I recently confronted suicide not once, or twice... but three times. One of these is still occurring. 

What I haven't explained in the article I published on suicide is how much I still blame religion. These are personal feelings, and don't belong in a public service piece; so I will go into that here:

When a person is religious, they create an acceptance of their lifespan never truly ending. A religious person finds this life to be utterly insignificant in the grand scheme of things, except perhaps providing the proper ID for the "real life", or afterlife as it is commonly referred to.

This notion of there being an immortal lifespan tends to break down the value of life and the finality of death. In the mind of the believer, it isn't a matter of not living that draws concern, but the matter of where you end up. Of course you won't stop existing! Are you mad? You have a soul, you fool!

In the minds of many, there is this idea that all it takes to get into heaven is for you to be sorry for being a filthy sinner and acknowledge the Lord God. Bam! Heaven time!

What value is living if you manage to truly believe paradise is just a snuff-film away? The reason you won't find these thoughts specifically in my article is because I am not a neurologist, psychologist, or any other -ologist of note in which I can legitimately make these claims in official print. I am, however, damn smart... smart enough to know how dumb I am... so these thoughts lay here appropriately marked as "opinion" and cast out for the open forum. 

I'm wanting to generate dialogue on this, so I'll stop here and ask: what do you think?
Like and share the article on your various medias please.

I don't respond to comments on the article, so if you want to open a dialogue- speak here.


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Euthanasia is accepted and practiced without a cocked eyebrow in northern Europe. There is certainly many a valid reason for self termination in my mind's eye. Who is the person to judge another weak and unstable for their unwillingness to deal with the host of issues that life throws at us? I have had more than one friend place a bullet through their brain. Who am I to say they were wrong?

It should certainly be the right of an individual to self terminate. Society or religion can offer guidance but ultimately it is the individual's choice. Personally I have thought about suicide at various times in my life and decided the burden of depression was temporary and that tomorrow just might be better than today. 

I would certainly experience many a sleepless night if I encountered 3 suicides or attempts in such a short span of time. While many make the decision to terminate early in their lives the ones I especially am troubled by the thousands of shell shocked former military who return to their country and as a result of being victimized by PTSD they take their life. 

Not sure the source of that chart but I would wager financial problems is actually higher on the list of reasons.

I rarely use statistics to establish anything, generally I prefer expert testimony or good, old-fashioned logic.

JD, my heart goes out to you because I had a similar set of back to back attempts by people around me in 1985. None successful, but all with difficult aftermaths.

I won't go into the circumstances of them here, but I'll add this. Religion/endurance of the soul can figure in to the suicidal thought process, but rarely as a primary driver. What I would say leads the process is an awareness that the person is different than the world around them in a philosophical or existential way that conflicts with their own self worth. This can be codified and substantialized by religious doctrines.

I am not saying that religion cannot be a primary factor, just that other issues tend to be the "reason" , and religion can be a highly mitigating factor.

Besides 1985, I've been exposed to more than my fair share of suicide attempts by friends, relatives, and acquaintances. I wish you strength and mental peace.

As some here on the board already know, BiPolar Disorder can also be a factor. I lost a daughter to suicide - her note began, "I am broken, and I cannot be fixed." I am in the process of writing a book that I hope, may save lives, using the title my daughter posthumously suggested.

I see the role of religion in suicide as a mixed bag. For every person driven to suicide in some sense by religion, there may be someone who is kept from suicide by it. For negative reasons, of course: the "straight to Hell" aspect for sure, or feeling guilt over the aftermath they know they would leave behind which they feel is sinful, or the effect specifically on parents with "honor thy father and mother" in mind. 

I just don't see it easy to look at it entirey one way or the other. 

I am not, nor have ever been religious in any form. I am gay but have never experienced any bullying because of it, my family are entirely accepting of the whole spectrum of sexuality. I have once tried to kill myself though. The decision to try was a quick one, I had not really spent time considering it. It was born of unrelenting physical pain six months into a two year recovery from extensive injuries and the simple practical conclusion that the pain I was experiencing despite a morphine pumping driving the drug directly into my spinal cord was not going to go away any time soon and I wanted rest from it. One evening the nurse had refilled the pump but in her rush to complete her drug round had not actually closed the locking cover over the syringe driver which on that type of pump meant the interlock to the magic little button was not engaged and so I could press it as often as I wanted. I guess I spent about five minutes thinking on this, there were no conversations with "god", no questions about the morality of what I was considering because I had been raised without the baggage of "belief" and "sin". I had however been raised in a society that allows people the option of ending their lives if they so wish.

