Suicide. How not killing yourself will free you.

There has been a lot of discussion on this site about depression, and portions of it have inevitably touched on the topic of suicide. Most if has been ringing in my ears of late, as on Christmas morning a woman I considered family committed suicide. My father knew her since he was a child, they both moved to Australia at the same time, and she married his housemate and still-best friend. Although I hadn’t seen her in quite a few years, she was no less than an aunt, and her children no less than cousins.

My father detailed through a waterfall of tears her struggle with depression, and her inability to cope with one occurrence in particular. She was viciously assaulted by her own son-in-law, it happened in her daughter’s presence, and her own sons, both grown men, did nothing about it. For years it ate her up inside, and she turned to antidepressants to help herself cope.

Both of my parents spoke to her on the night that she killed herself, as she sat down and telephoned everybody she loved. They said that she sounded happier than she had in a long time, and while her tone struck them as strange, they were happy to hear the smile in her voice. They joked, they laughed, and they wished one-another a Merry Christmas, and a good night.

That evening she gave all of her jewellery to her daughter, telling her only that she no longer needed it. She stayed up until after midnight with her youngest grandson, who for some reason did not want to leave her side, and once he couldn’t help but fall asleep, she put him to bed.

At 3am, also known as The Devil’s Hour, using her own shoelaces and three white hooks, she choked herself.

Our internal suffering can be so great that suicide seems like the only true release. The idea that when we take our own lives, we will find the peace that we seek, is an understandable one. Some people ease their suffering by going on a murderous rampage. Many become drug addicts. Others kill themselves.

My aunt saw no other way to ease her pain, and she didn’t do it to punish anybody; she just wanted it to end. What struck me the hardest was her failure to recognise that she had already freed herself. On Christmas Eve, when she knew she was going to die, she was happy, and it was before she took her life. BEFORE. Death did not free her of her pain. She had already freed herself hours earlier. Suicide became an unnecessary formality.

Through all of our discussion about depression and suicide, I never waver from my belief that we control our own emotions, and we entrap our own minds. Only we can free ourselves from our own suffering, and it starts not with the body, but with the spirit, and with the mind.

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  • Reply julie January 6, 2014 at 9:07 PM

    I don’t agree she was free. She was happy in the knowledge that she would be. Or she probably also didn’t want her loved ones to really know how she felt and put on a ‘happy’ voice.

    When I have had suicide attempts I have felt calmer and more relaxed thinking it’s all going to be over soon. When something happens to hurt you to that extent, even after you have accepted it and tried to get over it, I don’t think you are ever free. It’s always there in one form or another.

    Some people might be able to free themselves but unfortunately it’s not like that for others. You don’t seem to get the point of what works for one won’t work for all. There’s numerous reasons why people feel like they do, and each responds differently. I wish it was as easy as you make it seem but it’s not. I now have a new job and boyfriend (excited about both), but yet I have days when I wish a hole would open and swallow me. I don’t understand this. I know I should be happy but can’t be. Not all the time. And if I don’t understand as a sufferer of depression, how can a non sufferer understand and try to tell us how we can get over it? Your posts are moot because of that one simple point. You don’t suffer from it.

    • Reply Toma January 6, 2014 at 9:17 PM

      Thanks Julie. I respect your reasons for disagreeing with me. I simply view freedom as a state of mind. She had it and didn’t realise it. All she needed was to be awoken to it. Hope is never lost as long as we have the capacity to be happy for a single moment.

      She was happy. At her funeral, the many loved ones that she called all agreed on that one point. It was not her action that freed her, but the liberation of mind that her decision gave her.

      • Reply julie January 7, 2014 at 11:30 AM

        I understand but at that time her feelings would have been her only way to escape was by killing herself. so i do agree on that point. her decision freed her. I fight this daily but i do know i have things to live for that do make me happy. Deciding not to is not a freedom though. It means that when i suffer a depressive episode i am in emotional turmoil and ending it through suicide sometimes feels like my only choice. Sometimes i self harm to try and move that internal pain but it is only temporary.

        I do hope one day there is a way to help sufferers. I know people do not choose this. They would love for it to end and never return. Yes sometimes meds help and sometimes they don’t. But that’s because the root cause is not being dealt with just the symptoms.

        This woman was free in her decision and in the knowledge her method would work. My heart goes out to her and her family. My question would be though, why was no one there? Why was she alone? If someone gave me their possesions when i knew there would be no reason for it, and i knew they suffered depression, I would not let that person out of my sight. Even if it was just sitting with them to let them know they had someone I would do it. Telling those you love is the hardest thing and even then you can be snubbed.

        I can see where you are coming from :) but also see it as she would have as I’ve been there. It’s really not a nice place

  • Reply lily March 5, 2015 at 4:49 AM

    Your aunt was very selfish, wasn’t she? What an awful selfish woman. I can’t believe she suffered from mental illness. How selfish of her. How could you even still consider her family?

  • Reply Lucinda May 4, 2015 at 3:01 AM

    . “She was viciously assaulted by her own son-in-law, it happened in her daughter’s presence, and her own sons, both grown men, did nothing about it.”

    Is it possible for you give us more details? If 3 adult males felt she deserved a “vicious assault”, there is more going on than meets the eye. Yes, Toma, it does matter. She had years to delve into what this was all about if indeed it happened “for no reason”.

    I tend to see socalled ongoing depression as a warning from God or Universe or Great Spirit (take your pick according to your way of thinking) that you have been pathologically selfish in the past, maybe even a very long time ago, and that you better start making peace with those whom you have negatively affected and with God, too. But, instead of self-reflection, depressives just wade deeper & deeper into that lake of self pity.

    People are more complicated than we think sometimes. I would not knock myself out to “save” someone from suicide if I’d expressed my concern many times but they are really still determined, fending off others’ concern and offers of help. We can’t save everybody.

  • Reply someone June 8, 2015 at 12:17 AM

    You’re a real piece of shit for saying depressed people are selfish.

  • Reply M. Franc June 19, 2015 at 11:13 PM

    The only blame in this situation is on the family members who thought it was perfectly ok to abuse her. Why has no one, taken that point up. Instead the victim is blamed. When she can’t cope with the effects the abuse had on her, it’s “she should have tried to control here emotions.”

    This wasn’t suicide as much as it was murder by manipulation. This article SHOULD have been written on antisocial/psychotic behavior and its repercussions. I’m done with this site is to warped for me.