Sunday, April 5, 2009

Suicide Ponderings

I was doing some reading about suicide this afternoon, and came across this screed over at

Suicide is Never an Option

by Kevin Caruso

I have talked with several suicidal people who have said something like this: "If things don't work out I can always kill myself. I always have that option."

Suicide is not an option. And the type of mindset that accompanies this type of statement needs to be changed immediately.

People who make that type of statement would never say: "If so-and-so doesn't shape up, I'll just kill him. I always have that option." Sounds ridiculous doesn't it? So, why is it so easy for some people to believe that taking their own life is okay? That suicide is an option?

Because of a mental disorder--People with depression, or a similar disorder, cannot think straight because they have a chemical imbalance in their brain. And almost everyone who is suicidal has a mental disorder.

So it is critical that people get treatment so their thinking will change.

If you need help because you have a similar mindset, then get help now.

Do not delay.

Take a step back and analyze your thinking. What is really going on in your mind? What kind of self-talk do you engage in?

Do you say to yourself: "Suicide is always an option"? or "I can always kill myself if I need to"? or "If things don't get better, I'll kill myself"?

If your thinking is even close to that, then please get help. Call 1-800-SUICUDE now if you need to. The sooner you get help, the better.

Be honest with yourself. If you need help, get it. And get it now.

And remember that suicide is never, under any circumstances, an option.

Note the blatantly paternalistic assertions based on...what? Personal preference? Cultural indoctrination? Unconsidered presuppositionalism? God’s moving finger? And what’s with the 1-800-SUICUDE? LOL! Anyhow, all this got me to thinking- since we’re all destined to die anyway, what’s all the fuss? Why is tomorrow better than today, or next year better than next week? Isn’t an appropriate analogy one where we’ve been pushed out of an airplane, and are being impassionately admonished to flap our arms until we hit the ground? What is there, if anything, that sets this attitude apart from fundamental denialism? Oh, and I love the way the guy equates suicide with murder! One can only wonder if he typed this with a straight face.

Of course, there IS the argument that our deaths cause others to suffer, but that’s the case regardless of WHEN we die. I suppose it could be argued that it’s worse if young children are involved, but that’s only saying that death stings less the more people grow inured to the realities of life, and what does THAT say about the realities of life? Isn’t this just another justification for suicide? There’s the matter of foisting the ‘suicide stigma’ upon surviving loved ones; but again, isn’t that stigma a result of societal reinforcement, making the negative attitude towards suicide the real perversity, and not the suicide itself? It all seems twisted somehow, an attempt to displace our own selfishness, and to anchor it to the object of our selfishness. And there’s this whole air of self-righteousness about the matter, as if delaying the inevitable amounts to the fulfillment of some holy mandate...all done for the potential suicide’s own good, of course. And if that potential suicide goes on to live another 3 or 4 or 5 decades in misery, why, it’s just a work in progress, is all, because NOTHING is worse than suicide, because...well...well...because there’s always hope, and death never solves anything. Well, until it comes, and it does solve everything. At least, it solves everything for the one who dies. And we all die. Every fucking one of us.

Of course, solutions are only necessary as far as problems are concerned. When life ends, the need for solutions vanishes. And if we stopped bringing life into the world, we’d never need those solutions in the first place. Life is like an unhealable wound that just keeps bleeding, and bleeding, and bleeding, but we’re too stupid, or stubborn, or afraid to stop administering transfusions, though all of us know we’re dealing with an ultimately hopeless case. Because it’s all about us, you see, our own fears of mortality, and the way we fend it off through fantasies of vicarious continuity through succeeding generations of little girls and boys, to whom we teach the very same lesson. It’ll be alright. Everything works out for the best. The sun’ll come out tomorrow. And my personal favorite, we’re all God’s chilluns. What a royal crock of shit.

P.S. I ESPECIALLY love the assertion that suicidal thoughts are always the result of some kind of mental disorder. Couldn't it be just as possible that depression is often the result of too much truth burning out the coping mechanisms that keep the wheels turning? I've written about some of this here.

P.S.S. You know, this guy is really starting to piss me off. After equating thoughts of suicide with thoughts of murder, he goes on in another place to assure us that suicide is nothing like murder. I often run into this sort of compartmentalized thinking with religious apologists. Offer whatever answer happens to fit a particular situation, or discussion, and to hell with consistency or a coherent philosophical position. There should be a name for this sort of thing. How's 'situational pontification' sound?


Anonymous said...

I love this blog <3

estnihil said...

Sorry for commenting so late, but I'd have to say this is the best rebuttal of anti-suicide preaching I've ever heard.

Karl said...

The best ever description of suicide comes from Peter Wessel Zapffe, who called it "a natural death from spiritual causes".