Discussing suicide

I've had a saved draft on this topic somewhere, uncertain if I should publish it. I wrote it a few days ago because I was very inspired by the community at Quora. Yes, there's a topic dedicated to Suicide at Quora, supported by a honest, open community, which gave me some hope that perhaps the society is progressing.

Today, I choose to rewrite this topic from scratch.

I believe in signs, and I was actually deciding not to publish my previous draft, because I was unsure if I was ready to cope with the repercussions. Today, in my twitter stream, I discovered this link through a tweet:

http://blog.jolieodell.com/2011/01/06/the-subject-of-suicide-why-im-alive-today/

That blog post was written because of another suicide note:

http://gizmodo.com/5726667/the-agonizing-last-words-of-bill-zeller

I knew it was time for me to write this, regardless whether people will read, react badly to it, etc.

I think it is the fear of all that judgement, all that unwillingness to share one's deepest, darkest feelings, that is pushing so many people to the brink of despair. I've been very open on this blog so far, but depression and suicide are two themes in my life that I am unwilling to elaborate on. I am in full support of maintaining an online persona that is as authentic as possible, but it is still pretty scary to have people googling my name and finding blog posts on topics like these. There's plenty of repercussions, especially professionally, but I shall have faith – if I cannot even make myself write openly about this, what are the chances of society becoming more accepting and sensitive to others who're in more extreme scenarios?

I'm no longer suicidal, but that's because I was one of the luckier ones. I went through my own spiritual, self-discovery journey, I've met several key figures who were empathetic and supportive. That doesn't mean I've stopped thinking and feeling it. Not wanting to act on it anymore doesn't take the feelings away. Not at least for me. I still go through swings when instead of wanting to kill myself, I think about whether is it possible to remove my existence permanently. If re-incarnation was possible, I would have liked to opt out, thank you.

If you ask me, what is it exactly that is causing me to feel this way? For the record, I wasn't physically abused (emotionally perhaps). I did spend a lot of my younger years having a very low self-worth and feeling rejected by everybody because I couldn't seem to fit into the mainstream. I've always felt (ever since I could remember my feelings) that I didn't belong. But for me, ultimately it wasn't "why should I kill myself", but rather, "why should I live?".

All these were not particularly triggered by any major life events. I simply remember being particularly melancholic since I was a toddler. It would seem I was born with these feelings. Uncontrollable spasms of despair. Not wanting to be involved in the evolutionary process. What is it in it for me? I'm not attracted to power as a human being, from a spiritual perspective, levelling up through lifetimes of lessons doesn't sound very enthralling either. They say it is all about Love. Though it is not easy to convince yourself of that when everything just seems so much of a struggle.

Is it a biological chemical imbalance? Or was I one of those alien souls who found life on earth especially hard (yeah roll your eyes lol)? I have no answers. Just like I have no definite answers why I keep feeling this way. Sometimes I imagine having everything life could give me and I am not so sure if I'll stop feeling this way.

I found some solace in meeting random people who felt the same way. I was very comforted by all the survivor stories I've read on Quora, saddened by those who couldn't make it. Everyone has their own time and space to move through life. Not everybody is ready to receive help from the outside world. But if they are, shouldn't we provide a better platform for them to receive help?

I have started contributing answers to questions on suicide at Quora, all I want to do is to provide a personal perspective to it. When you have never experienced depression or suicidal tendencies before, it is difficult to provide empathy to someone else going through this. The last thing we want to hear is, "pick yourself up", "things can only get better", "get medical help"...etc. What I would personally find helpful, is to hear from others who have been through the same before, in order to gain that small tiny thread of hope, that perhaps, one day, we may be able to pull ourselves out of it. We want people who would truly understand the depths of darkness, not just anybody looking in from the outside, sitting on a cushion asking you to get over it.

There are people trying to seek some form of understanding why their friends or loved ones are suicidal (Some sadly have already made the final decision). I can't describe how it is to actually hear from people who were going through the same. That is one of the best support you can get. True empathy.

Sharing experiences is one of the greatest ways you can give back to society, I believe. Just like a mentor to the student, a mother to a child. Or vice versa. I would say that could be one of the greatest attributes of humankind, imagine how much progress we can make if all of us can be unselfish and open to sharing knowledge.

I am digressing a little as usual. I find it very comforting to read similar experiences, very moved when people find my answers helpful. I cannot be sure that everyone would appreciate whatever I have to say, but all I want to do is to give my best. That would be enough for me.

It is in the same spirit which had probably triggered others to do the same. I am amazed at the amount and quality of contribution to a topic like this. It seems like there is progress in lessening the stigma.

From the awesome community at Quora (you need to be a member):

If we could all become a little more unselfish, authentic and less judgmental, perhaps that person feeling that much despair may be less afraid to share his/her feelings, and perhaps death wouldn't be that attractive an option.

Perhaps if Bill Zeller could find that single bit of courage to open up a little bit earlier, he could have found others who have gone through similar and found ways to survive, perhaps, just perhaps, it could give him a little light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps.