Why Suicide?

I have, in a way, been dreading the writing of this post; but I think this is why I must write on this topic. Nothing is shrouded in more mystery and graphic fear than self-annihilation, and for good reason. As an act, it is seemingly the most unnatural and inhuman expression of self- to desire yourself to no longer be.

To articulate that one has attempted to take one’s own life and still thinks about death daily is in equal part difficult and shameful. I feel immense shame to be writing these words to you now; admitting that I have on three separate occasions been driven to attempt self-destruction and that such thoughts, like what death would be like and whether it is preferable to my current situation, are never far from my mind.

I want to stress, I write not from a place of risk; I am not a danger to myself currently nor do I see that changing any time soon. It is a vital distinction to make between one who is contemplating whether death is a better option in a vague sense compared to someone planning it in its detail. The latter needs professional help and support immediately, the former simply empathy.

But I do nevertheless want to be understood and help those whose loved ones and family struggle with such things to understand them to the best of their ability and avoid potentially unhelpful pitfalls. Indeed the harm that can be done by those closest to us as they attempt to help us feel better can be catastrophic; terms such as ‘what a selfish act that would be,’ ‘think of your loved ones and how they would feel,’ ‘you must know that suicide isn’t the answer,’ are all phrases that I have heard regularly and have caused me no short amount of pain and anguish. I am aware of all of these things, but to further burden the suffering individual with further emotional guilt is to push them further towards the very thing you are attempting to shield them from.

I also want to state that suicide has its own logic. It is something that is only understandable to those who inhabit the pit but once inhabited it, unfortunately, becomes a crystal clear way of thinking.

In a post on social media, I attempted to describe what depression is like; I believe I did a poor job. It was full of trite metaphor and jarring contradictions that were frankly misplaced. Depression is not your Monday-blues feeling, nor is it something you flit in and out of; it is, at its most base articulation, pain. Quintessential, mind-numbing, stabbing, throbbing, aching, biting gnawing agony. To have your mind hate its existence and respond by battering itself with waves of anguish is truly a terrifying thing.

I am routinely in abject agony. I know only pain or its mind-numbing absence. I do not know joy, nor excitement, nor happiness- whatever that is. I know only that my life is either tolerable or overwhelmingly desperate.

So what would you do? When you are forever adrift in a sea of your own pain, an overheated room with no possible escape, completely at the whim of your diseased mind- what would you do?

Those who spend so long at the mercy of the pits enclosure become inexpressibly tired. Tired of forever being anxious. Tired of being drained. Tired of being so lonely it becomes a physical sensation of a damp clod fixed to your chest. Tired of overanalyzing every conversation and human interaction. Tired of people but terrified to be alone. Scared of razorblades and roads for fear of what your mind might drive you to do.

Suicide, for the briefest of moments, lets us take control. My first attempt on my own life I stood on the edge of an underground platform, and with every train that passed, I tried to summon the courage to throw myself in front of it. I am not still here because I chose life, I am here because I was a coward, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. But in those moments, as each carriage roared towards me, I felt the calmest I had in years.

I was finally doing something for my mental health. It was not doing something to me. That moment of realizing that you have the agency of control, perhaps the only semblance of control you have, is intoxicating. Knowing that if I just took that step, my depression would be dead forever and could never touch me again.

But, obviously, I did not take that step. I have instead accepted that I can have some control over my symptoms through writing or exercise etc. But let me be clear, suicide is not primarily a focus on release but it is control.

This should drastically change the way in which we approach those who struggle with self-destructive thoughts. DO NOT burden them with further emotional pressure when they already feel so adrift within their own mind. Please; I beg of you- just sit with them, hold them, listen to them and tell them that control can be found elsewhere.

Stefano Pollio

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39 Replies to “Why Suicide?”

  1. Excellent post, Ben. Thank you so much for addressing this difficult topic. I have stood at the abyss and taken the leap more times than I can count, yet still I live. And even though I have learned to live moderately successfully with my distress, I’m not ashamed to say I have an exit plan.
    I’ve learnt enough to know how to successfully end my suffering, should it become too acute to bare anymore. And the fact of the matter is, having that pain free way out helps me live more freely. Love to you. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much for you kind words. It is so good to hear from another survivor. I hope that you continue to progress on your struggle- you have encouraged me on mine.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t believe that you should feel shame at sharing any of this. It’s a beautiful post and I know it took courage. I wish more people understood the of depression and social ideations/attempts and hope what they say can make it worse.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Its good to see a piece like this. It shows perspective and honeslty, people are so focused on the frustration on trying to understand without wanting to understand the root of why someone takes the steps towards ending their own life. Thank you for sharing and if you need to talk, I am an ear for you or anyone for that matter.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anthony thanks so much for that offer- I might one day take you up on it. Your encouragement means a lot and makes writing things like this worth it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I seriously want to cry. This year after my ex told me he no longer loved me and wanted a divorce was the very first time I contemplated my own death. I didn’t think I could go on. Instead I did and here I am. So wonderfully written. So true. So heart wrenching. I don’t wish to see anyone carry out their plans. I would love nothing more than to sit and hold them and cry with them. 😥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your honesty, and I think that is the best thing a friend can do with them; just be. But then to also have the courage to encourage them towards professional help if needed

      Liked by 1 person

  5. “I was finally doing something for my mental health. It was not doing something to me”. This is such a powerful statement and what a brave and beautiful post x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow! Thanks for this! It feels to be coming from raw honesty. And ur right. It can hardly be a second-person issue. It is phemenological. But what is inarguably relatable i think is that we all go there–the point we think it will end suffering…. i dont honestly know how i coped with similar episodes. All i know is that something steers us away somehow. There is just no cut-out diversion from it. It seems even just a game of chance–you go there or not, n the in-between is just as bewildering.

