Because I am a person who during two years of clinical depression thought about suicide, I now deeply believe that the decision to kill yourself could be averted by the right positive stimulus. In other words, in fifteen minutes, the person contemplating suicide might be able to make another decision. The act of suicide reminds us that there are those around us who are struggling with being able to cope with self-hatred so overwhelming that it truly feels like a stone along your neck. Letting go of these thoughts is my main coping skill. They are just thoughts. I feel no guilt for them but I quickly release them.
I think of Robert Frost’s poem, a man acquainted with negative emotions:
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
One of my favorite, favorite writers in the field of addiction recovery is Syd whose blog I’m Just F.I.N.E.—Recovery in AlAnon, includes this excerpt from his entry entitled, “The view from the bridge”:
“It is warm today, nearly 75 F. It still feels like fall to me. But I will take it over the long days of cold weather that would permeate whatever I put on in Virginia. Yesterday at the marina was picture perfect–blue sky, light winds, warm temperatures. I watched the boats going past looking for the body of a young woman who jumped from the bridge over the weekend. Her body has not been found.”
”She was described as her room mates as cheerful, vivacious, beautiful, athletic, and from a loving family. Yet, for some reason, she decided to scramble over the barricade that separates the walkers and runners from the precipitous edge of the bridge and jump over 160 feet into the water below. A passerby said that she saw the young woman standing there, and she turned to smile. A smile of resignation? A smile of happiness at her decision? I don’t know, but I wonder what can be so awful at 20 years of age that makes you end your life.”
”The view from the top of that bridge is spectacular. The harbor is before you, the church steeples in the city, the masts of sailboats at the marina–all of it makes a breath taking panorama. Maybe she was so caught in pain that she didn’t really see. But somehow I hope that she did ultimately see all of it rushing by as she took that plunge. And maybe it made her feel peaceful for a split second.”