Notice I didn’t use the words ‘commit’ in the headline?
I almost did, and then I caught myself.
Because anyone who dies by suicide, was a victim of depression, sadness beyond understanding, unbearable psychological suffering, and grief for feeling like they have died long ago, yet they are still existing.
And that type of life, is absolutely not a crime, which is why we need to, along with other things, stop saying that people who die by suicide, ‘committed’ the act.
When I heard about the deaths of Kate Spade and then, yesterday, Anthony Bourdain, I was devastated.
Yes, I don’t know them both personally, and they were both Hollywood famous and on TV.
But when you know depression all too well and how that darkness can really take over, you can’t help but sympathize with anyone who is affected.
I was devastated because I was thinking about how many times they both must have struggled to stay alive before getting to that point.
I thought about how they must have thought their families would be better of without them, because the thought of even wanting to end their lives, may have seemed ‘cowardly’ when they had children who depended on them.
I thought about how much they might have thought of themselves as being a failure, for having charmed lives and lives that people only dreamt of having, yet in spite it all, still felt sadness that took over their whole entire beings.
And as a result of those feelings, that probably even pushed them deeper into the sadness and darkness that swallowed them whole.
My final thoughts, however?
That every single one of their feelings was valid.
Because, you see, suicidal thoughts and darkness, is a disease of the mind.
It can come into the lives of any human being, no matter who you are and really intrude your thoughts, your actions, and way of living. And absolutely, no one should be judged for having these feelings or experiences, because they are simply an unfortunate part of life and in fact, it can happen to anyone.
Yet, when news of any suicide happens, there are always judgments from people who don’t understand.
Comments such as, “He traveled all over the world and had a life that many others wished they had, why would he want to end it all?”
Or, “They had children, how could they be so selfish? What is wrong with these rich people for wanting to die?”
But that’s the thing, they never wanted to die, they just wanted the pain and sadness to end. They lived, every single day as much as they could, looking for hope and for a reason to hold on, but when it became too much, they let go.
And that wasn’t their fault either.
Anthony Bourdain was open about his past struggles with addiction. He stated, “I got off heroin in the 1980’s, a lot of guys didn’t get that far…I should have died in my 20’s, became successful in my 40’s. I feel like I’ve stolen a car, a really nice car, and I keep on looking in the rear-view mirror for flashing lights.”
At the end of the day, there is a person behind every tragedy and if we really want to have an effective change in the world, we need to stop judging people who die by suicide and look at it for what it truly is, a tragedy.
Enough with the bashing of celebrities and people who struggle just like us, because we feel that they have it ‘too good’ to have internal darkness and struggles.
Suicide doesn’t judge who it affects and in order to really begin to help others who are struggling, we need to really say to ourselves, “Wow, this is incredibly tragic, what can I do to help in the future? How can I look past questions and judgement and really take a stand for suicide and mental illness?”
We have made incredible change these days when it comes to more awareness about mental health and our approach to suicide prevention, but ignorance and judgement still exists.
As these tragic deaths in the past few days have proven, no one is exempt and therefore, no one should be judged as well.
Let’s stop judging those who die by suicide and begin to see it for what it truly is.
A tragedy that has taken the lives of people who truly wanted to live.