“Can suicide really be a choice if it’s the only choice available? How expanded or contracted our perception becomes, impacts the choices that we make.”
The quote above is from Mark Henick’s TEDx Toronto talk titled “Why we choose suicide.” He explains that perception is a constricting and expanding view by which we see the world through our biological, psychological and societal factors.
He poses his startling question towards the end of his talk, but it was so poignant and my writer’s block so thick, that I decided to start with it. He continues to pose a scenario for the viewer: “Imagine you stayed there, stuck in that narrow, dark place. My perception had become constricted, darkened and collapsed. I felt like an asthmatic that had lost his glasses in a hurricane.”
Mark goes on to explain his brushes with suicidal actions and his struggle with depression in his own life, and how important it is that we all start having the conversation about mental health conditions and suicide. He believes, as well as I, that these conversations are too important to not be spoken about, whether or not we are “ready” or “comfortable” talking about them–they need to be brought into the light and out of the shadows.
So, with that, I would like to discuss perspective–because it matters and it is important.
Google defines perspective as a “point of view or a particular way of regarding something.” To me, in my life, perspective is the ability to see beyond a current moment. Before my mental health conditions made my perspective constricted, I would be able to see ahead in my life, years ahead and have goals and dreams that I wanted to accomplish.
When the depression hit me that skill of perspective dissipated. At its worst, I recall not being able to answer what I wanted to do or planned to do that given day, a week, a month, a year later. I didn’t have perspective: the future was a blank slate and the past didn’t exist either. It was like being shrouded in a blanket of nothingness.
Even now, two years later from when that slip of perspective occurred, I do not operate with a larger sense of perspective. Nowadays I am able to have my natural explanation of what I want to do over the summer, into next semester, after college, onto graduate school. The depth of those intricacies is for another article, however. But I have the ability to perceive a year’s worth of time. I have vague ideas of other dreams like writing books or making projects come to life that I want to get done during my life, yet they aren’t clearly defined or detailed yet.
Now, if you asked me what I’d be doing five years from now? Ten years?
I still cannot comprehend that amount of time. For instance, I’m trying to convince my family for us to get another dog. My previous dog, which we had for twelve years, passed away in the summer of 2015 and while I’ve had two hamsters in the last year (one that’s still alive now); they’re not quite the same as a dog. Granted, I’m glad to have any kind of living creature in the household, but I have a special love and admiration for a dog.
So when my family argues that a dog is a lifelong commitment–I don’t see it. I am distinctly aware of working with the present moment, the next day, a week, a month and a solid year. Beyond that, I cannot yet think of it as a lifelong commitment. They just do not exist for me. There is nothing there for me to look towards.
Part of this, I believe, is because there is a deluded part of myself that believes in the message of the mental health conditions I live with that I am destined one day to die by suicide. There are many faults and flaws with that logic, but I digress.
And again, this works both ways–for the past and the future. If you asked me on a day in which I had a constricted perspective about my childhood, I wouldn’t be able to put myself in that reflective mind state to answer your question.
I’ll admit this self-reflection makes me feel as though I ought to be more alarmed than I am. Regardless, I believe there is more to be said about perspective than can be articulated in just one article. So I hope that you will pick up the next issue when I discuss more about this idea of perspective and branch into what future plans I do have for myself as well as coping strategies.
*From now until August 2017 I will no longer be including my full name in the publishing of these articles on my blog, as my new job may threaten my safety if the people I work with/for can find me, my things or personal details about myself. So, be expecting my about me section to change soon too, as I want to re-write it.
**This piece is old. Written February 22nd and 24th 2017.
***I have a new article ready and up for you guys soon.
Also, sorry for my absence. My new article will explain the last week, at least.
Stay safe, peeps. ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