On Suicide

Writing on suicide is dangerous because suicide is deemed unthinkable. To think about it, then, and here syntax betrays what I’m going to claim, is understood as thinking about how to do it or when to do it. To think about it is to contemplate it. Thus, one says that one is not thinking about it, but even raising the prospect elicits concern and paranoia: why would one think about it if one were not thinking about it? I want to stay with this formulation, because I think its unthinkability is a problem, albeit a problem tied to the unthinkability of death, and the political and aesthetic imperative to think through life and to cultivate thriving life.

Because suicide always elicits confession, let me tell someone else’s story.

My cousin killed himself when I was a freshman. I was in Kenya during my first (and only) summer vacation, and, as was required, I attended family meetings and tried to help my age-mate cousin (his brother) cope with the banal details of life—I think I wrote his book report. It was whispered that he had attempted suicide previously by ingesting some kind of chemical agent. Finally, he went the way of the rope. He hanged himself. His mother was Catholic, the act unthinkable, our family narratives disingenuous.

Repeatedly, my siblings and cousins and other relatives confessed that they could not understand why he would contemplate and pursue suicide. This, for them, occupied the realm of the unthinkable. I did not know how to respond: suicide seemed perfectly thinkable. Deeming it unthinkable, refusing to contemplate it as a possibility, made more exotic, more strange, more unapproachable what some of us, many of us, think about often. Let that think stand, because I want to move beyond suicide’s unthinkability.

I am most often surprised when those of us who navigate the margins, whether as minoritized subjects or allies, who write eloquently about the difficulties of minoritized subject positions, who speak openly and fluently about “pain” and “suffering” as the conditions of our existence and as the horizons of our possibilities, render suicide unthinkable. When our friends, loved ones, co-workers, and co-travelers kill themselves, we react with shock and surprise, often claiming we “could not have known” and “we might have helped” and “we would have been available.” In doing so, we forget that we do know and that we do help and that we are available. We face the more frightening, terrifying prospect that knowing and helping and being available cannot suffice. We face the terrible, unthinkable, undesired prospect of letting go.

Letting go is hard.

As always, my father.

For the last year of his life, he was bedridden, on a liquid diet that tried to re-hydrate him, on so many drugs that his body smelled chemical, unable to use the bathroom, peeing in a jug, his mind destroyed, his body a living husk, gasping for air, dying in a dark room, where even we who loved him hated to go. It was not a life worth living. Not a life I could term a life. Not a life that could be celebrated, desired, nurtured. It was a half life. And still I wanted him in that half life. I wanted the proximity of his dying more than I wanted his suffering to end. I cannot, now, regret the hours and hours I prayed that he would live, even as I knew I was praying for his half life. I cannot regret wanting him to be around no matter in what form. But distance allows me to recognize the selfishness of my want. Learning to think about what a livable life means in very concrete and banal ways has forced me to think differently. And I continue to hope that my own cruel optimism is not grounded in someone else’s suffering half life. I can only control so much.

Our unthinking about suicide (or unthinking suicide, as more theory savvy people have it), the constant “shock” we express when we hear about suicide, our ongoing inability to believe that those we love and who are in pain, whether we know it or not, might not want to share their space-time with us, these are not things we might want to acknowledge. Because to acknowledge the banality of suicide, the drive toward suicide that animates a hostile social, goes against what we want to term the political, the future, the possible. And without the animation of futurity, much of what we do and try to build can seem utterly meaningless.

I do not want to claim that suicide is banal. But I do not want to act as though it’s extraordinary. I’d like to think about its proximity to the quotidian, its ever-present possibility with and among those we know and love and admire and those who are utter strangers. I’m glad for those who have success narratives: even as I’m not sure “I tried and failed” is a success narrative. But this is selfish. My love for others wants them to remain anchored in a shared world-building project. Even as my love for them must compel me to let go when that shared world-building becomes impossible.

