Suicide : Let's Start a Conversation

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I am interested in why suicide is such a taboo subject in Western society.These are the reasons I think it makes people uncomfortable.

People don't want to imagine losing their own partner/child/parent to suicide.

Thinking about someone you love dying brings us pain and sadness. Imagining what it would be like to live without our partner, our child or our parents is not something we willingly do. Even if illness or old age is the cause of death, loss, grief and bereavement are experiences we would rather not think about.

People think that people who commit suicide have gone to hell.

Religion states that taking a life is a sin against God, and taking your own life condemns your soul to hell. People are unable to find words of comfort or support when they imagine the deceased is now enduring eternal torment. (Just so you know -- there IS NO HELL).

People blame everyone else except the person who committed suicide.

We are taught that it is unkind to speak ill of the dead, so we would rather make the "cause" of suicide something or someone outside of the person who died. This blame is transferred to the person closest to the deceased. People find it difficult to feel sorry for the person left behind when that person must have contributed in some way to the suicide. (Just so you know -- it is no-one's fault. Everyone makes their own decisions).


People are reminded of their own mortality.

Most of us want to live forever. Most of us want a long and healthy life. We are scared that some disease or accident will cut short our lives. We want to forget that we are mortal and death comes to everyone.

People have their own suicide stories.

Most people know someone who has committed suicide or have contemplated suicide themselves. They have never been able to express how they are really feeling about this silent epidemic. Talking about suicide brings up all the buried emotions they have fought so hard to suppress. They are ashamed of their own suicidal thoughts or the trauma they have experienced being a survivor.

There are more deaths from suicide than traffic accidents.
There are more deaths from suicide than traffic accidents.

Let's Start a Conversation

Suicide is a disease. A mental illness can be fatal. If someone has depression, borderline personality disorder or even an eating disorder then without treatment their diseased brains can convince them they would be better off dead. It is the same as cancer. My husband lost his battle with a mental illness. He never got treatment, but even if he did, there are no guarantees that he would still be alive. All I want is for people to treat me the same way they would if he had died from a heart attack.

Blame is pointless. Shame is destructive. Healing comes through honesty and compassion.

Why do you find suicide difficult to talk about?

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Comments 12 comments

Margaret Moon 5 years ago

Suicide is hard to talk about because it is desperately sad. Life is so precious and when a person develops the all or nothing thought disorder that leads to the belief that there is no other way out, we are sad that we couldn't help them. Are you American? Some subjects have to be treated with great reserve and compassion. This is one of them. Please discontinue this or rewrite your article in less flippant terms.

Thanks

Margaret


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KatieP ThinEnough 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia Author

Dear Margaret

It wasn't my intention to offend you. I'm not American (although I'm not sure what that's got to do with it) but Australian.

I don't agree that I should treat this subject with "great reserve" nor will I stop speaking with this voice of mine that you regard as flippant. I've walked a path I wish that no one has to walk, and although my response to suicide may be different to yours, it is still valid.

Thank you for taking the time to comment. You are right, suicide is very sad.


ozflick 5 years ago

I feel that until we can all acccept each other as fellow humans no matter what our beliefs and show compassion for all no matter what paths our lives have taken us can we truly understand the perplexities of the issue.

Those of us who have been affected by suicide all have a different story to tell. Our relationships with the persons who took their own life was individual and uniques and unfortunately in a relationship between 2 people those 2 people are the only ones that know the truth about that relationship, and even then they will both have different perspectives. The problem lies when those who do not have first hand knowledge pass judgement.

"Warped" thoughts are what causes someone to take their own life, to believe that in death lies their only relief, and unfortunately when they have made this decision they can go to great lengths to conceal it, and so to those on the outside it may seem that those who are close have "caused" or contributed to a persons death, in reality they are only relating to that person in a way that they may have always done or in a way that to anyone who is in a healthy state of mind would be able to cope with but to those who are on that path it can confirm their tragic toughts.

So to get a greater understanding of the bigger picture we all have to see ourselves as being a piece in each others puzzles of life and not be scared of talking about death or difficult subjects especially if we can see it as being a help in piecing together someone elses difficult life puzzle.


KatieA 5 years ago

Margaret,

I think you've misunderstood the intention here (and I'm with KatieP - not sure where the Americans come into this?). KatieP is trying to open the debate and conversation about suicide, not denying it's sadness or the pain it causes.

The biggest killer of young men and women today is suicide. Not drugs, not car crashes, not skin cancer - yet those topics are all openly talked about and campaigns run to decrease their impact. KatieP raises the point of why don't we talk about suicide in the same way?

Isn't it just as sad if someone dies from a car crash at 25, or takes their own life? They're both incredibly painful and horrific for everyone involved - the car crash will make the news, the suicide will not - but can't both be preventable?


