Have you ever had the experience where you just wanted to throw your hands in the air and give it all up? Just walk away from the drama and problems that plague our lives? Not just get away or drop out as the hippies of the 1960’s did. No, I mean to take yourself out of the game…for good.
Sometimes, I get the feeling that I’m over my head. That I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. Life’s moving too fast and I can’t catch a breath…or a break. Other times, I feel disappointed in the hand I’ve been dealt in life. Why can’t I backpack across Europe? Why do I have to be responsible? Often, I feel trapped…without an escape.
Now, I wouldn’t say that I am suicidal per se. It’s just at those times, I feel like I could welcome death if it should come upon me. If my car would happen to careen off into a ravine, if I happen to die of carbon monoxide poisoning while stuck in traffic or a random act of violence would snuff me out then all my worries would be washed away and I could let the living deal with everything else.
You see, my thoughts of death are never by my own hand. I couldn’t even cut myself if I was bitten by a snake! No, I always fantasize my demise by some other means. Again, let someone else be responsible for the work. Why do I always have to do everything? I guess I’m just lazy. Besides, if I did plan to take care of business on my own, a myriad of problems would arise, I’m sure. If I were to buy a gun (the most effective way of doing the job), I would change my mind before the mandatory waiting period expired. Forget cutting myself as I mentioned above. And hanging myself would be impossible because no doubt my kids would have taken all the ropes, belts or any other hanging implements around the house and lost them. We’re still searching for a remote control!
I realize that I may be exhibiting classic signs of depression, but I just can’t simply afford to not be depressed. I certainly can’t take a day off from work to sit on some shrink’s couch and talk about my “mommy and daddy” issues. Not to mention, with four children, who can afford all of the medication that will certainly prescribe to make me feel “normal” again. Sometimes, I can’t remember what normal felt like. On the other hand, a lot of my favorite authors led depressed wretched lives. Isn’t it true that by emulating them, I will eventually become like them. Wait…many of them killed themselves. Maybe I need new heroes?
Recently, an acquaintance made the decision to take his own life. He didn’t announce his intentions and didn’t offer signs to serve as the obligatory cry for help. As far as I see it, without knowing what was going on in his personal life, it seems he just made the decision to stop living. I admit, of course, that this dim view of the situation is most likely very far from the truth.
The news of his passing was very surreal. I’ve lost many people in the course of my life, but suicide is different. There is a lack of closure, a desire to know why a person would-or could do this to themselves and finally feelings of guilt that you didn’t see the signs. For those who were closer to him, some have begun to show signs of anger. I know this only a part of the grieving process, but this reaction seem to come rather quickly.
His decision caused a great stir within me. I began, for the first time, to think of all the consequences that my loved ones would endure if I left this world. The burden I’d place on my wife to raise the children alone. Sure, she’d eventually remarry, but how difficult would it be until that time? My children would be deprived of my teasing, not to mention my kisses and hugs. My parents without a son and my brother without a sibling.
And think of the guilt I would put on everyone if I caused my own death. The betrayal, the abandonment, the feelings of inadequacy for my wife and my children. Would they blame themselves for not seeing the signs, for not helping me? How would they know if I didn’t tell them?
The truth is, we don’t just live our lives for ourselves. Too many people depend on us and we can’t let them down. Perhaps if my friend could see from the other side of the fence, to see how his decision touched those near and far, maybe he could have found a way to keep living…one day at a time.
As for me, I plan to take it easy. To lighten my work load. Besides, if I’m not going to be recognized for my efforts at work, then why am I trying so hard? I will not emulate Sisyphus pushing his rock up the hill just to watch the fruits of his labor go to waste when the rocks rolls back down. Such a futile existence that will surely lead to my doom.