Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Temporary problem?

I feel like I should apologise in advance, because this is going to be a bit of a rant.

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

I am so tired of hearing this! Every time someone talks about feeling suicidal or having suicidal ideation, this inane little saying gets dusted off and paraded around the conversation. Enough with it!

Do you seriously think someone would contemplate suicide if they understood that their problem was temporary? Do you?

Suicide is the ultimate act of desperation, the final fall-back when no other solution seems to present itself, including waiting for the problem to blow over or solve itself. Suicide is a way out of pain that shows no hint of ever having an end. The problem looks and feels permanent. That is why the only solution that remains is a permanent one.

Now, sober thinking tells us that no problem is ever permanent, and that suicide is, in fact, a permanent solution to a temporary problem. But suicide doesn't happen during sober thinking. It happens in the depths of despair, when overwhelming pain negates the ability to think clearly. When one is in the depths of despair, telling that person that his problem is temporary serves only to minimize it. It invalidates his pain, adding loneliness, isolation and feeling misunderstood to an already overwhelming burden.

Someone who is feeling suicidal does not need inane sayings - he needs empathy, compassion and understanding.

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