The Plea

Mid 50’s. Anxiety ridden.
Voices that taunt and degrade him,
Sometimes urging him to take his own life.
He’s tried on more than one occasion.
He’s hunched over, shuffles.
His right hand shakes uncontrollably,
most likely due to the barrage of psych medicines
that his body endures.
Here we are again, meeting yet another new doctor.
I’m here with him because it’s my job.
He’s here because he wants help, which entails him
telling his story again for the umpteenth time.
The doctor is pretty good as they go, and I’ve met my share.
He wants details about the voices, the thoughts,
the impulses, the hallucinations.
He tries to probe into childhood traumas,
but my client won’t go there. Can’t go there.
The doctor leaves it be. He knows not to push.
He does however need to talk more about suicide.
The attempts. The idealization.
It’s then, under this line of questioning, that this timid, shaky man,
whom I’ve known for nigh on ten years,
reaches down to his core, past all his problems,
and from that place somewhere deep inside,
with a voice that literally quivers with this unexpected surge
of all the power he can muster, spontaneously blurts out:
“I want to live!”
His words hang there for a moment,
and we take them in,
before continuing.

Suicide…but is it painless?

Perhaps I should be called Macbeth as tragedy seems to want to surround me, ok that is a little dramatic but twice now I have physically been close to someone who has attempted suicide…one a failed attempt jumping from a third storey building and sadly yesterday’s not so happy ending of a woman who jumped in front of a train.

This isn’t a subject people like to talk about because then they would have to decide which side of the fence they are going to sit on, should they feel sympathy or anger towards a person who has committed suicide? Suicide is not easy to understand unless you have been in that downward spiral where you believe there is only one way to take you away from all your emotional pain. That of course can include the pain of loneliness and lack of care and attention they receive.

Cutting wrists is visually dramatic, often to impress friends and family with haunting images, that are sometimes meant to punish them for not helping the person in cause when they needed you most.

Public suicides however, have a larger target audience, so what are they trying to tell us? Do they want to become remarked, to stand out, due to a need for acknowledgment, with this; they blame the whole society for their problems, and their death. Furthermore, they delude themselves, that a suicide in public will be long remembered after their death. Just like any normal person wants to live longer, an abnormal person with suicidal tendencies is satisfied with a longer existence through the tragic memory of others. You and I might consider this absurd, but for their flawed thought process, during an intense emotional state, this seems reasonable.

Yesterday’s incident is still very raw in my mind but I haven’t forgotten the other chaps attempt, I think of it often…so the fact I still remember, after all that time, proves the chap still exists in my memory. That is the exact reason he attempted to kill himself in front of me and many others. I am sure and this may sound odd, but I believe that is what feeds public suicides.

Suicides are not pleasant, nor for the victim, their family or the audience. But who should I feel sorry for, the woman who committed suicide or the driver and the rest of us travelers who had to be party to this one persons melt down? My heart does go out to her family but my head tells me I should feel more sympathy for the living…the ones who will have that image burned into their brain for the rest of their days.

And I hope Ken doesn’t mind me posting the following poem he wrote a while back, which can be found on his website

This is how death should be treated.

by Ken Donner on September 28, 2009

When Death comes banging at my door,
Let it fight to get inside,
I’ll not bow to what’s in store,
I’ll not turn or run or hide,
When Death comes round then let it be,
Because it’s angry, seething mad,
Filled with rage and jealousy,
Envious of the life I’ve had!