Suicide has been in the news this week. I absolutely agree that depression and mental illness can and should be more readily treated. I very much do think that too many people, especially teenagers, wrongly choose suicide. They unfortunately think it is the only answer, or at least the easiest answer. And again I strongly affirm that is something we must do more to prevent!
Yet I also believe in the right to die. And I have heard many others say similar things in casual conversations. Its not at all unusual to hear people mention they might not want to keep living in their old age, depending of course on how they feel physically. And they are not just talking about the terminally ill cases! We simply live longer today than people ever did before.
It is often stated that we need to be able to talk more openly as a society about depression and mental illness. I agree whole-heartedly! But how can we do that if we won’t talk openly about suicide too! Can someone really talk about depression openly, and wanting to end it all, when it is assumed right away that suicide is always wrong. That’s not a conversation at all!
So if we are going to talk about depression openly, then let’s also talk openly about the right to die. I think the willingness to talk openly and acknowledging a right to die would make it easier to talk about depression too. And the more open talking going on, the more likelihood that we will prevent unnecessary suicides that happen because people don’t get enough help.
And yes, sometimes I think such an open conversation won’t stop a suicide. But at least with that very real and honest discussion it will be something that can happen “better”. Why should the family and friends be surpised? And why should people be forced to hang themselves and leave their loved ones the trauma of finding them? Why can’t we provide a cyanide pill instead?
Please note that I am not saying anyone should ever agree that suicide is the easy answer. I am just suggesting an honest and open talk that also does not assume it cannot be the answer. Such a talk will usually go further to help someone feel loved and realize they are not at the point of no other answer. While also helping family and friends understand why it sometimes is.
I personally am very happy with my life right now. But sometimes I do get tired, and I don’t mean tired as in sleepy – tired of living. I hope that if I ever start to be more tired than happy that I can talk about it. That will likely lead to help with changing things up that will enable more happiness than tiredness. And if I finally get old enough (to me) that I’m too tired, then so be it!