Wednesday, 7 May 2008

A Poignant Moment Out of the Sun...

I just read something which made me rather sad, and which I thought was worth sharing because of that very fact.

Here, a teacher's thoughts on losing a student.

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Carolina said...

Thanks for the mention, Bete. Now shake off that sadness and get back into the sunshine!

Anonymous said...

It's not that sad to me, not in the shocking unexpected way that sadness can sometimes greet you. I work with those who contemplate suicide all the times, or least for the most part of their lives. They just want to talk about suicide without it being seen as a stigma. Who are we say that suicide is necessarily a fucked-up choice for the person with suicidal motifs? We walk not in their shoes, let us not be quick to judge. Not all of us are able to have and sustain meaning in our lives. Not all of us can find the meaning and value we need to keep going. For the majority the desire to live outweighs the desire to die no matter how hard life can be. We've all thought (even if only to ourselves) of giving up, what's-the-point etc. Sometimes those who are thinking of ending their lives, end up doing so quietly because they could never talk about it to anyone for fear of being judged, being ridiculed, being told that life should (and must be) for living. We rest not in the dark despair that haunts those who think of nothing else but wanting to end it all. Some would be quick to say 'but what about all those you're leaving behind'...what if 'all those you're leaving behind' no longer exist? What if they've left you? What if you live in complete isolation that you were still technically alive but dead on the inside? What if you were suffering from some terminal illness? Is living better than dying? Maybe so. Then again maybe not. I guess it all depends what life you're living on a personal choice that should be respected.

The poet Merrit Malloy wrote, "The Question of Suicide - Keep it a question, it is never the answer." Maybe so.

Arthur Schopenhauer however says this:

"They tell us that suicide is the greatest piece of cowardice... that suicide is wrong; when it is quite obvious that there is nothing in the world to which every man has a more unassailable title than to his own life and person".

La Bête said...

I don’t think anyone was judging, Anonymous. Were they? Just thinking out loud really.

I find what you wrote rather sad too, and it made me feel for you. You sound like you’re in a very lonely place. For what it’s worth, I thought about suicide a lot when I was a teenager and I think I got pretty close on a couple of occasions, but the thing which always pulled me back was the idea that tomorrow never knows. I think that’s what I mean. What I mean is, I felt instinctively that wild, life-changing things happened every day all over the place and that the law of averages said that if I carried on living and trudging through it, then one day one of those life-changing things would happen to me and then maybe my life wouldn’t feel so unbearable any more.

And that really kept me going. It’s probably very close to God in the way it functions, but it’s nothing like God in the way it actually made sense to me.

And speaking for myself, I don’t think there’s any shame in suicide at all. I think it’s enormously sad because of the hope thing, the tomorrow thing, like I said. The potential waste of wonderful human beings is unutterably tragic. But it’s not shameful, and I’m sure it can be noble.

Have you read Staring at the Sun by Julian Barnes? I remember that in that, part of the story is set in a future where suicide is shameless and widespread and a service that one paid for. It may have even been state-assisted, I can’t recall. But it was a personal choice and a popular one. It seemed very civilised, but awfully sad.

I hope you can try and imagine better times, and maybe take some strength from that. Bad lives can come good I think.

Maybe give Happy Go Lucky a shot.

Good luck, thanks for popping by and I hope to see you again.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bete,

Thanks for your response to my earlier post. It's me again! I just wanted to say that I was speaking from a working (and thinking perspective) on the thoughts of those contemplating suicide. Iuse to think talking about suicide was to be frowned upon, thinking about it even more of a taboo. I don't hold those views today.

I'm not sure if I'm in a lonely place as you've mentioned but I am in a contemplative mode, not a suicidal one but just one where all points of view are neither denied nor followed but explored and thought about on a deep level.

I like the imagery you provided on wild-changing events perhaps happening to all of us at some point in our lives - it's a nice idea. Who knows eh? Until then we keep searching, exploring and living and hope that even though we may learn from painful events there's lots we can also take from the more happier moments.

I believe that Suicide is a crisis of the self. To quote an interesting article I read recently "Psychiatry has an unhealthy emphasis on 'abnormal' behaviour, which it now carefully calls 'disorders', but without attempting to define normal. The misleading 'illness' of depression, so pervasive in suicidology, pathologises our most human qualities so that we suppress symptoms without addressing the causes."

Look around us - depression is on the high, teenagers are hanging themselves, STDs are on the increase. Something has to change. And change soon. Attention needs to be given on the 'illness' of society (social isolation, poverty, homelessness, domestic violence to name a few) rather than the current emphasis on the illness of the individual.

Well enough of this on what looks like yet another bright, blue-sky day in London. The sun's out and although I may not be staring at it, I feel its warmth. I hope you do too. Keep up this wonderful blog you have. You write like a dream. Take care.


Carolina said...

I'm obviously late to the discussion, but since its my original post,I'll go ahead and contribute my 2cents. I do find it sad when a person cannot find hope in any form and decides to end their life. In particular I find it especially sad when it is a 17 year old boy. I do agree that if a person is terminally ill or has battled mental illness for years, to no avial, that suicide is an understable individual choice. Having family who have suffered through Alzheimers and Parkinson's, I do believe I would opt to end my life at some point in that struggle. This is not the kind of suicide I encountered. A physically healthy 17 year old kid with lots of friends and a seemingly loving family hung himself in his backyard. I do find it tragic and sad that something was so obviously wrong and he felt so intensely isolated that he NEVER reached out to ANYONE for help. He simply choked his own life out. There is no shame in such an act, only sadness on all accounts. I agree with Anonymous that we need to start looking at systemic reasons for why so many young people are choosing risky/dangerous/deadly. I strongly disagree however that we should ignore the relevance of depression as an illness of the individual while soley focusing on society's ills. Yes, it is normal to experience many of the symptoms classified as pathological depression, but not to the extent that you choose to extinguish your life when you have barely even begun to live your life. We must embrace a multifaceted approach and we must do it now. The world needs to open their minds to new ways of thinking about the human condition. We need to be able to discuss, without stigma and shame, both individual pathology and social pathology as correlational issues. Extremism on either side is dangerous and ignorant to the complexities of living a peaceful fulfilling existance.