I understand shock as an expression of grief, the admission that we’d prefer not to let go. But I find violent and dangerous the ways we unknow and unthink why suicide should be a possibility. I find dangerous the ways we refuse to acknowledge its proximity, even as we insist on knowing that we inhabit a killable and killing world. Yes, social alienation. Yes, depression. Yes, economic stress.

In the final analysis, we might not know the particular and peculiar thing that makes this or that moment unlivable, and we might never be able to accept our proximity to unlivability and, thus, to suicide. And we might never be able to accept that we failed to say something, do something, prolong a life we valued. Perhaps making suicide thinkable is unbearable—how does one bear it? But I live in the banal world where suicide is not unthinkable—as many conversations over the years have demonstrated. And I live in the banal world where the success of failure is simply often a deferral. This is the world from which suicide must be thinkable.

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64 thoughts on “On Suicide

  1. Pingback: Discovering Swatz: A personal tribute | Emmanuel Iduma

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  3. I think it’s good that you’re trying to start a discussion on suicide. Many people still try not to think about suicide or anything else that can be traced back to mental illness, because it means admitting that something might be wrong. By trying to make suicide “thinkable”, as you say, you’re allowing for others to think about it and maybe work to make it happen less.

  4. Some very valid points here. You’re right – suicide needs to be make “thinkable” and needs to be addressed. Even in today’s culture, it’s a subject to be covered up and hidden in shame. Good on you for bringing this topic up to the surface for further discussion…

  5. Your post is most welcome. I know many that have considered suicide, and yes, it helps a lot to talk openly about it. It’s not something to hide under the carpet. If we would stop being so terrified of the simple thought that our friend/neighbour thinks about this, if we would start to think and act and care and if we could give them our hand, maybe they would never think about ending their life anymore. The thought that is pushing them towards suicide is the extreme loneliness and dispair… And sadly, often nobody even cares…
    Thank you for posting this, this speaks a lot to me.
    Ela.

  6. I tried to commit suicide once. Unsuccessful, obviously.

    I can remember how I felt and why I did it. It was entirely situational. I was in an abusive relationship with little resources and I reached out for help, asking someone I loved if they would take me in. They not only said “No,” they made a cruel verbal jab which stung to the core, in my weakened emotional state. I wanted to be done with this horrible place.

    This world can be cruel upon cruel sometimes, we all know it. Who can judge or measure another’s pain, or tolerance level, or circumstances, or desperation?

    But I’m not supposed to talk about it, or think about it. I’m under treatment so I haven’t felt suicidal in many years. But if I talk about suicide with my therapist, I fear we could quickly go down a path of me being committed to the local mental hospital for four days (what insurance pays). If you talk too much about suicide, someone is going to at some point label it suicidal ideation.

    Suicidal ideation is the four-alarm fire of the mental health community. Threatening to harm yourself is treated equally as serious as threatening to harm someone else.

    I could talk on about this subject, and yet I don’t want to. It’s not because I fear reading about suicide could make me feel suicidal. That’s another chestnut of the mental health community which has never felt real to me. I see suicide as situational, not a seed which is planted.

    But suicide is ultimately a dead-end topic. The ultimate stopper. I figure if it wants to be so final about everything, then it gets to leave the conversation.

    I guess I see suicide as a guest I kicked out of my house for being boring. Been there, done that. :)

    Thanks for writing this. Thought-provoking.

  7. Suicide is a reality to so many people, but something we’re not supposed to talk about making it all that much harder for those suffering to get the help and HOPE they need. There are other options, and there is hope. Nothing is hopeless. God can change anything, and bring us through even more. Thank you for bringing it up and out in the open.

  8. All, thanks for reading and sharing your stories and feelings and experiences. I think it’s difficult to sustain a conversation about suicide–as mcready says, it’s the “ultimate stopper.” It’s also a downer in all kinds of ways and the paranoia that attends talking about it implicates groups of people who do, implicitly understanding them as being part of a “suicide pact.”

    I’d like to believe that making it thinkable might make it less doable, even as that’s in the realm of fantasy. Still, I think the risk is better than the silence. I appreciate your voices joining this conversation.

