June 9, 1984
If you are a person who contemplates suicide often, you should indeed talk to a confidante about your problem.
This communication on your part will help clear the air to some extent. Such a person is considering an irreversible step – one certainly that should not be taken lightly. Often such people are in a very depressed state of mind, so that they have already closed their thoughts to the reasons for living, and only keep reminding themselves of the availability of death.
Often other people can make some small, seemingly innocuous comment that suddenly opens the disturbed person’s mind to new possibilities. Because the entire mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual portions of the self are always stimulated to seek further growth and development and satisfaction, then it is quite possible for the mind to seize upon even the smallest event that will spontaneously release the person at least momentarily from depression, or even despair.
If you are in such a situation, do remind yourself that it is far more natural and probable for any problem to be solved, and that every problem has a solution. Death is not a solution. It is an end in a very basic manner.
No matter how depressed you may feel, you do still want to live, or you would be dead by now – so there is a part of you that seeks life and vitality, and that portion also deserves expression. It is a good idea to put off making any decision for a while. After all, if you do choose suicide, you can always kill yourself. If you commit suicide, however, your choices for this life are over.
Tell yourself you will make no decision until after your birthday, or after the holidays, or that you will put off any decision for a month, or even a week – whatever you feel most comfortable with.
Any therapist can also follow through by making such suggestions, thus gaining the client’s cooperation at the same time by letting the individual choose the time period for which such a decision will be delayed.
It is futile to tell such a person that he or she cannot, or must not, commit suicide – and indeed, such a procedure can be quite dangerous, hardening the person’s leaning toward a death decision. The idea of making choices should be stressed: to live or to die is indeed each person’s choice.
Some people might say, “I have a right to die”, when they are arguing the case for suicide. And while this is true, it is also true that the people on your planet need every bit of help and encouragement they can get from each person alive. In a certain sense, the energy of each individual does keep the world going, and to commit suicide is to refuse a basic, cooperative venture.
It is also true that persons in ordinary good health who often contemplate suicide have already closed themselves away from the world to an important extent. Even their physical senses seem blurred, until often they seek further and further stimulation. These same attitudes are apparent in a lesser degree to varying extents in periods of mental or bodily illness or in unsatisfactory life situations. If you are such a person, however, there are also other steps that you can take. Project yourself into a satisfying future. Remind yourself that the future is indeed there if you want it, and that you can grow into that future as easily as you grew from the past into the present.
Many depressives concentrate almost devotedly upon the miseries of the world – the probable disasters that could bring about its end. They remind themselves that the planet is overpopulated, and project into the future the most dire of disasters, man-made and natural.
Such thoughts are bound to cause depression. They are also painting a highly prejudiced view of reality, leaving out all matters concerning man’s heroism, love of his fellow creatures, his wonder, sympathy, and the great redeeming qualities of the natural world itself. So such people must change their focus of attention.
The other creative, positive, achieving portions of life are ever present, and thoughts of them alone can bring refreshment and release from tension.
The point is that all of the world’s problems also represent great challenges. Young people in particular are needed to work for the promotion of peace and nuclear disarmament, to take up the tasks of deregulating and redistributing food sources, and of encouraging nations to join in such a creative venture. Those are indeed worthy and stirring causes, as noble as any that faced any generation in the past. The world needs every hand and eye, and cries out for expression of love and caring. To devote oneself to such a cause is far more praiseworthy than to steadily bemoan global problems with a sorrowful eye and a mournful voice.
If you are lethargic, resolve to take the first small steps toward action, however small they might be. Remind yourself that life implies action and motion, and even the activity of the most despondent thought flows in great bursts of rhythm.
All of the suggestions given here will also help in lesser situations, in ordinary bouts of worry, stress, or poor health. Even those with very serious diseases can always hope for improvement, so even if an individual is considering suicide because of a severe health dilemma, the matter should be carefully weighed.
The most seemingly irreversible physical situations have changed even drastically for the better, so each tomorrow does offer that possibility. Again, however, the individual must make his or her own choice, and without facing the additional burden of worrying whether or not the soul itself will be condemned for such an act.
Nature does not know damnation, and damnation has no meaning in the great realm of love in which all existence is couched.