I can honestly say that I have never written a suicide note… and I don’t think that I could. Suicide is a very selfish act, I don’t think anyone can deny that. There’s actually not likely anything I can do that is more about “me” than choosing to end my own life, and leaving all my problems behind. I’m not saying this at all to be critical to those that have committed suicide, or that contemplate it. I can say right now that it is selfish, because to me, there’s not much of an argument to say otherwise. But that being said, when I’m reeling in my depression there’s nothing you can tell me that could possibly make living any less desirable. It’s not that I think dying is going to be enjoyable. It’s not that I’m excited about it. I hate it… I dread it… but it’s the lesser of two evils, so to say. In those moments, the agony of life seems greater than the cost of death. In the moment, death feels comforting.
I don’t think that anyone “wants to die”. Like I said it yesterdays post, it’s human nature to live. We are created to “choose life“. Death is the the end, the final curtain call, the last dance. There’s no second chances once that choice is made. There is literally nothing on earth that is more final than death. I think more than “wanting to die“, it’s “not wanting to live” that plagues people. Death is less excruciating than life. I like to use the analogy of a burning building… Imagine yourself trapped on the twentieth floor of a high rise building that is on fire. The fire is growing closer and closer. The heat more and more overwhelming. You go to the window to get a gasp of fresh air. You see the firemen below, but they are so distant. The help is there, but it’s out of reach. As the flames come closer and closer, the heat gets more and more excruciating. You now are faced with a choice… do you stay in the building, bearing the the unbearable pain of the fire, or do you jump out the window, escaping the flames, but inevitably falling to your death?
Now before you start, I’ll let you know that this is not a completely fair comparison, but it is an accurate analogy. Life, when you battle with severe depression or anxiety, burns… it hurts. Bad. The flames can feel unbearable. The fire dies down, but it always comes back roaring. The burn of the flames, or the pain of this life that is playing out in our heads can be too much to bear. And yes, I very deliberately said the pain of this life that is “playing out in our heads”, because thats what it is. I know that depression and anxiety are battles in my mind. I know that seeing my psychiatrist, going to my therapy, taking my meds… they all help. And they help a lot. But I’m far from being fixed. And when I’m depressed or anxious, that is the only reality that I know. It’s no longer just in my head. It’s no longer a “me” thing. It is now engulfing my entire life, my entire being. Everything is fuel to those flames. My thoughts are stoking the fire. Nothing feels like it is for me, and everything is against me. I feel as helpless as a man trapped in a burning building holding a glass of water. It’s get swallowed up by the flames of the cruelest of lives… or jump.
I know that sounds like an extreme analogy, but the unfortunate thing is that it is, in many cases, very accurate. Think about it again for a minute. He/she chose death over life. You know that there’s some pretty drastic happenings playing out in their head for that choice to be made. And speaking from my own experiences… you can feel incredibly helpless and alone. It’s a painful place to be. It’s a scary place to be. And its the loneliest of lonely places to be. Suicide is an escape from life. Is it selfish? It’s hard to argue otherwise. But I think it’s important to look past the surface. That last act carried out might not have been a last “selfish” act… it was likely more accurately a last “helpless, hopeless” act. Because that’s what living with depression/anxiety and feel like… a helpless and hopeless life.
As far as suicide notes go, for me, and this is 100% my opinion, but for me a suicide note would be selfish, or a cry for attention. I know that everyone is different. I’m not saying that everyone who writes a suicide note is crying for attention. But, that’s not the way I am. It’s not the way I do things. For me, a suicide note would be a way of pointing blame at someone other than myself. Or wanting someone to feel guilty for not doing enough. People don’t need a note…they’re going to feel guilty. They don’t need me to inform them of that.
I’ll conclude the same way I always like to… with some incredibly important, life changing advice. For those of you that are suicidal, please-please-please get professional help. Have your doctor refer you to a psychiatrist. Counselling makes such a huge difference, and this is coming from someone who up until this summer was anti-therapy. Come up with a safety plan, and have the people close to you familiar with that plan. Find a network where you can safely and comfortably share and learn. It’s a long, difficult journey… so make it worth it. Suicidal is what I am… but it’s not who I am, and it’s not how it has to end.