  9. You’ve tackled this very elegantly, in very astute observation. It really is necessary for people to think, to know, to understand what suicidal tendencies are, where they come from and what they feed on. It’s almost as if there two sets of people separated by a barrier. People who are lucky enough to be on the saner side of things can’t really see into the troubled world, its just a hazy view they have. The people on the other side know, and they can never go back. Even if no one knows about it, they know, and they can never get it rid of entirely, even if they bury it. We need more undertsanding, and thats only going to come from discussion, not alienation. Thank you for posting this.

    • purpleperceptions – thank you so much for your response. I must say, when I read it, I had an epiphany. “It’s almost as if there are two sets of people separated by a barrier” – You hit the nail on the head when you made this statement. You verbalized exactly how I feel when I have fallen into that ‘pit’ – that dark place inside myself where I have felt pure unmitigated sadness, loneliness and despair. It is like I am another person standing outside of my ‘other’ self, detached and observant watching a downward spiral of feelings and emotion.

      Yes, I have thought about suicide – more times than I would like to admit and I do not believe I am unique in this regard. I do believe there needs to be a dialogue, regardless of how dark and ‘down’ it may be. Why do you think I chose to read this blog in the first place?

      I believe that making suicide “thinkable” would “make it less doable”.

      Thank you.

      • I’m glad you understood me so clearly, words4jp. Its the double edged sowrd of people like us needing to talk to others about this dark period, but also needing to talk to ourselves, be honest and seek catatharsis. I attempted a ridiculous five times. Death seems quite keen on evading me, now that I think of it. But everything heals. Emotional and physical damage heals. The plus side is, even though I’m scarred, I’m much better having crossed through that phase. Who knew, life could actually be good? And as bad a joke as it is, what didn;t kill me actually did make me stronger. I write for healing now, I hope you find your catharsis too. Peace and Love. =)

  10. My daughter tried to commit suicide on more than one occasion when she was very young (first at ten, then at 12). She still lives with the idealization of suicide (but it’s now passive or so it appears to be). I understand that her life is difficult – suicide in her case is a way out of something very dark. Ignoring it is what makes it really dangerous. My daughter needs for me and others to hear her out – this is what keeps her on this side of the line.

  11. Thank you for your eloquent essay on a subject that most people avoid at all costs.

    It has been pounded into our heads from all sides that to take control of the time and manner of our own deaths, or that of others, is the ultimate wrong. Unthinkable. When someone you love, such as your father, is dying in a horrible and painful way, it’s difficult to accept that we or they should end it, even though to prolong it is more cruel than to make it end. Our culture is in denial about death in general, but especially about the aspect of suicide, possibly because then WE (unthinkably) take control of our death instead of god or the universe, or even fate.

  12. As a therapist, I very much appreciate writing on this topic. Most people think about suicide at some point in their lives. It’s already thinkable. Now we just need to admit to its thinkability.

  13. As a person who’s prone to depression, I appreciate people who don’t term those contemplating suicide ‘insane’, ‘crazy’ etc. Thanks for the post.

  14. I have a darkness inside me, as Dexter calls it, “my dark passenger”. No, I’m not a serial killer. But I am a real person with real feelings and fears. I’m in touch with my dark side, makes me a better person. My dark side has thought of suicide, but my light self observes that thought and moves on. No action necessary…

  15. Life is both complicated and precious. It should always be preserved, when able. Your post is an interesting one. Not sure I can concur with you, but your thoughts are curious ones.

  16. I have had three friends commit suicide all within a year, one Iunderstood she had manic depression really bad, another he had some problems with drugs, but one was a happy go go person who never had a bad thing to say about anyone or anything was active in the ministry, doing quick builds and the like and then one day bam, he is gone. sad, I can understand someone who is sick and not recoverable who desires to die, being in pain, miserable, having hard time breathing, and having ot live on chemicals. it would be miserable to be in that position, we cant judge anothers decision to end the pain, if your unrecoverable what good does being in pain serve? nothing.

