Home » A Wasted Life » Suicide Isn’t Always Painless

Suicide Isn’t Always Painless

This is the time of year when the suicide rate goes up.  It’s the time of year when depression deepens and for some, becomes intolerable.  Pay attention.

When somebody has lost their lust for life and has withdrawn, there is a reason.  Depression is not a myth and the subsequent mental state is not “a choice.”

It’s a fact that when somebody is depressed, often they attempt or certainly entertain the idea of suicide.  It’s also a fact that as these people are getting “treatment” and seem to be on the upswing, their odds of successfully committing suicide increase exponentially.

Some of us are going to be alone this year.  Some of us are used to being alone.  Some of us were alone for years, surrounded by people who made us feel alone.  But for some of us, being alone this year will be a “first.”

It doesn’t take much effort to let somebody know you are thinking about them.  A remembrance is not a quick fix but compassion and forbearance are sometimes enough to let them know that you care.  We need to remember that life is so very fragile, especially for those who are damaged and struggling.

Two days ago, I had to make myself go to the grocery store. It didn’t take longer than five minutes to go in, get what I needed and then get out.

As I was walking toward my car, I thought I heard somebody say “no. no.”  I didn’t know what was going on but I noticed several people gathering around.

As I got closer, I realized what was happening.  A man was holding a gun.  I couldn’t have been more than five feet away from him.  I didn’t freeze.  I didn’t run.  I looked right into his eyes as he put the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger.

I didn’t recoil in disgust.  I didn’t scream.  I didn’t look away.  Blood was pouring from his nose and mouth and his eyes were half-open.  The top of his head was gone.

I wondered what had gone through his mind just before the bullet ended all of his thoughts.

Not until I got home, did it occur to me that this man could have turned the gun on me or anybody else standing close by.

I remember thinking, “would anybody miss me?  Would anybody be sad?  Would anybody even know?”

Thinking about that didn’t bother me as much as the look in the mans’ eyes.  I’ve seen death before and I’ve seen the result of suicide but I had never seen the actual act.

It won’t make the national news.  As far as I know, it didn’t even make the local news.  This could be due to the wishes of his family, if he had any or more than likely, it could be due to the fact that he was a “nobody.”

Had he been famous, we would have been bombarded with coverage.  There would have been sad and meaningful epithets.  There would have been mournful statements. There would have been cries for help for the mentally ill, that is, until one of the Kardashians put out a new line of lipstick.

There would be guilt-driven statements, citing sorrow for not having recognized the depths of their despair.  There would be prayers and moments of silence.  There would be special television presentations, celebrating the persons’ life.

But what about the regular people?  The nameless, the forgotten, the homeless, the damaged?

Will anybody grieve for this man?  Was he suffering from PTSD?  Was he ignored?  Was he told to “just get over it?” Was he accused of being too dramatic?  Did people stay away from him because he “looked so sad?”  Was he told that his mental state was “a choice?”

I have no idea but he ultimately made a choice.  He chose to end his life, on his terms and in a very public way. There’s a song titled “Suicide is Painless.”  It was the theme song for the television show M*A*S*H.  It may be said that suicide is painless but the suffering it ends is not.

Had he begged for help from uncaring social workers or family members?  Had he been a veteran, who served his country, only to return and find that he was little more than just another number on the register at the Veterans’ Hospital?

This is the time of year for family and celebration.  It’s the time of year for parties and elaborate dinners.  It’s the time of year for giving gifts, whether out of love or obligation.

I would ask that we all give the gift of understanding and tolerance to those damaged and struggling people who are suffering with depression and mental illness.  Sometimes, it can be a simple phrase.  “I’m here for you,” and who knows?  You may save a life.


55 thoughts on “Suicide Isn’t Always Painless

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I have been at the point where I was making a plan and it is a place that is hard to get out of. I am sorry you had to see someone actually go through with it. Poor man. It is such a painful place to be and hard for everyone affected.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I remember years ago being at a suicide prevention workshop. We were asked how many of us new of someone who had committed suicide. Most of us put our hands up. I agree with you we can all make a difference. Showing compassion to another human being is one of the greatest gifts we can give. In appreciation Roland Legge


        • I had only known one person (and I didn’t really know her at all. She was my niece and I had never met her.) You just never know when a kind word might literally change somebodys’ mind. Some of course, are determined but some just need a reason to stay.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. Beyond unbearable. Yes, I had to identify my father and yes, shocked at how cold he was. It was then that I realised the body is merely a repository for the person we are and that he was no longer there. It helped me cope with his funeral. I am so sorry you had to witness that and so sorry he felt so desperate that he had to make such a public statement and affect so many other lives. I hope there were no children around.


