In this article, the word SUICIDE is replaced by the letter ‘S’ because, like other words with a malevolent aura, they can be melodramatic, where no melodrama is intended. So ‘S’ will suffice. It should be clear that the second person is assumed to be within the wide range of ‘normal’ and clinically sane. NB: This is not suitable reading for people who need professional help.
This is dedicated to all those readers who feel any affinity with what they read. You are far from alone, and I suggest that ‘Seriously Fed-Up’ clubs be started all over the country, if only so we can be seriously fed-up in understanding company.
Everyone knows it was Shakespeare who put the famous dilemma into words: “To be or not to be”.
Not only it is the most famous phrase ever written, but it’s one of the most central questions to our human condition. From the time we become conscious of our fate and try to take control of our lives, the choice of leaving the scene earlier than the medical practitioners would have us do, enters our collective psyche.
S has been my friend since my teenage years, disappearing out of my life during the years of child raising, and reappearing as my offspring turned into mutant teenage monsters.
For some years, in my early twenties, I carried around in my purse, a quote from a newspaper mogul, which, from memory, read something like this.
“If I was in a plane, and it was going down in flames, I’d think ‘Thank goodness, a respectable get out!’ ”
That a successful man had the notion that life was, (as he put it, on the same occasion) like wading up to your thighs in treacle, fascinated and confused me. I had always imagined that material success and social recognition was an antidote–bar-none for S thoughts.
Then, in the 80’s, I read in a magazine, an interview with a highly respected intellectual gent. I quote again, from memory.
Question “Do you still have the same frank opinions on S?”
Answer: “Yes I do. It gives me comfort knowing that it’s always there as the final escape. But since it is always there, I’m in no hurry to use it.” I understood.
There are, of course, other outlets for the extreme state of fed-upness, such as a breakdown. You just start crying and don’t stop until you get help. Not only will someone have to take you in hand, give you pills etc., but you’ll also have a built-in excuse for opting out. Make sure someone finds you pretty rapidly, or you’ll end up with a hell of a headache! To avoid psychiatric hospitals, I suggest you keep your demonstrations well within the realm of simple but serious fed-upness.
Another last resort is to simply disappear and start again elsewhere, though it can be disappointing, as you could easily find that, strangely, your troubles follow you like a bad aura, and remember that even if you wanted to go back, it can prove to be very difficult, and there are very few who ever return.
There are several types of S activity. 1) Imagined S. 2) Contemplated S. 3) Attempted S and the ultimate - Achieved S.
This is for those who have no intention whatsoever of going anywhere permanently. But on a purely academic level, they imagine how nice it would be get a good long sleep and not wake up…eh… until things get better. An excellent remedy for insomnia, unless the very idea that you may not wake up keeps you awake all night…which makes you a fake from the start.
S imagined, is the most common of S thoughts, it can crop up on a myriad of occasions, such as the following….
1) On your own, watching T.V. A report on a new home for the elderly. Then it always happens. Some zealous cameraman never fails to zoom in on the one poor soul, slump in her chair, chin on chest, apparently unable to move – or dead already – and nobody except the zealous cameraman is taking any notice of her, and… she’s the image of your mother – or is it you?
2) Feeling reasonably bright and busy in the kitchen, when Freddy Mercury and Queen come on the radio with “The Show Must Go On.” My goodness, have you ever listened to the words?
3) They’ve forgotten to invite you to a family wedding.
4) They had invited you, but forget to let you know about the change of venue.
5) The sudden and concentrated realization that you must: – earn a living – clean the house – pay the bills - water the plants – cream your face and do the washing - ‘til you drop!
6) When hell is other people and you are without a partner. You’ll undoubtedly get the following. “ You must get out more, meet people, circulate…”
The standard remark for anyone on their own or not socialising. What they don’t know is that you’ve been trying for years, since your divorce./break-up. Small ads, internet, singles evenings… What they don’t know either is that each introduction has been more pathetic than the last, sending shock waves through your S imagination, but making you grateful for a few days afterwards, that you are on your own.
7) When you’re feeling fine about not having a soul mate and you go “out and about” on your own. It’s uncanny, all you notice are happy groups, or couples holding hands … makes you feel sick !!
In my opinion Contemplated S is a sane issue. The arguments in the mind of the contemplator are often existential.
“I don’t fit in. I can tell by the lack of phone calls”…
“I know I’m really a good person, but I can’t go on without someone (I can respect) telling me so”.
“Each time I hear that someone famous has died, I feel jealous. They’ve made it”
“It seems the only way to get any attention !”
“S would mean I wouldn’t have to face that awful bank manager again !”
“Do I really have to keep getting up every morning for the next XX years, with no sense in it? I’m nothing more than an eat, work and shit machine !!”
Watching the world news can have an interesting double action on you, the contemplator. You are forced on one hand to admit that your ‘blessings’ are many.
Living in a peaceful, well structured society, protected 99% from atrocities, starvation, sudden revolution, or having to wear a yashmak. You have books, TV, comfort and food, and maybe even a car to get around in. You have birdsong in the mornings and a purring cat for company. Lucky lucky me… and you mean it. All these things can be a serious get-up-‘n-go motivator at times.
