There's a reason that 'Why?' is every young child's favorite question. Who? What? When? Where? How? more often than not have straightforward answers. Why is how we learn about the world. Why gives us new information that we can look at and again ask 'Why?'. 'Why?' is the question we ask when we don't know what else to ask. 'Why?' is on open ended question with as many answers as there are interpretations of the meaning and intent of the question. Sometimes I think there is no end to the question of 'Why?', that you can always respond to the answer with, 'But why that?'.
We don't know. I don't know. You don't know. They don't know. None of us know why we do every single thing that we do or why we feel how we feel. That is a hard fact to accept, so we make up plausible explanations. A bit ironic actually since we don't realize that we're doing it, and on the rare occasion it's pointed out to us, we come up with a reason for making up a reason for something we don't have a reason for. That it's to say there is no reason; we just don't know the reason.
Because. We seem to develop a temporary, intense adherence to logic when looking for an answer to why when suicide is involved. That adherence becomes more and more unbending the closer we are to the person and whether the person is thinking about suicide or has died by suicide. Most of the time we're willing to accept that a lot of life is not logical. Emotions aren't logical. But we accept that people do things in response to emotions.
We've all done it. We'll all do it again. The stronger the emotion, the bigger the reaction. The more sudden the emotion, the more impulsive our reaction. One of the best examples I can think of is an argument. The other person says something and you feel instantly and deeply hurt by it, so you say something intended to hurt them even more. Afterwards, you wish you hadn't said what you said. If you were interrupted and couldn't react right away, your response would have been less harsh.
The point I'm trying to get at here is that not everything is a conscious decision, and we're not as in control as we think. Have you ever been going about your day and had a fleeting urge or thought come seeming out of nowhere for no reason? Touch the wet paint. Spray the car driving past. Startle your cat. Knock the carefully stacked cards over. I want to fuck that person. Turn the wheel hard to the left right now as you cross a bridge. Poke the dead frog with the stick. I wonder what it would be like to strangle someone. I could just leave and start over somewhere else. Take it, no one will know it was you. Just push her.
OMG how could I think that? Well, maybe not the benign stuff like the paint and the frog. I'd totally touch the paint and poke the frog. Now if you've never had a thought like this, I'm going to wonder if you're a cylon. We all have thoughts that make us pause for a moment and think, 'What the hell? Where did that come from? How could I think that? What is wrong with me?' Some of us have them more often. For some these thoughts get stuck like a record, looping over and over.
Imagine having some variation of the thought to drive your car off a bridge every time you drove over a bridge, or maybe just a specific bridge. Your life is good. You're healthy and happy. You've had this thought or urge hundreds of times over decades. One day you lose your job or your husband/wife or just had a really really shitty day, and you drive over that bridge.... Impulse control, like willpower, is reduced when you're tired, stressed, intoxicated. You don't have to have been thinking, 'I want to die' to act on an urge to drive your car off a bridge. You may not be able to image that it is possible. You think, 'I'd be able to resist the urge to do that. I'd think of my family and friends and that would stop me.'
Think about that the next time you don't resist the urge grab a piece of candy or have dessert or another drink and only afterwards think about the fact you're on a diet or were full or promised your spouse/parent/child/yourself you'd only have one drink tonight. Again, it's not the same by any means, but it is a place to start to understand. A small common ground.
September was Suicide Prevention and Awareness month. For some reason this year I was motived to start reading more about suicide and suicide prevention. The more I read, the more upset I became but not for the reasons you might think. I was upset because I felt left out. I felt left out of the warning signs. I felt left out of the 'Why?'. I felt left out of the information that is suppose to help others identify me. I may be special, but I am far from a singular, unique outlier. If I feel left out, I am sure others do, too.
Ironic really. Feeling left out, like I didn't fit or belong, is why I use to think about suicide.