Sold under the slogan of "My life, My choice", assisted suicide or euthanasia has become accessible and an easy buy for whoever is searching and looking.
It is the foolproof solution, a hit without a miss for those wishing to end the suffering, to get rid of those nagging feelings of misery, and desiring to leap in the stardust world.
An association membership, or an online order are enough to guarantee the delivery of the service.
Yes, it is called "the service".
As impersonal as it may seem, the service is either conditional to an illness or a choice of putting an end to one's life. Some associations request that you do the travel to their locations, and some can deliver the product to your door. Not many questions are asked; the respect of the decision taken is crucial; it is similar to closing a business deal. It is a business deal afterall. You are buying a product, for a hefty amount of money, and what you decide thereof to do with it, is your choice. A choice that will affect your life, or end it for the matter, and that of others.
Assisted suicide is one of the available options. The possibilities are quite a few for the desperate mind looking to end the agony and the pain. This suicide method is on the list with so many others, depending on the level of pain induced, privacy, messiness, and the lethality guaranteed. Methods go from belts and buckles, ropes, guns, overdosing, jump from a height, electrocution, carbon monoxide, stabbing, and cutting, to name a few.
The behavior of a suicidal person cannot be missed, for those aware and attentive enough to look for the signs. They will give you silent, and not so silent warning signs to act upon as if it is their last cry for help. Typical warning behaviors include:
Withdrawing, from emotional relationships and attachments, and social contacts. Preferring and wanting to be left alone, choosing that time for rumination brooding depressive ideas rather than interacting and sharing with others, even the loved ones.
Having mood swings, such as being emotionally high, and full of energy, and aliveness, and then spiraling down and deeply discouraged, without having any sense of purpose
Being preoccupied with death, dying or violence
Feeling trapped or hopeless about a situation, losing a sense of reality in the gravity of the circumstances, and feeling overwhelmed by the intensity of what is at hand.
Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs to numb and ease the pain and the suffering
Changing regular routine, including eating or sleeping patterns
Adopting a reckless and risky behavior, such as driving carelessly
Feeling and talking about being an emotional or physical burden to others, combined with the feeling of helplessness, worthlessness, and avoiding to ask for help
Sorting personal matters, giving away belongings and tidying affairs with others when there's no logical explanation for doing it
Saying goodbye to people as if they won't be seen again, giving long lingering looks and hugs while saying the goodbye, as to extend them for the last time
Developing behavioral changes and showing signs of severe anxiousness, restlessness or agitation, mainly when being pushed out of the withdrawal zone, when confronted with some personal questions
Threatening of suicide, as a cry for help. Not everyone who is considering suicide will say so, and not everyone who threatens suicide will follow through with it. However, every threat of suicide should be taken seriously
Becoming suddenly calm after a period of depression or moodiness can be a sign that the person has reached the final decision and has come to terms with their death. They have reached that moment of clarity, clarity in all the chaos and mind chatter.
While these are the "obvious signs" let's have a look at what is not there, at what is missing in the picture, let's listen to the silence. We are not accustomed to seeing and analyzing what is not there. We take what we see at face value, rushing through life, missing on the crucial connections, and the essential bonding that makes us human. No person is an island.
How many times did we miss these signs:
Did we notice the disappearing of a" friend" on social media and did check on them? We just greet them when they are back if ever, to realize that their life has been a mess when they were away. Not every person disappearing on social media is suicidal, yet checking on our ”friends” the old fashion way has its advantages.
Did we let people slide in their silence, allowing them in their comfort zone, never checking on them, assuming that all is well... Assuming these are the friends that we can catch up at any time where we left off. Well, where we left off has been a downward death spiral.
Did we fail to see that their laugh and smile were not reaching their eyes, that their eyes had that deep hollow look of darkness that nothing seemed to take away?
Did we miss on hearing their voice tonality, that was choking under their breath, because there was no air in their lungs anymore, and their brain resisted the urge to breathe
Did we miss to see their attempts at having fun, as a final attempt to connect with life?
Assumption after assumption and the wall thickens, and the divide widens, leaving the suicidal person in isolation, solitude, and intensifying the emotions of helplessness, uselessness, and purposeless.
The suicidal person has lost any sense of purpose. The mere fact of Being is deemed as foolish, pointless, much less doing anything.
So let's hone on the essential and bridge the divide.
The suicidal person does not have enough, or none for that matter, clarity to see their sense of worth and their real value. They need to undrape the numbness that they are bathing in and see who and what is valuable and worthy, in them, and outside.
They have to acknowledge and see that they are valuable, lovable, contributing to their life, and to that of others. It's important to help them remember the things that light them up, interests they still have and to pursue in these activities, even when their critical self-talk is persuading them to do otherwise. We need to remind them or help them find a sense of purpose. What brings up their curiosity? What sparks up their life and makes them feel alive? How, when, with whom, and where do they feel fulfilled?
Remind them that asking for help is not a weakness; it is a sign of trust and courage; those who love them will appreciate their authenticity and transparency.
Random acts of kindness can go a long way. Love those whom you cherish in whatever way you can express, as long as you are showing it. Those gestures, however clumsy they are, those attentions however misplaced, these little caring however unwanted, might in the darkest nights save a life, let it see the light of day again, and make it enjoyable.
Signs of caring and compassion hidden behind messages like "I haven't seen you in a long time, where have you been", "I miss you", "I miss our talks"," you're a breath of fresh air"," I'd never forgotten the positive impact you had on my life", that come randomly from the loved ones, can make this whole life worth living, can show a person how valuable they are. That by itself is a game-changer.
So what is the choice today, and tomorrow? Is it the nonchalant attitude that will prevail and guide through to the end? Or, will it be a life of purpose that will have the upper hand?
Let’s embrace life with arms open wide; life is worth loving and living!