I haven’t written a post in a while as so many things have been going on. I actually started to write this a few weeks ago and stopped because quite honestly it was too difficult. Someone I know and respect had some tragic news; his brother had committed suicide. I’m not going to discuss this very private story and the circumstances, I just wanted to somehow contemplate the complex notion of suicide.
I hope this doesn’t appear crass or insensitive and academic but it’s a challenging subject isn’t it? On the one hand some people and cultures would absolutely say it is the right of everyone to take their own life…I think of days of antiquity or feudal Japan for examples of people taking their lives with what can only be described as honour and dignity. It was indeed a respected form of atonement (Seppoku). I can relate to this.
“They tell us that suicide is the greatest piece of cowardice… that suicide is wrong; when it is quite obvious that there is nothing in the world to which every man has a more unassailable title than to his own life and person.”
On the other hand others would see it as a sacred violation. A ‘sin’ for want of a better way to describe it due to the sanctity if life. I can relate to this as well. Perhaps that’s why suicide is such a heartbreaking experience for anyone who is close to someone who has succeeded or even tried to assert some control in their lives by this method. In some countries (mainly Islamic I believe) it is still criminalised…surely a way of making sure any one attempts suicide will be more committed to making it work?
No-one can truly understand the suffering and despair of an individual who has been driven to this point except that individual. I say driven as I don’t believe anyone would choose to end their lives if they felt they could really change or end their suffering. I might be wrong of course but it seems clear it stems from a sense of futility and lack of power to change their suffering. They are trapped and the terror of death is less than the terror of living. One can only try with compassion to imagine what a life lived with a feeling of endless hopelessness and despair must be like. It’s more than just a bad day.
I’m lucky. Like all of us I have had some bad times and some thoughts and romantic notions of ending it all, statistically more men than women are successful. It didn’t get further than this, perhaps it’s just as simple as being able to have a sense of humour about life.
“The thought of suicide is a great consolation: by means of it one gets through many a dark night.”
There is no conclusion to my thoughts at this point except to offer my sympathy to anyone reading this who is thinking about suicide and simply to say there is hope and lastly to anyone suffering the loss of a loved one you will get through it.
“But in the end one needs more courage to live than to kill himself”