The trouble with suicide is that it’s always being attempted by untrained amateurs, usually when they’re not in the right frame of mind to be trying anything quite so serious or dangerous. In fact, it’s almost a given that if you meet someone that has first hand, practical experience in the field, then you can be sure they’re not very good at it.
I think part of the problem is that many people turn to suicide when they’ve already failed at pretty much everything else. If you can’t get anything else right, why assume you can perform a decent suicide? I suppose at the time they just don’t care that much, which just adds to the problems.
I’m going to look at the most popular reasons for making an attempt. I figure if you’re not in one of these reasons, then you might as well not bother at all.
- • Star crossed lovers
- • Revenge
- • Feeling a bit sad at the moment
- • Incurable, terminal, and painful illness
- • Being danger to others
Star crossed lovers
This one is pretty common, particularly in works of fiction. People who lose love or for some reason can’t be with the one they love decide that the only course of action left to them is suicide. Romeo and Juliet are probably the most famous examples of lovers that can’t be together deciding to take their own lives, but they’re not the only ones. Loreley is supposed to have thrown herself into the Rhine on the same kind of premise and I’m sure there are plenty of others.
While this kind of juvenile behavior is often painted as the height of romance and somehow noble, the truth of the matter is that it’s just plain stupid. Romeo and Juliet were a pair of whiney, self centered, overly dramatic children who managed to kill themselves out of dumb luck more than anything. I for one was glad they were dead; at least it shut them up.
The point is that no matter how it might read in a romance novel, dead bodies are never romantic or beautiful. If Shakespeare had described an accurate scene, in which the two dumb teens vomited and shat themselves before curling up on the floor like rodents to die, I’m sure people would be put off the romance of it. But I suppose that’d spoil the mood of his story.
In conclusion: If you think you might be considering the star crossed lover approach, just give it up – have a cold shower and go out and meet someone that’s not stupid enough to poison themselves.
I figure this one is more common than people want to admit. This is where someone does something nasty to you and treats you wrong and so you decide you’re going to be all dramatic and kill yourself.
“I’ll show them!” you think in a fit of righteous fury “they’ll be sorry when I’m dead!”
Actually, they probably won’t; at least, not half as sorry as you’ll be in the seconds before you die.
If you’re thinking to yourself that revenge isn’t the reason you’re considering it – then check everyone you know – are you doing everything in your power to make it as painless for them as you possibly can? Have you considered all the shit they’re going to have to deal with? I’ll tell you this: finding dead bodies is not a pleasant thing to do, particularly if it’s someone you know. Imagine each person you know is the one to find you all cold and urine stained in the corner. If you feel even slightly vindictive about the trauma that person would suffer – then there’s a little bit of revenge in your reasoning. To be honest, if it’s a revenges thing, you might as well go the whole way – why not get a tattoo on your face that says “I did this because my brother beat me at scrabble” and then hang yourself from his bedroom light fixture?
If that idea sounds stupid, it’s because the whole premise is stupid. Killing yourself to hurt someone else is about the most stupid thing you can do. If they really do hate you – then they win. And if they don’t hate you then you both just lose. The people you seek to hurt aren’t responsible for your life – you’re the one that has the most to lose. Just give it up – go create yourself a better life and beat them by just being happy.
Feeling a bit sad at the moment
I guess this is quite common too. People get depressed or blue and decide that they don’t really like being depressed. So they hurt themselves. It’s a bit silly really because being depressed in a temporary state. I’ve been sad before. Sure, it’s no fun being sad and sometimes you just want it to be over, you don’t think you can take it anymore. Turns out that you can. You can clear things up and be happy again. Unless of course you kill yourself. In which case you just stay sad. Maybe you make some other people sad too. Maybe nobody cares. But you are responsible for your own happiness and it’s there when you want it.
I’m not going to say you can just decide to be happy one day and it’ll just happen. I know that’s not the way it goes. However I will say this: It does get better.
When I say “feeling sad” I mean any number of states of emotional trauma. This covers sadness, guilt, shame, and even fear. Sometimes you might be so afraid of something that dying seems less scary that facing whatever it is that really scares you. Hell, there are some things that I know I’d rather die than face. Yet, I figure that fear can be overcome. You don’t want to fold out as a coward, and whatever you’re guilty of, it’s done now – being dead ain’t gonna help.
Incurable, terminal, and painful illness
Some people are in constant and endless physical pain with no hope of ever being healed. Usually they are very old and have lived well and decide that now is the time to move on. I think you’ll know if you’re in this position. Pain is scary and it can make life feel like a burden. I’ve never been in quite that position, so I can’t say how I’d handle it – but I can say this: I have been injured to the point where I didn’t think I would recover. I lay in the dark in terrible pain and wished it could be over more quickly. However, I did recover, and now I’m glad I didn’t take action based on that wish.
Being a danger to others
Some people just know they’re dangerous. In their calm rational moments they fear that they’ll later lose control and hurt those they love. These kinds of people are, luckily, pretty rare. Most people are pretty good at not hurting others, just getting on with life in an orderly fashion. Those that can’t play gently are usually locked up for the good of everyone else. But if you knew you were that person…. If you knew you were that loose cannon…. What would you do? You could invoke the higher purpose clause – kill the one in favor of the many. But even if you decided that it was the right thing to do – could you do it?
I figure that everyone has thought about it at some point in their lives. I don’t mean, actually seriously considered it. Just thopught about it. Has the thought ever crossed your mind, just in passing?