The Stigma that is Suicide


Some people have the belief that committing suicide is considered a cowardly and selfish act, that it only hurts and puts a burden on loved ones. Well, it’s apparent that those who think this haven’t a clue what is going through the mind of a severe depressant who commits the suicidal act – they have absolutely no idea what pain the depressant is enduring that causes them to feel that ending their life is the only way out. Rich or poor, it doesn’t matter – the inner strength to go on must be prevalent, and that is the one thing missing from depressants who commit suicide.

I have never, nor will I ever, completely understand the dark justifications that go through the mind of someone who is about to commit suicide. And it would be awfully presumptuous of me and anyone else who has a sound mind to think they understand. No one understands – I’m not even sure the depressant fully understands. If they did, I’m guessing suicide would not be foremost on their mind. However, I have lived with a depressant who couldn’t handle life and decided to end it – my mother. After two attempts in the late 1980’s, the 3rd one took in January 2000. Three times is a charm, right? I saw first hand the pain my mother was going through with the demons inside her mind – not only was she a depressant, but I believe she also suffered from a schizotypal disorder. To my knowledge there wasn’t any documentation linking the disorder to my mother, because she hated going to doctors, and because in her mind she didn’t have a problem. But I saw the signs off and on starting around 1988 – she began by mentioning that certain recording artists and radio personalities were directing songs solely to her. She would make homemade cassette tapes of mock radio shows and pretend they were meant for a particular country radio show host. Unfortunately in her mind, my mom wasn’t pretending.

Throughout the next few years, my mom’s depression and schizophrenia would slowly get worse. Sometimes she would seem “normal”, but mainly she was slowly spiraling downward, until January of 2000 when she just couldn’t take it any longer. My mom and I were estranged for a few months before she committed suicide – a week before the suicide, I told my best friend that I was going to try and make amends with her. I guess I didn’t call my mom soon enough – talk about feeling guilty when I found out she killed herself by overdosing on Xanax, right on the heels of me attempting to reconcile. It’s a guilt I have learned to live with and not allow to eat at my heart and soul.

Recently I read an article about the epidemic of suicide – the stats and the demographics were startling, to say the least. Research sociologists, psychiatrists, and psychologists all agree that suicide prevention needs broader attention, and I couldn’t agree more. If public attention and more research can help lower the staggering rate of suicide, then maybe, just maybe, suicide can shed the stigma associated with it.

Some question if depression is considered a disease. I think that if it wasn’t, there wouldn’t be medications such as Prozac, Zoloft, Cymbalta, Paxil, Wellbutrin, and Abilify. Some sufferers of depression are able to rise above the disease and take these medications to help them live better lives; others suffer depression so severe that even the strongest dose of antidepressants only scratch the surface. And it’s those sufferers that have the hardest time dealing with the disease.

Can skeptics honestly say that these sufferers “choose” to be depressed? That these sufferers “choose” to die because of this disease? Maybe those who are skeptical need to think of depression as a cancer of the mind, eating away at the sufferers thoughts; sufferers that are hoping and praying that the medication coupled with support groups will ease the pain. And similar to other diseases, sometimes medications and support groups work, and sometimes they don’t. Robin Williams and my mom are dying proof of the latter.

Dare I say that Robin Williams’ death was necessary to bring suicide into the limelight, to make people actually sit up and take notice? Well, maybe “necessary” isn’t the right word, but if his death is shoved down the throats of those who shy away from bringing suicide into the mainstream awareness, then yes, unfortunately it was necessary. But only if it will help dispel the stigma and bring light into the darkness that Robin Williams and my mom suffered for so many years.

6 thoughts on “The Stigma that is Suicide

  1. Such a thoughtful analysis. Looking back now I regret that we didn’t band together as a united front during the ordeal. Instead we allowed her to rip apart the fabric of the family and we each dealt with her and her mental illness independently and alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It wasn’t easy, that’s for sure – but we dealt with it the best way we both could. In Mom’s case, no matter what anybody says, she is in a much better place… and that’s what helps me deal with her passing, even 14 years later.


  2. Being happy is an essential condition to life… it is not just an expression of your quality of life…. it boils down to a life and death issue…. My father is retired psychiatrist who delivered life saving medicine through administered wisdom and love….

    Liked by 1 person

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