Because I'm currently taking two antidepressants, my doctor requires me to have biannual med checks. These are essentially worthless, profit-generating appointments, during which my vitals are checked and the doctor asks me some scripted questions, such as: 'Have you been having any thoughts of suicide?' To which I forcefully—perhaps too forcefully—reply, 'No!'
Methinks I doth protest too much. But I'm worried that if I offered up anything even resembling an affirmative response, a team of straitjacket-brandishing orderlies would be immediately summoned on an internal hotline—and I'd be wheeled to some windowless underground bunker only to be heavily sedated and then neutralized with military-grade cognitive 'therapy.' Clearly, I've seen too many movies.
Yes, I do think about suicide. Occasionally. When I was a teenager, I avidly fantasized—as I think many teenagers do—about the tragic scene that would play out when my cruel, authoritarian parents stumbled upon my dead body. Of course, before I lost consciousness, I would have smeared the blood from my wrists on the white drywall, spelling out the accusation: 'You did this!' (Try to paint over that guilt, fascists!)
I'm happy to report that since my emotionally turbulent teenage years, my attitude toward suicide has become more measured. I no longer engage in such morbid Harold and Maude-style fantasies because I understand the world better now; I realize that I wouldn't in fact be there to enjoy my grisly tableau if I were dead and, more importantly perhaps, that the world would go on (however unthinkable that may seem) and the memory of my gruesome leave-taking would quickly fade into the foggy recesses of time.
Harold and Maude.
When I think about suicide today, I don't think of it as something desirable or even relevant to me personally, but it still holds a grim fascination. I just find it incredibly odd that the very existence which enables the human will should (or even could) seek to nullify itself. It's something akin to a democratic vote to empower a totalitarian dictator. How can you use the rules of one paradigm to justify another (opposing) one? But then again, I suppose it's stupid to expect suicide to answer to reason.
My aunt—my mother's sister—committed suicide when I was very young. The memories I have of that time are so elusive that I can't really trust any of them—but I think her suicide was prompted by her husband's serial infidelities and his later prosecution for embezzling—although I'm not quite sure if I've crossed my wires somewhere with an episode of Hart to Hart. The point is that none of this is ever discussed in my family, and I would never feel comfortable asking about it. I feel that it's much too personal, and it's a memory that doesn't really belong to me. And I don't really want it to.
When I was young and still under the spell of Catholicism, I very much wanted to ask my mother if my aunt was in hell because she killed herself. According to the nuns, suicide was a mortal sin, but I wondered if there was some minor technicality in the rules I wasn't aware of. It seemed unfortunate that my aunt should spend an eternity writhing in agony amid the lapping, insatiable flames of the godless underworld merely because she had been inconsolably unhappy on earth. Thankfully, a rare childhood instinct for restraint prevented me from asking about it.
In truth, I have as little chance of committing suicide as I do of parachuting out of an airplane—which is to say zero chance. Perhaps even negative chance. It just isn't how I deal with misery. Plus, I'm terrified of death, as any properly functioning human being should be, I think. Self-preservation is one of the strongest instincts in living beings of every order. If your self-preservation instinct happens to be on the blink, you should get yourself to a doctor or a clinical psychologist as soon as possible.
But I still enjoy thinking about suicide from time to time. It isn't a full-fledged hobby or anything, but I can't help being interested in such a paradoxical human impulse. (Just don't tell my doctor, okay?)