Suicidal Tendencies

gods_finger_water I have a very personal feeling about suicide: Don’t do it.

Really. Just don’t freakin’ do it.

If you’ve ever thought about it, do whatever it takes to get the thought out of your head. Counseling. Prayer. A support system. Anything and everything you can do.

My life has taken some pretty stressful turns in recent years, especially in the past week. I found myself in a situation over the past several days where not only did my marriage seem to be on shaky ground but a rift was growing between myself and my dad, who is my only surviving parent. I was down. It was grim. And things are tight on top of all that, financially and otherwise. On my worst day, which was only a few days ago, Mrs. Blue called me up from work to make sure I was OK. She was worried, because she thought maybe I might be so down as to be suicidal or at least somehow hurt myself.

I can’t say I blame her, I suppose. She has had at least one close friend I suspect was suicidal. She didn’t kill herself exactly, but her lifestyle and the way she died was born out of depression and while she may not have exactly intended to die, she did, in a sense, kill herself through inattention to her diabetes and too much drinking and other nonsense.

Moreover, a  man who had been becoming a friend to my wife a few years back, and who had been a friend of her late mom’s before, committed suicide. Came home from serving and protecting folks, decided he couldn’t take life anymore, and put a gun in his mouth.

Myself, I have never seriously considered suicide. In fact, it’s almost never even a passing thought for more than about two seconds. Not even this past week. Not any time. And, I suspect, not ever. It’s not because of some tremendous strength within me so much as it is a personal philosophy that there are few things more heinous that a person can do than kill himself or herself.


Sure, there are worse things, perhaps, involving rape and children, but suicide nonetheless ranks right up there, because when you do it, you can’t take it back. You can’t fix it. You leave behind a kind of nuclear-level damage damage, a stinking and burning pile of emotional rubble, that anyone who cared for you will have to dig out of for years. Some people will blame themselves for not having been able to stop you from killing yourself. Some might end their own lives in despair. Lives will be damaged, not fixed, by your suicide.

The only person that might be getting off easy is you. And that’s so very selfish in my mind. About the most selfish act there is.

No, I’m not going to tell you it’s a mortal sin that will damn you to hell. Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. My father in law argues that it is because you can’t ask forgiveness for it and because you are choosing the time of your death instead of letting God’s plans for you play out. I call nonsense on both of those notions, but still, it’s an opinion held by some. But again, it’s not what I’m arguing. I’m arguing that it’s something so cruel to do to those who care about you that it isn’t worth doing.

Even if you are a douche-nozzle of such epic proportions that you can spew yeasty chunks and sanguine fecal matter 50 yards in every direction, somebody most likely gives a shit about you. And probably more than one somebody.

Really, someone cares about you deeply, almost certainly. Someone. Somewhere.

If you have even a caring bone in your own body, than please care enough not to put that person through the hell of a suicide on your part.


13 Responses to “Suicidal Tendencies”

  1. December 5, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    Hm… I don’t know if suicide is that rational. “Don’t do it” makes sense, but the feelings that accompany suicidal feelings don’t. There isn’t so much a desire to kill yourself; it’s more a desire not to be. If that makes any sense.
    As I’ve mentioned in my blog, I was five when I asked my mother, “If the whole point of life is to be good so we can see Jesus, why can’t we just kill oursleves and go be with Him?” That made perfect sense to me. I won’t say it still does because I take Cymbalta ;-).
    Some people aren’t wired to think life is a good thing.

  2. 2 Deacon Blue
    December 5, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    I understand that mental illness isn’t about rationality in many cases. I truly do. Hence why I encouraged the use of any and all means, including counseling and (though I forgot to add it in the blog post) medications as well as needed. Someone considering suicide needs to avail themselves of everything to be on a path not to make an irrational decision like that. Not all of them will, but I want those who are in such a state to think of the people around them enough (even if they won’t think of themselves) to arm themselves against suicide.

