I discovered yesterday that a recent commenter to my blog is contemplating suicide. In response to a post about cruise ship passengers who are lost at sea, a visitor wrote this comment on May 24:
i am tentatively planning a suicide at the end of a cruise i am to take around the holidays...i will reconnect with my family, have some wonderful times, and at the pinnacle of positive memories having been made, I plan to dive or slosh or whatever into the water, leaving all the garbage behind, m decision, my way. Just because the reason is not apparent to you does not indicate it does not exist. ppl who know me call me "sunshine" and believe i am always happy, when in reality i am the opposite. if u have never been in the depths, dont bother to write about how it had to be murder. Some of us just hate it here. if u hate your job, u leave, hate your house, you move, hate your life, u leave. it should be a personal choice
The comment was signed "madness" and posted by a Cincinnati Bell DSL user who found my site by searching Google for the words suicide off cruise ship. He or she has not returned since.
If anyone has advice for how to handle this situation, I'm eager to hear it. Unless the holidays in question were the Memorial Day weekend, there's still time. I looked for news stories about cruise ship overboards the past week and didn't find any.
-- Rogers Cadenhead
Post it to Topix?
Having just been through a friend's suicide - including getting to ID the body, clean up the house afterward, and comfort his devastated mother and friends - let me say this: suicide is the most fucking selfish action a single person can undertake.
I nearly killed myself several years ago. Now that I've been at the other end of it, I'm grateful I didn't do that to the people I care about.
Life is tough and we are forced to make painful choices but we do have choices. Hurting those around us is not one of them.
He needs counseling so that he can step back and consider his life from a different perspective. I understand - I really do understand - that depression makes it nearly impossible to see there are any other options, but counseling will help. So will letting people he cares about know what is going on in his life.
Otherwise, he's a self-absorbed asshole.
I would venture to guess that "sunshine" is female, based only on the nickname.
Her argument for suicide mirrors the thoughts of Marcus Aurelius. Does the suicide really cause such distress to their loved ones, or is their grief not rather a thwarted selfish desire to keep the person in their world, regardless of how much they suffer?
I would venture to guess you've not been at the surviving end of a suicide, Chip. When my buddy killed himself a little more than a month ago, it was hardly the first I've seen. I've learned, well after the fact, that others had, as well over the years.
In each case, what's left behind is rarely a clinging desire to hold onto the deceased: it's a wrenching sense of guilt, wondering what they could have done to change things for the person who committed suicide.
Suicide notes do nothing to clear up the confusion or to lessen the pain. The person who writes them is rarely so rational at that point that they're able to adequately explain why they've chose the path they did. The survivors are simply left with nothing. It's not greed on their part, but the very real sensation they've failed someone they care for.
The problem with suicide is that it's so often set in motion by a person suffering from an illness - depression - that utterly thwarts any ability by the victim to understand what they're experiencing. Depression is like a pair of blinders, narrowing down the sufferer's line of vision so that they can see only what is immediately in front of them, distorted as it might be.
Depression, however, can be treated.
One can intellectualize suicide all one wants, and the quote from Marcus Aurelius is a nice touch. It doesn't touch on the very real damage inflicted on those left behind.
Sunshine... if perhaps you return to these pages to see what might be written here... know that if you are ever to return the love that others have given you, you need to stick around. You are the only one with the power to do that.
I'm trained in suicide prevention and learned that any threat should be treated as a potential suicide. If this ever happens again, try to get his phone number. Then call the police in that area and ask them to run the phone number and do a welfare check on the address. Suicide prevention offices will not call police, but they are trained in other areas. However, you are not a suicide prevention unit; I was faced with the same thing on my job once; one of our clients sent us an email that read like a suicide note. I looked up the number in our records and asked the police to do a welfare check. All they'll do is knock on the door and talk to the guy. If they think he'll hurt himself, they'll take him in for 48-hr observation in a mental crisis center.
After you've called the police, call him yourself and try to keep him on the phone until the police arrive. Ask him if he's got a gun or some other means of suicide in the house with him, and find out if he's been drinking. A gun and alcohol is the deadliest combination for males.
If he tells you about his life, or whatever you can glean from the post, always empathize, like, "oh, it must be so awful," or "wow, anyone in your situation would feel sad too."
Never challenge a potential suicide by calling him a coward or saying "go ahead and do it," or any other kind of judgement or criticism.
There's more, but if you really get interested, check out your local suicide prevention.
The pain caused by a suicide is unbearable. I myself am a sibling survivor of suicide. 5 years ago my brother took his own life. I am currently living the pain that this one act has caused. I now write a blog about my struggles to overcome this tragedy in my life. I spare no detail besides my name and any identifying factors so I may remain anonymous and do not feel the pressure to censor myself. I invite this person to visit my blog and see exactly what a suicide survivor goes through daily. Even 5 years later.
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