  17. Thank you for your honesty regarding this subject. Most people would not write such an amazing article on this subject. I on the other hand deal with my suicidality on a daily basis and is the essence of my blog.

  18. Big Topic, one I am personally tied to because of my own attempt. its hard to hit the nail on the head with this one.

    http://primalnights.wordpress.com/how-a-suicide-changed-my-life

    i have thought of, prayed about, rationalized, discussed, blah, blah, blah my own attempt and the only thing i can come away with that is accurate is that Suicide is Complex.

    i wrote a paper on it for myself to try to expalin it and it turned into the infinate loop circling back on itself and never able to pin it down.

    Suicide is Complex.

  19. For one who has been touched by suicide, I’ll say there’s nothing banal about it… It’s painful, devastating and forever etched in the memories of those left behind. Sadly, the numbers are not diminishing and we need more sensitivity and support for those struggling with life on the edge of suicide.
    Suicide is no longer a taboo subject but it remains one that folk would like to spend less time on. We can all do our bit by reaching out, lending an ear, and keeping our hearts and minds open to all; family, friends or others struggling in that quagmire.
    Your post gave me food for thought… Thank you.
    Eliz

  20. Wow, this is brilliant. There’s nothing lonelier than suicide: If you think about it, you can’t talk about it, lest you be deemed a threat to yourself and called “suicidal.” On the other hand, if you think about it, you’re not supposed to talk about it, lest you “trigger” others into considering it as a viable alternative. But you attacked the taboo and managed to turn it inside out.

  21. Congratulations on broaching a hard subject. I think you’ll always find many people who have been affected by suicide in some capacity and are willing to talk and share. Bless !

  22. Thank you for such a well written and thoughtful post on a subject everyone tries to hide from.
    In March last year I contemplated suicide for the last time, I had done the same a dozen or more times over the previous few years, I had fell into depression and alcoholic existence that was draining me of life and my young family of the father and partner they all deserved. We were high in debt and I was lost, my partner told me it was over and I spent days lost not eating just drinking.
    I sat with a penknife at my wrists for the umpteenth time, thinking they would all be better off if I was gone, I had no purpose in life anymore, all the dark thoughts came to the front if my mind. But only the thought that one of my kids might find me stopped me.
    After that I was so mad at myself, I berated myself for not having the strength to live or the courage to die, they were dark times. But no one knew, only me, no one ever guessed, it was my turmoil to live with.
    The next day I turned to God and moved on, now I can speak about it and be open, there are others like me who have been there and it is important that I speak up and show that there is a way past it.
    It’s great that you have started the discussion on the unthinkable, believe me it’s not, for many it’s not just thinkable its real and a daily fight, but no one ever knows.
    Wayne

  23. Indeed, suicide still remains a largely taboo subject even as the numbers of us left behind continues to grow — in the US, at an alarming rate.
    For us affected by the suicide of our loved one, not a day goes by when we do not think of this ‘unthinkable’. So many questions – as you so eloquently write.
    I think that there are no definitive answers, not for our individual stories, but there may be comfort in discussion so, thank you.

  24. An excellent piece – thank you for writing it. It is a voice that has been missing from the public debate, I feel.

    When my brother committed suicide eight years ago I insisted when asked that it was easier to accept that he chose to die, rather than that he had been taken away in some meaningless accident. It seemed to be a difficult thing for others around me to hear. That I should be “grateful” for something so horrible.

    It wasn’t that I don’t think suicide awful. It is without a doubt the single most devastating event in my life. Losing my brother. Out of the blue. Left forever with the questions we will never have answers to. Alone with all the dreams and hopes and plans we’d made together and for one another. Even now, eight years later I cannot begin to put into words the loss I feel. But I am STILL glad it was *his* choice, and not an accident. In the midst of all the grief, it was the one thing that made just a tiny bit of sense.

    To this day I have no idea what troubled him so much that he felt death was the best solution. It is one of those unanswered questions that will always linger. But suicide was thinkable to him – and so, it has to be to us as well. And even on something as heartbreaking as this… I much prefer simply disagreeing with his choice of “solution” than having to spend the rest of my life being angry at some divine -or not so divine- force that inexplicably tore away my brother in the prime of his life.

