Dismissing Suicide: Society's Blemish

Suicide is the ultimate blight, not on the deceased person or family suffering the loss of a loved one, but on society as a whole...

The thought of committing suicide, literally taking one's own life, is difficult for 
most of us to imagine. Yet, it is estimated that more than one million people die by their own hand every year. The causes, excuses and explanations can be examined. Deep down, however, we all know that suicide is an act of desperation, a need to stop feeling the pain, a fear of burdening someone else with one's problems and an exit strategy--well defined, planned and ultimately carried out to the horror of those left behind. 

Many of us know or have heard about someone who took their own life. From a distance, it is easy to question why, and probe into their life as we knew it. It is acceptable to wonder what we could have done, if anything, to prevent the tragedy that took place, even to the point of directing every ounce of blame on the person who left us. Looking closer though, it's difficult to ignore the muddled sighs for help, confused glances that seemed to disconnect and vague commentaries, which often revealed something wasn't working on a much larger scale than what we would have liked to believe or consider.

Suicide, after all, is a blemish on society as a whole. It is a bold statement declaring, "This isn't working for me!" The obvious conclusion is that if it's not working to such an intense degree, something needs to be fixed, and fast. The idea of fixing things unseen, or God forbid, dealing with our own demons (one's that don't 
force our hands, if you will), and doing so in record time, is inconvenient at best and horrifically terrifying at worst--neither of which scenario is very appealing in a world enraptured by rapid self-gratification, vanity and ego-centrism. 

Who are we to disassociate ourselves with someone reaching out for help--even in the 
most obscure terms and mannerisms? According to Kevin Caruso, founder of Suicide.org"The first thing that I want you to know is that virtually every person that I have talked with who attempted suicide, and survived, was glad that they lived. So the emotions that were causing the suicidal feelings did pass. Things got better; the sun did come out. So, let me extend that hope to you."

Numerous groups, hotlines and organizations have staff and volunteers, literally working around the clock, within reach to be that human lifeline, made available for someone on the brink of permanently checking out from society. Help is there, another reason for the rest of us not to get involved, another excuse to continue focusing on ourselves, in an effort to avoid that which tests the limits of our comfort zones. 

And yet, if we do something as simple as opening our eyes, if we listen patiently, respond affectionately, report intuitively and react with the smallest bit of compassion, we might be that lifeline that makes all the difference to someone in need, because suicide is not and cannot be relegated as something that doesn't affect all people. Suicide cannot be dismissed as a personal or familial torment, unscathed by societal factors, cultures and influences. Suicide is the ultimate blight, not on the deceased person or family suffering the loss of a loved one, but on society as a whole, progressing to the point of utter darkness and despair, where life--even and especially one's own is devalued to the point of no return. 

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©2011, 2012 All Rights Reserved Teresa DePoy