Fi from NZ 5 years ago

I too walk the path as a widow of suicide...it is not something I would wish on anyone and I will spend the rest of my days trying to stop others joining this lonely "club". The stigma of suicide is so strong that if you speak out about your experiences, or even speak of suicide at all, you are somehow to be feared. Suicide is not contagious but ignorance is! Like KatieP I refuse to be silent I must speak out for those who no longer can - if by talking one life is saved then it is well worth the discomfort of those that pretend it isn't a problem. 35,040 people die EVERY year in the world by suicide...that is 1 person every 66 seconds. In my country (New Zealand) there are more people dying by suicide than on our roads - and these are just the reported suicides (not the sole occupant driver crashes, "accidental overdoses" and various other unusual or out of character accidents resulting in death). Our media is not allowed to report about suicide and the death toll continues to rise. Not talking about it ISN'T working - we all need to stand up and speak bout this cancer of the soul/mind and let our communities know that it is not a sign of weakness to ask for help - it takes great strength to reveal yourself in this way.


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KatieP ThinEnough 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia Author

@ozflick, KatieA and Fi -- thank you so much for sharing your experiences and thoughts.


Papaya 5 years ago

I am a teenage cutter. My actions such as slicing my wrist suggest that I've thought about suicide. Yes, I have my reasons, but I live, not for myself, but for my family and friends. It's difficult and I hate life, but I guess that I'm just too much of a coward to be selfish and only consider my own feelings. The psychology of a wounded mind isn't something that an inexperienced person can easily enter, but you did an okay job, so I commend you.


Ann 5 years ago

I lost my brother a few months ago to suicide,he was depressed that his sister had abused him sexually years ago, though she was a victim of sexual abuse herself & was perhaps led wrong in life to what happened her, to cause her to perpretrate such an act herself on her brother. Do you think what happened to her may be her reasons for doing what she done, she never ever abused anyone else, is a caring person & was always remorseful for what happened, feels she was not in self control. Is this possible she had lost her selfcontrol to right & wrong?? Now she is being blamed for his suicide & is finding it difficult family blame her.. Can you help or advise please..


Amanda 5 years ago

Ann, I can tell you a few things from experience... I believe that going through sexual abuse at a young age can open a door to act in the same manner in some cases. I was sexually abused by my baby sitters daughter when I was about 5. She was a year younger than me. I strongly believe something happened to her and that was what made her do what she did to me. What has to be kept in mind is that she was a child. Her brain was far from maturity. She wouldn't have known anything about "the game" if someone else hadn't showed her in some way. I do believe there is an age of accountability when you truly know what is right or wrong, but chose to act anyway.

On another note, I have dealt with depression since I was 13. I'm 25 now. I was hospitalized at 14 on 3 different occasions for suicide attempts. About a year and a half ago I sought help again. It is true that we don't live for ourselves, but for others as someone else commented. I am at the point now where my medications are not working as they should. I'm on a lot of meds. I fight the battle every day for the people I love because I know what they would go through. The thing that rings clearest in my mind is my mother saying "don't let this be the last time I tell you I love you". There are good days and bad, but there are more bad days. I'm a Christian. I know that the repercussions could very well be hell. As hard as it is to say, there are days I would prefer it. I'm tired. I'm tired of the pain, the conflict, the emended suffering... I'm still here though. I wouldn't say I'm living every day, but I'm here... For them. Because my love for them is stronger than my longing to cease to exist here. There are days where I count down the hours until it's "appropriate" to sleep because sleep is my escape from myself. I feel contagious. I hide a lot because I don't want to drag anyone else down with me. It's my battle. I know they love me, but I'm the one that must fight to survive. It will always be a struggle. I hold on to the most precious moments I am blessed enough to have. Those moments are everything to me. I'm lost though. I'm a fighter, and I long to have normalcy. I'm not sure what to do though. When nothing is working when you want them help where do you turn? I've been thinking about ECL, but there are risks. I could lose some of my memory. The man I love could be completely erased from me. It's 10pm though. So I have made it through another day. I will sleep with some hope that tomorrow will be better. I don't know if this helped, but it is utter honesty. It gives you a small glimpse into what goes through my mind in just 20 minutes of the day.

-Amanda


Amanda 5 years ago

Excuse me, ECT.


gb 4 years ago

My life has took a turn for the worst and I can't take it anymore I lost my family and have been shut out of their lives. I miss my kids and my ex I didn't want to separate from them. It hurts so bad I'm no longer happy and I need them back. Without them I'd rather not live.


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KatieP ThinEnough 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia Author

gb, you are loved more than you'll ever know. I understand that it's hard, but keep going because tomorrow might be the day everything changes.

If you're struggling, please talk to someone -- you don't need to do this on your own x

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