    But while I can sign on to your point that a lot of irrationality is involved, I must say that at the same time, I don’t believe that ALL suicide comes from irrational behavior. There are people who put a lot of thought into it. Mental illness or not at the core of it, a lot of people are methodical about it and very focused. I would argue that they are focused too much on themselves in many of these cases. And there, again, I think folks need to see that there is a selfish and very hurtful side to suicide. I DON’T think that such awareness will stop every person from committing suicide, but I DO think that if people would look at it for the damage it does, instead of seeing it as a release for themselves, FEWER people would be as eager to pursue it.

    But in no way do I want anyone to think I downplay mental illness or the ways that it can twist the decision-making process. Mental illness is real, and it is an illness like any other.

  3. December 6, 2008 at 1:39 am

    Do you think God really sends you to hell if you take your life? That gets me.

  4. 4 All's Well That Ends Well
    December 6, 2008 at 2:03 am

    Deac, I know you’ve approached this topic respectfully, but not all suicidal impetus comes from mental illness, irrationality, depression, or what have you.

    Consider my personal experience: I was happy, not depressed, not mentally ill, but I was suicidal.

    Let me try to capture this for you and your readers. For several weeks I struggled with an inner urge to kill myself. I found the feeling bewildering, and relentless. It just wouldn’t go away.

    My life was good. Nothing was going on in it that I wish to run away from, but the feeling persisted.

    For a part of my life, I was a little cavalier about “mental illness,” believing that if a person wish they could snap out of it.

    But the suicidal urge didn’t manifest itself as a mental illness. One day I was happily going about my life, and the next I was fighting the urge to do myself in.

    Obviously, I won out, or I wouldn’t be here to write about it now. What made the difference? What happened to me to help me overcome?

    Prayer. I prayed that the urge be lifted, and that I be able to live my life free of the inner prompting to kill myself.

    It worked. One day I faced the urge, the next day it was as though it had never happened.

    And I’ve been free every since.

  5. 5 Deacon Blue
    December 6, 2008 at 3:05 am

    @ All’s Well…

    I agree that suicide comes from many sources, and that’s why there are many different potential avenues of relief or defense against it. As with so many things in life, there is no “one size fits all” solution.

    If there is any point to my post…or any benefit to be gained from it…I would like to think it would be that my arguments might make a suicidal person take enough pause to consider the effects of the acts on others (not just themselves) and take whatever steps they need to escape the trap of actually committing suicide. I consider my ramblings here to be nothing more than a delaying action for someone; something to buy them time to get the help they need, say the prayers they need or find someothing worth holding on to in this life.

    Not that I think there are a particularly large number of suicidal or potentially suicidal people visiting this blog, but you never know.

    What is odd is that I started a draft of this topic a couple weeks ago, and all I had at that point was my “douche-nozzle” paragraph (Nod to Chez at Deus Ex Malcontent for turning me on to that term, BTW). I didn’t know what else to say and wasn’t even sure why I started writing it. It was only today that I felt the push to write the rest of the post, and that comes in part, I think, from my wife’s recent concern for me, but maybe there was some other reason. If there’s someone who needed to hear this, I hope they did. Or do.

    Suicide has always bothered me, even though it has only touched on my life tangentially and I’ve never seriously considered it. And that’s because it strikes me as such a terrible act, not only the wasted life of the person who commits it but the fact it’s one of those acts that is so hard to “fix.” People left behind to struggle with it, and the one person who could answer the hard questions or let anyone off the hook is dead. I just hate to think of someone leaving that kind of damage behind.

  6. 6 Deacon Blue
    December 6, 2008 at 3:11 am

    @ Kellybelle,

    Almost missed your latest comment there.

    No, actually, I doubt that suicide is an instant pass to Hell. It’s a common Christian belief, particularly in Catholic circles, I think. But I don’t hold to it myself.

    As I noted in my post, it’s a belief my father in law has expressed from the pulpit and in conversation, but as I also noted, I “call nonsense” on it. I’ve never been of the opinion that there is some special sin that can send you to Hell faster or overcome the saving blood of Christ. You have to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit for that, and from what little studying I’ve done on that concept, blaspheming the Holy Spirit isn’t something you do without realizing you’re doing it.

