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On Suicide in Our Solo Times


by M.J. Berrios, New York, NY Yahoo! IM: mberrios5 (contributing, Fey Ugokwe, Esq. @pinkpurseintl)

“Whatever one chooses to believe, it seems more helpful and wise for us, as believers, to focus our attention on helping those who are still here and might be struggling, rather than on debating whether one who has lost their life to suicide committed an unforgivable sin. The tragedy itself is hard enough for loved ones to grieve through. And we can offer the truth and hope through Christ that He is greater than any struggle we face, here in this life, and even in death.” 
~ Debbie McDaniel 

We as 21st century humans may not be regularly in touch with the concept that life is special, but it is. It still is. We shouldn’t keep taking lightly this idea, this promise, of tomorrow, because as the saying essentially goes, that isn’t guaranteed—especially not to all. Suicide is never the ONLY option for anyone—take it from someone who knows. My life wasn’t what it was cracked up to be once, either. There were so many times that I wanted to take my own life during those unbelievable times. The negative feelings made me believe things would always be that way—and that I couldn’t be or do better, no matter how hard I tried. But, luckily, I had strong support, and chose to reach out to those others, who assured me that that the grey times were only around for the moment. Ultimately, too, I remembered that I have children that are depending on me to supply all their needs—and also came to strongly believe that God has better things for us to do than we could even imagine for ourselves. This isn’t to say that you have to subscribe to a particular religion, or even be spiritual, for that matter, to choose to keep living your own life—that’s just my opinion, and how I got through things. 

It’s fair to say that sometimes life can be a challenge just to live. And no one ever really knows what a person is going through, nor do we know exactly what people are thinking or feeling in any singular moment in their lives. A problem we also face as a species, particularly now, is that we have become a society so detached from one another, that we fail to uphold the deep connections and intimate understandings we once had. There was a time that we as humans actually interacted with our community—we played outside, we took our walks, and we invited people into our worlds so that we, and they, didn’t feel so alone. Now, everything is about the internet, or connections to human beings that do not at their core, rely on touch, as we once did. In advancing in technology, sometimes we have forgotten to also refresh the browser that is our intimate interactions and communications with other humans. And this is where I believe at least some of this clearly widespread societal depression stems from. Add to that, people not seeking out or accepting the help that is required, to get those negative thoughts and voices glorifying suicide to stop creating that repeating narrative in their minds—and also, too, the real occurrence of having even the closest of family and friends none the wiser that their loved one is spiraling out of mental control. 

I also believe that although one may be famous, with many credentials under the belt and walking a seemingly easy road of success, that we should never assume—as we tend to do—that fame and fortune alone can make a person happy. Depression is a silent killer, and the actual burden of having to continuously strive for even greater professional and/or personal success--to keep up with the demands of an audience, customers, and/or a fan-base--can only increase its dark pull. This may have been the case with Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. They were two so uniquely talented people, and left their names, legacies and successes behind for us to speak about—but what was it that was hiding there, behind the mask of all of their superlative accomplishments? 

How ironic is it, for example, that Kate Spade’s merchandise was made with cheery colors—so you never thought to be unhappy when you, as a customer, looked at it. For many women, too, a Kate Spade handbag functioned as a symbol of professional achievement, and a tandem sense of whimsy; joy. She understood that her women customers would tend to respond to merchandise that felt like it was made by a human—expressing a bright, sophisticated mood; the very top-notes of someone's personality. It's so tragic that all of those years of hard work and dedication, under two bright-faced, beautiful brands—the one she sold and the one newly created—will be forever footnoted by the heart-wrenching event of hanging herself. 

Look—this is a world that can seem to solely be about getting from one place to the other, or having one thing or another, and it definitely never. takes. a break. We are so programmed to just go, go, go, everything on the fast lane, no time for intimacy. And in some seasons in our lives, we may go from that one thing to another without finding happiness with anything, after all. But Life as a whole shouldn’t be like that—about just work—no time out for self. I don’t know what the systems of solutions are, but I know that at my work a couple of weeks ago, a woman who was being groomed for a position to start on Monday, took her life that Friday.

I just think that at the very least, we as these new, savvy, busy little humans need clear, clear, safe zones—of silence or jubilance or a merry mix of both—somewhere in our days or nights, to just reconnect to our very inner selves, and to the others that love us. 
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