Looking Forward to Suicide

Suicide gets a bad rap. Many people talk about it as if it were sadder or more tragic than regular old dying, but why? If anything, shouldn’t death be more tragic when it comes to someone who was looking forward to living longer? I see suicide as the ultimate in taking control of your own life. If I’m lucky, it is the way I will go when the time comes.

I understand that many people think that suicides are the result of extreme hopelessness that could have been alleviated if someone had been able to intervene. I’m sure that is the case in some instances. But I feel certain that some hopelessness is rational. And in many cases, suicide may be less a reaction to hopelessness than a rational weighing of the pros and cons of living. It takes a lot of effort to live. A lot of the effort isn’t much fun: trying to make ends meet, working a job that one may not find fulfilling, dealing with problems, not having any time, energy, or money left for the parts of life that are actually fun. At the point that the hassles or pain of life overshadow the fun, especially if you don’t see any way to significantly improve that balance, what’s wrong with letting life go? [Read more…]

Suicide Isn’t the Problem

Credit: Matt Calder

Credit: Matt Calder

“Suicide, I’ve already died, you’re just the funeral I’ve been waiting for.”
– Metallica, Cyanide

As one of the souls both unfortunate enough to be cursed with suicidal tendencies (the affliction, not the band) and fortunate enough to be blessed with wonderful friends who regrettably share my darker inclinations, I once again find myself talking about suicide. It’s okay, I’ll happily accept this responsibility if I can make a difference in someone’s life. But I don’t want to talk about the actual act, or the desire to engage in it. I want to talk about the real issue, the elephant in the room that no one ever wants to address: how people get into a position of wanting to take their own life in the first place.

Why? Because suicide isn’t a problem. It isn’t a philosophy, and it sure as hell isn’t a random affliction that pounces on unsuspecting prey. It’s a tactic, an approach, a (final) solution. Block the symptom, and the problem is still there. I’m here to talk about the problem.

Human beings have an incredibly strong survival instinct. How else could such a slow, weak, and fragile species of shaved primate manage to not only survive, but flourish, in every environment imaginable, to the point where humankind has become the unrivaled global apex predator? While this instinct is no longer quite as necessary in a world where vast swaths of people have all but conquered unnatural death, it still remains ingrained in our psyches. For someone to go so far as to fight directly against their strongest, most basic instinct, you know something serious is wrong. And usually, it’s something that’s been wrong for a very long time. [Read more…]

I Am Pro-Suicide

CJ

It’s a delicate subject, but after the passing of a dear friend by his own hand, I feel I have to say something. Too many have suffered in silence and indignity, so I must speak: I am pro-suicide. No, I’m not talking about the legal rights people have to do with their bodies however they see fit. I’m talking about the decision itself.

For almost my entire adult life, I was suicidal. Still am sometimes. It isn’t something that ever really leaves for good. Some circumstances do change. Every great life event that would have caused me to abandon this world (the last of which being far more recent than I’d ever care to admit) never transpired. One circumstance that hasn’t changed has been myself. I am still, at my core, the same person I always was; with all the misunderstanding, brilliance, inability, exuberance, despair, and terrifying solitude that comes with the package. I know what it’s like to struggle on with a smile on my face, when everything inside screams the opposite. I know loneliness. I know despair. I know futility. And I know what it’s like to continue on in pain, with no conceivable way of bringing it to an end.

Too often, through an inability (or unwillingness) to let go of the illusion of control over the lives of others, the living bully and demonize the dead. One common accusation I hear is that the suicidal are selfish, acting without considering what pain their passing might visit on others. While there’s no avoiding the fact that dying will profoundly affect many people, to call taking one’s life “selfish” is itself one of the most selfish ways of viewing human life. Each of us only has one precious life. One. It is ours to deal with as we see fit. Truly, it’s all we have. To therefore suggest that we owe any part of our life to anyone else, that our life is not our own because others’ lives may be affected in some way, is supremely arrogant and dismissive of the humanity of others. [Read more…]

War Kills… Itself

grave

Clay Hunt is dead. This would just be another personal tragedy were it not for a few details. One, this man was a U.S. Marine. Two, he was a poster child for helping suicidal veterans cope with their grief. Three, he took his own life.

For these reasons, Hunt becomes the face of a national tragedy. More veterans take their own lives than are killed by enemy combatants. That means that the number-one killers of American soldiers are… American soldiers.

The war we’re fighting isn’t against an external enemy. It’s against ourselves. And we’re losing. Something is horribly wrong.