    He made a choice. I live with that. For both of us. So, yes, it is thinkable.

    Thank you for bringing this up.

  25. Fantastic Article… Well written, sadly in this day and age, spirituality, religion, the soul have become less and less meaningful, Technology makes it easier for us to detach our true selves from reality, and build a reality of our own, except it isn’t actually a reality, don’t get me wrong, technology is great, it has changed the world, society, people, communication, etc… forever, yet it leaves out so many needed human intimacies, and trivializes so many important actualities… I really give you kudos for this article, and am truly sorry for your loss.. Smile and enjoy everyday as each day is a new day, and a new adventure…

  26. Excellent post. I do not think of suicide as unthinkable either. I am of a belief that we shield ourselves from the realities of life by saying, “I would never do that.” So I deny that, given the right circumstances, would kill another, or kill myself. It is possible. For each and every one of us. Whether we want to admit it or not.

  27. Suicide Rates are increasing more, but there are so many different reasons to even think of wanting to commit suicide. I mean for one, ages ago, i wanted to commit suicide because i was getting bullied, but if you get help you will slowly less and less not want to. you think your life isn’t worth saving or that no one in the world likes you, everyone’s against you. and when people say “always look on the bright side” you’re sat there thinking ‘what bright side?’ Other’s are probably because of mental illnesses or very serious problems in which you ask your family to send you to your death (examples are not being able to talk, walk, move etc. all at once) I’m glad you wrote this post, because people don’t realise how serious this can get and hopefully this could open people’s eyes :)

  28. Suicide was ‘thinkable’ for my son. He thought about it for a few years before he actually did it. I’d like to add that not only is the subject taboo but when a loved one does commit suicide, the family/friends remaining choose to soften the blow by saying: “He took his life”.

  29. Thank you for raising this complex subject. So much of our emotional reaction to it – that it is wrong, awful, unthinkable, sinful, foolish, even avoidable needs to be questioned. But I also think it is helpful to destinguish different motivations for suicidality. It seems to me there are several possibilities:
    1. terminally ill and seriously disabled where there is a rational understanding that things are not likely to get better, even emotionally.
    2. Pyschological – which has many manifestations one of which can sometimes be – and I hesitate to say this – that our egos are so attached to staying unchanged that they would rather do away with the whole organism than shift to allow in a new possibility, a new way of being.
    3. Those that have suffered so much and lost so much that they can really (and realistically) see no prospect of enough hope and peace of mind returning to make life livable again with reasonable happiness.
    eg people who have seen their families killed or endured horrific tortures etc.
    4. The, in my view (sometimes) heroic, buddhists and so called ‘terrorists’ who kill themselves as an act of protest.
    5. People who take their lives as an act of spite/vengeance.
    ……and there are probably others too that I havent articulated.
    My fear with suicide is that if ever we do decide to go for it we could be unconscious to either 2 or 5. or mistaken in our analysis (1 and 3) or ineffectual or inflamatory: (4). This does not mean that I think we should never do it – just that I think it is easy to do it with mistaken reasoning. For example 5 can sometimes be justified as 4.
    The remarkable thing is that hope is perennial as the grass – and I have certainly known several people (during the time that I was a practising psychotherapist and samaritan) – who felt that they had zero hope and contemplated suicide only to find out later that hope had unexpectedly returned and they were glad that they didnt follow through. The second reason in particular seems worth being aware of and avoiding if we possibly can by opening up to the change that is being asked for.
    There is much more that can be said on this topic and I very much appreciate you raising it. there is so much light hiding in the taboo.

  30. I think many would agree that the subject of suicide is in fact quite thinkable, tallkable, understandable among many other things. Suicide has plagued my life – friends pulling triggers, loved-ones’ not-so-empty threats, stories in the news that intrigue and at the same time sicken me. It’s the most dark topic, and from what I have seen in the aftermath of the act of suicide, one of the most cathartic common threads unifying almost everybody on earth. Good post – brave of you to open up. And brave for people to share their thoughts in the comments section.

