Monday, July 8, 2013

Suicide,....Why not talk about it?

Whenever someone commits suicide it is rarely talked about. I mean honestly, you all know that we whisper the word. I don't think it has much to do with the word itself. It's all about the act of taking your own life. It is simply taboo. I don't care what the circumstances are, someone in the crowd is offended and judgmental on everyone else's behalf. Most people would rather not even talk about it. it is easier to just say, "Oh she passed away." And leave it open ended and ominous than it is to say, "She killed herself."

I have heard of three people that I know in the past 6 months that have committed suicide due to their chronic illness. Two of them had MS and one had Lupus. I am absolutely heart broken over this. I hear people say that "There is never a reason to commit suicide." Religious people will quote the bible and scream scriptures when it comes to taking your own life.If ONLY it were that simple.

The truth is, suicide is a very personal decision. It doesn't involve anyone else but the person that's doing it. Is it selfish? Is it terrible? Is it a last resort?: Is it terrifying? It's quite possibly all of that. But most importantly, it is an option. An option that we should never want anyone to have to choose. An option that leaves so many unanswered questions and broken hearts. An option that can whisper to you in the lowest and darkest times of your life. An option that many with chronic illness may never choose but may often consider.

I am not a psychiatrist. I am not a doctor. I am a person that knows what constant, chronic debilitating pain feels like. I am a patient that has been told that the doctors have done all that they can do. I am a person that has suffered with the strains of physical and emotional distress for over 10 years. I know what suicidal thoughts are like. I know that no matter how happy your life may seem to others, the unknown haunts you when no one else is around. The thoughts of being paralyzed, unable to speak, unable to care for yourself, cross your mind when you want so badly to be happy.

I spoke with my friends daughter three weeks ago. Her mom took her life back in March. She was 48 years old. Her daughter was explaining to me how depressed her mom had been before her death. She said that even though she was sad, nobody ever expected her to take her life. That resonates with me. I feel like nobody ever expects anyone to take their own life. WE just are not wired to consider that someone we care about could be that unhappy, sad, distraught. Her daughter told me that she and her siblings felt guilty. They felt as if there was more they could have done. I have no answers for that. I have no idea what else could have been done. I just know that for my friend, in that moment, there was nothing else left to do.

People are suffering around us in ways that we can not imagine.  It may not always be illness. It could be finances, loneliness, depression, mental illness, and on and on. The thing we have to understand is suicide is very real and it is something that people are considering right in front of us. WE shouldn't whisper about it. We shouldn't prefer not to discuss it. We should understand that something that makes us uncomfortable to think about does not go away because we don't talk about it. Many years ago, when Cancer was very hard to live through, people considered it a death sentence. Some referred to it as the "C." Some would not even say that much. They would simply raise their brows or curl their lips  instead of saying the word Cancer. But oddly enough everyone around knew what the person was silently saying. Did Cancer go away or slow down because it was whispered or not openly discussed? No it did not. However through charity events, fundraisers, PSA'S, pamphlets, screenings, celebrity involvement, medical research and determination, we love to hear about the survivors of the "C." We no longer are afraid to say we have it nor are we afraid to talk about it.

I am not saying Cancer and suicide are the same. I am saying we can go ahead and talk about something that is not going to go away just because we ignore it, whisper about it, or even throw the bible at it. It is real. It is effecting our children, our families, our neighbors, and us.

I mourn my family and friends that have died of cancer, ALS, MS, car wrecks, tumors, heart attacks. I will miss them so very much. However I mourn my friends that took their own lives just as much and I will miss them very much also. At the end of the day, I am not here to judge how someone dies but I still have to deal with the death. Their choice to not deal with their version of pain is their choice. It isn't about  me. I wish it wasn't possible to kill yourself, I honestly do wish that. But I wish MS was curable and it isn't.

Perhaps we need to start talking about suicide. Perhaps we need to be honest and open about the pain we feel to the people we love. Maybe we should say, "I am having some unhealthy thoughts, I am thinking of hurting myself, I am ready to give up." And maybe reaching out and making ourselves available to those that we know are hurting at least offers up another option to them. I just feel like NOT TALKING ABOUT IT, isn't stopping it from happening. Sometimes TALKING ABOUT IT really can make a difference.


#suicide #chronicillness #pain #depression #loss

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