Do we have the right to purposely self-destruct? In my opinion we do. Therefore you probably wouldn’t want me on a suicide call-in-line. My belief, however, comes with some caveats, which I’ll explain later on.
With last week’s focus on suicide prevention, I noticed many postings on the subject. Some were personal dealings with depression and how the writer would prefer not being on Planet Earth. Yep, I can relate to that. Others took a philosophical approach, questioning
the right and wrong of suicide. Some wondered how it would feel to wake up after
an unsuccessful attempt, after spending days in the ICU, possibly in a coma.
Would there be remorse for another major fuck-up, guilt for putting a loved one
through hell? Or, after your trip to the precipice, would you have seen the
light and be glad to be alive?
In my house is the book, Final Exit. I didn’t buy it; my husband did and I never questioned why. He isn’t depressed so I suspect he bought it in case he gets a painful, terminal illness and wants a quick way out. I’m just guessing, but I’m glad the book is here. As for the
caveats, I mentioned, my main one is I’d call 911 if a loved one were involved.
It may be hypocritical, but I don’t care; I’m selfish.
Where I find murky territory is my feelings when someone has a mental illness. I have
been hospitalized for depression and threatening suicide. I doubt that will
happen again because I believe I would just do the deed. But what if someone is
psychotic and suicidal? That changes my perspective because I don’t believe that
individual is in complete control of his or her mind, thoughts, and behavior. I
would also get help for children because they have not reached maturity and
therefore their brains are not functioning at full potential capacity.
In past centuries, some cultures viewed suicide as admirable. There are still some
places in the world today that take that view. I look at it from a place of
suffering. There are states in the U.S. where medically-assisted suicide is
practiced if a person is terminally ill, in other words the so-called
death-with-dignity law. I am a proponent of it since the idea of suffering makes
me think of a dentist drilling the pulpy cavities of my teeth without Novocaine.
I am no hero. I do not like pain and would not volunteer for anything if the
possibility of agony were involved. But emotional pain is every bit as
torturous as physical.
I have read that suicide is a bad solution to a temporary problem. But what if
the problem cannot be fixed? There are individuals who despite all attempts,
feel as if they are dragging a backpack filled with boulders across their
Years ago I worked in a hospital. We had a patient who was an alcoholic and near
death, but pulled back from the brink “thanks” to the hard work of a particular
doctor. When Mr. Patient awoke he was not grateful to Dr. M.D. for saving his life. At the time I didn’t understand. Now I do.