    I’ve talked about Hell several times around here, but in short, the only thing that sends you there is not being born again.

    And the only thing (in my opinion…this isn’t anything I can back up solidly) that will keep a person in that state of separation from God for eternity is an unwillingness to accept responsibility for their sins and self-separation from God on the final judgment day.

  7. December 7, 2008 at 9:37 am


    I think its funny that you talk about suicide and being rational or irrational in one breath and then in the next you talk about Jesus and going to Hell. Are you sure you know the difference between whats rational and what isnt? Just the fact that someone is in enough pain to think that ending their life will end their pain is evidence that their not thinking rationally. Want to know the worst? Imagine killing yourself but its slow enough to allow you to reconsider but lethal enough to not permit a take back.

  8. 8 Deacon Blue
    December 7, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Tit for Tat…I saw your recent post on “Are we so bad we need to be saved” and I’m thinking of today’s post being on that.

    I think it is erroneous to think a person can have faith beliefs and not be able to grasp rationality. People without faith can believe irrational things, so why is such a surprise that I can talk about rational vs. irrational AND also express a thought that you find to be an irrational belief.

    Let’s not lose sight of the fact that my overriding point in this post has to do with making a good choice and not hurting others, and has precious little to do with my faith beliefs in any direct fashion.

    I brought up the point about Hell because I think it would natural for people to assume I was going to go down a path like that (which I didn’t) or that I believe suicide is some special mega-sin (which I don’t).

    Let’s not get things twisted here as to what I’m talking about. Deviations into more spiritual matters here were the result of responding to other comments.

    Tit for Tat, I respect opposing viewpoints, but I don’t take kindly to someone suggesting I don’t know the difference between irrational and rational simply because I take certain things on faith. Perhaps you were trying to be light and not insulting, but at the moment, I’m feeling a tad insulted.

  9. 9 Deacon Blue
    December 7, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    Also, in case I haven’t made it pointedly clear enough yet, I don’t think my post is some magical solution nor did I EVER say that a person considering suicide is 100% or even 50% or even 25% rational.

    But to repeat: There is still some rationality there somewhere for the person to tap. There is still some ability to feel compassion for others and to NOT go down a path of suicide.

    And as Tit for Tat has made so clear, it would be a terrible thing to be dying slowly and want to undo what you’ve done and not be able to. And there, again, is a great reason to tap whatever rationality remains and say, “Hey, maybe this isn’t such a good idea.”

    Just because someone is in an irrational state doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pose to them the notion that they inject some rationality into their decision-making process.

    Counseling. Thinking twice. Prayer. Medications. And so many other things.

    These are ALL options. This is a blog post, NOT some manual on how to avoid suicide. It is my opinion. A very specific opinion. And a slice of reality. It is not the sum total or the entire picture.

    I hope I’ve cleared all that up now for anyone who was still confused as to where I stand and what I am trying to say.

  10. December 7, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    Deacon – I get where you are coming from with this.

    I’ve never been suicidal so it’s hard for me to speak on it. I have been very down at times, but never thought about killing myself. I always saw it as a permanent ending to a temporary issue or situation. Like titfortat was saying, its not like you can change your mind once you start the process.

    I hope that anyone considering it would reach out to someone first.

  11. 11 Deacon Blue
    December 7, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    And thanks, Esquire, for bringing up the “reaching out” thing. There was a program I used to write about a lot called the “Yellow Ribbon Campaign” that would hand out wallet sized cards to teens at school with a number to call and basically, the sentiment that if they are down and if they are considering suicide, to know that they can have someone to talk to.

    The program, as I recall, had some notable successes in helping some teens to avert suicide, precisely because they were made to know that someone was out there to listen to them.

    Often, suicide occurs because the person thinks no one care or no one will miss them.

    Part of the point of my post is to remind folks that this isn’t usually true. There is almost always someone a person can reach out to, whether friend, family or professional. If people would remember that, and try to reach out, they might not go down the path of killing themselves.

