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Monthly Archives: March 2012

One of the best documentaries on any subject that I’ve ever seen is the 2011 film originally aired on BBC 4, “Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die.”  As its title suggests, the documentary looks at two UK citizens travelling to Switzerland to have an assisted death.  The presenter is someone who will probably not be alive much longer, author Sir Terry Pratchett.  He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s back in 2007.  Since then, he has lost the ability to type and now dictates his works to an assistant.

Oh, I hear you. “Hang on — isn’t this a strange film to recommend on a blog called ReasonsNotToCommitSuicide?”  Well, it’s not.  Here’s why:

  • People considering suicide are going to be curious as to what the euthanasia process is like.  I know I am.
  • The documentary shows the effects a person dying has on their families and the viewer’s own reactions.  You get to know the two people who are dead at the end of the film.
  • You get to know the difference between euthanasia and suicide.  The film does not endorse suicide for people with mental illness such as depression, even though this is allowed in Switzerland.  The two Brits who chose to die had incurable terminal (and painful) illnesses.

Another point made in the film was by the founder of Dignitas, a Swiss non-profit group that arranges assisted deaths by poison.  Many people who contact Digitas and begin finding out about the group’s services decide not to die.  They seem to feel stronger knowing that they still had the option to die.

People with mental illness have trouble thinking clearly about just how good or bad they feel.  I know I do.  Most of the days of my life I wish I was dead.  But I’m glad I’m still alive for one reason — I can take care of my crippled Mom.  Because I take care of her, she can stay in her own house.  I think if I commit suicide while she’s still alive (or if my dogs were still alive) that would be an incredibly selfish thing to do because no one would be able to take care of them.

Chances are, there is someone who relies on you, too.

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One reason why people want to commit suicide is because they feel that no one cares about their problems. This feeling, sadly enough, is often factual, especially for senior citizens.  I must emphasize that not everyone is in this position.  Some children or young adults feel that no one cares — but often their parents or relatives do.

If they try to talk to someone about what’s bothering them, they are often told, “Who cares!  Get over it!”  Many friends are only fair-weather friends that only want to hear pleasantries and not problems.  People have so many problems of their own that they really haven’t the time or patience to listen to yours.

If you are like me then you have one person that you can talk to SOME of your problems to, but not all of your problems.  For example, not many people are comfortable talking about sexual problems with their parents.  And, quite frankly, not many parents want to hear that their chid is sexually active (even if the child is 53.)  But many people do not have someone who they can safely share all of their problems with and not get chewed out, ignored or lectured to.

This is why there are doctors and therapists.  They are paid to listen to you, remember what you say and help find you solutions.  So what if they care about your problems for selfish reasons such as getting paid?  That’s better than nothing!

You can also talk to a pet.  The pet will be there and listen.  That’s more than 99% of humans will do.  That pet then becomes the reason not to commit suicide.

People suck.  If you’re considering suicide, discovering that people suck is probably one of the main reasons that started you leaning towards suicide in the first place.  If you’re dead, you won’t have to deal with these stupid fucks anymore.  It’s a tempting prospect.

But if you die, there’s still no guarantee that you can be by yourself.  If you’re religious, then suicide is considered a sin, breaking the commandment against killing. You may not wind up going to heaven if you commit suicide because you can’t ask for forgiveness when you’re dead.  Even if you don’t believe in heaven or hell, you could still wind up stuck with stupid morons when dying.

The theory goes like this:  when the brain dies, it begins to hallucinate due to lack of oxygen.  But it also releases large amounts of endorphins or “happy hormones.”  Theoretically, your last moment of existence is a powerful dream that seemingly lasts for eternity.

Just your sodding luck that there may be a wanker there in that dream with you.  No matter how many therapy sessions I have or how much meditation I do, I bet that last dream of mine will contain my abusive ex.  I’m looking forward to ripping the tongue out of his head.  But I’m in no rush to enter my final dream.

You might as well stay alive to piss the wankers off.  Pissing wankers off can be fun, as long as you break any laws.  Try it!  What have you got to lose?  You may find that it’s a great reason to live!

