Suicide Victims Deserve Our Forgiveness And Nothing Less

Suicide Victims Deserve Our Forgiveness And Nothing Less

Blaming the person who is depressed is irresponsible and offensive
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I'm about to tell you, reader, about the hardest moment of my life.

It was a Sunday night, just before exam week, and almost midnight.

Now, I should preface this next part by telling you that during this time, my closest friend in the entire world was struggling mightily with depression and suicidal thoughts, and they had been for a while.

Trying to balance the impossible pressure, anxiety, and fear of being the closest person to someone going through this, the person to whom they turned, the person to whom they divulged their most negative thoughts and emotions put an immense strain on me and my own emotional state.

But this particular night, just as I was about to get into bed, I got a text from this friend.

“Would you forgive me if I killed myself?”

I was completely and totally floored and emotionally devastated. I didn’t know what to do or what to say, because what the fuck are you supposed to say to something like that?

I can’t remember exactly what I ended up saying, but I managed to pull myself together enough to text back something along the lines of “Why are you asking? What is going on? Are you OK?” I did this even knowing full well they were not, by any typical definition of the word, “OK."

I was in a panic, wondering if all the suicidal desires they had told me about were about to come to fruition and play themselves out in real life. I wondered if my friend was trying to get some closure or some assurance that I would forgive him. I was so, so scared that this was it.

Their response back to me didn’t come in until several long minutes later. It was just a general question; they were just curious. They weren’t killing themselves.

The question, “Would you forgive me if I killed myself?” still haunts me to this day, and not just because of all my pain and panic surrounding it. I’m still not entirely sure how to answer it.

Would I have forgiven them, my friend, if they had killed themselves? Could I have?

Had they gone through with it, had they swallowed pills or put a gun to their head or wrapped a belt around their neck and snapped it, the pain they would have caused would have been immeasurable.

It would have been immeasurable just inside of me, but also compounded throughout each and every one of the people whose lives they had touched. Their death would have been catastrophic.

And yet, I think the answer is that I would have forgiven them. I would have had no other choice.

The thing is--and this is what Lesly Salazar fails to realize in her article--suicide, suicidal thoughts, and depression aren’t things a person chooses; they aren’t something someone can control. They aren’t things for which those affected should be blamed for.

The truth is, if my friend were to kill themselves tomorrow, I would be unbelievably sad, grief-stricken, upset, hurt, and, yes, angry. But I wouldn’t blame them.

I would blame our society’s unwillingness to engage in serious dialogue about suicide and depression. I would blame our culture’s insistence that sharing emotions makes someone weak and that we should instead keep things bottled up.

I would blame our country’s paltry mental health care. I would blame just about everything else except the person who had been driven to such a state that they thought suicide was their only option. And, as unfair as it would be, I would blame myself.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Awkward — Friend Or Foe?

A twenty-year-old's attempt to accept awkwardness.

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Too often I find myself thinking about the word 'awkward' and all its versatile uses. Who decided that certain situations, actions, and interactions are not deemed "normal," but rather labeled an uncomfortable, awkward, or cringy experience that we either laugh about later or feel self-conscious about years later. After we saw Olivia Wilde's new movie "Booksmart" (as a side note I 12 out of 10 recommend this movie), one of my best friends and I looked back and simultaneously laughed and cringed about how awkward our high school freshmen-selves were. How we talked almost exclusively to each other, had uncomfortable conversations with our peers, and how being called on by a teacher to read anything aloud to the class was just about the worst thing we could ever imagine happening. We had a great time freshmen year, and because of our co-dependency that year, I can't imagine a day when she won't be one of my best friends. However, while so many memories from that year are priceless, some I would gladly erase given the opportunity.

We might have laughed at how awkward we were, but it also left us feeling extremely uncomfortable in our skin, terrified of what other people thought of us, and we walked around like cartoon characters with clouds parked over our heads. I think a lot of us feel this way, personifying and vilifying the word "awkward," granting the interpretation of that word the power of a defining label. Therefore, both of us were sufficiently happy when we felt like we finally outgrew our 'awkward' phase, and grew into confident — slightly more confident — college grown-ups. However, although we've mostly outgrown that phase, memories from those years that are hard to remember, but even harder to forget. Bad feelings, impossible to shake, find their roots in those awkward years of high school and refuse to vacate.

The word awkward has a weird power because sometimes it can make someone feel bad about themselves, but at other times it can make someone appear quirky and charming. However, despite how it may feel in a specific moment, "Awkwardness" has always felt like something I've had to strive to overcome. I've always thought I could just grow out of it, and train myself to not be awkward. Today, as a twenty-year-old college student, I sometimes feel like the new and improved me, but other times I still feel like an uncomfortable, tentative fifteen-year-old dying to be comfortable. However, the other when that same freshmen friend and I walked out of the movie theater, laughing about the similarities between the characters of "Booksmart," and how we acted all those years ago, I had a thought. What if there is no outgrowing our scared, "awkward" parts? What if being comfortable and happy comes from accepting that being awkward doesn't have to be a bad thing, and that being awkward may be a small part of my personality. Maybe it's something I don't need to and shouldn't change.

After all, we all can't help being a bit awkward sometimes. In fact, I think awkwardness may be part of what makes life so unexpected and fun. If it wasn't, why would people make a movie about it?

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