People talk about suicide a lot, at least the ones who are depressed and wanting to end their lives. It’s like your brain comes up with this solution to reality and that’s it. The other solutions just seem like too much work. I mean if I were a normal chap, I’d go to school, learn a new skill, find a new job and that would be it.
Your brain gives you chemical rewards for certain events…victories, pleasure, status, success. If you have enough rewards, life seems worth living. If you are suffering a deficit, then you get depressed. It’s pretty much mother nature telling you whether the life you are living is a successful one or not, meaning you can procreate successfully.
Doesn’t really matter whether you actually are reproducing, only that you have the preconditions correct for doing so: resources, status, stability and community.
Wish I had a way to make my brain give me the rewards I need to feel good regardless of the external circumstances. Guess everyone would like that. Done to an extreme, that’s drugs or addiction, or putting a current in your brain that stimulates the pleasure center so you don’t want to eat.
That’s not particularly useful if you want to continue to have a life. I can’t seem to get myself into a track that feels useful to the world in my current life. Isn’t that the crucial point, feeling useful to the world, feeling really needed or performing a vital service of some kind that not only remunerates you well but also helps other people in their success. Don’t have that any more. That’s one major reason I feel so depressed.
I understand as much or more than any lay person about the dynamics, the methods, and the emotional outcomes of suicide. I don’t think suicidal people, including myself, think too much about the chaos it causes, the pain and suffering for people close to the person who ends their life. I’m too caught up in my own drama, my own need for release.
Since the brain is a cause/effect machine, it’s constantly looking for ways to increase the rewards while avoiding pain. The contemplation of suicide is a ‘reward’ of sorts. The reward is successfully ‘fixing’ your problems by ending your self. I’m sure there’s a chemical jolt attached to this thought, a reward stimulus. Fix the problem, get a reward/shot of dopamine.
Since suicide ‘fixes’ all sorts of problems (by ending them), then contemplating this probably gets some kind of large dopamine jolt too. Along with that jolt comes the sick dread of death, the backbrain horror of entering death willingly, even cooperatively.
At times, contemplating suicide leads to thought trains like ‘it’s just like going to sleep’. Go to sleep forever and never wake up. After all, dreaming is basically the only time now that I feel really good. My dreams are often places where I’m completely unaware of my waking predicaments. Awakening, I am once again drawn into a sick feeling of dread and despair at what feels like a dead end condition of no return, no safety, no surcease of problematical end points.
In fact, the only time I can really contemplate my own self termination is when I’m thinking in these terms…go to sleep permanently. My brain can understand that. Making myself into something dead and unliving…that’s the pit of despair in another form.
There’s all these resources to kill yourself in the forms of people posting ways to do it successfully. This is a regular cottage industry of researchers figuring out how it’s done. Any normally resourceful person can easily acquire the means to put oneself into a death spiral while unconscious. So, ‘go to sleep’ and never wake up.
Is the actual act worth it to me, is my dopamine test going to push me to the brink and over? I would say there’s a track in my brain, one of despair, frustration and perhaps rage at my current circumstances. It’s not a particularly bad situation at the moment, it just looks bad if you extend current trends into the future for a few years.
When I get on this track in my brain, there’s an overlay, a voice or mental ideation that examines suicide as a method for dealing with this. It becomes a bit of a hobby in a way, a diversion from the real tasks of living, growing and surviving. Why bother trying if you can switch off all your problems in one fell swoop. Just do the minimal required, be a walk-on in your life.
The real problem with being suicidal, at least for me, is that on the one hand your life beckons with decisions to be made, commitments, journeys and what have you. These can’t wait for you to show up. On the other hand, having now almost acquired everything I need to actually exeunt this life, the sheer fact of being able to ‘go to sleep’ permanently now lies waiting as an unavoidable and blunt fact. Is this truly what I wish to do?
I can see the evolutionary track in all this. Why not exit this coil while you still have your health, some wealth, no real worries at the moment and be done with the struggles you would otherwise have to maintain to be successful in the long term?
Get off the bus now or I will have to plunge back into the mainstream, declaring myself fair game for victory or success. Or continue on living in this grey area of non-declaration, covert suicidal wish hopes that obliviate any real movement or growth to being successful.
I don’t really know the answer to all this. My despair and fright seem to have a life of their own. Suicide seems to offer the hope of a small piece of territory, small and insigificant, banded by a little piece of time between beginning the process and ending it where I would have no problems whatsoever.
After all, don’t people who come back from death declare themselves utterly changed? In that moment of awakening don’t they realize how utterly futile their concerns about dying were, that we are all going to die ultimately, that the only true tragedy is how much time we spend fearing and being in despair over things we cannot change?
So, suicide offers the temptation of having for this little period lasting perhaps 2 and one half days where one would have pretty much absolutely control over one’s life. No worries, no pain, no fantasies of future disasters, poverty or war. Just a peaceful time where all that becomes utterly redundant until you at last ‘go to sleep’ for the last time.
On the other side, the pain begins for those who love you. Does that love tip the scale towards life? It doesn’t for me really. My ‘loved ones’ are part of my reality that seemingly pushes me toward this.
The only question is, why can’t one take on the fearlessness, the absolute certainty that life at the tip of death affords you. This isn’t some horror slasher flick scenario. It’s a peaceful ending done while you are unconscious so there’s (theoretically) no messy endings.
So, given you have the means, the chemicals, the knowledge, how can you attain that spiritual warrior quality, that ability to look into the heart of the moment and do what truly matters, to really live here and now and do what means most to you? To leave behind this inglorious ending, this navel spelunking into finality? Is there a way truly to live courageously each moment, to accept the victories and tragedies and continue on living until the end?
I don’t know. At the moment, I consider myself a coward, not an eagle. I would guess until I take on the eagle as my totem, my fate is already written.