Is Suicide “A Choice”, Or The Lack Of A Voice?

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Recently, I have had to deal with the specter of suicide in my life. Obviously, the death of Robin Williams is the hot topic right now. I have had a couple of friends / acquaintances who also took their own lives.

The idea of suicide is not foreign to me.

When I was in high school, there was one guy, a fellow boy scout in my troop, who tried to commit suicide over the break-up of a girlfriend. He took a gun and shot himself in the stomach. He lived and did fine after that. But the recovery from that is said to be very very painful. One of the jocks in high school…. Actually, I’m not keen on describing him quite like that, He was more than a jock…. He was an all around good guy. He was athletic, smart, incredibly good looking… his entire collection of good attributes was unfair really…. I have no idea what happened after high school, but he was the perfect example of a guy who seemed to have everything, kind of a Richard Corey thing, though not that successful later on. In his own head though, I guess he had nothing to live for.

On a personal level, I suffered from severe depression from the time I was a kid to my late 20’s. I was in lots of pain. Some of it was real caused by outside problems – being crosseyed, short and hiding the fact that I’m gay from everyone, and hating myself for even being gay and not normal in the first place… Some internal – poor self image and no self worth… Some imagined – everybody hates me, I will never find love, etc. I had a suicide note written in 8th grade, and I may still have it in a box out in the garage somewhere. I would think about what would be the best way to do it. Shooting myself in the stomach was definitely out of the picture as I saw that that probably wasn’t going to be effective, and that wouldn’t be doable as we didn’t own guns. Slitting wrists???? Nah. Too messy. No one was taking prescription drugs in our household, so that was not an option. Mom did take some pill to control her epilepsy, but those just didn’t seem like they would do much of anything in large doses, except maybe give you a nice headache. But, i did have more opportunities as I grew into my 20’s. I can remember so many times driving on the freeways in San Diego, say, on the elevated portion of the 805, and thinking that if I swerved right now as I drive on this bridge, I could end my pain.

The thing that prevented me from doing so was that little voice in my head, actually, it was almost like an observer laughing at my misery, that persistently told me not to do it cause that would be stupid, I’d probably screw it up and become a vegetable or something. Also, it insisted that I wait around and see if things could get better. It told me “screw the world, you will not be defeated”. It assured me that they had to get better.

I’m not saying that I have severe depression. I never told anyone what I was feeling and going through, so I never got diagnosed with anything. And I don’t get depressed much anymore. Life did indeed get better, just like the voice said it would, though it took long enough!!!!

I always wonder what would have happened if that little voice was no longer there. If your life’s drive becomes focused on that singular act, where that becomes the focus and you crave to fulfill that act like you obsessed about all things sex as a teenager, and that thing in your head that has kept you from doing it before is switched off….. I’m not sure if suicide is a choice at that point.