She told him that her depression had returned and that she was thinking about suicide again. Guns were moved out of the house, medications were reevaluated and changed and pretty soon things felt like they were back to normal. They weren’t.
What keeps us alive? I wondered about that question this week after another person I know committed suicide. I have written openly about my own dance with the devil several years ago when I thought my family, and the world would be better off without me in it. Thankfully I realized that I was wrong but sadly I came to that realization after a friend of my mine took his own life while I was struggling with understanding mine.
My first reaction about Tom’s death was centered around peace, peace from the demons that chased him, peace from all the obligations, peace from keeping his family from suffering with his illness. Then I saw his daughter speak at his memorial service. She was mad and she called his actions selfish and unloving. She didn’t understand. She didn’t want to understand and she criticized him for forcing her and her brothers to have to figure out why their Dad thought so little of his life, a life that they worshiped. Whatever dark cloud or funk that had cast its spell on me disappeared when I got home and saw my children.
I was lucky. I didn’t need medication to bring me back to reality, I just needed some reality. The reality that my life was already short with absolutely no guarantee of a tomorrow. The reality that what keeps me alive was standing right in front me. That my short-term need for what would have been permanent peace was indeed a selfish act with no thought about the long-term hurt and guilt my family would have to live with.
Not everyone is as fortunate as I was, to be able to simply “snap-out” of it. Many people need some extra help to balance the chemicals in their brain. They need the wisdom of a professional, to help walk and guide them through the darkness. There is nothing wrong with needing or asking for help. But sadly, for too many people, the shame or the comfort of living in the darkness prevents them from doing so.
I have seen to many lives lost to suicide in my almost 60 years of living. I understand the reason, I have felt the reason. I understand the choice, I have stared the choice in the eyes. What I don’t understand is what keeps some us of alive, while others simply let go. Don’t let go, please don’t let go.