A co-worker took me to lunch today. It was very nice, especially since I was a little upset that I am unable to attend my DBT group this afternoon. It kept me distracted and not thinking about what I was missing. On the way back to the office, somehow the topic of our conversation landed on suicide. My co-worker (who is an older country lady) started ranting and raving about how horrible suicide is. Not for the person suffering so much that they turn to suicide, but for the loved ones left after the hurting person kills themselves. She kept saying how it is such a selfish thing to do, and how horrible it is that the person didn’t think of their family and kids.
I really wanted to speak up, especially as one who has seriously contemplated suicide in the not-so-distant past. I didn’t, though. I wimped out.
What I WANTED to say was that of COURSE the person who killed themselves didn’t think of their family or loved ones. Of COURSE they didn’t! They were too focused on the pain. When you are considering suicide, all you can think about is how much it hurts to continue with your life. All you can think about is how painful it is to live, and whether you have the strength to continue.
My co-worker said, “I don’t care how bad TODAY is, tomorrow will always be better.” Obviously that was said by someone who doesn’t struggle with mental illness or extreme emotional pain. When I was considering suicide, I couldn’t see that things would get better. All I could see was how bad things were, and that there didn’t seem to be a way out. There was no “light at the end of the tunnel” in my damaged mind.
Of course I am not condoning suicide. I just think that everyone needs to really consider what all may be going on that they can’t see. My co-worker thought suicide was the worst possible thing a person could do. How selfish and foolish a person would be to even consider killing themselves. Here’s my thought, and what others need to contemplate before shooting off their mouths: How bad must it be for that person to think about ending their life? How incredibly despondent and hopeless must they feel to think killing themselves is the proper alternative to living? Again, I am NOT saying that suicide is right and good and fine and acceptable. But maybe what that person needs is a little kindness and compassion if they threaten suicide. Judgment is not going to keep them from hurting themselves. It may very well just drive them over the edge.