Suicide - not always the easy way out

August 14, 2014

In the light of recent loss & suicide of Robin Williams...

Having lost a cousin, a second cousin, my younger brother and my mom to suicide I am super sensitive to people who judge humans who end their own lives.

How could he do that to his family ? What a selfish person to take the easy way out ! I would never, ever, ever kill myself no matter how hard things get ! It is never too late to ask help ! What a coward ! I have no respect for anyone who commits suicide !

For all the frustration one sometimes builds up hearing ignorant people make ignorant comments about how life's obstacles really can be overcome with sheer determination and a positive attitude, there are also these genius moments when someone says just the right thing and you remember that there is understanding and compassion out there...and not everyone is judgmental.

I, personally, also have to remind myself from time to time that ignorance does not equal to being intentionally mean  - I understand that if a person has lived a relatively "normal" life and hasn't had his/her world shaken up with repetitive trauma, it is natural for that person to base their opinions and judgments on their own personal experiences in life - not mine, not anyone else's. I am no different myself in an opposite way: having no experience of a life without repetitive trauma, it is sometimes difficult for me to grasp the idea of a life where no such things have taken place. I guess it's all about trying to understand each other and how different each life can be.

I've stolen these following paragraphs from Rockygrace's blog (thanks buddy !) as I believe I've never actually seen suicide explained in such fitting manner. I don't have many readers on this relatively new blog of mine, but if I could share one thing and hope that it awakens understanding in someone towards the reasoning behind suicide...this would be it.

A severely depressed person who commits suicide has made a decision in the same manner that a person in a burning building decides to jump out a window. It seems like the only way to escape the horror.

The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn't do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life's assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire's flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It's not desiring the fall; it's terror of the flames. Yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don‘t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You'd have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.

- David Foster Wallace


  1. But, at least in my case, hopelessness played a part. The fact that I thought life would never change and why bother? I had thought about for a while. I thought about how no one would miss me if I was gone. It all played a factor. In someways, I am glutton for punishment and stayed around.

    1. Thanks for your comment Jennifer. I am sorry for your pain and I hope you are in a better place now.

      I don't know your history, so I don't know whether you meant that you tried to commit suicide and survived it by resuscitation, or that you considered suicide but decided against it in the end. I suppose what I was trying to express with this post was that many of those who commit suicide do not end up in that place by rational choice and are literally unable to make that decision to stay around (particularly when a reality based thinking/consideration is lacking whilst one is in psychosis/state of psychotic depression, which I believe Wallace was referring to)

      Having said that, I do understand that not every suicide is the same and perhaps with some people there is some more rational thinking and decision making involved - as much as it is possible in such a horrific situation.

      I am glad you stayed around & wish you all the best.