  31. I loved this. I’ve being trying to write something on suicide, but cant seem to put pen to paper. I want to write it so badly, but i don’t want to offend anyone as you’ve said, suicide is the unthinkable. I believe if suicide was openly acknowledged and discussed, it would be easy to stop it before its too late. Don’t you agree?

    • Don’t worry about offending, as long as you aren’t hurting. Taking offense means they’re thinking about it–exactly what people need to start doing. The stigma attached to even promoting discussion about suicide only makes those who have contemplated it as a possible course of action and have attempted and failed feel more isolated and beyond help than anyone ought to feel.

  32. Thank you all so much for being gentle with each other–and for your honesty and your care. Thank you for making suicide “thinkable,” for enabling much-needed conversations. And also for believing, with me, that we can risk making suicide thinkable.

    Thank you, also, for sharing your links and blogs and thinking and memories and pain.

    http://bit.ly/XNL45L

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    • A wonderful article on the ‘think-ability’ and ‘talkability’ of suicide. I may have missed it, but I didn’t see any reference to the chemical changes in a person’s brain that can lead to suicide. That is what happens when a person has been under the severe stress of bullying, depression, trauma etc. Their brain chemistry changes (thus the need for medication balance) & contributes to the negative, doom and gloom, no way out thinking. Many get so tired of trying to hang in..waiting and hoping to get well – for years sometimes. The up and down of meds working then stopping looking for better/new ones. In these cases one little stress can put them over the edge. – It is really not Them or a ‘conscious’ decision. They are ill & wouldn’t normally make that decision if their brain chemistry was correctly balanced – they needed a new doctor/specialist! They needed to have the correct medication for THEM as an individual. One size does not fit all! They need HELP to find this!
      I don’t know if this would apply to someone who in a one time fit of retaliation ‘I’ll show you’ was to suicide..I’m not a doctor.
      I do know that many people who do try are genuinely glad they survived – only to do it again and be successful. To me – that gives more evidence of the brain chemistry issue & the importance of Qualified EXPERTS finding the correct INDIVIDUAL balance. More Importance & Focus needs to be put on this. Too many Family doctors are handing out medications without followup or real knowledge..what? a week? if that in med school?
      No offense to those who HAVE bothered with more education.

  34. I haven’t read through all the comments yet because I don’t want to lose what is in my head about this…

    I have a slightly different perspective on suicide, one that is very much a dialectical though-process… I am a mental health professional who regularly advocates for my clients to seek support around suicidal feelings (a legal obligation, and I would feel horribly guilty if one of my clients committed suicide based on my thoughts on the subject). I also feel strongly that a person experiencing the despair, hopelessness, and agony that prompts suicidal feelings should be allowed to take their lives… I have tried. Twice… I don’t necessarily regret my failure, but I truly believe that if you knew the extent of the pain that accompanies the wish for a permanent end, you may feel differently about forcing someone to seek help. Medications and treatment brought no relief. I lived that shadow of a life for most of my life. While I would never wish true understanding on anyone, I feel cheated that people on the other side of that wall don’t have a real concept of what it feels like to be so miserable… Yes, my life has come a far distance from that black hole, but I never really escape there totally. Maybe that is my problem. I can still access that horrible place, and the thought of ever going back there scares the crap out of me. If faced with that or death in the future, I can’t say I won’t chose death (if I can guarantee success this time… the torture of “treatment” after a suicide attempt is almost as bad as the feelings leading up to one). This is not to say that I am actively suicidal at this time, but I am well aware of the life that awaits in that dark space…

    So maybe we need to talk about suicide more to come up with better treatments and make hope easier… or we need to foster understanding for the thoughts and acts in others… but we need to talk about it, because it is the elephant in the room for so many people… and we need to be able to listen, without jumping into action right away, when people express wanting to end their lives… Thank you for bringing up the topic… I hope no one takes what I wrote the wrong way… I just know that I’ve very conflicted on the concept daily…

