This week has started off to a rough start for some of my acquaintances. A friend of theirs has died, and from all their “Why? What could I have done?”s, it is assumed it was as a result of suicide. I used to have this person as an acquaintance, and as such, news of his death startled me, but I didn’t ask why, or what I could have done. I asked what happened, and what will happen from now on.
Because it’s not about what I could have done, or anyone else short of physically intervening in the act if it was suicide. It’s about what he felt, where he was, and what he wanted to happen after doing it. It’s not about how they feel, or how affected they are by the death. It’s about what he was going through, and what led him there. Maybe why for some, but not for me; because the why is pretty easy. Existing is just not worth the effort.
Why suicide is mostly about the people committing it weighing the efforts expended in staying alive to the worth off staying alive. Some aim to commit suicide and find that staying alive is worth it. Others find that it isn’t. Some are motivated by external forces; bullying, financial ruin, academic pressures and demands, work stress, social burdens like ungrateful, demeaning family and friends, and a social environment that demeans one’s existence, or caring for family with conditions that drain upon one’s energies. Others are motivated by internal forces involving mental unhealthiness. Mental disorders, and illnesses can lead one to try and commit suicide multiple times. Stress is inevitably a common factor in motivating suicide. People are not.
Making suicide about the people who cared for the deceased can be noble, and appreciative of how much they feel for the deceased, but it isn’t the only thing, or the greatest concern. Unless one person’s suicide is a motivator for others’, the focus should be on the deceased. On what motivated them, and how one doesn’t need to look dishevelled, and distraught to be suicidal.
Stating that they were always smiling, or cheerful; that they were outgoing and friendly every time you saw them doesn’t mean they were always that way, It means they were that way with you; and even then it doesn’t mean they never once thought of suicide in your presence. It means they never showed it to you, or said a word.
So when someone commits suicide, don’t look for moments of sadness, or hopelessness. Realise that suicidal people smile, and interact with others regularly without any hint of their feelings of dying. They can have children, and families; they can have exceptional careers, and strong spiritual faith. They can be suicidal, and fighting it everyday. You don’t push them over the edge. When they decide to do it, they have decided to do it. Some may regret it for their decision was flimsy, and had a solution. Others probably won’t care, others still be relieved because the fight with death and life is over. Whatever the case, keep in mind them, their moments of greatness, and moments of great failure. The small gestures that pleased them, and those that made them flawed. For the suicide is about the deceased. May they rest in the peace they sought; and those they’ve left behind be at peace, eventually.