It was only a few days ago that Robin Williams passed away and much discussion has already been generated. The topic most discussed in my circles is the that of choice. Why would someone choose to commit suicide and or was is a choice at all. We’ve just had a lovely heated debate at college about the ability of choice (I am studying psychology). So I though I would write down my thoughts on the subject.
So do those who commit suicide choose to do so or is there really no choice in the matter. Let me start by saying that everything in life is a choice and I really do believe that we choose our actions. That said I also want to say that sometimes it feels like we don’t have a choice, that there is only one way. I know this sounds like I am contradicting myself but let me explain further.
If you are offered the choice between R1 or R1,000 with no consequences, most people would say there is no choice take the R1,000. I think it’s similar, while there is a choice it doesn’t feel like it and so we say there was no choice. Another example would be if you were driving along and in front of you was an offramp to the left and a cliff in front of you – is there really a choice?
In my experience with my own depression I rarely stopped to think about whether there was another option. Suicide often felt like the only choice there was. Now my friend at college says but that’s just avoidance and while I agree with her I do not think that in that moment anyone is aware enough to see the choice. So while there may be a choice it is shrouded in darkness.
Let’s say there was a choice, that someone chooses to commit suicide. What are their other choices? Continue to live life with no hope? Continue to feel the absolute pain? Continue to die a little each day. Are these really choices? Wouldn’t you choose to end it all if you life was filled with blackness, hurt, hopelessness?
When it feels like this is all life ever was, ever is and ever will be the choice to live gets taken away. I have been there and only through the love of God, my family and friends that I am still alive. It has taken years of hard work to raise the self-awareness that many who suffer with depression never get. I feel for every one of my compatriots out there who suffer with this illness. Love to you all.