Whenever a celebrity or well-known person commits suicide, this topic becomes the fodder for the media and bloggers alike. It is one of those topics most of us don't like to think about and we do a great job of ignoring...until it gets thrown in our faces.
Two years ago, when Storm Chaser Matt Hughes took his own life, I shared with you some of my thoughts on this topic. Now, on the heels of future Hall of Fame football star Junior Seau's suicide, I return to this topic again in two parts, the second to be posted this evening.
Most folks have no qualms at all about each person choosing where to live, what car to drive, who to date, whether to get a tattoo or not, what profession to pursue, what breakfast cereal to eat and a zillion other everyday choices. Yes, personal freedom is great thing...until someone chooses to die. When someone chooses THAT option, we too often condemn them or feel sorry for them.
What is it about a person choosing to end their life (as we know it) that bothers us so much?
None of us gets to choose when we arrive. When our consciousness kicks in, we're already here. One of the anxious facets of living is not knowing when we are scheduled to leave. It could be two minutes, 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years or 2 decades from now. Why do we get so up in arms when some people decide to take the bull by the horns to schedule their own departure instead of waiting for the winds of fate?
Part of the reason, I think, is that we think we only get one shot at life and so each life must be lived to its fullest. When an individual pulls the plug prematurely, we say that they didn't give their full life a chance.
Another reason is that we believe it is an inherent part of the living process to want to continue living. If someone doesn't want to continue living, we immediately surmise that they MUST suffer from some sort of mental illness and/or brain malfunction. Most people can't fathom that a sane person without defect would choose the ultimate option -- that option that cannot be taken back.
While I will grant that many -- possibly, most -- cases of suicide involve depression or some other debilitating mental health issue, I also hold out the possibility that a person with a good mental outlook might decide that they are ready to end their life on this earth.
As each of our lives are unique in so many ways, who are we to judge when suicide is a good or bad option for someone else?