Saturday, 12 January 2008

Reasons not to commit suicide - I couldn't say.

A while back, I came across the idea of dealing with trying to hold two incompatible statements as both true as a means of generating discussion. Postmodernism has a lot to answer for, but it's a useful tool at times.

Consider:

i, Life is precious. Each and every human contains depths that can't be articulated, live interior lives richer than language can express, and their lives are unique and important. We are each a world, a perspective, and each of our lives cannot be repeated and only dimly comprehended.

ii, Life is just about worthless. You, I, and everyone we know will die, our accomplishments will decay into dust, and it will be as if we were never here. We kill each other in indifference, we kill with indifference. Wars are fought, we buy and sell each other daily in myriad ways, and the world simply doesn't care. There is no cosmic plan, no reason given to us for being, and everything you value or dream about will be taken away and destroyed.

I once had a nineteen year old ask me why she shouldn't commit suicide. I couldn't really articulate a good reason not to do so. That has, up to recently, always frightened me.

But I'm coming to the conclusion that not being able to articulate a reason is not the same as thinking it doesn't exist. Life is understood only in the experience of it. And sometimes it is breathtakingly, searingly beautiful. Not in spite of the fact that it is so goddamned cheap, but in part because of that fact. It's not something that can be stated, but it's real. To understand that what we do with our lives is both vitally important and almost worthless is the start of a sense of responsibility in which we can truly live. But again, it's something that can only be felt, not explained.

We have to give up hope, to suspend it, without falling into despair. Hope is an illusion which will break us.

I bought a couple of pot-plants today. They replace a couple which died. They're also going to die, but I'm still going to plant them, feed them and water them. And appreciate them brightening up the place.

11 comments:

John Eje Thelin said...

Q: Why shouldn't I commit suicide?

A: You'll never know unless you don't.

And Robert Anton Wilson always said that the opposite of a great truth is another great truth. The opposite of a trivial truth is a falsehood.

Phoenician in a Time of Romans said...

Q: Why shouldn't I commit suicide?
A: You'll never know unless you don't.


Possibly not the most useful comment to make to a young woman having a crisis.

Anonymous said...

I've been suicidal for most of my nearly 41 years, since I was seven. At the age of 7, depression started settling in for good, and I began harkening back to the "good ol' days", like when I was four. I didn't realize how absurd this mentality was until I was well into my 30s, having postponed suicide thousands of times for the sake of the poor souls (my family, friends, colleagues) who might stumble upon my mutilated body, once I had finally "put myself out of my misery". I never want anyone I care about to have to find my senselessly terminated, lifeless body(just imagine how sad, not to mention horrified, the Hemingway family must have been to find the deceased Ernest, to name only one of so many examples). No, I believe that facing life, and all of the misery, and disappointments, all the failed endeavors and shattered dreams, all of the loves, and loved ones, lost, requires, above all, courage and curiosity- courage to stand up to any asshole who may take it upon himself to put you down in some way (he or she is only doing that in a vain attempt to try feel better about him- or her-self), and the curiosity to discover what tomorrow will bring- because every evening that I decide to live with my horrible, depressed feelings and impulses toward ending my life, to let them be, to run their course, and to sleep, rather than die, I inevitably wake up the next morning facing exactly the same problems that I had the day before, but grateful that I had another day to work them out, and to live- and I always find that something cool, something satisfying, something rewarding, happens to me that I never would have been able to experience if I were dead- if I hadn't had the courage to live another day.

LIVE!

Peace,

Tharwot

Anonymous said...

I couldn't say either. As the last comment stated, the worry for my family and the wonder of what it will do to co-workers or other people who know me, forces me to live on despite not wanting to. I don't think my already troubled family would survive happily if I were to commit suicide. With a mother who had a sister committ suicide, I don't think she could mentally absorb my death. The only reason I have ever concluded as a reason to live, or a meaning of life, is one's children. People live to leave a life better for their children. To me, this seems like a pathetic wasteful reason to live. What for? At the end of it all, the society you may have helped create or the life you bequeathed to your children can just as easily be taken away. Furthermore, nothing is to say one's children may only ruin their own lives despite your efforts to the contrary. This means that the meaning to your life, the reason you live, will have been destroyed thus rendering your life as pointless as your child's became.

