The Delicacy of Suicide

Welcome to a brand new week,

I had the most interesting and refreshing conversation with a perfect stranger two days ago. The best thing about it was that I was not expecting it at all, and once I found myself caught up in the conversation, I was completely wrapped up in it and thoroughly enjoying it. I can’t express enough how much I love random conversations and interactions with people. They can have such an impact in my life. They do have had such an impact in my life.

Well that happened, and what we spoke about got me thinking enough to blog about it today.

It’s interesting when you encounter something in your life and others around you are encountering the same things. Firstly it shows you how similar our lives are, and how we all have to face the same things at some point or another. But even more meaningful to me, it shows you that we attract certain things in our lives and it really is a “small world”. I’ve certainly found people with similar interests and that have entered my life to be due to my own actions and motives sending out a sort of message to the world of what it is that I want.

So before I know it, I find myself discussing the complications of suicide. It feels as if it’s out of nowhere, but is it? Or was I meant to have the discussion that would soon open my eyes on the matter – just from talking about it?

The reason why I say it’s a small world is because I knew a girl who committed suicide just recently. In fact, I used to school with her. And even though I didn’t have a ton of contact, I knew her. I was a part of her life. She committed suicide when she was 15 years old.

Suicide is so misunderstood. Firstly, it’s such a dark topic. And it makes people uncomfortable. It doesn’t fit in to the image of happiness and prosperity. But it exists, and I think we need to be more open about it as people. At times it’s unavoidable too, what with the statistics being as scary as they are. I kept reading that there was something like 1 million suicides per year, and even scarier is that many of those are teenagers.

The hardest part about this whole subject is that there are so many components that are not truly looked at, and there really isn’t a “right” answer, because as I said in this post, there is always more than one side to the story, and more than one perspective that must be seen.

I always like to think of the pain that the person is going through and remember that, because that is, to me, the most important part of the situation. It’s the pain that can drive someone to do such things to find an escape. And for all of us that don’t have any experience to relate to their situation, how can we truly understand? We can’t.

Stone marking the place where Toyotomi Hideyor...

Where has society brought us? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is the saying that suicide is a “permanent solution to a temporary problem”. That may well be true – there’s no turning back (even if you believe in reincarnation, you won’t get the same life back). But again, who’s to know if the problem will ever go away? A father that beats their child, or perhaps social confinements brought by a magnified version of peer pressure can have a terribly damaging impact. I’m not in those situations, so do I have the right to judge them?

Another thought I had on the matter: would forcibly stopping a suicide be helpful or bring about more pain to the person? Pain is part of life, and is often our greatest teacher. But what if it’s too much for them to handle? And I’m a firm believer in therapy and the like to prevent such events, but sometimes things are inevitable… what then?

Another thing that comes to mind – motive. Is stopping a suicide to save the person’s life, or to clear the conscience of those closest around them? Has it become a selfish thing? I know that my life would be completely shattered in front of me if a close family member that I loved committed suicide, and so I would try to stop it. So does that mean things are done to try to protect the welfare of many over the welfare of one single person? Is that why committing suicide is illegal, named a sin, and heavily frowned upon?

The point of me saying all of this is not to try to convince any of you readers on what to do in this kind of situation. I’m just trying to open eyes, because suicide will come into our lives in some way at sometime, through friends or family, coworkers or colleagues, or just some acquaintance you know. There is so much that can be learned from these situations. Why do they happen, what can we do, why does this happen in life? We learn what it’s like to mourn, to grieve for a lost one, but do we learn what was the right thing to do?

Do you take action and get involved, or do let nature do its thing?



15 thoughts on “The Delicacy of Suicide

  1. 40% of suicides are impulsive. It IS good to try and stop people and help them right then and there, because they might have a crazy amount of brain rambling going on in just that very moment. After that, then therapy would be a good long term plan where they could work out their main problems like abuse, addictions, you know, those kinds of things.

    • That’s a rather flawed statistic; you can’t ask dead people whether their suicide was an impulsive action. The words of those who survived an attempt at suicide don’t speak for everyone. Of course it is good to try to stop people, but the greater question I feel, is at what point should we stop trying to stop people? At what point do we stop imposing what we believe to be proper and appropriate (life) on people who have found peace with a solution that is alternative to therapy (death)?

      • Amen! I love how you put it… and that’s exactly what I was talking about. I think it takes a considerable amount of time to bring someone to the point of considering suicide, because the human being is rather resilient.

      • I’m not entirely too caught up on the statistics, but I won’t argue with that too much. But it’s not about the numbers for me, it’s about the principle, the motivation behind the decision making in situations as tough as these.

    • Impulsive or not, it’s still their choice. What gives you the power to say suicide is wrong? It may be right for some people, but it’s up to THEM, and THEM only, to decide. Also I agree with Michelle. How exactly can we rely on a statistic relying on the opinion of a dead person?

  2. I feel the need to clarify about the statistics because I feel too often people are swayed by numbers without understanding how wording and framing in research works. You can only find out that the suicide was an impulsive action if the person who attempts it survives, so all 100% of people they’ve interviewed are suicide attempt survivors and alive. That 100%, then, does not comprise the number of people who have died because you can’t interview them to find out their motives. Therefore 40% could be an incredibly inflated number because it does not account for the dead people who have committed suicide. It would be more proper to say that 40% of suicide attempts were an impulsive decision. But then again, one could argue that if one really were committed to suicide, there would be much more premeditation and though put into it, much less so of an impulsive action, so that the result would ultimately be death and thus can’t be incorporated into the statistic you have provided.

    • It would be more proper to say that 40% of suicide attempts were an impulsive decision

      I meant, 40% of suicide survivors say that their suicide attempts were an impulsive decision, because my original statement is the flawed reiteration of your statistic.

  3. A lot of people misunderstand suicidal people. People normally choose to make these decisions because of something going on in their life- bullying, abuse, depression, etc. You asked if stopping them from commiting suicide was selfish, because you didn’t want to feel bad, but it’s not. Stopping them, while helping yourself and others, is also helpful to them, because it gives them a second chance. If that were selfish, then community service would be selfish, and we all know that is not the case. Most of the time.

    • But what if you’re bringing them back to the problem that gives them complete emotional or mental agony? What if it’s not really a second chance, but rather a second round of suffering?

      • I don’t know that there is an answer to this question. Sometimes stuff happens, people make choices, and then there is fallout for those left behind to try their best to reconcile what has happened. There are no winners or losers in suicide. It just is. Billy graham, who I don’t follow at all, once said that in war not one single causualty was wrong because we are all gonna die at some point. Those who died in war only died earlier than expected. This is probably true for suicide, too.

      • I think we’re all entitled to our own opinions, and the purpose of my entire piece was just to open people’s minds to have more acceptance.

  4. It’s not always that pain is too much to handle for a person. And suicide is not necessarily an escape. Suicide might be used as a way to give up because a person is tired of trying. For Sierra it could have been multiple things but I knew her mind pretty personally and I believe it was a method of discovering that people cared. Suicide was used to gain attention, maybe in order to fight back in a way to make people who were causing her to feel bad, feel bad themselves.

    • It’s such a controversial topic, so misunderstood, that often I’m not entirely sure what my own opinion is. That’s why I asked so many questions – I’m attempting to open the mind of readers. Sometimes I even regret this piece because I do not want to disrespect those that experience a pain I cannot fathom.

      As for Sierra, I wonder what could’ve been done.

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