It’s Wednesday again. It’s Suicide Prevention Week. So instead of my customary Wednesday Breaking the Silence of Stigma/Voices of Mental Illness interview, I’m going to talk about suicide.
Of course talking about suicide may be triggering to some people, so if you’re triggered by it, stop reading now.
I’m not going to talk about statistics or any of that stuff; it’s all over the Internet right now and you can easily access it for yourself. This is a personal essay about my own dance with suicide, or as I prefer to think about it, leaving the planet on my own recognizance.
Life is finite. We all have our time to be born, to live, and to die. King Solomon wrote about that in Ecclesiastes, and The Byrds wrote the song “Turn, Turn, Turn” based on King Solomon’s Book. Those are the constants of life: Birth, the changes of living on the Earth, and the change of leaving the earth, whether in a natural way like disease or old age, or an unnatural way such as a car accident or a tree falling or a tsunami or something like that. Or murder. Or suicide.
Is suicide a variety of murder? Some would say yes. In my spiritual tradition (I have renounced the term “religion” because I no longer relate to it in that way), the soul is virtually injected into the body, to be taken back to its source when its mission on earth is finished. Therefore the body is a vessel for the soul, and the human who embodies that soul does not own it and therefore does not have the right to prematurely abort its mission, because it has been assigned its mission by the Higher Source. I can buy that, and that is a philosophical barrier to my leaving the planet before I am taken.
I think about it all the time, though. There is not a day when I do not fantasize about leaving the unpleasantness that is my life. For some reason, I have been given a life filled with sickness, pain, loneliness, failure, and trouble after trouble after trouble. If I attain a goal, sooner or later it will be taken away from me. I am not just feeling sorry for myself. These are simple facts that boggle the mind.
I do have one joy in my life, and I am afraid even to write this, because I fear that my joy will be snuffed out: I have a son who is the one and only reason that I remain on the planet. I pray that the Universe lets me keep him, not so much because I would instantly leave if he disappeared, but that he is truly my one and only source of joy.
That is one of two reasons that I have not yet left the planet.
The other one is that many years ago I knew someone who took his own life, right outside my house, using my own gun. It was a horrifying experience, and I was thrown into jail on suspicion of murder until his suicide note was found, analyzed, and found to be authentic.
When I got out of jail I returned to the spot where he had shot himself, and sat myself down on a stump that happened to be right there. I meditated on his energy field, and he appeared to me: not physically, or visually, but I felt his presence very near.
He said to me: If you are thinking of doing this, do not do it. We are sent into our bodies to accomplish certain tasks, of which we are unaware. If we kill our bodies, then are not relieved from the tasks. We still have to accomplish our missions, which are now revealed to us; but without bodies to carry out these tasks, it is even more difficult than it was in life. No matter how much you think you are suffering now, without a body your suffering will still exist, yet even more so because you will lack a physical existence, a vessel to contain you and make it possible to do your mission without further pain.
And then he left me. I sat weeping, because I did not want to be here. I was seventeen years old. Now, approaching the age of sixty at the end of this month, I still long for the release of death, to be relieved of the suffering of this world.
My spiritual tradition tells me that the difficulties I experience are all symptoms of carrying out valuable spiritual tasks, and that the more of them there are, the closer I approach the clearing of spiritual blockages, so that my path to the “world to come” will be bright and clear. I certainly hope this is the case. I am not the kind of martyr who welcomes catastrophe for its own sake. I don’t like it. I loathe it. I just want peace and quiet, and, if it’s not too much to ask, even happiness, even reasonable prosperity from honest work, even a brain that functions and doesn’t betray me around every corner. And freedom from vermin, both many-legged and two-legged.
My suicide plan is beautiful. It involves no violence, no overdoses, no trauma. I won’t tell you what it is, because some of you might be tempted, and that would indeed be murder.
But, for the reasons I have stated above, it must remain only a fantasy, to soothe me when my brain is eaten with fire, or when another of my dreams goes up in smoke.
I wish for you, that you would never have to live like this. I wish you joy and peace and love, or whatever it is that makes your life pleasant and delightful.