Open letter: If you are contemplating suicide, just know that it is NOT the answer

Shameek/Flickr

Shameek/Flickr

In the wake of the recent tragic news about the beloved actor Robin Williams, it is with a heavy heart that I write this to you– all of you.

The comedian actor, who had been battling depression and alcoholism for quite some time, was found dead in his home in Marin County in an apparent suicide. While this is definitely not the first suicide by a well-received celebrity, news of his passing hit the media in large waves, and his fans were immediately affected.

Suicide is not the answer

I’ll cut right to the point: Suicide is the final act of desperation, and it doesn’t solve any problems. You accumulate all the pain in your life and keep it bottled up inside, unsure of how to end it. But, you don’t end the pain by taking your own life– instead, you assert the pain onto everyone else, who are then left with a traumatizing experience that they must carry on with them.

Whether you think you’re alone or not missed, suicide is never the answer.

People commit suicide for a myriad of reasons, though no reason should ever justify the act. But while we can look back at someone’s life and determine the cause for their actions, we can never truly understand all that was going on in their lives and minds. They leave us in this hazy minefield left to pick up the pieces, trying to form theories as to what may have led to this event or what we could have done to prevent it. But since they are not here, we can’t know for sure, and it only creates more confusion in the end.

In a suicide, there’s no turning back. There’s no second chance.

My personal account on suicide

I had an uncle who I was very close to as a toddler. I’d look back at our pictures and wonder why he left this world knowing that I needed him to be there. He left our family when I was 5, and to this day, my mother (his sister) continues to tell me she did not know how he died– but I know.

I discovered my homosexuality when I was 15, and had a personal battle to accept myself. Family traditions, religion and media all taught me that being gay was wrong, and it was impossible for me as a teenager to have a strong hold on my own emotions. Coupled with the bullying in school for being Asian (I grew up in Alabama and Tennessee), it was a lot of pain for me to handle. So, the only way out I thought to myself was to take my life.

As I walked down to the kitchen, and drew a knife to my neck, in what seemed like an outside force coming down to protect me, I stopped trembling. I put down the knife and thought to myself, “I need to write a note. But I don’t have time to do that. I have a test tomorrow. I need to get some sleep.” And like a zombie sleepwalker, walked back up to my room and never visited that moment again.

That force felt like a guardian angel, and I know I saw my uncle. I felt his presence. I was given another chance at life, and spared my family and friends the pain of dealing with my attempt at death.

Why we need to openly discuss suicide

While death is generally a hard topic for people to come to terms with, suicide sits on a different wavelength of emotions. When a person dies in a car crash, it’s easy for loved ones to place the blame on the other person. When it’s a murder, you blame the gun shooter. But when it’s suicide, you have two options: blame the person (it’s tacky to blame someone who’s already dead, or even call them selfish), or blame society and media (which is too large and complex of a subject to take on). Either will lead you nowhere, and can leave you lost, searching for answers.

Maybe an open discussion with my mom on suicide would have prevented that one mishap.

JewWario, 1971-2014

It’s often said that people who contemplate and attempt suicide are mentally ill, but that is not always the case. All some people need is someone to talk to about their feelings, and someone to show them a different path that involves being alive. If people speak up, it will become apparent to the victim that they do not have to face their fears alone. An open discussion will uncover emotions in people we may have otherwise overlooked. Not everyone who contemplates suicide makes it known that they’re sad or depressed, and furthermore, depression isn’t the only pathway to suicide. Unfortunately, there are other reasons for suicide which I do not feel comfortable discussing here.

But, I am positive that we can lower the rate of suicidal deaths if we had a more candid discussion around the topic.

Of course, there are the extreme cases, such as Robin Williams’ case, where more drastic measures need to be taken. Many people do not have access to mental health care, and while I can go on a tangent about the need for our society to provide better health care all around, it’s not hard to believe that such treatments can provide vast amounts of help for those afflicted with the pain.

Recounting suicidal events that affected all of us

My story is just one of the many stories surrounding us. Suicide is an epidemic that spreads all too quickly and easily.

In 2010, a wave of LGBT-related suicides led to a large discussion around the mental health of our children and bullying in schools.

In 2012, India saw 371 suicides per day. Familial issues accounted for almost 84 suicides a day.

More recently, there was also Justin “JewWario” Carmical, a big member of the online gaming community, who committed suicide at 42.

Dating a bit further back, suicide became an epidemic in Micronesia in the late ’70s, mostly affecting young men.

And there were also accidental deaths and suicides by some of our beloved celebrities, like Alexander McQueen, Marilyn Monroe and many more.

But don’t let me recounting these events signify that I’m in any way glorifying the issue. We should take the time to remember their lives, and mourn the dead, however, we should take the necessary steps to prevent other people from following the same, tragic path.

How and where to seek help – 800-273-8255

First and foremost, remember that regardless of how alone you feel, there is someone out there who can help. It’s not always a family member, and it’s not always a friend — it can be as simple as someone on the other end of the phone line. There are people who care, and who will care, about the issues you’re facing. You don’t have to be alone.

If you’re in the U.S. —

If you’re in Canada —

For a list of all available suicide crisis lines worldwide, check out this extensive list on Wikipedia.

If you know someone who may be in danger, know that sometimes your presence and time may be all that is needed. But, check out this list for a more in-depth approach to prevent it from happening. Furthermore, consider volunteering at a crisis center — they’re always in need of more volunteers. One of our writers, Genevieve, is a crisis line volunteer, and I cannot be more appreciative of her hard work.

Remember, you are not alone. You don’t have to face your problems by yourself. Other people have been where you are — just reach out and you’ll find support. 800-273-8255

Facebook Comments

About author

Rocky Vy
Rocky Vy 101 posts

<a href="http://www.artofonline.com">Digital marketing consultant</a> by trade, a freelance writer by passion. Also, anything that involves innovative tech, fashion, entrepreneurialism, Pantone 021C and pandas are cool, too. Follow him <a href="http://www.twitter.com/rockyvy">@rockyvy</a>.