Let’s talk about suicide. Volunteers anyone?

I’d say most of us consider suicide a sensitive topic, and it’s rare to come across someone who’s outspoken about their suicidal experiences. But is suicide more prevalent in this day and age, or is it because of social media that makes it seem more common?

My name is Tai, and I would like to share my views and experiences on the choices of life and death. I’m recovering from substance addiction and depression, and I attend the CAMH addictions and mental health program.

In my group therapy sessions we often discuss emotional well-being and its effect on choice-making. During one of our sessions a particular member came out and admitted that he had attempted suicide. Not only did he surprise the entire group and myself, but also caught the counselor off guard because she didn’t quite know how to respond to him.

He recounted that fateful night with vivid description, where he went out and purchased what he needed to hang himself.

He said he survived only because someone found him hanging unconscious but just short of zero vital signs. He went on saying that he does not regret surviving, but he regrets that he botched his suicide because he now feels stigmatized as “the guy who tried to take the easy way out.”

Opinions aside, I just have to say I deeply admire his courage to speak up and share his darkest of experiences. I myself have had suicidal thoughts but even sharing my thoughts I find it difficult.

There’s a saying, “the will to live is great, but the will to die is greater.”

So, did he really take the easy way out?

* * *

I want to sincerely thank my friend Tai for writing this very honest post and sharing his personal experiences here. As he said, suicide is a very sensitive subject and maybe most people would prefer to avoid it altogether. However, I feel like there is just not enough attention brought to this problem which is much more widespread than most of us probably realize. In one of my recent posts, On Mental Health: If You Got Issues, You’re Officially “Normal”, I talked about the stigma surrounding mental illness and the need to talk more openly about these issues and I appreciate Tai contributing to this discussion.

Since publishing this post, I’ve come across a couple of other posts on suicide that I think are worth a read and certainly got me thinking more about the question: Is suicide selfish?
A letter to my brother-in-law by Twindaddy (about suicide being a selfish act)
Suicide isn’t selfish, so why don’t we all quit saying that? by Sara (the title explains her take)

CAMH is the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health