Yet we hear so many people say, “It was such a shock that he did it. He seemed so normal before it happened. He was happy, he was enjoying himself, etc.”
Well, yeah. If you knew you were going to jump off a bridge tomorrow, why wouldn’t you spend today doing some fun stuff, having lighthearted conversations with friends, etc.? If anything, your worries would be gone, so you would be better able to enjoy yourself without being weighted down by concern over your problems. You might actually be better company.
It’s just that for most of our lives, we feel kinda stuck. How many people do you hear say, “Yeah, this job sucks, but I just need to stick it out for another 15 years till retirement”? They’re kinda stuck. People are stuck in marriages, or if they leave their marriage, then they’re stuck in whatever situation they end up in after marriage. Women talk about divorce as being liberating, but if they remain unable to get what they want, relationship-wise — i.e. attract that tall, handsome billionaire or whatever — they’re still stuck, in a way.
We end up in these situations, dealing with constant annoyances and frustrations. Some handle it better than others. It’s human nature, though, that we prefer to have a feeling of making progress, even if it’s illusory. Problem is, some of us are more realistic, or pessimistic, about how much meaningful progress we’re really making, because it can be hard to gauge sometimes, and there can always be setbacks.
I was recently telling someone, I hope the narrative about me doesn’t end up being, “He was real smart but his mental illness got the better of him.”
All I can really say in response to that is, “Cato’s Letter No. 56, bitches!”
That’s the only work I’ve ever found in my life that sums up how I feel about the matter. And it was written in 1721, before the psychologists arrogated to themselves the responsibility of telling us the meaning and cause of suicide.
It’s timeless, but obscure; I’ve never heard it mentioned in any discussion of suicide, but to me, it’s an eloquent and concise, and even radical, summation of my thinking on the matter.
Most of what’s been written on our time on the subject has focused on the terminally ill, rather than those who are just ready to say, “Fuck it, I’m done.”