Fear is what keeps some from commiting suicide. That fear of others replicating what you have done. I wish for those who want to live not to be so repulsed by another's desire not to live that they choose a similar fate. Essentially I do not want anyone who knows me to take my suicide personally. Let it be. Live on if that is what you have always desired to do.

-Pseudonym 1000

Greg said...

I read the first few posts to this question then skipped ahead to the last few, I wonder if anyone’s found mine using the same method? This whole section seems to be a combination of the painfully cynical that think saying “jump!” is funny and the empathetic who know what it’s like and speak from experience.

I came onto this site because I typed in “why shouldn’t I commit suicide”, in fact I got so far as “why shouldn’t I…” then Google pre-empted the rest, so here I am – must tell you something about searches.

Am I suicidal? Not at the minute… I have been throughout my life, but at the minute I was just trying to find someone to talk to. Something like the Samaritans, but I didn’t want to talk to anyone on the phone (I think it’s a man thing) I just wanted to Instant Message someone, just to talk about things.

For some reason I thought maybe writing here, without anyone to say anything back to me may make me feel better. Which is what we all want I think, isn’t it? No one wants to die, it’s just sometimes the pain, the horrible black f4cking pain you wake up to every day, the misery which makes you feel physically sick, makes a knot in your stomach which won’t go away. That f4ucking horrible malevolence in your guts every day… you just want it to go, I’ve never truly wanted to die, I’ve been suicidal twice, both those times I just wanted the pain to stop.

I think it’s just hope we’re after. Hope things are going to get better, and if it does go bad again, that it won’t be as bad as it is now.

I’m not even going to bother discussing the merits of accusations such as “coward”. I’m not saying the people who say that are evil, or bad or stupid. They’re just blessed with never having been in the same blackness as someone who is suicidal has ever been. The first time I was suicidal I was 17/18, I think I spent 5 or 6 months every day with the blackness, with the sickness, the knot in my stomach that I spoke about early. If you’ve never been there I’m not sure anyone can empathise just how horrible that was. I went through months of that horror, I kept plugging away, kept crying myself to sleep, alone and without help. This is nothing even approaching cowardice, if I would of succeeded in killing myself at the end of those months, if there would have been more pills in the house then I could find, if I would of actually killed myself – that’s not cowardice, I just lost the greatest battle of my life up to then, lack of stamina maybe, cowardice never.

There was a second time when I left University, and I felt after failure that all the time I’d spent working was for nothing, one more experience of a life when I’ve tried and failed (so many academic examples of that in my life). I was so down and low, the difference then was that I’d got someone to help me through. My then girlfriend, now wife, took me to a doctor. I got some medication, although I don’t think it’s biochemical qualities really helped. What helped was that we turned our lives upside down, we moved from where we were. I got a low paid no pressure job. All the problems associated with a University Education was stripped from my life and I was given the opportunity to work for minimum wage for a while just to get some confidence, hope, some idea of a future back again.

I’m not telling all these things for no reason, just to give some background.

I’m 30 now, I have the same wife, I have a beautiful baby, my life has been headed in what would be seen as a positive trajectory forward. But the last 2 months I’ve been off work with stress, a job which is sh1t and very unrewarding. The problems at work look to continue for another month at least (which means another sick note from the doctors), I got a letter through the post this Saturday morning from my employers telling me the issue is moving forward to the highest level of disciplinary at my works hierarchy.

This afternoon the familiar knot, the unwelcome anxiety and sickness returns to me. I’ve had it on and off for the last 2 months. About 4 weeks ago I managed to pull myself back, I became strong I talked myself around and felt very “in control”, that my life was my own and what these people do at work can only effect me if I allow it – oh yes, all very brave talk. But after this letter this afternoon… gah… it just makes me feel how much longer is this going to go on? How much longer can I keep feeling sick. I don’t want to die, I just don’t want the pain anymore.

I’ve made some massive changes to my life recently, recently in the last 12 months. I started seeing a therapist for a few months, it was before my baby was born. I wanted to have a go at sorting my life out before bringing a new life into my world of crap. I was, I am, a “depressive” person. Things in my life have structured my attitude towards life in a pessimistic way, negative way, I see problems, I see danger, it was hard to be happy – I’m grossly over simplifying things here, but it would serve no purpose to embellish it anymore.