    But what i know is that it is the moment/s that we are truly naked with ourselves–no masks, no filters. Our mirror is horribly honest….

    And all i know is that i cannot judge those who attempt it, but those who drop it is held by an angel or a guide, who represent even just a flicker of hope. ☺️ paradise may not always be blaring but these fireworks of hope happen in the little hands that hold us to pass by from one event to another, one smiles to another.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you. I wish there was a traffic light for the episode that people can come in and listen n that people who sincerely listen coz even a listening ear is a skill, rare too often, isn’t it?

    But i guess that is one thing u must be living for, to inform people about it? U come from a place of first-hand experience, it is powerful to teach people how to detect maybe, n approach. AND THAT WLD MAKE A LOTTTTT OF DIFFERENCE☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes.. I suppose so. I have a lot of things to live for, which I need to keep reminding myself of. But fundamentally I have an experience that is unique to me, and if I can break a stigma around mental health for just one person; then this would all be worth it.

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      1. I think you are very special. your experiences are rich trove for beautiful discussions!
        for me, sometimes, however, there may be an anticipation of stigma. I think it is hard to see from people whether it is stigma or it is a natural response. what can happen to me is that I might anticipate it out of my own maybe woundedness about it. Id rather erase the concept of stigma to detach myself.hihi. that’s just me. I would just work on being a great company for my friendship to be irresistible. hihi. attaching to stigma might in fact lessen for me opportunities for friendship. maybe for me it is better for people to come around on their own and decide to overlook it because of my wonderful, irresistible friendship. hihi. i feel i have to detach from stigma for me to maximize opportunities, so friendship can unfold naturally as it often is with people. after all, there will always be a personality assessment, concerning mental health or not in relationships. i’ve seen cases where it is not always any easier without mental health issue.

        anyway, i am looking forward to your blogs! your thoughts are so refreshing!

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  8. I think it’s so important that we talk about our thoughts and experiences with suicide because no one should ever have to feel shamed over it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My brother and I both have depression (actually my other two siblings have depression also), but his is worse than mine. He is always suicidal, sometimes more so, sometimes less, and his name is also Ben. Even with my own depression, I’ve been guilty of saying some of the unhelpful things you listed, and I knew, as I said them, they were wrong. But, when you’re confronted by a loved one, who is balanced on the razor’s edge, and you are battling your own demons and can’t think of a good reason why they shouldn’t just go on and step over that edge, you fall back on platitudes and whatever else you can think of to help them to just not do it that day. Then, not do it the next day. Then the next. I have even promised to go with him, if he’ll meet certain conditions. It can be, “I can’t do it until I find someone to take care of my dog.” Or, “Let’s wait until after Christmas.” I never get rid of the dog, and, after Christmas, I remind him my birthday is coming up. Sometimes, I feel like an deflating life jacket, trying to float an anchor. But I will not let him go without fighting it every step of the way, with every tool or trick I can lay hands on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will pray for you and your brother. I really hope that one day it becomes manageable for you both- or better yet that you one day might step out of the pit altogether. Have you both sought external/professional support?

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      1. We have, but I’m beginning to think that there is really no ‘cure’ for depression. You may have periods of time, where it’s not uppermost in your mind, but it’s always there, below the surface. Appreciate the kind reply!

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  10. Having recently being diagnosed with a multitude of disorders, that cloud my pre=depressed mind anyway. I have also been a trained suicide hotline officer. Its true in what you say, sometimes its healthy to not pre judge and say oh think about your family, look at what you have to live for. I never thought for one second id ever make an attempt on my own life, but it does happen. You don’t necessarily think about anyone else, it doesn’t make you selfish in fact your belief system is saying your doing them a favour. I have hurt and destroyed lives of so many people through my illness, including hitting the self destruct button for myself. However, this wasn’t a burden on anyone and should never be looked at in that way. We all make decisions and if i choose to go out from suicide id expect people not to mourn my passing but love the fact that i did my best for myself and that i couldn’t take my pain anymore, People who sign a DNR or do not ressicitate order, doesn’t mean they are burdening their family, it means they don’t want to suffer, and people who commit suicide are in the same way, they are locked in with bad thoughts and positive thought that cause enough emotional distress all be it high or low and its unfair that we or they should live with if they are suffering. I know many people who i have lost to suicide, i don’t judge them but i honour them for being brave to make that step into the unknown to make sure that they aren suffering anymore

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a hard distinction. Im not sure I could go as far to honour them- love them yes; but I would forever think what I could have done to make a difference. I would like to think that life is always better… but that isn’t my decision to make for people.

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  11. Normally I read most of the comments before writing one of my own, so as not to be redundant, but for so many reasons I chose not to here.

    I think it is really important for people to write about suicide/suicidal ideation from both sides: the people who are suicidal and the people around them. Perhaps I think that because that is what I am also doing.

    We’re all different, and our stories are all different. There are threads, interwoven, that attach us all, but the weave through various situations. Suicide is personal; suicide affects others.

    Thank you for sharing. I hope you stop feeling ashamed of your story. I’m glad you saw past that to write your words, to use your voice.

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  12. Thank you so much for your honesty and bravery in this post. I’m so glad you decided to live so that you could share these beautiful words. Keep fighting.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Loved this, thank you. I wrote a couple of entries on suicide as well and I, too, had the same dread you describe about speaking about it and also felt shame and guilt. If you have the time I would love your thoughts on my own description of suicidal ideation/attempts. Sending you much love 💜 and I hope you have or are close to having the proper support network to tackle your situation.

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  14. its cool that you wrote on a subject most wouldnt write about. It lets other who go theougg same thing that they arent alone. appreciate this post

    Like

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