“ … and oh, what colours!” – Edgar Lee Masters, “Spoon River Anthology”
My thoughts about the recent, tragic death of Robin Williams – at 63, far too young to die – are still aswirl with colours.
Discussions about his suicide have ranged from simple yet sincere regrets and condolences, to ridiculous, ignorant remarks that appear to damn Mr Wiliams for his decision to end his life.
Note I say “decision”, and not “choice”. If he’d truly felt he had a choice, I for one believe he would be alive today.
A few thoughts about suicide, from someone who has tried it a several times, and considered it countless others:
1) There’s often talk about suicide being a “cry for help”. Sometimes, people insert the words “it’s only” in front of “a cry for help”.
Only? Does anyone really think a discussion about suicide in any way should include that word? What is “only” about wanting – indeed, intentionally trying – to die?
2) “Accidental” suicide – I believe the technical term is “parasuicide” – can and does happen.
3) Anyone who has ever attempted, or seriously considered, suicide will probably agreee that there’s often an extremely fine line between a) “I want to die, but I have no plans”, b) “I want to die, and I’m considering methods”, c) “I’m making plans”, d) “I’m testing the waters”, and the final stage of e) “I’m actively preparing to kill myself”.
And some of us can move from a) to e) at the speed of an Olympic gold sprinter.
Once at stage e), it may be less a case of no looking back, than of just getting on with it. Because, as I can witness, it may not just be a case that suicide appears to be the only option. It can, to the actively suicidal, truly seem the kindest one – for all concerned.
The fact that such an attitude is clearly bollocks doesn’t come into it: not when the individual is actually engaged in the business of dispatching themselves.
Because a person in an irrational state of mind isn’t, by definition, thinking rationally, but from the darkest place a human mind can go.
“Judge not …” – Matthew, 7: 1
For anyone in the UK readers who wants help for themselves or a loved one, I suggest you check out the following:
Probably the UK’s best known mental health charity, Mind‘s website has a load of useful info, including the charity’s many local branches.
Rethink‘s website is packed with fact sheets, helpline numbers, campaigns plus loads of other useful information.
Time to Change is a anti-stigma campaign, a collaboration between Rethink and Mind, and packed with blogs, short films, and other helpful stuff.