I Attempted Suicide & I’m Not Sure It Was Wrong

It was just after Thanksgiving. My head was pounding, and I was freezing as my feet hit the pavement running.

My parents had gone to my grandma’s house for leftover turkey and dressing. I stayed home, eager for the time to myself.

While they were enjoying their family dinner, I took a bottle of Tylenol: 350 capsules. It didn’t help matters much that I had taken a muscle relaxant from my mother’s collection.

I wasn’t suicidal.

I had a migraine from running.

At least, that is the story I told.

By the time my boyfriend found me, my body temperature had dropped, my lips were blue and I was freezing.

I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

When I was 15, medical professionals tried to tell me that it was “depressive disorder.” Even then, I knew better.

While on Facebook, some days, just viewing my profile can cost me an entire day or a few hours. It’s one day one minute, and the next minute, it’s Tuesday.

The days just disappear and so do the hours. Facebook regularly prompts me to update my profile and poses this question:

What are some of your favorite memories?

I should mention . . .

I also have Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).

As an adult, I have learned that extensive physical and emotional trauma have conditioned my brain to a specific, organized, way of thinking.

Some days, it feels like it did the same to my emotions.

I couldn’t tell you exactly what at the time, but something changed just before I started seventh grade. I stopped going by my first name. I adamantly went by my middle name and became verbally aggressive if challenged otherwise.

Please, call me, ‘Grace.’

I also took a creative writing class that year. When we returned from Spring break, we were assigned a writing project prompted with this question:

What was the favorite part of your Spring break with your family?

In tears and confused, I approached the teacher’s desk and quietly whispered that I had nothing special to tell about my Spring break.

Quite the opposite, in fact.

I can’t remember what happened that year. There were many hard years. My counselor tells me,

We have a way of blocking the hard parts out.

I’d like to know what she considers as hard. 

The teacher told me to write about any happy memory with my family instead. On that day, I realized I didn’t have any happy memories—not one.

Not that I never had any happy moments, that is just how my mind works.

Ethics

As a teenager, if had succeeded in taking my own life, would the decision have been ethical? Would it have been right or wrong? After all, I was the victim of an abusive culture and upbringing, innocent in my youth and my thinking.

I was a child.

If mental health did not play a role, but rather a pure response to real trauma, would you tell a child he/she is selfish for escaping abuse the only way the child knew how or does the abuse give a logical and acceptable justification to suicide?

Physician-assisted Suicide is legal in the Netherlands, currently being determined in Canada, and moderately approved (with restrictions) across the United States. According to the American Medical Association:

Physician-assisted suicide occurs when a physician facilitates a patient’s death by providing the necessary means and/or information to enable the patient to perform the life-ending act (eg, the physician provides sleeping pills and information about the lethal dose, while aware that the patient may commit suicide.)

If the physical need for an escape from pain or the fear of the pain that is coming is an ethical justification for suicide, then, wouldn’t the same be valid in the case of a teenager escaping physical abuse or other trauma?

If suicide is justifiable for any reason, what gives anyone the authority to govern who and who does not deserve to choose if they live or die?

If an adult, undergoing extensive medical treatment for a terminal condition, can choose to end his/her own life at will, why would an adult undergoing daily pain and torment not also deserve that same right?

Wouldn’t it be “ethical” to determine that is for the greater good of all who are hurting to cease suffering, if possible?

The problem is human nature. It makes the majority believe that the method by which death is achieved is not moral. 

I would by lying to say that I am not torn on the topic. Losing a loved one to suicide feels like a shock to the heart. It feels like an injustice, like a life was stolen.

A close friend who lived in my neighborhood was shot in the head during the summer of 1996. His name was Michael Lime. At first, they tried to claim it was suicide. Then, there was rumor and speculation of murder. In the end, it was chalked off to boys playing with guns.

But nobody really knows because we don’t talk about it.

Why do we fight against the justification, ethical theory and legality, of suicide being socially acceptable?

