I just found out that an acquaintance of mine committed suicide early this morning. I didn’t know him that well, though I knew him for almost a decade. I know this wasn’t his first attempt, and that his previous attempts were met with religious guilt and contempt rather than love and empathy.
I’ve been there, where he was. Barrel to the lips (or temple or throat), knife to the vein, bottle of pills in hand: doesn’t matter how you do it, the result is the same. But the reasons… The reasons are as varied as there are colors in the universe. Sometimes it’s for attention: you try as a cry for help and sometimes you succeed. Sometimes it’s from misunderstood or misdiagnosed mental illness: depression is a lying asshole, but sometimes you believe what it tells you. Or you don’t have the strength to see through the lies. Sometimes it’s good ol’ fashion life: stress or sadness or pain (physical or mental) or anger just gets to be too much and you make one stupid, life-ending mistake.
I’m sad that my acquaintance is gone, but I won’t “offer my condolences to the family” or “pray for those left behind”. His family, generally kind and caring people, don’t deserve my sympathy. My acquaintance does. I won’t say that every suicide can be prevented. However, I refuse to agree that treating mental illness and depression with religion instead of psychiatrists, medication, and therapy is the right way to go. The simple knowledge of a previous suicide attempt leads me to believe that his was a mental issue and not just a case of a kid wanting attention. Praying for him didn’t work. A decent psychiatrist might have.
I’m sorry, Devin. I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you. I’m sorry you thought this was the only solution to your problems. I’m sorry depression is a lying sack of shit, and I’m sorry you believed its lies.
If you or a loved one are suffering from mental illness, depression, extended bouts of sadness or stress, I beg you to contact a medical professional. Don’t let money or guilt or embarrassment or pride be an excuse to not get help. If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 in the U.S. (International hotline numbers and URLs can be found here.)