Monday, October 18, 2010

The Act of Suicide and Wear Purple Day October 20,2010

I listened to a radio program on CBC Radio Ideas that was entitled "To be or not to be". A look at the act of suicide.
For people that are survivors of suicide loss it is an eye opening discussion.
Suicide is a topic that people REALLY do not want to talk about. It is seen in many different ways, and to talk about it, maybe it will set off a suicide.

I took a few things away from the radio show. I know that suicide is not an act of cowardice. Many call the suicide person a coward, a selfish individual. That is not the case. Nor was it really bravery. It is not bravery, but rather as Dr. Thomas Joiner says it is an act of "fearlessness". "Joiner proposes that there are three key motivational aspects which contribute to suicide. These are: 1) a sense of being a burden to others, 2) a profound sense of loneliness, alienation and isolation, and 3) a sense of fearlessness. All three of these motivations or preconditions must be in place before someone will attempt suicide."
Myths, suicide is impulsive, suicide is selfish, is done to hurt someone. Talking about suicide increases the risk.

I truly believe and I KNOW that my boy did not take his life to hurt his family. He did not take it to be a burden. He took his life to stop the pain. He felt (and it was wrong) that he could better help his family by not being here anymore.

One of the things people think that there are notes in suicides. In reality notes are not normally left. The note people want to see if there is a note is one that says it was not our fault. We would like to have seen a note that Virginia Woolf wrote:

"I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can't go through another of those terrible times. And I shan't recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can't concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don't think two people could have been happier 'til this terrible disease came. I can't fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can't even write this properly. I can't read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that — everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can't go on spoiling your life any longer. I don't think two people could have been happier than we have been. V.[25]"

My son did not leave a note. He did not send me an email, he did not call me. That kills me. My son did not try and reach me before he left. But hey, what can you do?

I saw on Facebook there is going to be a wear purple day for those  that committed suicide. It is to remember those young boys that took their lives. Those boys were gay. I see that there are a lot of hate messages on that facebook site. Both about gays and about suicide. A lot of intolerance in the world of facebook. Spirit Day October 20, 2010.

Suicide can happen to anyone. No one knows why, and that is NO ONE knows WHY?

I will wear purple. There is enough hate in the world, why not share some support, some kindness.


  1. Thanks Steve for a heartfelt and informative post. There are many myths about suicide... maybe this will help people to look beyond those myths and show compassion. I hope that those that are suffering will find help, and that you and others that have experienced this kind of loss can find peace. Thanks again. - lea

  2. steve, my heart goes out to you.

    You are right that we must talk about this and we must dispell the false ideas and we must support the survivors who need us more than ever. Here in Aotearoa there has been a debate about taking the euphamisims out of the reporting because currently they say something like, "No one else is being sought in connection" and they do it because they don't want copycat suicides.

    When I attempted to kill myself some years ago, it was because I just couldn't take it anymore and if someone had of asked me right then what I couldn't take, it would have been really difficult for me to say, and of course if I had died no one would have known what i was thinking or why i was so low... not even me. It's no comfort for those left behind though, with all the unanswered questions.

    Somehow we just have to keep moving forward - I hope blogging helps.

    Kia kaha e hoa (all strength to you friend)