Self-offing: Lighten up!
By Jessika Endsley
Perhaps the subject of self-offing is taken a little too seriously.
…I must request of you to re-straighten your panties from their quickly formed wad brought on by the statement prior. I said the subject is taken a little too seriously, not the action. The action itself is irreversible and most often performed or attempted impulsively. Impulsive actions rarely get us what we desire; if we desire death, planning is crucial. However, the subject of suicide itself is often ignored and pushed to the back of the mind regardless of one simple fact; we have all thought about it.
The French philosopher and novelist Albert Camus eloquently spoke of suicide when he said, "Suicide is prepared within the silence of the heart, as is a great work of art." He also claimed that God is an invention of man as a suicide-prevention, and that the only liberty in life is to truly come to terms with our own mortality and the death of those we hold dear. I am not here to speak about God, because God can speak for Himself if He so chooses, but I do agree with Camus in terms of the popular use of blind belief in a deity which unconditionally cares about you, and that each person does have a purpose, in order to prevent self-offing and other-person-offing in a psychological fashion. Religion is a source of comfort for many.
A less popular notion is that suicide itself is a source of comfort for many. It is an escape plan; it is the ultimate cure. Many people, neurotic or not, take solace in the knowledge that one day it will indeed all be over, and that if they wish, they can make it all be over much more quickly. Life can be viewed in much the same fashion as an exam - you manage to make it through the exam even if you know little of the material or have a rather unpredictable professor because you know that it will soon be over and you can rest. Perhaps this is why suicide rates are climbing and death is suddenly in style along with self-injury. "My cuts are deeper than yours!"
Art by J. Endsley
Although obnoxious and potentially offensive to people with deep-rooted self-injury issues who go through lengths to keep their secret what a secret indeed is, maybe the teen culture has a point. Teen years are often about rebellion. Depending on the decade, teenagers are rebelling against parents, government, wearing bras, non-explicit music, and now, finally, against life itself. Most of the cat-scratchers aren't serious about suicide and may not even feel a real desire to harm themselves. Some may be, eyeballing the whole idea from afar, testing waters on their wrists in the bathroom stalls at school after an embarrassing moment or a rejection of some kind. These may be the people who eventually grow to make real attempts rather than dismissible gestures.
The psychology behind suicide, also known as suicidology, never fails to be a squirm-inducing conversational topic. This is because no one wants to actually admit that it has crossed their mind at some point, even simply from a "what if" perspective. You will hear things like "I would never…that's for cowards…how awful…why would you even think to bring this up…" Yeah, but guess what? People lie. There is a stigma attached to the mere thought of self-offing and no one wants a stigma attached to their face like a big flashing sign that says NOT VERY STABLE. As I said, it is taken too seriously as a subject, and because of this, people are often afraid to not only mention it but to seek help if they are serious about their killing themselves but not serious enough to make a logical decision about their death.