Friday, August 15, 2014

Is Suicide A Choice?

Reading about the death of Robin Williams was difficult. Patch 
Adams, Good Will Hunting are movies that inspire me to practice
counseling. He was an outstanding actor and his performance has
touched the hearts of many. 

But today I read a Christian blogger’s post with a title like this.
“Robin Williams didn’t die from a disease; it was his choice.”

I was furious beyond measure, not just for the heartless discussion on
depression and suicide but also the insensitive comment shaming and
blaming those tho struggle with mental illness. 

So here I am.
I want to talk about the unspeakable.

As Mormons we often speak if the idea of agency. It is true that
God has given us this precious gift, coupled with the atonement for
our learning and progression. Volunteering with minorities for the past
year has led me to a new understanding of agency, a difficult one. 

What if we don’t know or can’t see all the options that are available?

I’ll give you a real example.
Few months back, I was dealing with a troubling situation. At first, I
thought I was doing okay to handle it by myself but I was in trouble.
Whenever I was in the environment with the the people who hurt me
and caused the whole incident, I began to be very anxious. I had
nightmares. I had flashbacks. I would sweat like if I were in the gym
and shivered. (classic PTSD)

I was absolutely scared and felt hopeless. It was a very dark place
and I couldn’t get out.

Thanks to the support of great friends, I recognized those red flags
myself and I sought help. Some in the position to help moved me out
of the situation immediately. Some offered a safe space to talk and
cry. Some comforted me with kind words of hope. Some fed me
chocolate and ice-cream.

Had I always seen a way out?
I would have never survive this rough time without the help of all
those who stood with me and bore my burden.

Now let’s talk about suicide.
Do people have a choice clearing knowing they are choosing to end
their life?

I don’t know and neither do you.
That’s why I am very thankful for a merciful God who judges us and a
Savior who stands as an advocate with the Father. (D&C 45:3)
What goes on in the mind of someone who struggles with mental
health is complex. 

While we don’t encourage people to choose suicide as a way out,
let’s do something that you and I can do.

Let’s take out the stereotypes, the stigma, the judgement, the
insensitivity that are preventing them to see.
Let’s be supportive and encouraging for those who fear to seek help.

Is suicide a choice?
I don’t know.
All I know is that suicide is a tragedy.

To the men who inspired me to be an empathetic counselor.


No comments:

Post a Comment