Suicide is often something spoken of in whispers. The ‘unexpected death’ in an obituary. The shadowy family secret.
Until something so very public happens, we cannot ignore the pain and problem for comfort’s sake.
As a devout Catholic, I grew up with a peripheral feeling of shame surrounding suicide. Scorning God-given life was a sin. Only He could determine the beginning and end of your time on earth. But, then, individuals who consider suicide aren’t in their right minds, are they? Only someone completely given over to despair and illness would consider such as an option.
I think we, as a society, forget that. The public interpretation of my faith’s stance on suicide squeezed out that important part. People of God and faith support fellow humans to become whole – not condemn them if they are not.
Excellent discussion of Catholicism’s stance on suicide.
Unfortunately, the general public doesn’t always feel that way. Make the mistake of reading the commentary on articles about publicized suicides and ignorance shows its ugly face. People lambasted this teacher for her selfishness; didn’t she think what finding her would do to her students? Obviously not. Couldn’t she have done it at home?
I agree that I would not want my children to discover their dead teacher in their classroom. But to think that one place is better than another to hang oneself? To think this teacher selfish for doing it? Suicide is not an easy, thoughtless decision. It is often a last resort after much anguished mental and emotional battle.
Honestly, I think this hatred and judgment comes from fear. People don’t want to be pulled from their artificial bubble of safety. If you have issues, fine, but keep them to yourself. Keep your mess confined to your own home, world – don’t let it infect mine.
Suicide is not contagious. Mental illness is not contagious. Hate, fear-mongering, and ignorant attitudes are.
How many public hangings do we need to see before we as a society develop compassion and understanding?
2 thoughts on “Unhushable”
I had a very understanding Catholic priest come visit me when I was 16, after a suicide attempt. He didn’t condemn me. I was very fortunate.
As far as suicide being contagious, in a sense it can be. People committing suicide seems to spike after one person in the community knowingly does it.
I do agree there should be way more compassion for a suicide victim or near victim.
Thank God that was the priest who came to visit you – and not someone who would have condemned you. I am glad it was he.
I was errant in saying it’s not necessarily contagious. You are right. It can be a trigger. Thank you for pointing that out.
And more compassion, for sure.
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