    It’s easy to assume no one cares or would miss you, but it’s unreasonable to expect them to support you or help you if you don’t ever let them know you’re in pain. Many who commit suicide never reach out or truly let people know how far away from OK they are.

  12. December 7, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    My brother committed suicide, in his dying moments in my mothers arms he stated he did not want to die. He was not rational when he took the pills. No one that thinks the answer to their pain, is to die, is rational. The point being, we dont know what happens when we die, its an assumption that our pain will end, and it is not based on any logical, rational thought.

    The words below some up my view on Irrational thought

    Torturing people without end, with no redemptive purpose in mind- out right cruelty without end, is the picture of God that Jesus painted? This is Abba Father? Explain it to me please. Justice you say? How is eternal, infinite hell a just recompense for finite temporal sins? Explain that too.
     Hans Kung (1928 – is a Catholic priest, an eminent Swiss theologian, and a prolific author and he remains a Catholic priest in good standing, though the Vatican has rescinded his authority to teach Catholic theology) asked the question this way, “What would we think of a human being who satisfied his thirst for revenge, as the church depicts God does, with an eternal hell”?
    Explain to me how this shows the moral goodness of God. Sure we have free will, and who gave us that? And that which God gave us, He’s now going to nail us with an eternal hell, knowing full well, in advance (omniscience) what decisions we’d make? Is this in any way rational? God sees this as love? This is just? Is there any sanity at all to such a doctrine?
    God is love, and hell is the price for not knowing that? Me thinks literalists speak with forked-tongue!

  13. 13 Deacon Blue
    December 7, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    Tit for Tat, I don’t know if you’ve read my posts and comments prior to now concerning how I interpret Hell and damnation.

    But it’s not something as simple, I think, as God sentencing people to Hell. Hell is a place of separation from God. I don’t believe it is a place of pitchfork-poking-style torture. I think it is unpleasant, and I think that people go there if they aren’t born again. But I don’t think they STAY there after the final judgment unless they are unwilling to recognize their departure from God and their own culpability in remaining separated from Him.

    I don’t believe that God wants anyone separated from Him. But the notion that everyone gets to go to Heaven on a free pass, with no regard to being called on our bullshit at any point, is ridiculous.

    But in the end, in my belief, the only folks going into the Lake of Fire in the end for eternity are going to be those people who CHOOSE to reject God. Those who say, I don’t like your reality, I don’t like the way you do things, and I don’t want any part of you.

    I don’t think anyone is going to be left wondering what the stakes are. But the question is, when God asks, “Do you appreciate my son’s sacrifice for you? Do you regret not being the child I wanted you to be? Do you have remorse for your sins? Do you thirst and hunger to be part of an eternal family” how many people will answer any of those questions with an honest “yes”?

    Most, I hope. All would be even better. But I wholeheartedly believe there will be plenty of folks who will say, “Your rules sucked, and I’m not sorry I broke them. I don’t give a shit that Jesus suffered all sins past, present and future for my sake. I shouldn’t have to follow your rules.” I also believe there will be those who will say “Yes, I’m sorry. Yes, I appreciate that Jesus restored a path from Earth to God.” but will in fact be saying those things only so that they can get some eternal reward. In other words, even at the end, I believe there will be people with only anger or lies or hate or pettiness to offer. People who will have learned nothing in Hell and who, if that is all they are capable of, have no business being in Heaven anyway.

    I believe God is fair and just. And because I believe that, I don’t think he’s going to let anyone suffer eternal damnation just because they didn’t hear the gospel from the right person or because they were weak. God isn’t about torture. I don’t believe that. And Hell is a place to learn one’s lessons and see what separation from God truly means. If I thought God was a petty, vindictive piece of shit who will toss people away without giving them a real chance, He wouldn’t be a God worth my time. A lot of Christians are content to imagine some simplistic God who is either a cosmic ATM or a hard-assed Judge Dredd-style asshole. I think God is way more complex than that and that His love is very deep. And what He wants are people who desire to feel and share a love and fellowship that goes beyond anything we can imagine. Not everyone wants that. And if they don’t, why would they want to be in Heaven anyway?

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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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