I originally began this article all the way back to a year ago. I had initially begun writing it while I was in the hospital for five weeks–five very long and tumultuous weeks. At the time, in 2017’s summer, I had begun to have doubts about whether to discontinue the series. I felt that maybe it was too up-front to have an article series focused around dispelling the stigma around suicide. I think at the time I was beginning to shift from being so forthcoming to treating the subject with more care and awareness of how it may impact others.
I had this doubt that is, until I read a book called “Without Tess” by Marcella Pixley. The book was centered on the loss of Lizzie’s older sister Tess, who was struggling with psychosis as a child and was not hospitalized and non-compliant with her medications, lost her life to suicide. The book never explicitly said the word suicide up to that point but it was heavily implied. The sister finds acceptance in her sister’s early demise and the novel ends on a hopeful note.
The reason I bring that up here is that the word suicide itself emanates a suffocating silence. It drops into the air and stays caught in a spider-web tightly held over everybody’s head. It brings widened eyes and discomfort; bitten tongues and swallowed words.
And that’s just the *word*: suicide.
The act of suicide is either widely, and incorrectly, broadcasted or refused to be uttered or printed. Think about it, how many times have you read or heard that someone died “accidentally” under suspicious circumstances rather than on purpose? How many times do you heard the media sensationalize a particular method of suicide? How many times do you overhear someone say “committed suicide”?
People do *not* commit suicide. Suicide is a public health issue, *not* a crime. People commit murder and rape, they do not “commit” suicide. People either die by suicide, lose their lives to suicide or kill themselves.
This change in language respects the deceased and the survivors of suicide, meaning the loved ones left behind. It also respects suicide attempt survivors and anyone who has ever thought or come close to acting on thoughts of suicide.
We are all just a bunch of people on an orbiting planet. A speck in the universe. We give our lives meaning because without it, we’d be lost.
And people who are going through suicidality are just people who are, so very often, lost.
I know for myself, when I am suicidal, I feel vastly alone. I feel like a lone piece of seaweed in the middle of the ocean. It doesn’t feel like anyone understands, like anyone even knows, and certainly not that they care. Feeling suicidal is like being trapped in a room. Except it’s pitch black and the only window where there are people supporting me are outside of it and it isn’t anywhere near visible. I am lost and it feels like there is no way out, as though the thoughts will consume me and the only way I can find peace and release is through acting on my thoughts.
There is so much emotional pain behind suicidality. So much pain that it makes it near impossible to describe. It is all encompassing for the moments where it exists. It is soul crushing, it makes me feel like I am stuck in an endless darkness and the only end in sight is the end to all life experiences.
And that is how suicidality gets people within its grasp to do what it says—to end their lives. It coats its thick, slimy arms around the person suffering and it breeds on their silence.
And honestly, silence kills.
The silence of suicidality, mental health conditions, self-harm and substance use disorders—they all kill.
In a recent 2018 article you read that statistic that globally every 40 seconds another person loses their lives to suicide and 800,000 people annually die by suicide.
These are too many lives we are losing. Too many people who had bright futures ahead of them, who had more pain than they could cope with, whom given another chance may have made a different choice.
There is, and likely never will be, *one* set reason why a person decides to end their life. To look for one cause only oversimplifies a complex, intricate and complicated issue such as suicide.
That is why I choose to share my story, as you will read in “Treatment 101: Advocacy.” Choosing to talk about suicide and mental health conditions brings these issues from the shadows to the light and reminds us that we are not alone, that we are brave to get help and that life can get better.
Part of this article was written September 23.2017; I added and sculpted the rest October 2.2018. This piece also just appeared in the Mass Media. :3 Which means that yes I’m a little late in uploading it here. Two more will be added this week and I may or may not just take this week off from writing, as I had some troubles last Thursday that I’m still recovering from.
Take care, peeps. ❤ ❤ ❤