  35. Reblogged this on both sides of the wall and commented:
    I think this is an interesting and important conversation that needs to happen more often. I think suicide is an elephant in the room that so many are afraid to talk about because of the taboos around it, and the knee-jerk reactions even some providers have to it… I have been privileged enough to have many thought-provoking conversations with my former therapist…

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  37. Excellent analysis on difficult subject . This post gives a lesson to us that depression is the main cause for most of the suicides . so , we should take care of each person who are in touch with us . If they have such type of suicidal thoughts then they should properly counselled on time.

    Depression….. needforhealth.wordpress.com

  38. Suicide is real! I personally know eight people, yes, eight people, who committed suicide.

    It is so sad to think that people cannot feel safe sharing about their innermost, scariest thoughts with at least ONE person. In 2010, I was at one of the lowest points in my life. As I contemplated the unthinkable, my dog looked at me with total despair. At that moment, the thought of abandoning him trumped my depressed state. Thank God! I ended up calling my closest friend. We talked for a straight hour…obviously, everything worked out.

    Thank you, meanwhile, for your honesty and courage to talk about such a difficult topic…and also for the many candid comments expressed. I do believe that we need to talk about these things–and listen without judgment–a lot more. We have more in common then we think…but it all starts with forgiving ourselves for being human and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable!

  39. Thanks for writing. I’m new to the blog scene, but am familiar with your topic. You are completely write about people being afraid to discuss this and many other topics. The middle class is good at ignoring problems and hoping they remain unaffected by them. Keep up the words!

  40. Suicide is something that has affected me personally, but to me suicide’s cause is clear, the complete absence of hope. This absence of hope can develop over time or it can happen all of a sudden, but either way it is devastating, it is over. How do we keep hope blossoming in all of us? you never know when one random act of kindness could save a life even if it is for just one day.

    • I feel reluctant to say this because it sounds deeply patronising and proscriptive – so please take it as personal only to me – but I have found that when i feel hopeless the thing that best helps to bring me out of it is to try and help others. Of course motivating myself to do this from within depression can be very hard to bring about. But following through on the tiniest spark (of desire to help others) can sometimes kindle a fire – and then before I know it the gloom I was experiencing as all embracing starts to lift.

  41. I have been intently reading all of the comments posted in regards to this blog. I would like to say thank you to each and everyone who has taken the time to type a few sentences. I must admit I am comforted by what I have read. I am reassured by the the fact that I am not alone when it comes to this topic. There so many preconceived notions and , speaking for myself, ‘those’ are the ones that I encounter. What is unfortunate about that, however, is those are the beliefs I face when I need someone with an empathetic mind and who is not so quick to judge. Please do not misunderstand, everyone has a right to their own opinion and I respect that but sometimes it is helpful to be able to have an open and frank dialogue and not feel as if I am the only person on the planet who thinks as I do, feels as I do or is trying to cope as I do.

    Again, thank you.

  42. Your post is very interesting and congratulations on being “freshly pressed”. I never thought very much about suicide until November of last year when my husband and I prevented my brother from killing himself. It is dark and terrible when a family member is so hurt they would chose death…I cannot fathom such darkness. He is a soldier with PTSD and soon he will live with my family. I have so much to learn about the subject…in that way your post is helpful to me.

  43. Thank you for a very powerful post and one which touches on aspects of life which I think need to be brought far more into the open domain. Only yesterday, I wrote about ‘The Tragedy of Suicide’ following the suicide of a friend’s son.

    Your discussion of your feelings about your father are also very honestly conveyed and ones with which I can strongly empathise. I agree that there is a major need for us to grapple with the many issues which are associated with life and death as they are so fundamental for a whole host of reasons and in so many different contexts.

    I suppose you have made me think of that ‘uncomfortable place’ in which the topics of ‘ending life and end-of-life issues’ tend to be packed away by so many while at the same time they are fundamental realities for others on daily basis.

    Thanks again for your contribution.

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