Will, this will be difficult to get on paper.
In late December of 2021 a very close family friend went to Switzerland and threw himself off of a building. It was difficult for all of us who knew him. Frankly, there is very little we know about what happened or what caused this. There is a lot that falls under the umbrella of speculation.
For me specifically, it has lead to some very weird conversations. Of course, this has a lot to do with my opinions. I am not all that against suicide. To quote/paraphrase the comedian Doug Stanhope, anyone who claims that ‘suicide is never the answer’ hasn’t heard all of the questions. Put yourself in the worst of circumstances and you will likely find yourselves ending things too. If nothing else, think of the poor horse who ate of the gympie-gympie tree. What the question really boils down is the specific set of circumstances the individual finds themselves in, and whether or not suicide is the answer for them. There are probably a certain set of circumstances where I would say sure, step in front of a fucking train. At the end of the day however, the circumstances at which people decide to do that are going to vary.
And that is something that we can never know.
When people don’t know, or don’t understand, they have a horrible tendency to fill in the blanks with whatever they fucking want. The worse of these is paranoid suspicion. In my family, there is unfortunately a lot of paranoid suspicion, so when said individual went all the way to Switzerland from Italy (at my reckoning, it was a minimum of a 6 hour journey) to end his own life, people looked upon it with the standard paranoid suspicion. “I just can’t understand why he went all the way there to kill himself” they say, with a hidden implication that there is some deeper hidden truth to the story. Fuck you, there is no hidden deeper truth. Suicide is going to be what you want. Hell, it’s going to be YOUR LAST damn thing, you might as well have it your way.
For instance, in university a professor of mine climbed up to some tall secluded mountains near Rome, put down a nice bottle of wine, and then waited till sunset to open up his own wrists. I imagine the sunset was beautiful.
Were there buildings my friends could have thrown himself off of in the town we both lived in? Sure. There is also a McDonald’s we choose not to eat it. What is your fucking point.
As another example, there was my own suicide attempt back in 2017 (I think). After a very bad night of drinking and a recognition that my life not only was not going anywhere (and never would), I went to the roof of my 16 story building and built up the courage to throw myself off of it. I looked into the Hangzhou city-scape with tear filled eyes trying to compose myself before committing to it.
How am I here telling you this story?
Just before I did it my flatmates, out of their minds on E and wanting to fuck under that smog-covered summer sky, came up onto the roof. They had just put a blanket down when they spotted me. As soon as they were there, I lost the desire to jump. I didn’t find a will to live, I lost the will to die right-then. This was supposed to be my fucking moment, and frankly I was annoyed that these two had come to ruin it.
There is a lesson there, and I am too stupid to understand what it is.
I also became very self-conscious of ruining their night. I think at that point I already had. I didn’t want to go any further. I didn’t want to be that much on their minds for the rest of their life.
I cannot tell you why I never tried again. But I didn’t. Things didn’t get better. In many respects, things still haven’t. I did, however, learn to live with the bad.
And this transition to another point pretty well. Another thing people seem to have wondered is why this person ‘never reached out.’ I find this one laughable. When I came back from China I did tell two people about my suicide attempt. It didn’t lead to anything resembling a positive experience. In both cases (one of these was a family member) the person I told it to became very uncomfortable and did not know what to say. They both changed the conversation to be about themselves. We never went back to it. I don’t think I am putting this out there in any kind of accusing way. What could you even say? If one of these same people came back and said it to me, could I really do anything about it? More importantly, I think about all the times I have failed to help people when they ask me for help with their very real problems. That’s what we are all after at the end of the day, no? But we so rarely can. And this is not any kind of fault of ours. We are all busy, buried in our own problems. Most of us are stuck in our own rabbit holes. We cannot get you out of yours.
The dumbest thing about this all was that we knew pretty much all the problems this poor guy had. We frequently gossiped about them. And yet, we were meant to be surprised that he did it.
In the very last of the speculations about the friend now passed, it comes out that he may have gotten vaccinated just to kill himself in Switzerland. He was very anti-vax, unfortunately so, and thus there is a bit of irony to this if true. His being anti-vax strikes us as being at the core of what happened. Maybe it was, maybe it was. But it just feels like it is beyond that point.
I do feel bad about what happened. But, to a certain extent, I think the best that I can do for my deceased friend is to at this point respect his decision. I have no idea why he ended his life. But end it he did. I am not going to be resentful for it.
That’s all I can do.