This article is about suicide. Trigger warning ahead for descriptive scenarios. If you are thinking of suicide as a way out, I urge you to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
A woman I went to school with took her life in June. I didn't stay in a lot of contact with her, so I only learned of her death a moment ago. She was always friendly and took a moment to speak with me every time we ran into each other, which now as I reflect on our friendship, seemed to be at a higher volume than other students I knew. The chance that we had similar schedules is high considering there are around 20k students on MSU's campus at any time of the weekday afternoon.
I want to balance this writing out by reflecting on her, choosing to die, and my feelings. I'm not writing this to purchase sympathy for myself. So, please, read this but don't offer me condolences.
Suicide is a challenging concept to encapsulate. I've experienced two friends on the brink of suicide, as well as a third person who faked the notion to hurt my family. The latter is obviously a piece of shit, and I'll spare this conversation any more words dedicated to him that the devil will most definitely take care of when his eternal visit begins.
I didn't know this young woman outside of school. I saw her a lot in the lobby of the school's union, mainly because I worked there and saw a lot of people more often there than in class. But, with her, I must have seen her once a week some weeks, if I didn't see her in class.
I kept up with what she was doing in the union when we saw each other. We chatted briefly and then we'd go to our respective places. For all I could tell, she was full of light and offered a smile very time. I appreciated her smile and atmosphere because I was often depressed. She managed to be delightful and charming without leaving me feeling drained.
I couldn't have known, by the time we spent with each other, she would take her life. I didn't see the pain she felt and experienced on the inside. If I had known of her struggles, I'd have pulled her closer to me, so she could speak openly about the things that bothered her.
Suicide is not a "coward's way out". Do me a favor today as you go through your day. Imagine yourself grabbing prescription drugs, dumping the bottle in your hand, and then swallowing them all.
Imagine loading a gun, putting into your mouth or on your temple, and the moments of thoughts you have before you pull the trigger. Think of the millisecond you have between your life and your death.
Imagine standing on top of a building, your toes on the edge, looking down at the ants scurrying about their daily routine. The wind is stronger than you'd expected, your hair in your face, edging the crease of your pursed mouth.
In your mind, pick up the blade and stare at the veins in your arm. Feel the initial prick of the razor, running along your skin. Your blood flows out of your body rapidly, unassuming at first, then stinging as you loose too much.
Now, I don't write these scenarios to condone any of these actions. As a visualizer and writer, it's my desire to explore every fleeting moment in a life, even at its end.
But, what I can't write, and what I don't sometimes understand, is a smile on a dark day that hides the pain of the past. I can't write the friendship I had with my friend, not yet. My friend's life was hard for her enough to have chosen a difficult means of exit.
Suicide is hard to encapsulate because it can be perceived as both strong and weak. While I cannot imagine choosing any scenario and enduring it until I die, I also can't blame someone for thinking their pain means nothing.
I didn't see her smile as anything but amazing during my dark moments. All the while, she was smiling to hide her darkness, and I couldn't see that taking place.
I can't say it takes courage, or lacks, to take one's life. What I do know is that a smile and good attitude on the outside can be the mast itself.