Morals.

If we determine and declare that suicide is an acceptable way of dying, what message do we send our children, friends and family, when they reach out during that moment when life feels like too much?

In those moments, we want to send one message:

Choose life!

So, we declare it unethical, immoral, sinful, selfish and crazy. But is it?

To want to escape something unreal, unimaginable and unbearably painful, is that unethical? Is that wrong?

I’m not sure, but I choose life and every good or bad day it may bring.

I choose life.


Suicide Prevention

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What Every 20-Something Can Take Away From Robin Williams In ‘Dead Poets Society’

“What Every 20-Something Can Take Away From Robin Williams In ‘Dead Poets Society’”
— as published via Elite Daily

He’s not just another dead actor whose drug use finally caught up with him. He’s not just a celebrity whose lifestyle became the cause of his death while living a life of recklessness abandon. Robin Williams is more than just a famous entity whose death is being exploited by the media.

The death of Robin Williams is a profound and tragic loss for the entire entertainment industry and for our generation and the generation before us.

He is an inspiration who will continue to be remembered by many. He is one of the voices that helped carry and inspire a whole generation into action; he gave teenagers all over the world inspiration to become amazing and fulfill their dreams.

With one role, Williams moved us to speak out, question the norm, rise against opposition, seize the day, use our voices, leave a mark, be loyal to our friends and causes and to dare to be different. In that role, we knew him as Mr. Keating.

“The Dead Poets Society”

It is the movie that stirred my generation, and continues to echo the morals and lessons through each person who remembers the meaning behind Oh Captain, my Captain!without Googling the phrase or searching the poem for quick reference.

We know it by heart, and we know it because Robin Williams embraced the role in such a way that it spoke to our souls and moved us. He moved us, and we are a better, stronger generation because if it.

But O heart! Heart! Heart!
O the bleeding drops of red
Where on the deck my Captain lies;
Fallen cold and dead. — Walt Whitman


Oh Me! Oh Life!

We’ve all been there: We’ve questioned the purpose of life and the meaning of existence. We’ve been at the end of our rope, hands bleeding, heart failing, emotions fleeting and we’ve questioned why we should hang on any longer.

We scurry about, working, chipping and molding ourselves in order to become and achieve what our teachers, parents, government and our own personal ambitions require and demand of us. Daily, we fight to establish our purpose while trying to prove our passion.

It never stops just because we grow older; we question our inadequacy while we are young, and we carry it like a blankie into adulthood without question.

Meanwhile, we cling to the rules, limits and the lines that have been sketched out for us from different people and we strive to meet them all. Then we find ourselves flailing in water far over our heads, still trying to meet every requirement.

We kill our own voices while fighting to conform to the voices that have spoken before us. Mr. Keating, with the help of Robin Williams, taught our generation to say no to conformity and status-quo thinking.

He taught us that when we are challenged with the questions, “Why are we here?” “Why Me?” “What is the purpose of life?” to reflect on this answer and to live it, own it and embrace it:

Oh me! Oh life! Of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! So sad, recurring — what good amid these, O me, O life?
Answer.
That you are here — that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. — Walt Whitman


The Play Must Go On

In the face of suicide, loss, grief and media, the play must go on and we are the ones who lead it. No matter the hand that claims a life, be it that life’s own hand or another’s, there is no great victory in death; no one wins.

No matter the connection or relation to Williams, many lives are touched, if not changed, by just one loss.

So as we bow our heads to grieve and type our hashtags to show we remember; as we celebrate his life, remember his work and question his death; as we get caught up in life’s hustle and bustle of media jargon and coverage, let us not forget our role in the play.

Let us not neglect our own voices. Let us not fail to remember the voices that have spoken to us over the years and helped change us. Let us not forget to grab our pens, our ink, our paint and write our message as if it were our final performance.

When you have exited the stage, the curtain has fallen and as the audience takes home your message, what will your verse be?