It’s a terrifying word. It holds power that makes it hard to say, so instead, we say someone ‘took their own life’, or ‘killed themselves’. Or perhaps they simply ‘chose to leave us’. Or maybe, we just don’t address it at all and dodge the emotional bullet that goes with it, and simply say they died. Because saying they committed suicide gives something weight, importance, blame, authority, finality. Suicide is very final. You can say all sorts of cliché sayings about it, that it’s a final solution to a temporary problem. That it’s cowardly. That it’s brave. That it’s selfish. But it’s not your place to give a label to someone else’s choice. That’s something you do for you, to help you understand something which is profoundly impossible to understand.
You can try to tie together unrelated events. Us humans, we like to attribute meaning to random events. She did it because of this. Or that. Or if I’d just done this, or that, maybe things would be different. Maybe if I’d texted her, rung her, told her how important she was to me, maybe she wouldn’t have done it.
Suicide is what happens when life hurts too much.
When the fear of the unknown of death is outweighed by the very real fear and pain in the known future. When the heart hurts so much that it’s impossible to remain, unbearable to continue. When the destructiveness of serotonin and dopamine, a very real physical sickness, cloud logical thought and make it impossible to see, to understand, how this loss will leave a void, a confusion of grief and hurt that those you leave behind will never truly heal from. Suicide colours all the lives it touches with black. There’s a part of yourself you never recover from, you never quite forgive yourself for.
I was a Lifeline counsellor for years. I’ve spoken to people taking pills, overdosing, as I talked to them. Talking them off a metaphorical ledge. Trying to find the pieces of their lives that bring joy, trying to tease out a reason for them to stay. Trying to convince someone that they are important. They need to stay. They need to look after their cat. They need to go see their Grandmother. They need to see what happens on the next series of Game of Thrones. They have always wanted to visit Australia, to learn how to Zumba, to have a beer and a burger for dinner one last time. Something. Anything. Stay.
What happens when they leave?
When they decide they can no longer bear the pain they are in. What were their final hours like? Were they lonely? Or relieved, pleased this was the last time they would have to make this choice, to feel that pain. Or was there nothing, that blank leadenness where nothing hurts any more?
If you are considering suicide, don’t. Please. Hold on. Tomorrow might be better. You never know what will happen tomorrow, next week, next year. It might be sunny. Your medication might start to work. The cat might do something funny. Your dog would miss you. Stay. Stay here. Stay with the people you love. Ask for help. Say those scary words and admit you are considering suicide… but please, stay.
This post is for two beautiful, intelligent, strong women who chose to leave. I wish they didn’t. I wish they’d stayed and seen the sunrise the next day. I miss them both and wish they could have been here to travel along my journey with me, they both would have found it utterly amusing. They are part of the reason I’m here, because life is short and I must chase life and what brings me joy. There’s an unspeakable sadness that I can’t give words to, there’s a place they will forever occupy in my heart. But I’d much rather they were occupying this earth with me.
If you’re thinking about leaving, about suicide, please ask for help. Stay. You are loved. You are important.
Lifeline 0800 543 354