9.6.09

SUICIDE!

Every now and again I read something where someone sounds suicidal or an article about suicide or heck in the Marines we have annual suicide awareness training.

As I understand it; most people at some point in their lives have some kind of suicidal thoughts. I guess I had more of a tendency towards homicidal thoughts, not that I think that is better or anything. But I can understand how a person might want to end their life even if I don’t agree with it and could never condone it except under the rarest of circumstances.

I am ok with for example a person with a painful and terminal cancer, having made peace with his or her life, squared away worldly affairs and all that, ending their life. That’s fine.

What I have a hard time dealing with, is when a person with all of their compound reasons decides to “take the easy way out.”

I could say that’s cheating. And yeah, it is usually pretty unfair to those around you too unless you happen to be in the situation above.

The ripple effect of your actions can be really harmful to others for one. Who is going to clean up your mess? What about the person who discovers your corpse? The people who have to sort through your things who probably loved you… It can go on and on.

And what about the potential lost? Yes, the suicidal person might be suffering at the moment and feel overwhelmed and it might feel like the world is shoveling dirt on your head but that is how we grow and become stronger. By overcoming the suffering you incur over and over again you can become wiser and more powerful. So as the dirt gets shoveled on your head just shake it off, tamp it down under your feet, and guess what, you’re a few centimeters taller now.

I know to someone who is considering suicide that sounds a lot easier said than done.
But I firmly believe that everyone can be useful and that suicide robs the individual and those around that individual from the possibility of growth. The posibility for knowing the joy of appreciation for thinge even as they are.

To get into what some might think is hocus pocus stuff, what about what happens after you die? Most people will tell you they just don’t know. Some research has said that the consciousness goes on after the brain is dead. So if that is true, and you kill yourself in an angry agitated state, will your consciousness go on in an angry agitated state? Woah. Maybe that is what hell is eh? And if you are an old school Buddhist who accepts the possibility of rebirth, heck the human realm is where it is at, the place we are most likely to take the Buddha’s path to enlightenment.

Any way, if you’re thinking about offing yourself, please take a break from those thoughts and call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK it is a suicide prevention network of 132 crisis centers in the United States, that provides a 24-hour, toll-free hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. After dialing 1-800-273-TALK, the caller is routed to their nearest crisis center to receive immediate counseling and local mental health referrals. The Lifeline supports people who call for themselves or someone they care about.

7 comments:

molly said...

What a post, Jordan. Yeah, I too think it is taking the easy way out, as opposed to being with suffering, but I've never walked in a suicidal person's shoes, so alas, it can only be my opinion.

In my study of the Bardos, it seems that it is insinuated that yes, in fact, the consciousness does go on in an angry agitated state. That sounds like hell to me.

NellaLou said...

Good post Jordan. People in dire psych/emotional situations need both dharma and practical responses. Real world stuff-one of many reasons your blog is so good.

Anonymous said...

I understand your post, but I also think a lot of people who have not experienced depression to the degree that a suicidal person has can not understand the level of distress and trauma.
There is also a certain kind of skewed thinking that comes into play when one is in that state of mind that is atypical. Some months back, I'd decided to kill myself on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I went to the local Dick's sporting goods and began sizing up shotguns, noticing which had shorter barrels so that I might better fit them under my chin, and also which ones were on sale--the last purchase I'd ever make, you think I might splurge a little, but I'm pretty frugal. Anyway, that afternoon, it made sense. Then I couldn't make up my mind on which gun or whether to do it or something, and I went home...
This kind of thinking is something I don't think most people would understand. I can tell you one thing that suicidal people do NOT need is the guilt trip approach--"suicide is cowardly, think of how much you'd hurt your family and friends, etc." That's one sure way to shut down the dialogue. I don't know what the answer is, but wanted to throw in another perspective

Anonymous said...

"I can tell you one thing that suicidal people do NOT need is the guilt trip approach--"suicide is cowardly, think of how much you'd hurt your family and friends, etc."

For me that was actually one thing that stopped me. "I'm not going to give in". "I'm not going to let THEM win".

There was a bridge that was good for jumping off with a large drop onto concrete. I thought "What if I surived. I'd look such a loser - cannot even kill himself properly".

So in the end I decided that no matter how much life sucked being alive was better than being dead because life could get better but dead never ended.

Jordan said...

Molly,
Thanks, I am not to familiar with the Bardos but I do recall a story of Gautama Buddha being attacked by bandits and him explaining to them that if he died by violent means that he would not be able to enter nirvana.

NellaLou, Thank you for your encouraging words.


Anonymous at 5:59 & 3:35, I am regretful that I can’t really empathize with the concept of guilt. I am just not wired for it. Which I am sure frustrated my mother to no end as I was growing up and possibly caused me a bit of trouble too. What I have been trying to do for several years now is reprogram my self for is compassion. It was my intention to invoke a feeling of compassion and empathy for others rather than guilt.

I do appreciate both of you for having the courage to leave a comment.

I imagine there are as many different ways to react to what I wrote as there are people. This is not exactly a pleasant subject so unfavorable reactions were kind of expected.

For the record, I did not write “suicide is cowardly.” I did write that it was “Taking the easy way out” which is a fairly common view that I put in quotation marks because it was in the original correspondence that I read which triggered this post.

For what it’s worth, I am glad to be having this dialog with you.
Thank you.

Curator said...

I do, and always have, completely agree with your opinions on the subject, But to give a little extra insight into the mind of a suicidal person, especially the ones who have battled it most of their lives using those same arguments to convince themselves not to do it... You keep trying to dig through the dirt, you keep your head held high and you keep soldiering on, bt the dirt keeps coming, and all yo have to live for is the few occasional breaths of stale trapped air you find as you keep digging higher even though the dirt keeps getting deeper above you, you get tired, your fingers start to bleed, your lungs are burning from the lack of oxygen... there comes a point where it all just piles up and you just dont feel like digging any more...

Im not saying suicide is the right choice in that scenario,In fact I believe suicide is one of the most selfish acts a person can commit in most situations, there is always a chance you finally find a way to break through...

But It is understandable why some one would want to just give up and take the easy way out when all they can feel and see is the dirt blinding their eyes and clogging their throat... to them it feels like they are already mostly dead, they are just finishing the Job...

Jordan said...

Hey Curator, thanks for your input.

I have to admit that up until about a half an hour ago I had a similarly fatalistic attitude towards getting promoted. I am getting old for a Marine and have been getting passed over for promotion for a few years. I had totally given up the idea of getting promoted. I had no expectation of getting selected. But I just found out that my name is on the select grade roster for this year and I should pin on the chevrons the first of next month. So as my friend Ted says, the light at the end of the tunnel might just be you!

Thanks for looking!