What the therapist did was allow me the time to find my own solution, my own attitude. I’m not going to explain what it was, because it’s personal to me, it wouldn’t help anyone else unless they’ve had my experiences. This little thing I’m writing here isn’t a self help book, it’s got no answers, it’s only got my story.

And what my story is, what it’s turned out to be… well… I don’t know. It’s lots of things, lots of ideas and philosophies, lots of coping strategies and most of all, the promise of hope. Not hope itself, just the sensation that hope is there, somewhere. So even now, when I feel like sh1t, when I’m down and feeling awful, I can’t smile, I can’t crack and joke or be social, I snap at my wife, I complain, I’m intolerant – but there’s just something there, just a tiny little thing that makes me think there’s some hope there.

I think about all crap I’ve had in my life, I think of all those awful times, those I’ve mentioned here and all the other ones. I think back and most of those times are just like a memory of a bad dream now, I can’t recall them with any great clarity. It’s just part of a horrible past, in-between then and now there’s been good times, and now I feel, NOW what I get hope from, the important thing, the HOPE, is that I know life always finds a way of getting through, no bad time ever lasts forever, they always end. There’s a lot of crap talked about life being short, it’s not, it’s long, life is long. I know that in 12 months time, this period, February, March, April 2009, they’ll be a footnote in my life story, put down as “officially f4ucking sh1t months”, and that’s all. It won’t have any lasting damage, yeah I MIGHT lose my job, MIGHT lose my home, there’s so many bad things which might happen, but whatever happens, I know a way will be found, it’s managed to find a way EVERY single time it’s needed to in the last 30 years of my life, I don’t expect it to stop now.

I hope this hasn’t been too long, I hope if you’ve read it you’ve found a little, just a tiny bit of comfort. Thanks for reading because I feel better now I’ve written this down, I don’t know why, it’s not important I guess, feeling better is all that matters.

Lots of love and hugs

Anonymous said...

well i have reached a point where i find myself to be very tired of life. I found for my whole 17 years that all i have been doing is wasting my time and putting up with endless tolerance towards the world. People have made me see how hopeless the human race really is. Day after day humans wake up to dish charge what ever power they have, whether it is trying to be kind to someone to feel good about themself or someone who is beeting a child senssesly. Are you okay with the fact while you are reading this that some poor woman is getting rapped, or a child is starving to death. The one huge sin in this world is money. The human race has created a system where we have the ability to say that one person is worth more then the other. Because of money the word poor exists, and the fact that i have this computer in my hands right now makes me feel sick. I helped kill so many people that i don't even know no matter what you think. To think we were made into this world with the gift of depression makes very little sense to me. why we have the ability to feel missery just doesn't makes sense. The worse part is that the human race believes that it has morals but that is only an illusion to make its self feel better. Happiness, drugs, love they are all illusions, the only thing a human is bread for is denial of it's existance, people who think that being happy is a good life are totally wrong, reson being is because whats the point of being happy, so you can lose it all lol. pathetic really, there is no answere for this world only reality, you understnad the world as much as you think but your only going to find that our purpose is only to create an impact in the world. whether you think it's a good impact or bad, the universe does not care. you are only a pawn that will decide if he wants to be a part of this universe or pay the ultimate price and save other poeple. well i explained what ever i can, it's up to you to decide if you are going to continue life and hurt more people or do the world a favor; and sure i expect to hear some insulting comments, but thats not going to change reality, people who need to insult other people are just creating an illusion so they can make themself feel happy. any ways where im going no one can make fun of me lol, the my last message of the world, i hope all of you feel happy and well it's your choice if you want to end the missery

Anonymous said...

Life is something given to us, an experience we should cherish with life and soul. I find the only gift of life is death that comes with it.

I'm 13 and already have tried to kill myself. I have large scars up my body in which have been created by me for the purpose of chanelling my anger from others. I have kept my ways quiet most of my life, until a month ago when I confided in a friend who begged me to tell my parents. I've gotten so much worse from then that it's unbelievable. Like others, I think of my family and friends so as not to properly kill myself, but these alone are not strong enough and so I create simple goals.

Recently, one of my goals in life, to go to a specific school, has ended due to the Christian authorites to remove Grammar Schools. I made the school, but was then told I would no longer be attending it. This has ruined my life, a simple bump like this.

