NOTES FROM THE SMALL POND: Suicide Studied
If we're going to be honest, and why not be, every human being since Adam and Eve has considered suicide as a reasonable way to get the hell out of a bad situation, in something like the way we've all considered: What would I do if I won the lottery.
It's a fantasy thing. And, in the dirty, spider-filled basements of human psychology, there's a place for it, the same way we dream of perfection in our governments and our relationships and the way we daydream we could've called the right play at the right time to get the Vikes to the Super Bowl, despite Teddy's kindling-wood-tendons, the same way we think Farrah might have climbed off the poster to visit us if only we would've had the chance. And so on. For most of us, suicide is a fantasy.
Fantasy, as a thing, again, has been around a long time. But it took until the early 1300s for the French and Latins to put words around it, which is always a major coup. "Phantasie or "Fantasie" is an explicit, linguistic acknowledgement that humans like to use their imaginations to create a separate world in which the "real" world takes a back seat. For a while.
But, as reality would have it, the Real World tends to be more real than the fantastic one. I still haven't won the lottery. And the Vikes still haven't won the Super Bowl. And I still haven't met Farrah. Has anyone?
In the 21st century, fantasy and reality is often difficult to discern. "Virtual Reality?" "Augmented Reality?" An actual bullet knows not the difference.
Here's my point:
Persons who die from suicide are not phantasmagorical. They are not imagining things getting better. They are not imagining anything at all. They are taking a stand and making actionable what they believe is necessary, believing "this is the best choice," of a bag full of worse ones. It's nuanced and terrifying and heartbreaking and the wrongness of it is recognizable only after the sound of the gun startles someone else, not dead yet, but considering.
Mental illness, suicide — though not mutually exclusive — are both like a hurricane: neither your fault.
Let's continue to make our world aware that suicide is not simply a matter of confused and depressed individuals that, sadly, didn't get the help they needed in time. That's politicians talking. Let's lean in. Let's understand that suicide, the propensity toward it, is a common thread that weaves through every one of us, dammit. And let's treat it as importantly as the air we breathe and the noise we make about everything else that's noisy and not just sad.
Sweet, sweet, beautiful boy,
what made you make that choice?
What compelled you?
What hell befell you?
Who's was that lying voice?
That convinced you hope was lost,
that your life would be the cost,
for peace like you never dreamed.
That liar's voice that seemed
was exactly that, a "seeming."
Get on with your dreaming.
Rest in peace, sweet boy.