Promise Never Give Up
|Shakespeare addressed the value of life in many of his
works but most notably in his play, Hamlet. Hamlet said, "To Be, or not to be
that is the question: Whether 't is nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of
outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end
them? To die: to sleep; no more; and by a sleep to say we end the heart-ache and the
thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to, 't is a consummation devoutly to be
In an honest discussion of suicide, how many people would say they have not looked at death as an option at one time or another? It is not a popular subject, often viewed as an act of cowardice, being selfish and hurting others in the process. Suicide being considered an desperate act to end the pain of living.
It is interesting when you look at articles on "suicide survivors" the term most often refers to those who have lost friends and family to a suicide death. Seldom does it refer to those that made the decision and were unsuccessful or those that hovered at the brink of life and death and chose life.
Few give up their lives in my opinion with the intent of hurting anyone but rather because the act of living has become too painful. Our lives interact with many others and ultimately death comes to all of us causing grief to those who remain. But an "untimely death" at ones own hand, seems to have a significant impact for those who mourn the life lost. It is taken as a personal attack on their relationship. Often the people who mourn feel they were not able to give the support that was needed at a dark and desperate moment. They have feelings of anger that the person chose death over life and in doing so also gave up on their relationship. Feelings of being inadequate and being let down are often expressed.
Thoughts of suicide do not enter the mind of most people who are happy and capable of dealing with the daily ups and downs of living. It becomes an option when all other answers and solutions seem impossible or unacceptable. One is truly depressed with how their life is being lived. Does at least considering death as an alternative force one to look at those things in life that do have meaning balancing them against the uncertainty of death. The consequences of suicide on the lives of others applying weight to the decision.
At the moment of decision, what is it that brings a person back from the brink of choosing life and death? A desire that is stronger to live than the wish to die. If one faces this moment and can not express their desperation, the lack of meaning in their life due to the attitudes on depression and suicide is this where society bears some responsibility?
Suicide is not viewed as a topic of discussion nor an option in most cultures or societies with few exceptions, yet it exists. Does merely banning the subject or showing disapproval aid those who are considering death as an option.
It makes me wonder how many people are honest with themselves and others when they discuss suicide. Are the responses that they give what they believe or what they feel is expected of them by society? Do their attitudes change from time to time depending on what is happening in their own lives? Or does removing the option of suicide force one into accepting or resolving the problems or burdens of their lives that might lead them to feel death is an answer?
As unacceptable as the act of suicide may be, should be it closed off and not discussed. Does ignoring any other objectionable issue in life cause it to cease to exist? In discussing suicide condemning the act does not resolve the issue of the basis of where this thought is coming from.
Would it not benefit those on the brink to be open to understanding the heavy deep emotions of despair that are being experienced. Giving a measure of understanding and acceptance that these are not emotions of someone mentally ill but emotions that are felt when at a crossroads, a time to reflect on the past, a time to envision a future, a time to discuss both the alternatives of continuing life or ending it? A time for love, reassurance and patience. Offering comfort and a secure safe relationship that is open to the knowledge that suicide is being contemplated and discussing it openly.
Cheryl C. Helynck