We recently received news that a colleague and dear friend to many -Bob Owens – took his own life, leaving his family behind with lots of questions and few (if any) answers. As someone who has suffered with chronic depression for maybe my entire life, suicide is a subject that has come up often in my thoughts and discussions with therapists and doctors. I don’t see it as a viable option and never have, but I do understand the deep pain and thought process behind it. Since hearing the news about my friend I’ve been thinking about it constantly.
I believe someone out there needs to hear/read these words. If that is you, just take 5 minutes to read on before you decide on anything else.
Five minutes of your time. That’s all I ask. Here’s what you need to know if you are considering suicide:
Don’t do it. You feel alone right now, abandoned, desperate. That is one of the reasons suicide is such a liar. You are not alone. There are people who love you and would be tragically devastated if you abandoned them…just like my friend’s family is devastated today even as I write this. He felt alone enough to take his own life, and yet today his family grieves for him deeply. He really wasn’t alone but suicide lied to him and he believed it.
Suicide is a liar.
The hard truth is that suicide is selfish. It is a thief that steals you from the people you love, and steals your ability to think of anyone else but yourself for the time it takes to end your life.
Suicide victims are never the only victims. They make victims of their families. Their questions will never be answered. Their confusion will never be quelled. They will never have the opportunity to say goodbye. Suicide steals their last chance to tell you how much you are loved and wanted and supported. Suicide is a thief and the suicidal are its accomplice.
You may be reading this right now and thinking to yourself that your family/friends don’t really appreciate you and your suicide will “teach them a lesson” in some way, help them to appreciate what they had while you were in their lives. That may actually be true, but what is also true is that you won’t be around to reap any satisfaction from their grief. You will know nothing of it. You may believe in heaven and hell, some kind of purgatory or nothing at all. It doesn’t really matter which, because in the end the only reality will be that you are not here. You will either exist on a whole different plane with no connection to the emotions of mortal beings, or you will be nothing. That tinge of self-satisfaction you may be banking on does not exist after suicide.
Suicide is lying to you. You will know nothing.
You may be saying to yourself, “Feeling nothing sounds pretty good.” Again, suicide is selfish and it steals your ability to care for anyone else. Fight that. You may well think feeling nothing sounds good, but guess who will be feeling something very profound and heartbreaking? Your family. Your mother. Your best friend. Your favorite aunt. The teacher who always made time for you when you needed a helping hand. Your dog. Your girlfriend. Your baby. They will all feel deeply and there will be nothing to ease their pain. For them your death will be senseless and selfish…always.
Suicide is a thief.
You may be thinking at this very moment, “My death will be better for my family. They are better off without me as a burden.” This line of thought is very personal to me because I’ve entertained it often in my own struggle with depression. But let me reassure you (if you haven’t heard it enough already in this column)…that is a lie straight from the pit of hell. I had a friend who was depressed about finances and other issues. She told me she had considered suicide because her life insurance would pay out at least some of the policy and the kids and her husband could get out from under their crushing debt.
It was astounding. Suicide stole her logic in that moment. Was I to believe her 5-year-old son would feel better off for having the rent paid for a year rather than having his mommy to tuck him in at night and snuggle away his anxiety? It was an insane thought process, and yet she considered it as if she were being completely rational.
Your family and friends will never be better without you. They will be worse without you. You will be condemning them to live with the same kind of hole in their hearts that you have in yours. Only they will never have the chance to fill it up again because you’ve taken the shovel to your grave. You are the only you they have. They may not show it properly, but the people who love you know that you are valuable and one-of-a-kind. If you doubt that, ask someone you trust. They will back me up on this one.
If you are considering suicide, please know that someone somewhere loves you and will be deeply wounded if you leave before your time. Also know that what you are considering is incredibly selfish and cowardly, not for what you do to yourself but for what it does to others.
Suicide is not your friend. It is not a rest. It is not an escape. It is the death of the promise of you, of what you have to offer the world. It is the death of a love your family will forever be mourning without relief.
Please…don’t do it. You can come back from anything awful in this world, but suicide is the one place no one ever returns from.
Click here if you think you need help…or reach out to one person you trust. You are worth the help.