‘Cause suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.
…and you can do the same thing if you please.
Actor and comedian Robin Williams took his own life yesterday and a lot of people are talking about how tragic it was and how tortured he must have been. There are tributes from many who see the result as a given since he struggled with addiction and depression.
Robin Williams is like many others who took the decision to end their lives. He thought it would end the pain and suffering. Well it might have ended Williams’ pain and suffering but it inflicted pain and suffering on the loved ones he left behind.
It gave those loved ones grief they did not want and grief they did not need. Williams’ act burdened people not only with the sadness that comes from the loss of a loved one it burdened them with feelings of guilt, feelings of helplessness and feelings of confusion.
Contrary to the refrain of the Theme from MASH, suicide is NOT painless. It causes untold amounts of pain to those left behind.
“It brings on many changes”
While it is difficult to understand the thought process of those who are driven to consider, attempt or succeed in suicide one thing is undeniable, it is a selfish act. No doubt that it is an act of desperation but it is selfish nonetheless. It might relieve the pain of the person who successfully takes his own life but that solution disregards the feelings of those left behind. It disregards how the act will affect them. The person who commits suicide is only concerned with how he will be relived of pain and thinks little of how much pain it will cause.
This is not to minimize the turmoil that goes on in the minds of those who contemplate such a final act. Those folks are in a lot of pain and need help but their solution is one of their own choosing. They decide to act on suicidal ideations and they can decide not to act as well.
As the songs states; “I can take or leave it if I please.”
Williams’ suicide is getting a lot of attention because he was a celebrity but everyday members of our armed forces (or veterans) commit suicide and little mention of it occurs. Every day people around the world commit suicide and while they cause as much pain for their loved ones as Williams caused for his they are not the focus of attention. They are just another statistic.
I hope that Williams’ death will bring attention to suicide and prevention strategies and I hope that those who think it is the final answer will see how awful the impact is on those left behind to search for answers.
If you are considering suicide I ask that you call the suicide Lifeline and get help. Talk to your loved ones, your therapist or clergy. Talk to anyone but talk and get help.
Remember, suicide is not painless. It causes pain for those left behind.
And you CAN LEAVE it if you please.
The key is to find a reason to live rather than a reason to die…
Never surrender, never submit.