I’ve long said that I have no idea what goes through the minds of people who commit suicide, but I think now that perhaps I do. It’s not much more than goes through the mind of anyone else who’s had a bad day, who’s had a series of bad days in a row, and who wants relief from them. It’s not much more than goes through the mind of anyone else who feels left out and misunderstood by others, who wants to be accepted by their peers, and who has been depressed for one reason or another. It’s not much more. The only difference is the end result.
The difference between wanting to die and actually attempting suicide can be as simple as one day where no one says hello, that tipping point that by itself seems small but that added onto the overwhelming list in the person’s mind becomes monumental.
Death is glamorized in today’s media too, what with the love of vampires, zombies, and various other undead creatures in books and movies, and the songs about dying early that seem way more prevalent these days than they used to be. When someone is already depressed and seeking ways out, seeing or listening to something that praises death can’t possibly be a good thing.
“And I swear that I don’t have a gun. No, I don’t have a gun. No, I don’t have a gun. No, I don’t have a gun.” ~Kurt Cobain
And having friends or a loving family doesn’t necessarily preclude someone from being a candidate for wanting to die either. How often have you been shocked by someone who has committed suicide because they seemed so outgoing, because they had so many friends, or because they had a loving family? No one knows what goes on behind closed doors, or behind the eyes of each individual, and who are we to judge someone’s happiness? Too many people are too good at pretense, which is so sad when that pretense does what it’s meant to do, namely lull others into thinking they’re okay.
That’s why I’m so grateful for the human instinct for survival because imagine how many desperate depressed people are out there who are one step away from committing suicide but they never do it because they don’t have the stamina to follow through with the ultimate decision. Think about the brilliant actors who we come in contact with every day who want to die but can’t bring themselves to do it, who smile in our faces but who wish so badly to be able to end their own misery. I praise everything that is good and holy about human existence for that, but I wish for so much more.
I wish for a network of people who feel that same way, who can lean on each other, who can just let it out, all the fear and pain and disillusionment and the utter PAIN that lives behind their eyes. I wish for transparency, for a sheer honesty that just doesn’t exist in human nature, for people who actually care for each other and who notice when things just don’t add up. I wish for more compassion instead of the ruthless abandon with which too many people treat others with no thought for the aftermath. I wish more people would stop wanting to die because instead they WANT TO LIVE.
So yes, I do understand what can drive people to prefer death to life, but I subscribe to the tenet “better the devil you know,” because at least you still have a chance to let others show you a different side of themselves, to see that compassion and commiseration do exist in pockets of this world we call home.