Important Note: This post is not a substitute for mental health advice but is a discussion on the topic of suicide from a very different angle. If you are clinically depressed or in a state where you are genuinely contemplating taking your own life, please seek assistance.
Right, so this post is going into a topic that is quite heavy. And that topic is suicide. It’s something that is generally talked about under the table instead of out in the open, because the notion that someone takes their own life is quite a heavy handed one that often brings about many uncomfortable emotions and a tonne of despair.
My immediate thought is that I consider suicide to be one of the most catastrophically damaging things one can do, not just to themselves (they are quite literally ending their existence), but to many people around them that genuinely give a damn. The death of a loved one in such a way leaves a haunting echo that likely lasts for the rest of their lives, for within every reminder of that lost love, the question of “what could I have done to help” arises. While it is not the fault of people around the one that takes their own lives, it can haunt people for a very, very long time regardless. It is a deeply painful thing.
That said, that is an appeal to the emotions and soul of the matter, and I believe that most people understand this point quite explicitly when they consider the emotions it brings out when they think about it. I don’t consider that the best method to counter suicide, though, because I consider it to be a problem – barring legitimate, clinical depression and mental disorder – of a human beings place in the world and their search for some kind of meaning or passion that drives them.
This isn’t referring to people who have these passions and interests in place, however. I know people who have found their place and their drives via orienting themselves to reality and searching, and they’re happy. I’m referring to the lost ones – the ones who have not found what it is that drives them, or they did, but tragedy struck them so deeply that they are now looking over the edge of a cliff wondering if that’s a solution to the problem they have – the problem of an existential crisis of “why live”.
I’ve spoken about this a little in my article on the deification problem, but today I’m focusing specifically on suicide, and I’m going to list the pros of doing it, alongside the cons, then coming out with a conclusion. So..let’s start out with the “pros”, shall we:
Taking one’s own life necessarily leads to the cessation of all problems, pains, etc. It is a literal taking away of your life, and thus leads to no more of whatever it is that is ailing you…however, consider: suicide is not a solution to the problem, it is a removal of the solver. Problems require solving by an actor, and when the actor is taken out of the question, the problem is never solved.
..I really can’t think of any other pros (if you call it that), honestly. You’re taking yourself out of the game of life, and that necessarily comes with a permanent end to everything.
Now let’s look at the cons.
Do you know that sensation you get when spring finally comes around in the morning? It’s a bit difficult to describe because it’s purely experiential, but the air is different in spring. There’s a cool breeze that comes alongside a brighter sunrise, and there’s a subtle smell in the air that hits your nostrils in such a way that you know, yup, winter is over and the warmth is coming back.
You never get to experience that again if you take your life.
Conversely, there are a whole bunch of other things, too.
You never get to try a new, and interesting aroma from a coffee blend you’ve never tried.
You’ll never get to take in the beautiful sight of someone you’re in love with again.
You’ll never have the sensation of winning a game, or getting a new job, or celebrating the joy of your friends accomplishments.
You’ll never have the capability to endure loss and failure, only to come out of that dark cave stronger, more capable and more successful.
You’ll never wake up to a gorgeous man or woman in your bed after a very interesting night.
You’ll never be able to argue with people you’re often in a very passionate love/hate relationship with.
You’ll never feel anger, joy, sadness, excitement, and the entire atlas of emotions ever again.
…I can keep going but I don’t want this to be 40,000 pages long. This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s impossible for me to continue this because it is essentially infinite. You can sit here and consider what arises in your mind when you ask yourself what the cons are of suicide.
Those things that pop up? They’re important, because they isolate what it is that is important to you. And that right there is exactly what you need to focus on and start building towards. Even if it’s something small like enjoying coffee, that is a drive for life and living, and any small step towards what matters to you is a step towards thriving in life.
Suicide is not a valid way to solve problems, because it doesn’t solve any problems. It is a negation of what you are and what you are capable of – it’s saying “I can’t take existing” without identifying that you’re somewhat of a miracle to exist in the first place, and that already makes you worthy of life.
Pain and suffering are a part of life. Some people tend to ignore these elements, but I don’t, because they need to be addressed directly in order to resolve whatever it is that ails my fellow human beings. It needs to be spoken about, but plainly and without intense appeals to emotion. Suicide needs to be understood for what it is – and tragedy, loss and suffering needs to be rebelled against when it happens. They are not normal states in human life, but they are states, and ones we need to spit in the face of and say “no”, to.
My solution to the question of suicide is to spit in its face. Reject it, and reject the problems one faces – they are there, but they are nowhere as potent as your own capability. Again, you ARE the solver, and once you recognize that, those problems are seen for the actual size they are.
If the hand that is dealt to you in life is harrowing and painful, accept the hand, the losses, the grief – then promptly throw it back at the fucking dealer. Make your own hand of cards when tragedy strikes, and burn the card of suicide, for it is never the solution to the problems at hand.
Free yourself of others ideas, and think about what you want. Look at reality. Build towards it, step by step – little steps if needed – because every step is one more towards sunrise and life.
Go live. I wish you the best.