The thoughts, stories and advice of Bill Riddell.

Suicide – The Not So Easy Way Out

May 10th, 2009 Posted in advice, illness, personal

I wrote this post almost a year ago and seriouslly debated sharing it, this is an incredibly sensitive topic. Since then I have seen too many people whos lives have been torn apart by the loss of a loved one to suicide. I simply have to share this. It may offend some people, I’m sorry, but it may just save someones life and that is more important.

Some say suicide is the easy way out. In a sense it is. For the person who commits suicide they decide they have had enough of the cruel world and end the pain once and for all, case closed.

But sadly things do not end there. One persons hardship and suffering becomes the painful burden for many.

The Transfer of Suffering

When someone commits suicide the suffering and pain from the individual committing suicide  is instead transferred from that one person to everyone close to them.

Whole families and friends become wracked with guilt and many other negative emotions about the premature and unjust loss of someone they loved.

Some unfortunate people never get over this. Their lives are destroyed by an endless stream of questioning, blame and heartache. ‘What if…’ and ‘if only…’ questions haunt them for eternity. Everywhere they are reminded of their loss and feel the deep pangs of guilt. Loved ones blame themselves, or each other.

To put it bluntly committing suicide is a heartless thing to do.

My Story

I came very close to committing suicide when I was very ill in my teens. During this period my life was pretty bleak: it certinally could have been a lot worse, but it was far from ideal.

At times the thought of committing suicide and escaping from the physical pain, emotional stress and endless depression was constantly on my mind for weeks on end. It was all consuming.

I had only the love of my family and the hope that things would improve in my life. At times I thought both of those were fading from my life as well. Doctors, psychiatrists and other ‘respected professionals’ severely questioned and in many cases verbally attacked me over the symptoms I was describing. None of them believed I was telling the truth, no one could tell me what was wrong with me.

My parents began to doubt that I was sick and even I began to think that I was lying to myself. How’s that for a blow to your mental health, when you no longer believe yourself.

Rock Bottom and Back Up

When you hit rock bottom there is nowhere else to go but up, the situation will stay at around that level or improve. Things can only get better.

My life was pretty much non-existent, but I still had hope that things could improve and dreams of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I realised that just I was about to ‘borrow’ my dads car, drive to a tower in the middle of the night and jump off.

Not only did I realise that I still had so much to live for but I realised I could never put my family through that suffering. From that discovery it was a slow and steady road back to relative normality, in both body and mind.

The Problem

By the year 2020 the World Health Organisation predicts depression will be the second biggest cause of disability just behind heart disease.

Five percent of the US population have been diagnosed with a major depressive disorder – that’s almost 10 million people, who knows how many have not sought help and been formally diagnosed.

Here in Australia around 6 people a day commit suicide.

Again in America amongst people aged 15 to 24 suicide is 3rd highest cause of death.

The Solution

I really wish I had one.

A good start is simply to be kind to each other and pay attention to peoples moods. It is a rough world out there and we need to look out for one another.

For yourself, if you have problems then talk about them – talk to anyone who will listen patiently – whether they be your family, friends, strangers or professionals.

You should realise that living is what life is about.

Accept that its perfectly natural to feel depressed at times, but things will get better. If they don’t, be patient and see a professional. Bad times teach you a lot and make you appreciate the good times much more.

All the best,

Bill

  1. One Response to “Suicide – The Not So Easy Way Out”

  2. By Gina on Jun 1, 2009

    This was so touching my heart. I also had gone through several suicidal depression moments. I could figure out the cause, but there was nothing I could do to deal with it. I heard people decide to commit suicide when they are so overwhelmed by the degree of the pain they have been suffering and conclude they could no longer endure it. I truly understand this.
    I think I learned two things from my experience: (a) more I fight depression, it gets worse and (b) (I know it is hard) it is really necessary to try to see the niche in the middle of the pain – what is my pain trying to tell me at the stage? Then, I begin to realise living is not so hard as I thought…

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