I watched a BBC documentary yesterday. The rapper, Professor Green lost his father to suicide several years ago and set out to examine why his father ended up taking his life. He wanted a greater understanding in order that he may achieve some closure. It was a desperately sad tale of tragedy heaped upon tragedy. Of a young man lost in grief for a father he knew very little about.
Why someone or in the case of this programme, one in five men in their forties and fifties die because of suicide is hard to comprehend. Suicide for many is an incomprehensible act. It is seen as selfish and an easy way out. It wrecks families and brings shame to those left behind. Why didn’t they do more? How could they have stopped it happening? To contemplate suicide you have to be desperate.
Actually suicidal thoughts are often formed when the person is at their most lucid. It is seen as a logical solution. It takes away dependency, the need for others to be involved, living with a depressive illness. It is formed when a person is sure of their lack of self worth. They are motivated to carry it through and know that it will solve more problems than if it wasn’t to happen.
The programme highlighted one fundamental issue. Most men of my age are terrible at describing how they feel. They are even more terrible in admitting that they can’t cope with these feelings. Men hold onto the myth that strong men never discuss emotions or exhibit their own vulnerabilities. A real man just gets on with it.
I am of a generation caught between those older who never talk about emotions and the much younger who are more inclined to be open about such matters. I’m in the middle, wracked with guilt and uncertainty.
That guilt and uncertainty can destroy all that is good in your world. It cuts through relationships like a laser, it drains love from loved ones. it builds resentment and confusion. To understand how it can affect everyday life, you have to be unfortunate enough to experience it. Personal experience leads me to have an understanding of a absolute certainty. That the world you inhabit would be infinitely better if you weren’t in it. That taking your life is the obvious answer.
To contemplate suicide is an experience I have had on many occasions in the last 13 years. It is not one I ever think about now and my experience was very much at the height of my depression in 2002/2003. It does however leave very deep scars. You do not cease to be worthless overnight. You never forget what if feels like to hold no value to your life. You look at those who have carried it through and understand where they must have been. To be left behind, to have stopped before you jumped, over dosed or whatever method, leaves you strangely feeling like a failure. In fact strange is an inadequate description. ‘He can’t even go through with killing himself’. What drags us back from the brink is unclear. It isn’t the love of others. it isn’t family and friends. Maybe it is a belief that suicide is not the way out. To step away from the brink is the biggest step you will ever take. The only problem when you do step back is that you are still the same worthless, inadequate failure you were before.
Suicide leaves unimaginable sadness, anger and frustration, emptiness and guilt for those that never chose it.
Suicide is a choice that brings resolution to the sufferer. To live on after staring at over precipice can however be harder still. it is far more complicated to rebuild a life that has no value. To understand we are all worth something is a concept that takes a very long time to reach.
Some of us are still searching.