I would give the advice of going to a counceller as my parents never accepted my reason of unhappiness and therefore, refused the idea. Two of my friends go there, and it seems as they see the light, I plunge into darkness.

Sorry for the metaphores..

Anonymous said...

I'm a fifteen-year-old girl with serious mental issues. I have this cycle where for about three months at a time, I'm more or less normal, and plug along through life without too much difficulty. Then, all of a sudden, I get a huge wave of depression where I can't get out of bed, I won't go to school, I just lay around crying for months while my parents yell at me that I'm doing it to myself.

My parents fight almost nonstop. They scream at the top of their lungs, throw dishes and furniture against the walls, and sometimes even physically attack each other. I'm always afraid of when the next blowup is going to be. I have no friends, having moved every two years for my entire life. It seems like my life is nothing but a stressful, surreal blur.

To deal with the my stupid overdramatic anxiety shit that I've had since I was ten, I cut myself. It's better than telling anyone how I feel. I transfer all my irrational emotions into gouges in my upper thigh.

I'm genuinely considering killing myself. I'd be so much better off, as well as everyone else in my life. So, if I don't care and I know my family won't care, why shouldn't I commit suicide? Does anyone have an answer? Am I alone? Help.

Chelsea said...

The 15-year-old girl who's having the parents fight, you can find me on Facebook, Chelsea Braden, and contact me on there to talk. I'm willing to talk to you. Hopefully everything's better, but I don't want you to feel alone. Or you can email me at chelseabraden990@hotmail.com ... This is for anyone who needs someone.

Chelsea said...

I've had suicidal tendencies since I was 14 and tried committing suicide once. 2010 I almost committed suicide before I seeked help and was put in a hospital for 8 days... I think I will always have thoughts though, because it's just my nature it seems like... But I'm trying to change. I mean, once you've had the thoughts for so long, it's really hard for it not to be the first answer to your problems.

I'm taking an Abnormal Psychology class at my local college, and I asked in the class why we have suicide prevention and why it's so important for us to make sure people don't kill themselves, and I really felt like people thought I thought it was okay for people to kill themselves, even my mother said it, and I said no, I just want to know why it's important out of curiosity. He and others said for compassion and so we don't leave family members behind, but I don't think there will ever be a concrete answer because it's all different for every person, to me...

I think it's also our environment that makes us depressed... And not all of us can leave our environment because of money and such... But that's why I'm holding on, is because I'm hoping one day I will find the place that I feel free and peaceful and not surrounded by people who make me feel like shit... Family can do it to you... The world is really a big place and there's so much more to see than the little cities we're in... Even if you're in Manhattan or Los Angeles, there's a whole world to see and that's also what I hold onto... On this parole show I watched today, the lady was telling her parolee that she shouldn't commit suicide because her puppy needed her, if she killed herself, the puppy would be alone... Yeah, it would most likely find a new home, but that was its mother. And I have animals that rely on me and that I need to take care of, so it's another thing I hold onto. Just some ideas as to why you shouldn't... Even if you think no one needs or cares about you, there's always someone... A child, an animal, etc.

No one can hold you back from committing suicide, if you're intent on doing it, you'll find a way, but just think about some things before you do it... Not the bad things like a lost job or a lost education, but the people, the big world, etc. There's always something, no matter how small. I think I will always think about suicide when something bad happens, but something good usually happens where I'm like wow, I could've missed out on this... For example, getting a letter from someone that I really wanted to talk to, getting a new puppy, a new cd, or seeing a new movie or even a new show... Learning a new craft or reading a new book... Even the sunset or the Moon that will be out that night... I've had a lot of reflection these past couple weeks, and I have found these things that I could've missed out on had I committed suicide. There are new things happening all the time... I know when you're depressed you can't see all of it, you just want it to end... And sometimes you can't talk to someone, so write it down in a journal until you can talk to someone. No matter how scary, draw it on paper how you're feeling, try not to let it hold you down, easier said than done but still.

The most important thing is to not hold it in... I've recently started journaling, and I know I'm complaining and such but it's okay... Journals are about expressing your emotions and thoughts, no matter how bad... And you know what? It has helped.

Just Be.

Chelsea said...

I just wanted to tell my story and what I thought. I know it's not good for two suicidal/depressed people to talk to each other, but I find that we know best what we're going through and easier to talk to because of that... (Because I left my email and such).