So I considered my future. Fifteen surgeries down, sone twenty or more to go. Every physio session was a trip into even more pain. I could not hear, I could not speak, my hands barely functioned and I was tormented by nightmares every time I finally managed to sleep. My family had already braced themselves for my death several times so were as well prepared as they could ever be so it came down to a choice of more pain or no pain, nothing, zip, nada. I chose nada and kept hitting that button and watch the driver push the syringe down, down, down.

Imagine my considerable surprise when I woke up twenty nightmare free hours later. My first thought was "NUTS" and then the pain came in and I just got on with yet another day, then another, and another and another.

My conclusion, the Universe has a sense of humor.

If a person decides to end their life, as long as it does not endanger others (the bridge guy being a case in point) then you should be able to go for it, guilt free.
Judith vd R.

You've also mentioned your deafness, Judith, so I know that life hasn't been easy for you, but I know that you are married now, and presumably happy, and you, yourself, admitted: "The decision to try was a quick one" - don't you agree that anyone attempting such a permanent move, should undergo some form of counseling, to make sure this isn't just a temporary decision that, upon reconsideration, is likely to be abandoned?

It was a decision based merely on circumstances at the time, when every single little movement produced pain, when everything either happened to me or was imposed upon me in lieu of any meaningful communication. Once all your dignity is stripped away as you pee through tubes, open your bowels into a slip pan and twice a day have your parts on display to change dressings I can assure you that it changes how your mind works. Removal of the ability to influence events happening to you combined with pain not even the most powerful opiates can dull, changes one's mental landscape for the worse, something I am sure the School Of the Americas taught their torturers a long time ago. At that time I would argue that it was a logical decision based on the information available, experience to date and knowledge of what was to come, I would have tried again in the following few weeks if the I hd been able. As to counselling, well they did send a couple of shrinks but they were worse than useless. Counselling is very hit and miss taking time to strike a relationship where you can work together, and frankly ones mental state might simply overtake time.

My point is saying all this that for everyone there are circumstances where death is just the right choice for the time given that those things they hold dear have been stripped away. - dignity, privacy, self determination, or something imposed like pain.

Yes I survived, yes I have a lovely family and they make me happy and content and I am happy to be alive. however our life belongs to us and while others might be stakeholders in it they do not own it and so it is entirely up to ourselves to decide on its continuation.

Side note: I have always found it utterly baffling how some nation states have laws against attempting to kill oneself and yet they have the death penalty clearly showing that they feel they have the right to end your life while you do not.

Thanks for sharing, Judith

The premise underlying many religions (going to heaven/Valhalla/etc. after death) is very likely a root cause of people getting the equation wrong - to use a concept from the linked article. Instead of death being equal to zero, an afterlife changes the zero value to a positive one and people make a bad choice.

When I was a teen I did a paper for psychology about suicide since I was thinking about it. I learned enough to understand that the solution of death was a solution of zero and I didn't want zero - not that I thought in those terms specifically. So, while I continued to have suicidal ideations, I knew not to act on them as it would not be a good thing.


As for the "why are any gays religious?" question some people have brought up in the comments. Imagine for a moment that you are a child who was adopted. You and your adoptive parents are all blind. They are racist and teach you to be a racist also. Then one day a new surgery is approved for the public and you  get the surgery giving you sight. Your racist parents are white. You are black. How do you suddenly stop being racist? And how do you tell your racist parents that you're going to stop being racist? They're still blind so they don't understand the very obvious reason why. Your life just became so very complicated.

I would go with Sartre's explanation that many people want God to exist because if God doesn't exist then they are 100% responsible for creating themselves through their choices, whereas if God exists it's much easier: just do as He says. This might apply to, not just gays, but any people wanting to do the right thing.

Sartre: "Dostoevsky said, 'If God didn’t exist, everything would be possible.’ That is the very starting point of existentialism. Indeed, everything is permissible if God does not exist…” “If God does not exist, we find no values or commands to turn to which legitimate our conduct.” 


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