I used to feel so much anger from the stigma of selfishness associated with suicide that it didn’t seem worth it to stick around at all. Of course I wanted to survive for the people I cared about, but how selfish was it for anyone to ask me to suffer even for just another day.
As much as I’m incredibly grateful my suicidal thoughts never took my life from me, I still believe that I didn’t necessarily always have control over fighting another day. With many public suicides being shared, I have witnessed an unfortunate display of responses. It seems there is a three way split with the way this is viewed. There are the people who understand that they don’t understand. Those who are not ignorant on the matter that if they haven’t gone through it themselves, they have no right speaking their judgements. There are the people who have either lost someone through suicide, or have an opinion based on stories, facts, or just simply the news. These people have emotions, and they may have opinions but fortunately for you all, you haven’t been on the other side of these thoughts, you haven’t felt it. The emptiness that has no more desire to be filled. The cold darkness that has frozen the longing to be warm. The guilt process thinking about who we’re leaving behind. These things have probably all been experienced by the third type of person reacting to suicide. These are the kinds of people who have been masked by the cloud and can relate to all the thoughts or missing pieces of a human who struggles with suicidal thoughts.
To me it would feel selfish for anyone to need me to stay on this planet miserable, hopeless, just for their own security. I should fight a gruesome fight, one I don’t see winning or even caring if I do just so you don’t miss me? So you don’t need to question what more you could have done? The biggest thing I hope the people left behind can take away from a suicide is that it was nobody else. The feelings inside of someone struggling with the thought to take their own life belong to their illness. We can try treatment, or not, but if it came down to a life being taken, the only thing you can do is grieve. Try not to ask questions. Questions won’t bring them back. Do not take responsibility. You were not their depression. Love the others who also lost this life and continue to look for signs of people who could use some light in their life.
When I hear about a suicide, this is how I grieve.
I feel shock. They were able to go through with their plan. Their family has to now cope with this tragic loss.
I feel angry. Another person whose mind was taken over by this nasty illness. Another person who wasn’t able to find happiness, who struggled every single day just to be alive and never got to truly live.
I wonder. Wonder if there was anything I could have done or said to save this person. Curious if I have enough answers or insight to change a life like I did my own.
I feel sad. It came down to death. I remember what it was like to think that was my only option.
I feel acceptance. This is the reality of the situation. I can’t bring this person back. There really isn’t anything I can say to the loved one’s left behind that will make this pain go away.
I feel hopeful. I believe this person is relieved of their struggles. The darkness they fought so long will not bother them anymore. I feel hopeful that this suicide will bring more awareness to mental illness.
The most positive thing you can do from experiencing a suicide, is listen to what you may not understand, and accept what you don’t. The more someone’s community can be there without pretending they know the answers, the more validation the person struggling can gain that there aren’t clear cut answers. One day, maybe, they will be happy too.