Then, despite the blessings count, the S thoughts filter through the skimpy euphoria. The people on the box are so purposeful, animated, beautiful or clever. You, on the other hand, have found no way to be joyful, useful, adored or decorative. Like you’re taking up space in a world made for others.
Then in other parts of the world, the news reports transmit first hand, man’s inhumanity to man in the usual multitude of guises. Misery, starvation, oppression and destruction…. events that have been going on for as far back as you can remember, let alone the rest of history.
Not watching the news would seem the answer…but then feeling cut off is already a recurring sentiment.
Contemplators tend to be trapped on a genuine unmerry-go-round. They are too involved with their personal struggles to do voluntary work and socialising is difficult when a profound mental fatigue is always just below the surface. Going to bed early, or staring at the box, is a far more attractive proposition than a night out being polite to people.
To break out of this mould, contemplators need two things, enough money to liberate them from the practical plate-spinning of every day and kind cuddles to lift the heart. Both items being the most rare of all earthly commodities.
But what about my news mogul? He had more than enough money to liberate him and to flourish spiritually… so maybe it was a lack of cuddles … it still remains a mystery.
It has to be considered. After all, surviving S is the only way to get near to knowing the follow up events, so much desired. Though with survival, the reactions won’t necessary be a perfect reflection of reality. You may get some enlightenment to note who turns up to see you first in hospital, after they’ve pumped you out. Though naturally, if no one rushes to your side, you’re going to feel sicker than ever, and wished you’d gone for achieved S
Using Attempted S as a cry for help is well known and accepted by the medical profession, but socially, ONCE is as much as you’ll get away with, and not at all if you have children in charge. Few people understand Attempted S from women with offspring on the scene. The fact is that only you know that your child would have a better life if you weren’t around, or rather if life wasn’t such a bitch - to you, that is.
Nevertheless, Attempted S is not the answer. In cases of repeated attempts, it can provoke diminished respect and you could even be taken as a trouble maker. A weak sort that must be protected from yourself… very irritating in the real world.: and if you are alone with children, it could be disastrous for the family unit.
As for other family and friends, repeated attempts could also bring on the effect of “Oh, that’s just thingy having another turn, get the stomach pump ready.” All of which leads to a very unpleasant existence. In fact, you are creating a personal hell all by yourself to add to the rest, whereas the idea is to escape personal hells, not create another one.
If you find yourself in this dilemma, despite all the arguments, then you have to consider the possibility that you’ve chosen this distressing method as a perverted way of proving you’re alive.
No, no, better just one decent tweak, than all that emotional mess.
If you are one of those unfortunate ones who were sure S would be achieved and it wasn’t… my sincere sympathies…. But you’ll probably come out of it all, finding life a good deal more rewarding than you ever did before.
The one fundamental flaw with S as a final solution is the fact that, once you’ve gone, you can never know the effect your departure will have had. So achieved S is essentially for those who, genuinely, no longer give a damn about the world they leave behind.. Achieved S is strictly for those who are too weary with never ending pain of a physical or emotional kind.
Barring these tragic exceptions, going abruptly and definitively s the biggest two-fingered gesture you can ever make, which, for those who suffer a powerful anger against the world, can be very appealing.
First advantage is that it covers a maximum of ‘shocked victims’. The closest of your entourage, could be worried for weeks, or even months… wondering whether they could have prevented your gesture in some way? In very sensitive cases, some may even wonder if it wasn’t their fault ! So, for those you don’t wish to suffer from guilt, be very careful to leave them an explanation.
But don’t (and you won’t at this stage) expect too much. For instance, people who have never had an S thought in their lives, still believe that those who do ‘the S thing’ are mentally deranged at the time. And even as they mourn, beware of the remarks interlaced with the sad emotions. “Don’t you think she/he was a bit selfish going like that?” or “I knew she/he would finish badly”. You knew WHAT ?
The outer circle of acquaintances will put hand to mouth on hearing of your passing, and may even get a twinge. You know, the effect you get when you hear unexpected bad news. But the concentration is short lived, and the conversation can so easily turn to a discussion about 6 other people they know, who died without giving notice.
The second advantage with Achieved S, is that you can bring the spotlight on yourself without the criminal law being involved. Mass murdering the neighbours with a machine gun, because you can’t bear to hear them so damned cheerful any longer – may bring the attention you crave, and will definitely bring a change in life-style, but think of the searing monotony and heaven forbid, remorse, in the long term, probably in prison.
Anyway the neighbours may have good things to do with their lives, which, though you don’t much care about it, you and I can recognise waste on a practical level. No, the neighbours are safe, but please, a bit of discretion. And another thing. Why doesn’t she ever scream at her children like I did?
The practical side of achieved S is another big problem. The human body is a tough bit of engineering and not easily stopped when functioning normally. A bullet in the head, or jumping out of a high window are pretty radical, but a violent end is not for everyone. Going to sleep would seem a more dignified way, but there’s the rub… misjudge the ingredients and it easily becomes an attempted S. And there are not many informed people about to give you the best recipe. Then you have to find the necessary. All this means that achieved S takes a lot of courage and resolve to organise.
And frankly, f you have got that kind of courage and resolve couldn’t you use those energies to solve the problems that are making you feel so fed up?
“But what for?” I hear you ask. Simply because life is a gift, because you really don’t have to prove anything and because you have the right to be here.