One of the most-read posts I’ve written on this blog is called “The Pros and Cons of Suicide.” Every day, it tends to be my most-read article.
This makes me sad, because it means that so many people are looking up information about the pros and cons of suicide on the Internet, implying that they think there are actually pros to killing yourself.
I titled to be deliberately provocative and tongue-in-cheek, because there’s nothing good about killing yourself, or depression in general. And that post’s denouement was also a little acidic, basically stating that it’s good to keep yourself alive just to piss off the people who wish you’d kill yourself:
It’s admitting defeat. And here’s the biggest one, at least for me. While I would say that I love God more than anything, sometimes I hate the devil more than I love the Lord. I’m convinced a lot of this spiritual sickness, this acedia in the world, is the result of the devil. And killing yourself is just saying to the world, “You win. I give up.”
So don’t be a statistic.
Isn’t this horrible? I’m basically telling the Internet here that a large part of the reason I am still alive is out of spite.
But if that’s all you’ve got, then run with it.
No matter who you are, no matter your beliefs, do not let yourself be defeated by the world. If your continued existence is nothing more than a walking middle finger to a world that wants you gone, so be it.
So live for spite if you must. I do many days, but you don’t have to be miserable about it. Life is pretty simple: be good to each other, help the next generation on there one way trip through life, and try to laugh and have fun.
My overarching message, then and now, is this: Don’t ever kill yourself, there’s always a way out, and God loves you, even if you don’t believe in Him.
You can cue the corny violins all you want, but I firmly believe this and stand by that statement. And I’m speaking as someone who’s struggled with this for much of my life as, I’m sure, have millions of other Americans. Over six-million, in fact. Life expectancy is down in this country, and opioid use is up. Forty million Americans are purported to have anxiety disorders. Forty million!
There’s a huge wave of despair going on in this country, a wave that many lay at the feet of modern life, atomization, automation of formerly physical or low-skill labor, and a growing urban/rural divide, among other things.
But there’s also this weird thing we do where we almost romanticize mental illness or other difficulties, linking things like depression, bi-polar disorder, autisim, or Asperger’s with creativity. And everyone loves creativity! Who doesn’t want to be creative? And so we end up with the popular idea that medicating or otherwise treating certain mental illnesses kills creativity, even though the data suggests that the opposite is true.
Trust me: I’ve been through this. It’s terrible! There’s nothing creative whatsoever about lying in bed, refusing to wake up because you wish you were never born. The creative juices don’t get flowing when you pray to God that a tractor-trailer would just absolutely cream you on your drive back from work, or thinking, “What if I just revved my car up to 120 miles per hour and crashed into that tree over there?” Depression doesn’t make one want to be creative, or do much of anything except die.
Yes, depression and other feelings caused by depression and its friends can give good grist for the creative mill, as it is quite cathartic to get those feelings out somehow, whether it be by putting pen to paper, fingers to keys, paint to canvas, or whatever you choose to do. But it’s even more cathartic to not want to kill yourself, or wish you had never been born every second of the day. And remember that plenty of fantastic art has been made by people who aren’t struggling with one form of mental illness or another.
There is nothing fun or mystical about suicidal thoughts. I don’t care what the popular myths about Beethoven and Van Gogh or Kurt Cobain are. Talk to someone. Get help. Get your life back.
If you’ve found my blog by searching for the pros and cons of suicide, know that there are only cons. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 if you must–they’re great people who want to be there for you. Just don’t fall for the lie that there’s something noble about your suffering.
Why am I writing about this now? It’s not mental illness awareness month or whatever.
To tell you the truth, I don’t know. I just felt moved to address this issue again, to let those seeking out information about suicide that there is always hope and that things don’t have to be this way.
Maybe it’s the news of this despair that’s sweeping the nation. Maybe it’s the empty promises of consumer-driven modernity that have helped fuel my own struggles that make me eager to share this message as one who has overcome them. Maybe the Spirit told me to.
Whatever the reason, this is my message to those of you who stumbled upon this blog searching for “the pros and cons of suicide”: If reading that post, or this post, or any other post on here, has given you a little hope or strength and compelled you to get help, then I’ll consider this whole stupid endeavor to have been worth it.