My Near Death – Suicide

I use to be a fan of M*A*S*H. Its theme song runs through my head even as I write this. But I can now tell you from personal experience suicide is not painless and it is not that easy.

Evidently I attempted to end my own life on June 1. At least that is what I have been told. Do not ask me why I made the attempt, I cannot tell you. I do not remember. There are three days that are either completely or partially missing; the day I swallowed a handful of pain pills, the following day in the hospital and the third in the psych ward.

I can tell you the physical and mental pain I experienced were excruciating. I cannot tell you how others feel, I am not clairvoyant. My pain was so deep inside that I thought I would explode.

I can tell you that I suffer from severe depression and anxiety, and there is more than a hint of paranoia thrown in for the fun of it.  

There were and still are a lot of stressors, some extreme, which I am experiencing. I am dealing with my own demons that seem to be winning this battle. They are drawing on outside forces for reinforcements. I know they will not win the war.

Here is where I deviate from my personal journal. Yes, this was part of the journal entry from last night.

I met about two dozen patients while I was in the psych ward at the hospital. None of us talked about why we were in there, but there was always the good guess. The woman with the bandage on her throat or the man who told me he heard voices. Almost all were white. Equal number of men and women, and many were Christians.

Now, this is not to say that Christians are a bit more “out of it” than a-theists or Jews or Muslims, they are just more vocal about their faith. No one immediately knew my religious preference. But I was preached to more than once even before she or he knew I was an atheist. Which made me wonder…

If these men and women have given themselves to their god and their god was supposed to care for them, why were they in the psych ward with me? Why did some of them attempt to take their own lives, bringing pain to those around them? Why were others hearing voices, or were violent to others? Aren’t these all contrary to the Christian faith?

If a strong and blind faith and prayer was the answer, why were my fellow travelers still suffering?

If this is god’s plan, what good is it? If I did believe in a god, it would not be one who caused pain and suffering, even to non-believers. We would not have to fear this god’s wrath for taking our own path and it would guide us back if we wondered into danger.

Yet, these men and women of faith were sharing my space in the common area. They were in physical or psychological pain, or both. Where was their god when these innocent people needed it the most? Nowhere.

I know that the answer is not in a myth but buried deep within me. I know that my subconscious is not allowing it to come out and be resolved. I know that a part of the problem is hereditary and part is chemistry. I know there is no master cosmic plan.

I have become more aware of my faith in the human rather than a mythical spirit. My friends came to visit, to comfort me in my time of need. I am afraid the god of Abraham did not visit anyone during my short stay.

I am only better now because of a change in medications. I know that I must work hard to get to the source of the inner challenges to my psyche. There is no mythological being that can help.

There is a Jewish saying that God gave man the freedom of deciding right and wrong, to find strength in himself and his fellow travelers. If Eve existed, I can say she had that strength and was punished for it.

If there is anything good that came from the five days locked away is that my strength in science, logic and humanity is stronger now than before. Fear of punishment is not the pathway to goodness and bliss. It is our friends and loved ones. It is you and me, those who believe in the human spirit, that one element not found on the periodic table of elements but made of all. Without supernatural help.

About David Rosman

David is the winner of the Missouri Press Foundation's "Best Columnist" in 2013 (First Place) and 2014 (Second Place), the 2016 Harold Riback Award for excellence in writing, and the winner of the 2007 Interactive Media Award for excellence in editing.
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