vast. It operates within you, you do not operate within it. It may be a dark cloud passing across the sky but – if that is the metaphor – you are the sky. You were there before it. And the cloud can’t exist without the sky, but the sky can exist without the cloud.”
“You will one day experience joy that matches this pain. You will cry euphoric tears at the Beach Boys, you will stare down at a baby’s face as she lies asleep in your lap, you will make great friends, you will eat delicious foods you haven’t tried yet, you will be able to look at a view from a high place and not assess the likelihood of dying from falling. There are books you haven’t read yet that will enrich you, films you will watch while eating extra-large buckets of popcorn, and you will dance and laugh and have sex and go for runs by the river and have late-night conversations and laugh until it hurts. Life is waiting for you. You might be stuck here for a while, but the world isn’t going anywhere. Hang on in there if you can. Life is always worth it.”
“I think life always provides reasons to not die, if we listen hard enough. Those reasons can stem from the past — the people who raised us, maybe, or friends or lovers — or from the future — the possibilities we would be switching off.”
“Feeling suicidal is the worst you are ever going to feel. This is it. This is rock bottom. Things cannot possibly get any worse than feeling alone, depressed and suicidal. The only way things will go from here is up.”
I sometimes read about people who talk about a friend or relative who have committed suicide. Would these friends and relatives, convinced that they were a burden and could not offer the world anything, know that they would be thought about months or years later by a random stranger on the other side of the world, thought about with an all too understanding sadness? Please don’t just be a thought, a memory, a lost ghost whose appearance and personality I only imagine. Be a comment on Reddit that makes me laugh. Be a video that goes viral that I can thumbs up. Be an annoying smelly person on the train who pushes past me. Be a stock photo with blinding white teeth for advertisements. Be a new person to meet at a party. Be someone’s best friend when online gaming. Be the baker of an average birthday cake. Be a tired customer at a supermarket. Please, just don’t be a suicide victim.
You can be grumpy and tired and sad and stinky and in pain, as long as you are alive.
Call that helpline. Post on that forum. Tell that loved one. Get professional help. Stay strong, even when you feel weak. Stay safe, even when you want to hurt yourself. Hold on to what could be. You are unique and you are literally irreplaceable.