  3. Thanks for writing this. I’m sorry you had to see that, it would be something you’d never forget. But it’s vital we realize this, perhaps in the future even a small gesture, can change someone’s choice to die, to a choice to live.


  4. Sorry to hear of your experience. Living is hard, dying is easy. We’ve all at some point of another been in a dark place, some darker than others. Suicide always seem to be the easiest way out but you’re right about needing to know someone is there for you, it brings hope, it brings love and most of all saves a life.


    • My niece hung herself when she was about 21. (I never met her.) Later, when I was talking to my ex-MIL, I said “it’s easy to die, it’s hard to live.” I was attacked by a pack of wild dogs (the family…my ex, my MIL and FIL included.) I don’t know if she sought help but there was a court battle and she lost. She carved three words in a park bench before she “left.” They were “terror, release, goodbye.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • WOW!! So sad to hear that. I’ve been to the dark side, what pulled me through was that someone once said if you hesitated if means you’re not ready to leave. I hesitated because I thought what life would be for my kids with me not being there to protect them. So I knew I wasn’t ready and I found solace in exploring, literature, places, life and myself. Sorry no one was there for your niece or that she felt she had nothing to live for.


        • I think her mama and daddy were there for her but they weren’t enough, I guess. I really don’t know. I was never treated like part of the family so I wasn’t privy to much of what was going on in anybodys’ life…not even Losers.’ When Loser told me, I automatically thought “overdose” because I had heard tales of some wild, weird things she supposedly did. When I told my oldest, she said “did she hang herself?”
          I was stunned. I was a relative newby to EMS. My daughter was seasoned and knew that hanging is one of the two ways most women kill themselves. 😦
          BTW…I got it! Finally….You should be getting one….probably next year…the way the snail mail is apparently running these days…LOL
          But this time of year, everything is SO slow!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Very sad all the same!! Thank God you are out of that crazy family.
            Finally! Think I sent you an email asking it had arrive. Even here the mail slows this time of year, so you’re right, not gonna expect it til New Years. lol! lol!


  5. Words fail me…. The overwhelming grief, pouring out of your words feels like it’s squeezing my wind pipe. I’m finding it hard to take in enough air. I witnessed something similar (not the actual act but, I was the one who found the man) and that sort of thing never leaves you. And for the deeply empathetic types, the energy of despair hovering so close, seems to soak into your bones and follow you for much longer than seems rational.

    I’m so sorry you witnessed that.

    After reading your last few posts, I wish I could just show up on your doorstep on Christmas morning with a case of Boost. I think you’ve more than earned it.

    Story Lynne


  6. Oh Laurel I am so sorry you had to witness such a devastating situation. I hope you are doing alright. I am grateful to you for writing this very important post, a reminder of how we can all help others. My ex went to sleep when he saw me take too many pills one night. Yes I felt totally alone that night and was upset that I didn’t have enough pills to get it done. Sending you hugs dear one.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thats a pretty nasty experience for you Laurel, when people get that low there’s no telling what they’ll do in front of another person, you probably would be wise to seek counselling for that one. xxo


  8. Thank you for the timely reminder. On my blog page there is a little meme on the side that reads “The Holidays are not jolly for everyone” or words to that effect. It’s true that a tiny bit of kindness or perceived understanding may change someone’s whole world and outlook. Do you suppose the reason that you didn’t react more strongly is because of your training as an EMT (forgive me if I have your profession wrong)? I’m glad someone was right there who could help, even if it was after the fact. What a horrible thing for anyone famous or not, widely known or not to have to carry a burden that makes one cry out like that in front of a crowd of strangers. 😦


    • It may have been my training although I don’t think you’re ever really prepared for death. Even my daughter, who is a seasoned medic, gets so shaken up sometimes, she cries…and she never cries.
      There was no helping him. It was instant. I do remember…even though I have seen death and blood…watching it pour out of him, like somebody had turned on a faucet and just being numb.
      After my mama died, I had to identify her body and I touched her face. Again, I had seen death but I was stunned at how cold she was.
      Movies and television never project a true and accurate vision of just how devastating this kind of thing is. It’s too gruesome.


  9. wow Laurel powerful and such an important message- I am reblogging this on my site. I am so sorry what happened to him and thank God you are okay too.


    • Thank you. There are just so many sad people out there who feel hopeless. I am taking care not to ignore the signs of more PTSD. You know about it and you hear about it but you rarely see it. I imagine it will hit me before too much longer. Thanks for the re-blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. as someone who gets visited by some pretty nasty demons
    i understand the urge to just end it
    it is difficult when your head is full of dark
    to see any light
    but, in my experience, the light does come back.
    even if it is dim & you have to squint really hard to see it
    and every little nice thing helps.
    any little understanding helps.

    i’m here for you xxoo


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