...... same passion.
I had a discussion this past weekend that I've had several times before.
It's a discussion that I am so passionate about ...... that it brings tears every single time it occurs.
All it takes is four words.
Four words that set me off quicker than most any other words can (unless they're negative words about my children).
"Suicide is so selfish."
That's all it takes to make me whip my head around and set the record straight.
The first thing I instantly know about a person who utters those words is this:
None. They have never, ever experienced anything close to real depression. They have never grieved the loss of half of their selves, of the person they loved most in the world, of the future as they imagined it.
They've never grieved hard. For a spouse, a child ...... for anyone.
Because once you've grieved that kind of loss ...... you know those four words are nothing but a judgmental, ignorant lie.
Here is what I believe.
No ...... here is what I know.
The person who uses suicide to end his/her life (for the majority ... I realize that there are always exceptions) is NOT making a choice based on selfishness. In fact, I don't believe that it's actually a choice for that person.
That's difficult to understand unless you have experienced such deep, deep, painful depression.
It's a depression that causes so much pain that the person thinks they cannot take one more minute of it. Every breath brings pain. There is no future ahead of them ..... only very cold, very dark blackness. Darker than the deepest cave.
Not only is the pain (emotional and physical many times) too much to endure, but there is a sure knowledge that every single loved one would be so much better off if they no longer had to deal with this depressed, hopeless, future-less person.
When someone is that depressed, this thought is more than a thought. It's a fact.
So the act of taking one's own life not only ends their pain (and they believe it's the ONLY way to stop the pain), it also ends the "suffering" that everyone else is going through by being around them. Suicide, as seen by this person, is a way to put everyone in a much better place. It's not selfish at all ...... it's the most selfless act they can think of. No longer will other people have to be "dragged down" with him/her. Everyone ...... every single person (yes, even their child/ren) will be so much happier, and have a better chance for a happier future, if they don't have to take care of a depressed person with no hope and no future ...... and nothing to give.
When those thoughts come to someone, the act of suicide is no longer a choice. In the majority of cases, suicide is not planned.
It occurs because of where that person is, down in the bottom of that cave, and because something happens which causes them to just "snap". Something as ordinary as cleaning out a linen closet that's covered in dust because the house is being re-modeled. One look at how much dust there actually is can make a depressed, widowed person's mind just snap, and that snap brings the sudden, certain knowledge that they can't take anything else. Not for one more second. From that point it's like their actions are on "automatic". There is no choice. There is just the knowledge that this HAS to stop. And there is only way one to make it stop. It's like the mind can now only focus on this one thing and it forces the body to follow along. It sometimes is almost like this person becomes a robot and follows the brain's command, no questions asked. No thought of questioning it. Just following it and stopping the pain.
I know that in my "before" ...... I was one of those ignorant people. I didn't understand what depression actually was ...... what it could do to someone. I just thought all you had to do was "pick yourself up by your bootstraps" and move forward.
I am ashamed of the "before me" for such thoughts.
But I had no experience with depression ...... or death, really.
And then ...... I did.
My life, as I knew it, ended. In less than 24 hours my "before" turned into my "after".
And soon after than ...... I was no longer ignorant.
I understood ...... all too well.
So now I am passionate about helping others understand.
Others who've had no experience, lucky them.
I don't believe that everyone needs to experience this hell-on-earth kind of grief to understand.
They just need people like me ...... like you.
They need people like us to explain it to them.
To tell them exactly what I've written here.
To set the record straight.
I will continue to be passionate about this topic.
And most likely ...... I'll continue to cry when I passionately talk to someone about it.
But I'm ok with that.
Because the record does indeed need to be set straight.
I hope others will join me ...... in having the same discussion.
With the same passion.