THE BLOG

Is Suicide A Cowardly Act?

29/01/2015 11:42 GMT | Updated 30/03/2015 10:59 BST

We live in world of instants where now is the only option. Taking time out to slowly absorb information and emotions can regularly feel utterly out of reach. I struggle with the way in which impatience pervades society and as a young man I don't muse nostalgically for the 'good old days' but wonder why we're all so manic? Mania isn't particularly healthy or happy. People who suffer from depression can assert how unhealthy manic, rushed and relentless environments are.

It is massively difficult to process your thoughts when you don't have time to step out of a situation and simply 'be'. It is unnerving when you are constantly hounded for answers when you are a type of person who needs time to think about their answer. When you're suffering from depression the difficulty of the speed and pressure of the world can seem gargantuan. Sometimes the pressure breaks your brain and makes you wonder if you really belong to this world. Instead of trying to control the whirlwind of without, you are desperately attempting to quiet the storm within. I believe suicide isn't an act of cowardice but part of an ongoing battle to quiet the storm. The way the storm ends is different for different people.

I have had suicidal thoughts and the terrifying contemplation of taking my own life was definitely not cowardly. If anything, being able to make that decision to end your own life takes courage. Suicide is immensely loaded with emotion and rightly so; it's literally a matter of life and death but I don't believe cowardice is something helpful or useful to the conversation about it. Is it selfish? Is it shortsighted? Is it giving up? These are questions worth discussing. I remember my own dark thoughts and being horrified at the possibility of having to put someone through the trauma of finding me. I was in a dreadful state of mind but there was the hope of bettering myself and being content. There was also the actual fear of having to take a final step. I wasn't brave enough.

Is suicide a cowardly act? That question is neither helpful or relevant. What's truly important is understanding that many people with mental illness are trying to quiet the storm raging in their mind and we need to provide space, time, love and listening to enable that storm to pass. Storms are unpredictable and destructive and so is mental illness; in a whirlwind world we need to give those people we love, who are struggling, moments of calm contemplation. I know that is far from easy as some people are very good at hiding their pain and families can be shocked and surprised to learn of mental health issues. Which is why it is even more important that we make effort with those we love to actually spend time with them.

It's too easy to get home from work and either go straight to the television, tablet or console. It can be depressingly common to go a whole day and night without actually having a proper conversation with a loved one because we are so immersed in the world rushing around us. Sometimes we don't know what's happening because we're not paying attention.

The key to to helping people believe death is not the answer is to enable them to see the wonderful answers life can give. That starts with a different question, such as, "How are you?"

Need help? In the UK, call The Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90. For more support and advice, visit the website here.