There isn’t just one reason why people commit suicide. So we cannot offer one solution for people to reconsider taking their own life. Everyone is different, everyone’s circumstances are different, everyone’s psyche is different. I’m not going to regale you with all the reasons people may commit suicide in efforts to explain why they felt death was the only solution to their problems. Problems plural.
Here’s what I will say: your personal issues are real. No matter how big or small. I joke about my first world problems because to me they’re funny. This morning I couldn’t find a place to store my outdoor furniture cushions ahead of a storm. That’s not a real problem, so it’s funny to complain about it. For the most part, I live a lovely life. Still, as a human being I too have problems.
Everyone understands how arduous and heartbreaking life can be, regardless of economic circumstances. Read the previous sentence again. Especially if you’ve ever said or thought the following post-hearing of a celebrity suicide: “They were rich and famous, what did they have to be sad about?!” Because I heard the same sentiment repeated following Robin William’s suicide. “He lived in a mansion and had millions, but I’m [insert sob story about how brave and hardworking you are] and I’ve not killed myself!”
Not helpful. Not helpful to anyone, including you.
People sometimes abstain from seeking help out of fear of dismissal. I call it the “It could be worse, though” conversation. You’ve likely heard it or used it against someone. It goes something like this: “I had the worst day. My boss ripped me a new a-hole because I didn’t staple a cover sheet to the TPS memo.” To which your friend replies: “Have some perspective, at least you have a job.”
Not helpful. Not only was the first person shut down, he/she was told his/her problem didn’t matter in the scheme of things. Now multiply the scheme of things times the rest of their life.
Let me interject myself into this for a second. I had a personal crisis years ago in which my home (a sailboat at the time) was severely damaged, but I still had to live in it. An idiot on the internet then told me in so many words: “It could be worse, at least you didn’t die on September 11th.” A hole in my bedroom had nothing to do with a terrorist attack. Dying is worse than having a hole in a bedroom. Obviously. Just because “it could be worse” doesn’t mean the hole shouldn’t be fixed, or the a hole still wasn’t a problem.
Say, for example, you sliced your thumb while cooking. You’re bleeding all over your new William Sonoma hand towels. The solution is not for some dingus to say “Hey, it could be worse, you could’ve lost a leg due to an Iraqi IED.” You still need to get your finger sewn up. Even if someone else has it worse.
Problems in your life need to be addressed, not dismissed. Not dismissed by a not-helpful friend, not by you. First, you need to talk to someone about those real problems, small as they may seem “in the scheme of things.” Someone you can trust who won’t dismiss you while propping themselves up.
You have problems. Yes, you, the person reading this post. You may even be depressed, either about your problems or just depressed. You may have a six-figure salary and a Tesla on order. And yet you’re filled with sadness, emptiness, or you just feel mediocre. Sometimes everything being just okay is worse than feeling happy or sad. Whatever feeling you’re filled with, don’t dismiss it. Don’t try to bury it. Your body and mind cannot triage problems forever. Even if you have, according to society, it all. You’re a human being, and life can be a hell of a place, even for the very best of us.
Suicide isn’t the answer. It’s not the answer for you, it’s not the answer for the rich and famous. It’s not the answer for the middle-class. It’s not the answer for the poor. It’s not a solution for the old, the young, the dying. Your life has value, even if for some reason you don’t think it does.
Someone who believes themselves to be original/clever will say something like “What about a serial killer, shouldn’t they kill themselves, LOL.”
Not the time.
Feeling helpless, sad, lost, and meaningless are not as uncommon as some would have you believe. But if you’re feeling that way, if you’re feeling suicidal, do not let others dismiss your feelings or your problems. Reach out to someone who won’t brush you with a simple platitude. If you don’t have that person in your life, reach out to a professional in your area, someone who can respond promptly. I wouldn’t advise going to social media. Comment sections are where hope goes to get trashed. In fact maybe if you’re feeling terrible, get off the internet.
If you can’t find a mental health professional, or you cannot afford one, please seek out a priest, minister, rabbi, or even the receptionist at a local church. They will help you. They will take you seriously.
Before you unplug from the net, if that’s what you’ve decided to do, here’s the link to the suicide prevention website. Their number: 1-800-253-8255.