Why?

Why

I’m not trying to justify this or persuade you to think it’s okay to do…that it’s not wrong. I’m just exploring a thought/question that came to mind. Yes, I think about suicide a lot as it relates to me personally…planning, questioning if it’s really something I want, all the pros and cons, etc. But I also think about the subject in general…I am that proverbial preschooler who incessantly asks, “Why?” So I want to know…what makes suicide wrong? Why is it the “wrong” choice? Who decided it was so wrong, bad and taboo? Is it because of the aftermath that often lies in its wake…all the people that would be hurt…all the unanswered questions…leaving all of your affairs behind for someone else to pick up/deal with? Is it because we think that someone who wants to end their life is crazy and therefore, that person is unable to think clearly and make a rational decision? Is it because a/the Bible says it’s wrong, that it’s a “sin”? I did not choose to be born…I did not choose life…it was given to me. No one asked me if I wanted to go hang out on planet Earth for 80 years or so. I also didn’t choose the path I am on now. I suppose, indirectly, that I did choose this path because of the choices I made and what I’m dealing with now is the consequence for making those bad choices…it is my punishment. Is suicide so socially unacceptable because life is viewed as precious and to just “throw it away” is the ultimate form of disrespect and irreverence? Or is it because other people have passed away without being consulted…they didn’t choose to die (e.g. cancer, auto accident) and therefore, because I have the chance to experience and live my life, to end it would be disrespectful to those who aren’t able to? I have to live because I wasn’t chosen to die and I have to live my life for all the people who died when they didn’t want to…like I owe my life to those who have died. They lost their life and therefore, I am obligated to keep mine out of respect. It’s like the proverbial guilt trip about the starving children in Africa. Finish all of your food and don’t waste any because there are thousands of starving children in Africa that would give anything to have the food left on your plate. Most people don’t think that returning an unwanted item to a store as wrong…so why can’t I return a life I didn’t ask for…a life that isn’t the right color or size for me? Why can’t I choose to spare other people the misery I would inflict on them if I choose to keep living? Yes, it would be painful for some people if I passed…but in the grand scheme of things, is the temporary pain “better” than a lifetime of the pain and misery I would inflict because I chose to stick around and people have to deal with me? I think of it like ripping off a band-aid…it’s going to hurt no matter what…so you have a choice: rip it off fast and deal with the momentary discomfort or rip it off slowly and experience the pain of prying off the band-aid from each and every hair and skin cell it has attached itself to.

People think suicide is selfish…and on one side of the coin, I understand that…but on the other side of the coin, in my opinion, not only would I be committing the act, in part, to end my own pain (that’s the “selfish” side)…but I would also be doing it to spare others’ pain. I hate hurting people and their feelings and their lives would be so much better and less chaotic without me around. Thinking in terms of minute details…I would be saving people time and money (and probably their sanity and emotional well-being too). Give that time and effort to those who want to be here, those who are more deserving and those who would make the best use of their time on earth…don’t give it to someone who will only flush it down the toilet. This is where my own guilt comes into play. I feel guilty for taking up so much time…the time of other people, therapy time, individual and group time. I feel guilty for being a financial strain on my mother and for being a pain in everyone’s ass. Give your time to someone who wants it and needs it more. I don’t believe I can be fixed. I missed the boat. I missed my “golden window of opportunity” somewhere and I can’t rewind time in order to go back and seize whatever opportunity I missed…whatever boat I missed. I don’t think I get a second chance. What makes me and my life so valuable? Why am I worth someone’s time and energy? Am I simply valuable because I am breathing? Why am I worth all of this?