If you think you have problems, just take a look at the story of Nick.  He’s a gifted piano player, but also has suffered from Tourette’s syndrome since the age of 7.  This 49 minute documentary looks at the link between madness and creativity.  The main message is that there are no hopeless cases, even for people with Tourette’s syndrome.  Another message is that an increase in dopamine may also increase the drive to create.  Although dopamine can be purchased over the counter, too much dopamine can make you paranoid and delusional.

Mad But Glad

(The above link will take you to YouTube.)

Don’t feel guilty about wanting to commit suicide

You hear about it in the news or on the street corner.  “Did you hear? Jim died. He shot himself! Him — of all people! He was the last person I thought of who would commit suicide.”

I had an uncle who shot himself.  Uncle George was a World War II veteran (he survived the Battle of the Bulge), he survived polio, came home and within ten years blew his head off with his younger brother’s gun.  Nowadays, it’s no wonder Uncle George shot hmself.  He saw the horrors of war; he had polio and his wife had just left him.

But in the early 1950s, men did not talk to anyone about wanting to commit suicide.  You were considered insane if you did.  When Uncle George died, Granddad refused to let anyone in the family talk about him.  I never found out about Uncle George until Granddad died because no one in the family dared to talk about Uncle George — even after Granddad moved to Florida.  But Granddad’s attitude persists today.

There is a great stigma attached to wanting to commit suicide.  If you want to die, you are considered selfish, cowardly or (depending on your religion) sinful.  This social stigma can prevent people from getting help so that they do not commit suicide.

If you feel like you want to end your life, please talk to someone.  If talking to a family member or co-worker is off-putting (“They’ll think I’m crazy!”) then talk to your doctor.  Doctors have to keep what you say confidential.  Don’t feel guilty about thinking or imagining how to kill to yourself.  Just talk to someone about how you feel and why you think that death is the only solution.  You may find that you have a lot more choices than suicide or suffering in silence.

I think most people consider suicide at least once in their lives, but they don’t want to admit it.  I haven’t found any studies to back me up on that hypothesis, though.

I wish I had met my Uncle George.  I would not have been able to cure his depression but I certainly understood why he shot himself.  At least I could have told him that I knew what he was going through.  It surprises me that no one in the family or his friends told him that.  That may have made the difference.

(Obviously, the suicide attempt didn’t work.)

It was April, 2003.  I was living in the woods outside of Bath, England with my psycho alcoholic homeless boyfriend.  I had bet on a horse in the Grand National in a vain attempt to get money for food.  The horse not only lost, he didn’t even finish the race.  Since I was an illegal alien, I couldn’t get a job.

The boyfriend had been berating me for hours.  Eating wasn’t an option since I didn’t have any food and sleeping was not possible, since he would shake me awake if I ever nodded off.  He sat outside our bender or makeshift dwelling in the woods under an ancient horse chestnut, drank and kept loudly listing my faults.  Since I had left America for the UK, I had no friends or family to turn to.

I felt as if life couldn’t get any worse (WRONG) so I closed up the bender flaps, clogged up the chimney of the little metal stove and lit a fire.  All of the smoke that should have gone out of the chimney instead went into the bender.  All of the oxygen in the bender promptly vanished.

You know those movies where a damsel in a burning building is suddenly overcome with smoke and passes out?  Looks like a quick, painless death, doesn’t it?  Don’t you believe it!

Your body will fight tooth and nail to remain conscious.  (Well — it feels like teeth and nails are ripping into your lungs, eyes and nose.) You will begin to vomit (or, if your stomach is empty, dry heaves.)  Do you really want to shuffle off of this mortal coil throwing up?

The pain was so intense that I couldn’t take it any more.  I crawled out of the bender and gasped for air.  My boyfriend finally figured out that I had been trying to kill myself and laughed.  I was too dumb to commit suicide, he said.

The next day, I staggered to the local homeless day centre, Julian House, and asked for help.  And got it, in the form of medication and regular counseling.   My hair smelled like wood smoke for about a week.  I also left my boyfriend — about a year and a half later.   That’s another story.  Although I have thought about committing suicide since then, I have not acted on the thoughts since that horrible April day in 2003.

If I can do it, you can, too.  If you aren’t sure where to get help, please dial an operator or one of the suicide prevention hotlines listed on this blog.