Suicide and the Annihilation of Hope
"Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times"
DJ AM died last weekend. At first his death was considered the result of an overdose...according to news reports he'd successfully beaten an addiction to crack for several years until it came roaring back recently after a near death experience and a painful breakup. However, over the course of the past few days it seems that his death may have been intentionally self-inflicted.
Last year, David Foster Wallace, the brilliant author of Infinite Jest hanged himself at home. According to his father, David had battled severe depression for over twenty years. In the past few years his attempts to find an effective treatment that would allow him to manage the depression while continuing to write, had failed. Unable to cope with the pain of his depression, he ended his life.
These reports of suicide among the young and beautiful and indescribably talented always leave me baffled and yes, sad. Having sloshed through the dark muck of depression myself, I understand that the journey sometimes feels endless and the cycle, an endless loop that leaves me unwilling to get out of bed to face another day of disappointment. And while I sometimes despair that I have not made enough of my life, that I have failed to make the most of my talents, I have always held on to to the hope that as with Scarlett, 'tomorrow will be a better day'. I suppose it is manifestation of my competitive spirit, a belief that while what I've already accomplished is never good enough, I want to live another day if only to try again and again to make it better.
Which is why the suicide of such talented individuals is so disturbing. Can't they see all that they have accomplished, how their talent has lifted them above the fray, that they have been given a gift from God that is a blessing to be expanded and explored and shared with the world through their efforts? I can only imagine the debilitating despair that must be so overwhelming as to smother the spark of their creativity or the joy that comes in creating. That pain which tips the scale between the wish to create in favor of the wish to end the suffering.
Because of free will, we have the ability to choose how we will live our lives and ultimately how we will end them. My heart goes out to those standing at the abyss and to their family and friends who undoubtedly feel helpless that they were unable to convey to their loved one that they were loved, that their life was worth living for another day and another. The act of suicide is ultimately the annihilation of hope. My hope is that someday we will find a way to annihilate despair.