Tag Archives: life

On the Hardness of Life

Sometimes, the hardest things to think about are the things which truly matter.

So, to get right into it, I now know a grand sum of four people who have attempted to take their own life. One was a friend in high school. Twice. In her own words, it was a cry for help, help that she eventually, thankfully, received. She’s doing better now. I see her around college, she shouts my name (all my friends do this, actually) and we chat for a while. Another is a current friend in college. She has family problems, she’s alcoholic and she gets high every now and then. She’s 17. She has scars on her arms from cutting, a problem I’m literally forcing her to get help for, and she told me a few weeks ago that she’s tried to hang herself before, in her bedroom. Another time, she downed a bottle of pills. She said that sometimes it felt like her life was falling through her hands. It’s odd, it’s incredibly sad and somehow it is life that across the world people who have not yet seen it no longer want to.

I’m not suicidal myself. In our college’s debating society, the motion was put forward recently that suicide was an inherently selfish act. In my Psychology class, we’ve recently discussed both the biological and environmental causes of depression. Only a few days ago, Mindy McCready, a fairly popular American country singer, committed suicide after a long bout of depression in her life. So where am I going with this?

What do we do to help people who are suicidal or depressed? Should we do anything?

In a number of religions, suicide is a major sin against God. In societies across the world, people who have attempted it or families with a suicide amongst them are stigmatised. I’m not sure why. I’m not entirely sure if it’s right. Is it part of human nature to shun those who remind us of the ever-present presence of death?

I’m almost sure that a few of my readers will know someone who has or has tried to commit suicide. As one of my teachers said: ‘I’m 31 and it’s a sad fact that at my age, you probably know someone who has died that way.’ How have you reacted to it, or tried to help that person?

Personally, I don’t care for the supposed right or wrong of suicide. I care, though, about losing the people I’ve grown close to. It’s one of those areas in my life which I often feel I have no control over, because sometimes no amount of positivity can bring people back from the edge they’ve reached. Right, wrong; that’s a very sad truth.

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I almost feel I should apologise for such a heavy post after such a long absence. Unfortunately, though, while work has consumed much of my time, worry is a greater consumer. As I said above, sometimes we have to think about the hard things.

And We Move On

 

Everybody’s got problems. In every life, there’s a little tragedy, a little bump (or a huge hill) in the middle of the road. We can stay there and be left behind, stuck in the past as everyone goes by at their own pace, or we can move on with them. It’s never easy. It’s never going to be. But that’s life.

When I was twelve, my fourth sibling died. By which I mean my mother was pregnant, and due to a large amount of complications she was forced to abort. It traumatised her, it traumatised us. We held prayers in our garden, and I still can’t forget the tombstone from the graveyard that my sibling is buried in. For weeks, we didn’t know what to say about it, or to my mother, and a melancholy attitude settled on our house for a long time.  And yet, my strongest memory of the day I learnt my sibling was dead was going to school that day, and just sitting in the classroom and getting on. Moving on. The pain was still there, for all of us. When my mother was pregnant again, and she had to have special treatment for blood pressure problems, our hearts were in our mouths for nine months. And they’ve been since. We worried, we worry, we always will. But we moved on.

When I was seven, a close family friend died. He was hit by a car, and pronounced brain dead the next day. His mother had to switch off the life support. They’ve struggled to move on: his mother became alcoholic and her husband separated from her and took their young son away, his sister went “wild”. Maybe they’re still stuck in their past. Maybe one day they’ll move on.

Today is 9/11. Except that it isn’t, because that event happened eleven years ago. And maybe the world stopped for America then, but you can only pause for so long before you have to move on again. We had 7/7. We had Iraq, and the way things are going we’re probably going to have Iran. These are the defining events of our generation, but they will eventually fade away like the events before them, like World War Two is doing,  as the first all but has, as all the civil wars and massacres have. It will never be easy. It will never be as easy as I make out, sitting behind my computer screen and personally unaffected and unconnected to these tragedies unlike so many others. But every generation has its wars and its victims, and we drag our feet along for a while after them but, eventually, we have to lift them properly and just keep on, keep on. Move on.