So...there is a very famous song that was the theme to the movie and TV show M*A*S*H, "Suicide is painless". Of course, suicide is not painless...not for the person who does it, not for the person who survives it nor those around that person. Even an unsuccessful attempt affects more than the person who attempts it - like cracks slowly spreading out across a pane of glass. The effects are visible; almost audible, like a silent scream piercing the fabric of life.
Suicide throws up many questions..."how must they have felt?", "why didn't I see?", "why didn't they come to me for help?", "how could they do this to me?", etc. I have seen suicide from both sides of the mirror. My first experience of suicide was aged 11, when someone at my school took his own life. I am now 40 years old, but that moment when I heard of his death is crystal clear inside my head...I can even tell you which day of the week it was and the time of day.
I have suffered from emotional turmoil since I was at least 17 years old; I have 15 years of therapy (off and on) and two breakdowns under my belt. The closest I ever came to ending my life was a few days before Christmas in 1991. I climbed in to the bath and felt the chill of the cold blade of the knife against my wrist. Not the best Christmas present to give your family. The dark thoughts have persisted throughout my life. Driving a lonely road, I have considered pressing the accelerator and closing my eyes. When prescribed pills, I have considered taking them all at once - odd that you have thoughts of suicide so your doctor gives you the means to do it. The thoughts of cutting haunt my mind. I don't give in to those thoughts...though I do embrace them and let them play out in my mind sometimes.
So what is the thing that stops me? Hope. The hope that things will change. The hope that life will improve - and it does from time to time. The hope for a life unfulfilled to reach it's potential. I have so much left to give - love, passion, vitality, creativity, joy, friendship, companionship...the list goes on, and so do I. Not everyone is so lucky.
This may be a strange admission though - I would not give the darkness up; it is a part of who I am. Until you have experienced the level of despair that causes suicide and the relief of thinking "this is the last day I have with this pain", you cannot fully appreciate what the all-consuming darkness and despair are like.
There are resources in-world that deal with suicide. One of the places I sometimes go and sit quietly is The Survivors of Suicide Project. It is a humbling experience to see the candles that have been lit there and to read the messages for lost lovers, parents, children, friends. There is an art exhibit if you travel through the mirror. A sign by the mirror warns that the exhibits may be 'disturbing'. Good...suicide should be disturbing and uncomfortable and distressing. The works are emotive; they speak of isolation, loneliness, rejection, regret, pain, suffering. They are bold and bloody and fragile and introverted.
A final thought from me on this topic, at least for now anyway. It is hard to tell what is going on in someone's head, to spot the turmoil and anguish they are experiencing. Even harder to see that when all you have to go on is their avatar. Consider your thoughts and actions in-world, they may have a deeper effect than you realise.
Sia - Breathe Me