I had a completely different post planned out in light of the recent events. However it was coming out more like a PSA. As I have been reading through the comments on various social media feeds, I keep seeing people say suicide is not a choice. Suicide is a conscious choice, a clouded one, but a choice. It is much unlike getting driving a vehicle completely intoxicated. You may thing you are doing the right thing at the time. But when you sober up the next morning, you realize, “Holy Fuck! How the hell did I manage to get my car in the driveway?” Suicide is like getting behind the wheel of the car. Depression is why you are intoxicated.
The body has an amazing will to live. Self-preservation is instinctual. I worked in a long-term care facility for five years. I have seen Death time and time again. Strolling down the halls bringing peace to those ready to let go. The thing with Death is you have to be ready to let go. I have since people cling on for days without food or water because their body just didn’t want to let go. They were merely a husk to which their soul was clinging on to. The body will fight to live as long as it can until at one point it finally lets go.
So while suicide is a choice, it is not one that comes easily. Someone doesn’t wake up and decide over morning coffee that they are going to off themselves after they mow the yard. Suicide is the white flag of depression. It is how someone tells Depression they can fight no longer. They can no longer put their loved ones at the front line of this war. They surrender. And Depression claims her latest prize and lets suicide take the blame.
Depression is a humble illness. She will let Suicide take all the credit for her hard work. She also knows no prejudice. As long as you are breathing, she will claim you as hers. It is a slow process. She sends in her minions Doubt and Fear in first to slowly break down your walls. The “I am not good enough” and “Why do I always fail?” of the subconscious. Then she will convince you that there is no need to share your struggle with other because it will only add more burden to their daily lives. Your acts alone are burden enough. Why add to it? So you learn to suffer alone. Sure someone may notice at first that you haven’t been yourself lately but that is not there cross to bear so you keep it yourself. You are just tired from working so much. Maybe you are just a little stressed. You will tell them whatever they need to hear to think that you will be ok. As Depression continues to bear down on you, maybe you try to let someone in on your struggle. They tell you to just think positively. You know the old adage, “Fake it until you make it.” Just so you know, if someone ever comes to you looking for help, DON’T say shit like that. Because when someone is that depressed and they are crying out for help, it feels like you don’t believe them or care.
There are even some who will seek professional help and start taking some meds to help. They may even start to feel better, that is when they need someone the most. Most often people who take meds will stop taking them as soon as they start to feel better. The problem is that if you aren’t weaned off of them you will plummet right back into the rock bottom of depression. Depression will be waiting for you with open arms like a dear old friend. The hardest part about Depression is she is incredibly needy. As soon as you feel the slightest spark of happiness, she will try to come in an extinguish it. It is incredibly tiring. You miss being able to enjoy your life. You become tired of being thought of as the Debbie Downer. Just waking up to that ache of sadness in your soul starts to become too much to handle. You don’t want to feel that way anymore. You start to become desperate to feel something.
And that is when Suicide comes riding in like a knight in shining armor. Yes Suicide will take away all the aches and pains. He will wipe away your tears. He will lift the burden you feel your family deals with having you around. He will make all the sadness go away. He will bring you peace that you so long for. Then your body’s innate will to live will try to fight Suicide. It will be a dance for days, weeks, or months. Then one day even self-preservation will give in. You will begin to plan the end. First you need to decide when and how. Then you will slowly begin to detached yourself from your loved ones. You will not do it all at once because someone may notice and try to stop you. They won’t understand that this is really for the best. Yes they may be sad at first when you are gone but they will learn to move on. They will be able to live their life in a way they never could when you were still alive. This is also where your will to live kicks in. It tries to leave breadcrumbs to your loved ones hoping someone will notice and step in. There is still apart of you looking for some kind of sign that you need to be a part of this world. Someone to tell you that Depression was wrong all along. Someone to tell you that life is worth living. Someone to tell you that you matter. Someone to tell you that no matter what Depression says, the world is better with you in it. And for those who do not find someone to help you fight Depression, you are handed off to Suicide.
For those who say suicide is a selfish act, don’t understand the mindset behind depression. Yes from the outside it does seem very selfish. Suicide is such a horrendous occurrence that is hard to see past the act. It is hard to see beyond it. You immediately feel for those who they left behind. You start to think how someone could be sad enough to end their life. Well that is because depression is not sadness. Depression is an all-encompassing she-devil of sadness, doubt, fear, anxiety, self-loathing and so many more emotions I can’t list. Sadness is something you feel when your grandparent dies. Yes it heartbreaking that they are gone but you move on eventually. There is no moving on with depression. Once she sinks her claws into you, she will drag you down in oblivion. But that is the sneaky thing about depression. No one ever sees her. They only see the end product of her work. It is like a wedding cake. You see the grandeur of the finished product but not the hard work it took to get there. Suicide is the finished product of what depression really does to you. It breaks you down until even instinct can’t even save you.
So yes suicide is a conscious decision. However it is not something made overnight or on a whim. It is the end of a long journey. So please don’t dismiss someone who wants to hurt themselves. Engage someone who you suspect might be depressed. Even if they tell you they aren’t, don’t give up. Go with your gut. Sometimes it just the slightest glimmer of hope to pull someone out of the darkness. And even if no matter what you do they still end their life. Know this: It is not your fault, blame Depression. Spread awareness and fight her everyday. Because who knows you may be able to save someone.