Two Sides to Suicide

July 29, 2023 — Jt Spratley

Suicide, the act of someone taking their own life, is always a heavy topic. Military communities have the "22 veterans a day commit suicide" statistic. The "suicide by cop" scenario is mentioned in some news reports. Christians say that suicide condemns you to Hell. Politicians claim that ArmaLite (AR)-style rifle bans will stop gun-related murders, while ignoring the fact that "self-deletion" is the leading cause of gun-related deaths. No matter what communities you represent, there are suicide rates, patterns indicating "why," and hopefully dedicated suicide prevention resources for those specific issues.

But I, a pro-Black military veteran (not a healthcare expert), rarely see serious conversations covering the muddy perspective of someone considering dying at their own hands. When someone plans to "unalive" themselves, there are reasons, and the goal is usually to put an end to the pain those reasons cause. To make it plain, people are more likely to complete suicide after a lot of sudden stressors - getting fired, losing a loved one, and receiving a cancer diagnosis all within a few months for example (high acute stress) - when compared to chronic depression alone. Suicidal thoughts change the way you respond to stressful situations. I'm going to try to weigh the pros and cons when life seems that deep in the abyss that you consider such a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

If you have a better, more recent research paper to explain acute stress versus chronic depression, please let me know.

Suicide, in Your Mind

You won't have to deal with those lingering memories and ongoing situations alone. For all we know, you won't have to deal with it at all.

Depending on your spiritual beliefs you may believe that your spirit will travel among the stars, join the queue of souls to be reincarnated, spend eternity in a hellish dimension, or simply vanish. Any of these sound better than what you're dealing with now.

You don't have a purpose (or maybe you failed one) in this life.

Nobody would care. Maybe they'll be happier with you dead.

You've done everything you can.

Music that Might Speak to You

Maybe you're dealing with depression: Dax - "Depression".

Or want to leave and not be found: Chase & Status - Lost & Not Found ft. Louis M^ttrs.

Possibly in a downward spiral about what could've been: Son Lux - "Alternate World".

I've been there.

Suicide, in Reality

Such feelings remind you how important it is to have a support system of loved ones to check on you and share your burden. They can be a significant others, family, friends, chosen family, a support group, and even anonymous people on the internet who show genuine concern.

There are people who care about you, probably more than you'll ever know, unfortunately. Worse, many probably don't care enough right now to show it, or they may not show it in a way that you prefer or recognize. They may not even know how to show it. Maybe they also need someone to show they care about them.

If you succeed, all of that pain you had bottled up inside you has now spread among everyone who cared for you, thought something was wrong, and didn't act on it.

No one knows, just believes, what happens after death. Therefore, it is a safer bet to make the most out of the life you know you have.

Actionable Solutions

The "safe bet" argument might not always be strong enough to keep you going. To strengthen it, rethink your long-term goals in life, backwards-plan for short-term goals to get you there, and focus your energy on that to push forward. You have special gifts which can be used for a greater purpose. It may not be an easy path, but your experiences even now will empower you in the long run.

In the 1944 movie "No Exit," there's a famous line: "Hell is other people." While rethinking your life goals, you need to toxic people from your life. That includes racists, homophobes, and transphobes. You don't owe people an explanation, though it can be beneficial for them (for personal development) and you (versus holding it in knowing either can die anytime) to offer that constructive criticism. Otherwise, just stop talking to them. Unfollow them. Block them if necessary. There's nothing wrong with putting yourself first at times.

Reach out to people who you know care about you. Ask them to talk through whatever is bothering you. Or simply ask to hang out with one of them, and try to have a conversation.

If you don't have a true support group, there are Discord groups and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) rooms (I recommend Libera.Chat over Freenode) dedicated to certain situations - depression, cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), etc. - which can provide a sense a community with a level of anonymity. Try it.

Ask for reputable mental healthcare providers who specialize in your situation, especially if it involves LGBT or Black mental health.

There are more options for those facing unemployment. Craigslist has job listings. There are unique jobs like teaching English as a second language (ESL) and Parker Dewey micro-internships.

You can always try calling a suicide hotline or church. Veterans can call the Veterans Crisis Line. Lastly, you can always privately message me via contact methods at the bottom of the page.

The more you dare to be your unique self, the more difficult life can be for you. You must grow to overcome this in the best way that works for you. That's partially why so many conform. It's easier to do, at least in the short-term.

Suicide is Everyone's Problem

Army suicide prevention card with 'ACE' acronym meaning 'Ask your buddy,' 'Care for your buddy,' and 'Escort your buddy.'
Old Army suicide prevention card

There are countless articles explaining how to reach out to loved one you fear may self-delete, including from people who have attempted suicide. Everyone should learn from others' experience with death, primarily to the importance of fighting procrastination and spending more time telling loved ones how you feel, including the bad. It might help you grow together.

Suicide Prevention Through Song

Black men, listen to The Black Man Lab - We Need You (Anthem) (feat. Atty. Mawuli Davis, Malaika, Royce, ALEC., DKOMX, Mahogany, Qualon B., Ibin, XL A, Ian & Anwar).

Parents considering suicide and those who've lost parents: Killer Mike - MOTHERLESS ft. Eryn Allen Kane.

Feel good rock music: Paramore - Ain't It Fun.

Feel good pop music, or "the genre of humanity" as the artist calls it: Blessing Offor - Brighter Days.

For those who have lost someone you love to suicide, maybe Joyner Lucas's "I'm Sorry (508)-507-2209" can provide some temporary relief. You may need to log into YouTube to watch the music video.

For the EDM fans: Zara Larsson, MNEK - Never Forget You.

For the spiritual people, a video about Death watching someone's last dance before escorting them to the afterlife: Lorn - Acid Rain.

A clip of Death taking an old man to the afterlife in Netflix's The Sandman:


Dr. T Hasan Johnson on Black male suicide:

MedCircle produces great content about dealing suicidal tendencies, depression, narcissim, and more.

Tags: personal, military, health, spirituality

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