I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Don’t worry, I’m not contemplating doing the act itself. I mean, I’ve been thinking about why people commit it. Why someone might choose to end the only thing we have ever come to know: our existence. What feelings drive a person to want to end their own life, how these feelings develop, if anyone or anything is to blame and if anything can be done to help those who are contemplating such a thing.
What emotions can cause a person to believe that a permanent escape is the only solution? Sadness, hopelessness for the future, self loathing, anger, hatred… The list could go on. There is no one cause for feeling this way and no one way to accurately feel the emotions surrounding the act of becoming suicidal. So how am I to understand? I too feel these emotions, as I’m sure we all do, but luckily for the majority these feelings don’t last. They eventually fade away or get replaced with much more pleasant emotions. So what makes a suicidal person different? Why does their emotional state not pick back up again? Why is the ‘off switch’ the only way to stop them? Perhaps some would say that they weren’t in their right mind, substance abuse could be an excuse. But this to me is all part of the same self-destructive path, just another suicidal tendency. It’s not a reason why, it’s an effect from it. Perhaps some would say that they must have a deeper medical problem, a mental health issue. I would agree with those who think this, to some extent. Mental health problems are something I think all of us struggle with at some point in our lives, some more than others, but for most the causes stem from something experienced within their lives. For those who find these experiences overwhelming there are pills to be subscribed and councillors to speak to. But what if the experiences causing them to feel this way aren’t definitive, they aren’t something that can be worked through, talked about or masked by numbing of emotion. What if the experience that causes this state of mind is simply life itself?
But why would someone be led to this state of mind by something as miraculous and beautiful as life? Life means waking up to the birds singing, spending days exploring unknown places, feeling the warmth of another’s skin. Life is everything we’ve ever known. But once someone falls into this dark place it seems impossible for them to notice the simple joys that life has to offer. Which is a real shame, because the world itself is enough to bring us all the happiness we need; vast and beautiful land to feed our curiosities, a wealth of creatures for us to admire, rich soil ready to use to fill our stomachs. Perhaps this alone should be enough to satisfy our needs. But there’s one thing the world can’t fill our need for and that’s companionship.
Mankind is a funny thing. We’re vastly superior to the animals that we share this world with, however we remain mostly driven by instinct. Just like the animals we use for our own gains, we fight amongst ourselves for superiority, we let go to the will of lust, and we have an innate need to be with others of the same kind. When we think of the word ‘love’ we associate it with humankind, with the love between two people, or that of family or friends. Without the surroundings of others there’d be nobody share the wonders of the world with, nobody to touch, nobody to share our thoughts and feelings with. Without others there’d be no point in trying to work out the complexities behind each individual person’s mind, there’d be no point in even writing this at all. But at the same time, within the surroundings of others life becomes more complex, misunderstands arise from ignorant lack of compassion for others, judgements are made and emotional bonds are formed, causing emotions to become much more easily bruised and battered. As people we have the ability to save lives, but we also have an equal ability to end lives. When I say this I don’t mean brutal murder. Every interaction we make with the world has an impact, but I feel confident in saying that it has an even greater impact on every person that we interact with. A simple smile can make somebody’s day brighter, a snide remark can gnaw at someone for much longer than intended. But it’s hard to remember this when life gets in the way of thoughtfulness and compassion, and after a long day at work you’re tired and unable to even conceive how your foul mood can be exerted onto other people and perhaps affect them negatively. We’re a selfish kind. I’m selfish. So are you. We have to be, it’s our life after all, nobody can see what we see, feel what we feel, understand how we understand. If we spent all of our time worrying about the impact we have on others then we simply would not be living for ourselves at all. But there has to be a middle ground somewhere. The way I see it, living in a Western world filled with judgement everywhere you turn; billboards, app popups, blog posts, magazines, sales… Everything, everywhere is distracting us from the simple joys of life. It’s plastering it’s ideals of what happiness should be over the already perfect world that is presented to us from the very beginning of life itself.
I just want to remind you that it’s this perfect world that offers true happiness.
We can’t expect people to understand us completely, to care for us solely and to mould happiness for us. We’re all living our own seperate lives at the end of the day. We share innate needs and wants, but what makes us superior to other life on Earth is our intelligence, our complex thoughts and emotions. Every person is so unique that they’re a mystery that will never be completely unravelled. It’s too easy for this to become overwhelming, as in a way it means that we’re born to be utterly alone and misunderstood. But please believe me when I say that this isn’t the case. Just because nobody can view inside your mind doesn’t mean there aren’t those who will try and work out your complex puzzle, just like you’ll try to work out theirs. And it’s this very puzzle of complexity that makes you so unique, there is nobody similar, there is only you. The truth behind true happiness and peace of mind lays within your own puzzle and that cannot be dictated by any outside source. The constant bombardment of manmade advertisements in life telling you you aren’t good enough, the judgement you feel from their prying eyes, none of this truly matters. Who are they to dictate how your puzzle is put together? Only you can truly know yourself and that’s a beautiful thing because you are yours and yours alone. Nobody can define who you are.
To summarise, there is a lot in life that can become almost unbearingly overwhelming . But I just wanted to remind you that beauty will always be surrounding you. It’s just easily covered by distractions. It’s hard to see through them but if you just rip them away then you might be able to start enjoying the world that will always be here waiting for you.
Life is worth it. It is and always will be.