My Thoughts on Suicide...

So recently in my life suicide has become a huge topic of discussion, both on and off line. Long story short I have an aunt who has drug and alcohol issues, mental, physical and emotional issues and who just lost her teen daughter six months ago, so depression and suicidal thoughts are just the norm...  And with the whole bully thing lately on the news it's been a growing hot topic on most of my mommy boards too... So I felt it was a subject I felt I should address here as well.

PLEASE though, do not assume that my beliefs are blanket beliefs for the Pagan community or that I should be used as an example of what others may or may not believe.

So, I've talked about my beliefs about life, death and fate before. But I'm going to speed through them so that you understand some of why I believe what I do about suicide. I believe that life is a cycle and that each life is "assigned" a purpose before it enters the physical realm. The fates will not allow that life to end prior to that purpose being fulfilled. Once that life is ended in the physical realm we move on to a "Guardian Angel" position in the spirit realm until we are no longer needed here in the physical realm any longer and are able to either move on to the next physical life, with a new purpose, or until we ascend to a higher spiritual realm.

Now, the reason I went through all that is simply because to understand my beliefs about such a touchy subject like suicide, you need to know what I think about death in general. I don't see death as an end or something evil or bad. The physical body dies, the spirit does not, it simply moves on.

To me, for someone to honestly consider suicide, they are in a place of great pain or anger or both. In some cases there is illness, be it mental or physical, involved as well. For others they are simply at a point in their lives where death seems to be the only way to end their pain or at the very least seems better than continuing their life.

Obviously I would like to say that there is help out there and that anyone considering suicide can be saved. However, I don't believe that. I've been through the anti-suicide therapies, on the medications and hospitalized, and I will be the first to tell you that all the "help" in the world doesn't change the situation many of these people are in - especially in cases of illness. Don't get me wrong, there are cases where medical help is an option, but in my opinion, these are the people who weren't completely to the point of suicide in the first place. Many people, including myself, are very serious about their attempt at the time they do it, but they aren't actually 100% sold on the idea. It's a "this is the best of a bad situation" kind of thing. Many times they don't honestly want to die, they just want the pain to stop. For them, therapy, medication, hospitalization are good options and can help. So assume that I'm only speaking about cases where the suicide is successful or attempted by someone who clearly wants to die.

Whenever the subject of suicide comes up online I always see words like "selfish" "sad" or "tragic" used. However, I simply disagree with this idea. Of course it's sad and tragic for those of us who are still here, but does that mean that those who decide to end their pain are selfish because it could hurt us? To me, No. Instead I feel it's selfish of those of us who are here to place negative assumptions on those who we lost simply because of out pain.

I believe each life has a purpose. In some cases that purpose is to teach others a lesson or to aid in someone elses spiritual maturation. I also do not believe the Fates will allow someone who has not fulfilled their purpose to pass on. So, in my mind there are going to be times where the death of one person is in fact their purpose of life. I know it was the loss of a close friend which clearly impressed on me the importance of positivity, friendship and love... So who am I to say that maturation wasn't the goal of their life? Of course I don't know that it was either, but it's a possibility.

So what am I saying? Well, all in all what I'm saying is Suicide is a way for someone who is in extreme pain to end it. Do those of us who are still living miss them? Of course. But is it more important for us to have our loved one or for them to be at peace? And who are we to say at what point someone's life purpose is in fact to aid others through their death? If a fireman dies in order to save a child we call him a hero because without his death that child's life would have ended or he would have stopped "maturing." So how is that different from someone who's purpose was to die in order to help someone else to mature? It's all speculation of course - whether or not suicide is ever someone's life purpose. But who am I to know?

I guess my entire point is this - While it's painful for those of us who remain, those how have died are in a better place. Their pain is over, their purpose (what ever it was) is fulfilled and they are able to move on to the next stage. It's a stage we will all someday enter and ultimately it doesn't matter how we get there, the point is that we do.

I feel for those who lose loved ones, in any way. I have lost a great many loved ones in my life, and that includes a few to suicide. But I do not feel it's my place to decide when someone elses life should end. We can't live forever, and those who choose this path are simply speeding the process...

3 comments:

  1. I'm inclined to agree with you. I've struggled my whole lifetime with depression, been hospitalized for it once and been off and on any number of medications for about 25 years. Mixed in with that are 2 sincere suicide attempts and countless hours of therapy, both individual and group. I also decided to chase that with a lot of alcohol and drug abuse and hated God like it was my full time job. About 4 years back a series of events occured including my getting sober, finding and being found by Brigid, and becoming a father. The combination of these events has acted to ease my depression and it's been blessedly mild for a while now. I'm glad i'm alive and capable of being a decent servant to my Goddess, my wife and my son today. If i hadn't pulled through one of my suicide attempts I would have missed much but I don't see where trying and failing makes me a better guy than trying and succeeding. I've never understood those that rail on those who need to go as selfish, though I accept that everyone mourns their own way. Life is suffering and for some it's too much to bear, i don't begrudge them for seeking the embrace of the Goddess. Also, I wouldn't call someone who chose that path cowardly as a lack of courage was the only thing that prevented me from finihsing myself off on several occassions.

    Your last couple posts have been so deeply thought provoking, thank you and Brigid be with you.

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  2. I've had to deal with depression most of my life and only once have I ever considered suicide. It was when the two children I had at the time were taken away by DHS for bullshit reasons. And, while I was willing to suffer through the process to get them back, I knew I could not live without them should they decide to take my children away from me for good.

    They might as well have ripped my heart and soul from my very body when they took my children.

    I decided that, if something happened and they took my children away for good, I was going to do what Sylvia Plath did. I was going to turn on the gas on my stove, lay down, and just drift off to sleep.


    Thankfully, however, after a long nearly-two years, I got my children back, plus I had one more while we were in the process. My youngest saved my life and kept me going while suffering through the drama and red-tape of trying to get my older two back.

    It's been 3 years since I got them back and 5 since they were taken.

    Prior to this happening, I couldn't understand those that commit suicide. When this happened, though, I gained a respect and understanding for those that have or have attempted it. No greater pain was there in the world than when my babies were basically kidnapped from me by bullshit people abusing the system and at no other time had I really wanted to die so badly.


    I think your blog post on this was a brave thing to write, not just because of possible controversy, but, rather, because of the exploration of pain that probably had to be done in order to write this as effectively as you have.

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  3. Thank you both for your kind words. I realize that a subject such as suicide can be one that's rather "touchy" for many. And I did consider not posting it. But I felt that it was one which needs to be out in the open more than it is.

    Millions of people suffer with depression on a regular basis, and even more in times of loss or disaster. Suicide and death are very real aspects of human life. However, because of the shameful view of suicide and depression they are subjects which are rarely discussed openly. I am a firm believer that subjects such as these need to be brought forward and discussed openly. When issues such as these are simply left in the dark or blanketly "demonized" those who need the help, those who are suffering, those who are at the most risk, fall by the way side... Open lines of communication and understanding on subjects such as these really can alter how these people are seen and treated!

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