The issue no one talks about

By Bo Rhodes

A cold chill creeps through the window. The moon is partially covered and music softly plays in the background. With eyes closed, an individual thinks about the day and how unbearable it was. Just like the previous day. And the day before that. In fact, he can’t remember a day when things weren’t like this. Opening his eyes, he looks down and sees the solution: rows of pills laid out neatly before him, each one a solution to a world that never seemed to care. Tears pour down as the rows slowly fade away. A smile grows. The control that eluded his grasp is finally here. With a resolve and courage never before experienced, the rows disappear completely and the darkness settles in.

This is a subject no one wants you to hear about. The media runs from it out of fear. The government denies the situation exists. No topic is more taboo. Murder, rape and even AIDS are issues discussed readily but when it comes to this, society turns its collective back. Suicide is real. So real in fact, that it is the leading cause of external death in males in Australia. In Canada, it is the fifth highest cause of death in males–approximately one every three hours–and the 10th leading cause of death for females.

During the holiday season, while the air is filled with the sounds of carols, laughter and joy, more people contemplate ending their lives than at any other time of year. What is usually viewed as the "happiest time of the year," is often the most stressful, upsetting and demoralizing time period to endure for countless individuals. Failed relationships, failed exams and failed opportunities clash with expectations of the holiday season. For those struggling with daily existence, the pressure can become overwhelming.

Suicide is portrayed by society as a selfish act carried out by cowards. Most actions people take in their everyday lives could be deemed as "selfish." Is it not selfish then to want a potential suicide victim to stay alive, merely to avoid any feelings that may come from such an incident? Ironically, sometimes those who desire a possible victim to remain alive actually contribute to (if not cause) the pain being felt.

As for this being the act of a coward, suicide is an extremely difficult decision to make. Most victims agonize for long periods of time about the inevitable impact they will have on those they leave behind. Material possessions are often given away and personal matters taken care of. In addition to this, the human body is incredibly resilient to death. Acquiring the physical means to die, using those means appropriately and overcoming the psychological barriers in order to do the final deed is extremely difficult. It is for these reasons that so many people fail in their quest.

Suicide should not simply be swept under the carpet of societal taboos. It should be discussed openly. Those intending to kill themself should be listened to and not berated. Their feelings should be seen as justified and not a desperate attempt at attention. This is the suicide season; do what you can to make it a brief one.

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