People are taking their own lives. More than they used to, it seems. In this country at least. I’m not thinking of anyone in particular here, I’m just generalising. The world has become a tougher, colder place for many of us and some of us are taking their own lives.
This post is my attempt at a simple plea.
Don’t. Please don’t.
I don’t want this post to be one of those things like when people tell people to snap out of their depression. “Go for a nice walk and you’ll be fine…”. I hate those things. Depression is something I don’t really understand and I’m hugely grateful for that. The best thing I can do, in gratitude, is to not pretend that I understand it. It’s much the same with suicide, I can’t comprehend the depths that one gets to before it becomes an option and I sincerely hope this always remains the case.
So I’m not saying ‘you’ll be fine’ or ‘catch yourself on’ or ‘don’t be so silly’. I’m not equipped to talk any sense at all on this subject but at least I know it.
But I can make a plea, can’t I? They’re not sensible, scientific things, pleas, they’re just naive, rather silly things. Even I can manage one of those.
So, please, don't take your life.
I can also, in my rather silly way, offer two thoughts to a person who might one day come to consider taking their lives. They might be stupid thoughts, they might even be dangerous ones. If they are, please let me know and I will reconsider leaving them up here. I mean well but, as we all know, that’s not always such a great thing.
Here’s thought number one.
If you are thinking of taking your life, think about this for a moment. Who do you love? Bear with me, this is not quite as obvious as it will at first seem. So, who do you love? Who loves you? If the person or persons you love had fallen under the path of a speeding bus, you would throw yourself under that bus, push them out of the way and save them. You would gladly sacrifice yourself to the bus to let them live. You know you would. Well, here’s the thing; ‘Your Life’ is the bus. Whoever you love, whoever loves you, in order for you to save them you have to throw yourself selflessly under the bus of 'Your Life'. Whatever crippling injury, whatever unthinkable pain, will result, you would bear it to save the ones you love. And that’s really what you have to do.
Here’s thought number two.
Supposing nothing works, nothing at all. Supposing it’s darker than anybody else knows and you know in your heart-of-hearts that everybody would be so much better off if you were just gone. Supposing there is no other choice left.
If you have to leave that much, then you have to leave.
Just don’t leave life.
Grab a bus, a plane. Beg, borrow or steal some money and get completely and utterly away. Leave everything and everyone behind. Tell nobody, just go. It’s a terrible option, it will be cruel – unbearable even - on your loved ones but if you have to go it’s so much better than you should go that way.
If the object of suicide is to tear down every aspect of your life until nothing is left then you can do that while still staying alive. Change everything. Go to Haiti and help the people there to build a house. Get on the road and thumb a lift somewhere, sleep rough, join a religious order. Anything. Do anything but don’t take your life.
It's not hard to figure out why I say this. You can come back from any of these other departures someday, if you should want to. A day will come when things will be better and, speaking frankly, if you’ve killed yourself you don’t get to ever come back.
So if you ever find that you have no choice but to go, then go. Go. Go anywhere but there.
Finally, I realise that I've done what I said I would not do. I’ve written, probably condescendingly, about something I know nothing about. I'm no better than those people who tell depressed people to have a nice walk.
I’m really sorry about that.
But we have to talk, I think. Even if we’re not making any sense. We have make it even more of a topic of conversation than it currently is.
I felt I had to at least give it a try.