Another celebrity suicide in the headlines means another open door for judgement. “So selfish”, they say. “He had a family. What about them?”
Suicide is not a selfish act. It is a desperate one. It is a clawing, suffocating need to make the pain, physical or emotional, go away. It is the belief that others will be better off in a world without you in it. It doesn’t make sense to those who don’t experience it.
I’m four days into the partial hospitalization program at my local mental health facility. The work we do there, in order to attempt to tame our inner demons and reach a place of stability and safety is hard. Beyond description hard. Each day, for six hours, our little group drags out every hard topic, every fear. We open up wounds and poje and prod. We cry and shake and try to make sense of ourselves and each other. We laugh together too, though. We often find it much easier to find compassion for each other than we do to be compassionate towards ourselves.
At the end of the day, I come home and I sleep. I sleep for hours, no matter how much sleep I got the night before. The first day there, I was only awake for 8 hours.
I try to be patient with those who react with anger towards suicide. Those who call it selfish and cowardly simply don’t understand.
If you are at risk, reach out for help. To anyone, or just to the hotline. No matter what your own mind says, you are worth it.