“But in the end one needs more courage to live than to kill himself.”
― Albert Camus
Anyone who’s lost a loved one to suicide knows how uniquely painful and confusing it can be. The death of Robin Williams opened the conversation again about how someone seems to ‘have it all’ can still choose to take their own lives.
On a recent episode of Rise UP with B. Dave Walters we talked extensively about: Suicide, hitting bottom, and making sense of the senseless. What to do when you hit rock bottom, and how to get back up again; how to face problems without giving up; why people choose to take their own lives, and much, much, more.
So for us here today, the first thing that has to be addressed is why anyone chooses to take their own life. And the answer is simple, but not necessarily easy to accept. People choose to end their lives for one reason, and one reason only: Because they are in so much pain, and as they look ahead into the future they see no hope of things getting better, and probably getting worse. And so faced with that, death seems preferable.
While I would not label suicide as ‘selfish’, the truth is it is supremely short sighted It is a permanent solution to temporary problems. As you look back over your life, think about how many things that seemed like catastrophes at the time, can be laughed about now. Even major, seemingly ‘incurable’ illnesses may have new treatments or cures right around the corner. Sometimes the hope of a better tomorrow is all we need to keep going; but hope cannot be given, it can only be chosen.
The most important thing to remember is, if you have someone who’s talked about suicide: Listen to them. It really may be they are only talking this way ‘for attention’, or as a plea for help, but understand that it only takes about 30 seconds to make a very permanent mistake. Many bridge jumpers and other suicide survivors have said they regretted it the moment that they jumped, but more often than not, it’s too late by then.
However, it’s not up to you to ‘save’ them. Yes, you want to remind them of how important they are to you, and how much of a difference they make in your life; but if you are sure they are considering hurting themselves, you’ve GOT to get them professional help. Tell a teacher, priest, or someone you trust that can make a difference. And don’t be worried about possibly breaching their trust by telling someone; I can tell you from firsthand experience that having them be mad at you, but *alive* is much, much, better than the alternative.
And one final thing: If you are considering ending your life, I would only say this: Please don’t. The simple act of you being alive is influencing people around you ways you can never imagine, and no one will feel better off if you are gone. The very things that seem like catastrophes now may be the seeds of your destiny.
And if you aren’t sure how to make yourself feel better, look for people who are worse off than you (I guarantee you won’t have to look far), and work to ease their suffering. It’s impossible to make other people feel better without feeling better yourself.
That’s the thing about life: It has to be lived forward, but tends to only make sense in retrospect!
And by the way, if you need help: In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, I promise you they can help.
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B. Dave Walters Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host
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