What I didn’t do is give advice to people who are contemplating suicide. Probably because for me, it’s not something I have ever considered seriously. And also, I do like to focus on happier things. But since it has come up and because my podcast posts about suicide are my most popular posts (which again is a bit upsetting), I thought I would give a quick - here’s how Humanists look at it.
Don’t commit suicide!
Life is amazing. And yes, it is hard at times, and painful and sad at times. And believe me, I know. I have lost a child and been the victim of a stalking. I have known sadness and pain so powerful that it is incapacitating. I have known fear so intense it is immobilizing. But those are just emotions. Regardless of how intense they are, they are temporary and can be overcome. I am living proof that it is possible to not just overcome them but to thrive. It’s hard, but it can be done.
The question people considering suicide often ask is, “why not just kill myself and get it over with?” Humanists find this question to be a very unsatisfying and depressing question to ask. It has no good answer. So if you find yourself asking that question, stop.
The better question to ask yourself is this. “Despite it all, why not live?” Go on. Ask yourself this question and see how you feel afterwards, I’ll wait. …. To even ask that question is in some ways an act of defiance. It feels good. More importantly, even a halfhearted response to “why not live” opens up a new world of possibilities.
The Humanist approach is to live despite it all. And not only to live but to embrace life whole-heartedly - the good and the bad and to ultimately be happy. Life is amazing and hard, but it is life and life is to be lived. And if you die, you will miss it all, and that would be a shame. Especially since tomorrow is International Love Song day - you wouldn’t want to miss that.
Oh - and one last thing. If you are suffering from depression and are thinking of killing yourself. Don’t. Go to your doctor and tell them you are depressed and be honest with them about exactly how depressed you really are. They really can help you and you will feel much better once you are honest with someone else about how badly you have been feeling. If you can’t afford a doctor or don’t have one, go to your county health clinic and tell them about how you feel. Help is available, go and get it. Check out - http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ for more information