When I was younger, I thought suicide was selfish. It took away a person’s pain along with all of his or her responsibilities. It left their family and loved ones to pick up the pieces, to mourn, and to question what they could have done differently. I never realized how damaging that viewpoint was.
If you’ve experienced clinical depression like I have, there may have been or there may come a time when you understand depression. If you don’t understand it, I hope you never do. But, if you do, you know we’re far too hard on those with suicidal feelings and suicide victims.
While I don’t condone suicide in any way, I can understand it. I can see what would push someone to commit suicide. I myself have never been suicidal but I have experienced the intense desire to disappear off the face of the earth, to cease to exist, to unburden myself of my earthly body and all that comes with it.
Suicide Is Scary
If that seems terrifying to you, that’s because it should be terrifying. Feeling suicidal is terrifying. It’s scary. It’s not an easy to feeling to have, and I’m sure it’s not an easy feeling to act on. It might seem like an excuse or an easy way out to those of us who survive. But, it doesn’t feel that way to the person doing it. It feels like the only way out. If feels impossible to make it out alive. It feels like things will never get better. It doesn’t even feel like a choice.
Lead With Compassion
Again, I don’t say this to promote suicide. No way! I say this because we all need to be a little more compassionate to those with suicidal feelings. We need to try our very best to understand. And, when we don’t understand, we need to be willing to listen and to hear. The more we condemn these feelings, the worse they become. The more we shy away from these conversations, the more alone suicidal people feel. The more we alienate and “other” people with suicidal feelings, the more we remove the choice--because they don’t see another choice.
Ask The Question
You’re not responsible for someone else’s actions. This is not a cop out for those committing suicide. Instead, it’s a call to bring these people closer into our lives. Don’t push them away. Don’t let the fear of bringing it up be stronger than an unnecessary death. And, they’re all unnecessary. For me, just being able to say what I was feeling out loud without shame made me feel a little bit lighter. So, ask the question:
“Are you feeling suicidal?”
And, be there for the answer, even if it’s, “Yes.” The fact that they’re willing to tell you means they don’t want to feel that way. Be with them, for them, until it passes. Because it always passes. But, it can only pass if someone is willing to say,
“I’ll sit with you through this dark night.”
I’m calling you out. I’m calling me out. I’m calling us all out. Because enough is enough.