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Today’s title is what many people, sometimes myself included, call suicide. They claim if a person wants to kill themselves, they are taking the coward’s way out. However, I also believe that this is just a lazy label from persons who don’t want to deal with the subject. It is unfair to say that a person who wishes to end it all is simply taking the coward’s way out because no one, other than that person themselves, knows what’s going on in his or her head and that things have become so bad for them that they see there’s no other way out.

I’ve been here myself. The first time was when I was nine and one occasion, I actually did stab myself. Fortunately for me at the time, my sister had brought me a butter knife, which couldn’t do the job properly, actually, not at all. Looking back, my mother and then step father saw the whole thing as funny and told me not to be so stupid by wanting to stab myself. Back then, we’re going back nearly half a century, mental health was something to be embarrassed about, especially in the middle class suburban neighbourhood I was living in at the time. Therefore, I wasn’t given the help I most likely needed.

Over the years since, there have been other times when I thought of or threatened to commit suicide. Looking back at those situations, those were probably cries for help or attempts to elicit sympathy. I got to be careful here because I know that this isn’t the case for everybody. The irony here is that during the three years of bullying hell which inspired me to write “He Was Weird,” I never thought of committing suicide. It could have been that I thought someday, I would move out of that town, which I eventually did. Seeing another way out definitely removes any thoughts of ending it all.

In our millennial year, that all changed. My world came crumbling down all around me in several ways and I believed it was all down to me. I thought that I simply screwed everything up and maybe the world was better off if I wasn’t around to wreck things. Besides, people around me seemed to be getting on fine without me and that gave me even more incentive to end it all. Nobody wanted me around anyway so maybe I should make it that I wasn’t. I had even chosen the method, hooking up a hose to my car’s exhaust and killing myself with carbon monoxide poisoning. Furthermore, I vetoed my idea of having music playing in the car at the time because I didn’t want anyone to say that music caused my suicide. What made me hesitate, however, was my belief that I would be taking the coward’s way out. That hesitation made it possible to get a last minute phone call from the person who I thought had pushed me over the edge and it was that call which brought me back. I don’t think that person ever realized it but they might have actually saved my life.

Not everything was peaches and cream after though. It was a struggle but fortunately, I had a network which provided short term help and sound advice which benefited me greatly. That is why when similar feelings came around again a few years later, I recognized it and that time, I ignored certain stereotypes and put myself into counselling. Probably one of the best decisions I had ever made in my life!

My conclusion from all of this is that while the notion that suicide is taking the coward’s way out might have saved my life, it isn’t a true notion for everyone. Some might argue that a person who wants to take their own life is actually brave by carrying out. That’s not my point. We can’t see into another person’s mind nor truly feel the anguish they might be experiencing at the moment or what events from their past might have contributed to their decision. What everyone needs to be is more supportive and understanding and take mental health much more seriously.

To buy He Was Weird, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1536566786&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird