My reaction when I heard this was about the money. I thought, “Why not put that money toward mental health?” And I proceeded to look up related costs and details that wrapped around me like strings, making me dance. My emotions got involved. But if you know me, you’re thinking, “When aren’t they!?” Smile.
I continued to reflect and landed on, the value of our lives. How rotten does someone need to be before they should end it? How horrible should their tally of mistakes, and even volitional wrongs, quantify? And then I get caught in the eddy of political thought about law and the impact on community and so forth. And that is just not where I want to go either.
There has to be more than a bank account of talents, good deeds, beauty, popularity, and all the accoutrements that marks us. Life, your life, matters. That’s the truth of all of it. The world is better with you in it.
My patient, Ronald, came twelve years ago with a severe depression. He wasn’t interested in anything. He had 39years of successful employment in the entertainment business and used to love it. He just didn’t care. He wanted to retire and even just die. We jostled his medications and the right ones fell into place. Now he cares.
Ronald is now interested. Interest led him to purpose and that now gives him a greater sense of the value of his own life.
My patient, Evelyn, also in treatment for many years, has struggled more finding her treatment response. Sometimes she is “there” with her mental health, and sometimes she is not. Often she hates herself. She relives years of horrible sexual, physical, emotional abuse during the worst of it; thoughts intruding without invitation. She loses her freedom to choose her own thoughts. She wants to die then. Other times, she sees her value. It is a “life-er”, this battle for the mind and body and spirit. Today, Evelyn doesn’t want to die but still she isn’t doing well. Life has swung again and got a kidney punch in. She can barely breath.
The community at large must say, “Evelyn, you think you are ugly and rotten inside but it is a false perception” of an over-watered cactus, putrid smelling. Even so, that’s not the point. The point isn’t how good or bad we are. The point isn’t performance. There’s waaaayyy more than that which marks us for life.
400-million dollars. How many should suicide a year to justify the expense? If we could, we would pay for a net around each one of those who have lost their tether. But regardless, we must know, each of us, “No matter what condition you are in, the world is better with you in it than without you.”
Self care Tip: Step away from the edge and know you have value no matter what condition you are in.
Questions: Have you ever thought about not wanting to live? Why are you still alive?