I work in medicine. In between seeing amazing things, people being helped, health being restored, I see lots of really, really, shitty things. Hurt people, crazy people, broken bones, nasty rashes, vomiting babies. One of the shittiest of them all, though, are the broken people, the ones whose actual spirits have been broken. Those ones, for me, are the most devastating. The suicides.
I thought carefully, in my current state of bliss, of whether I have ever been at that point, the one at which it all seems futile. And I realised that of course I have. Who can honestly say that they haven’t? I’ve never collected the supply of pills or tied the rope into a noose but I’ve thought about how I’d do it, if I did. Surely we’ve all been dark enough to do that? Life can be a bloody difficult game to play and everybody has their struggles and, sometimes, when it all seems too awful and dreary, I’ve thought about throwing the proverbial towel in.
I’ve even got to points where I’ve thought I’ve needed to get some help, before I start collecting those pills. Then I’ve got the help I needed. From friends, from family, from opening my eyes and seeing the bigger picture.
I’ve always believed people have the right, though, to take their own lives. This is a big statement that needs much quantifying. I am not saying that severely depressed people should be allowed to spiral into a tunnel from which they can’t escape. There is help for that, and every avenue should be explored. But. If a person is truly tired, and feels their time on earth has reached its end, in a rational and thought out process, I feel that, as intelligent beings (most of us), we’re allowed to make that choice.
The argument that it’s selfish to everyone left behind? Well, yes, admittedly it’s not a nice thing for those left in the wake, devastated, asking themselves “Could I have stopped it?” But selfish, it’s not. I speak here only about the kind of suicide I mentioned above – a rationally-made decision. Desperate, sadly spiralled types are different and devastating and I’m not even going to go there. It’s hard, really, to make a distinction, isn’t it, but there is a very definite one.
Back to the “Could I have stopped it” feelings of guilt. There we need to stop ourselves from the intrinsically human habit of turning everything into something about ourselves. In this case, it’s not. If I decide to drive off a cliff into the sea because I am tired of it all, it is NOT about you. I have chosen to stop, that’s all. Rejoice in the life that I had, rejoice in my finding peace which, obviously, if I’ve driven off a cliff into the sea, I didn’t have.
And, regardless of how I die, please have a party, with lots of champagne and, preferably, a couple of disco balls and celebrate me and you and our time together.
Here endeth my suicide rant.