How did suicide become so wrong? People can’t put a price on someone’s life…most of us agree with that…yet life is thought to be so amazing, such a precious gift…so valuable, in fact, that to throw it away or take it away is viewed as the ultimate sin and insult (be it abortion, suicide or murder). We, as humans, have been given the freedom and right to be alive and stay alive…a right to seek medical treatment and/or fight whatever battles we encounter that threaten our lives. On the walls of hospital ER’s, there is always a sign that states that any and every person has a right to medical treatment regardless of their inability to pay. So I have every right to have and save my life, but absolutely no right to end it (a living will is irrelevant). If you walk into a hospital or a police station and you are clearly in need of medical attention (e.g. bleeding badly) or you tell someone that you’re experiencing a serious symptom (e.g. chest pain)…people don’t hesitate to get you help and save your life. But if you walk into the same hospital or police station and tell someone you want to end your life…people still won’t hesitate to help you…but it usually comes in the form of being thrown into a padded room and being reprimanded for wanting to make such a stupid and selfish decision; people will sustain your life for you (I view this as a violation of a person’s right to choose) and that is not the “treatment” you were seeking. I get mad about surviving my first (and most serious) suicide attempt because I feel violated…out-numbered…out-voted. I didn’t do it on impulse. Some may disagree, but I didn’t do it because I was crazy. I coolly and calmly calculated every last detail. I weighed all the pros and cons and gave it a lot of thought and then I purposefully and consciously made an informed decision that I was completely content with and one I felt was right for me. People took a decision I made away from me. I didn’t want to live, however stupid my reasons were, so I made a choice to end my life…but even though I made it to a point of unconsciousness, blue in the face and not breathing…air was forced back into my lungs against my wishes. How is that fair? How is that not a violation of my rights and my freedom to choose? I have the freedom and opportunity to do anything I want with my life…but I don’t have the freedom to end it. I can do anything I want to…as long as I do it while breathing. People see suicide as wrong…I see not giving me the choice of suicide as wrong. (Yes, I know I technically have a choice…but if anyone gets wind of my plan…they do anything and everything to prevent me from carrying it out…from making that choice. So I have a choice…yet I don’t really have a choice.) I see no value in my life at all but people still tell me that every life is so valuable and precious…that to end it and throw it out with tomorrow’s trash would be wrong and would be the ultimate form of disrespect…a slap in the face. Why? If I wanted to move across the country to pursue a futile dream of being an actress…a dream that is likely to never come true and a dream I would waste so much time and money on, you wouldn’t stop me. You may express concerns and try to reason with me, yet if it’s something I really want, you will more than likely support and encourage me to go and try. BUT you’ll go to great lengths to stop me from ending my life. And I don’t understand why. My possible importance and worth is irrelevant…I’m only talking about the choice. Why is it wrong?

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2 thoughts on “Why?

  1. Thought provoking, well written, great analogize and a perspective that more people should think about, be aware of and not be afraid to talk about. So first let me say bravo and thank you for writing this.

    Those who have fought and fought and have no fight left, those who think about it with a level head and fully understanding of the situation and what it may do to others deserve to make the decisions they want and I will respect those decisions. The people who commit suicide as a knee-jerk reaction without giving other ways out a chance I have no respect for. They are like people who quit their job after one day because the boss yelled at them instead of going back the next day and trying harder.

    The dilemma I have while pondering your post is what would I do if I thought a sibling or best friend was thinking about suicide or even came and told me? (Although, if they came and told me that usually is sign its for attention or they WANT to be talked out of it.)

    (Yes, I’ve been on the brink. Yes, I stopped myself. Yes, I still consider it as an option 15 years later.)

    • I too lack patience for the people who choose to end their lives because of ONE situation, person or event (e.g. a breakup). I also heavily frown upon the “attention seekers”…that grates on my nerves. The people you should worry about are the ones who DON’T speak. I have also tried to put myself in another person’s shoes. How would I react if the shoe were on the other foot? I don’t have an answer. My gut answer/reaction is that I think I would understand…probably more than most…but I know I would also feel the punch to the stomach. It’s a catch-22. I also feel that suicide, however thought-out or “well-planned” should never be done to “get back” at another person or done out of spite…I feel it SHOULD be a selfish decision, with respect to those people in your life (e.g. not leaving them to wonder why). I’m just at a point where I have exhausted every medication and therapy offered to me and I feel like I’m hanging on to the ledge with just a finger. What MORE is there for me to do? I’ve talked all I can possibly talk and there are just some things that are out of my control. People seem surprised, that despite still being alive and probably in a “better” spot now than I was two years ago, that I would still choose to end my life without hesitation. I have been dealt a hand of cards and the suicide ace of spades is still a card I hold in my hand. I don’t hide that fact and I make no apologies for it. As for why I don’t act on it, I don’t have an answer for that, either.

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