One thing is certain: a priori, practically no person wants to die. The vast majority of people conceive the process of death as the most terrible thing that can happen to an individual. We humans, in our constant desire to possess total “omnipotence” (as well as marked ideals of transcendence), long for permanence in life.
For the suicidal person, on the other hand, death acquires a special meaning . Their way of thinking about death is very different from that of the vast majority, and this influences their behaviour and attitudes.
Death, according to the suicides
There are two different ways in which suicides can come to conceptualize death. They are as follows.
An emergency exit
Here, the suicidal person understands death as the liberation from the bonds and difficulties of life, a change to pass from what he has lived in to another existential plane imagined and characterized by the absence of suffering .
Suicide can be planned and carried out as a way to get rid of those problems that are choking that person. “I can’t take it anymore,” “I’m sick of this suffering,” etc. are just some of the statements that the person in crisis makes in the deepest moments of his or her thinking, although he or she doesn’t have to express them openly. The possibility of committing the act is seen as an emergency exit as their personal, family or social situation becomes practically unbearable.
For the individual it is not so important what he will find after his death, as the fact of being away from something: pain, sorrow, suffering of relatives and loved ones, etc. What is really important is to get out of your state once and for all, to cross that “dead end” in which you find yourself. The main aim of committing the act of suicide is to overcome the present distress quickly.
Suicide seen as positive
For others, suicide may have a different goal than before: to make a change, either in oneself or in one’s environment. From this other vision, the important thing is not to free oneself from that situation of anguish but rather focuses on what the person wants to achieve : tranquillity, peace, happiness…
In this case, the concept is transformed into a kind of portal into which the subject enters to obtain a more harmonious and pleasant life experience (on a transcendental plane). For this reason, although it may seem illogical and confusing, it is possible to state that for these people the main objective of committing suicide is to live fully, even if it sounds paradoxical .
From the above-mentioned vision, suicide would be transformed as a gateway to a new life where tranquility and emotional peace are the protagonists, as well as to season the new stage of life and move on to another in which there will be neither the anguish nor the suffering that may arise at some point in the present life. It would be something like returning to the security of the mother’s womb.
Thus, the act of suicide can be explained by a rejection of life, or by an early approach to death itself.
Suicidal Reasoning: A Curious Contradiction
In the existing suicide plot, life and death are the protagonists of the drama. Between these two poles, the decision to end one’s life is made; in the suicide dialectic, the fear of living and suffering, on the one hand, and the fear of dying, on the other, would be the two extremes of existence.
The goal, then, is to die, but also to start living differently . Several authors state that suicidal behaviour is, in the first place, an act of life and not of death. The person who wishes to commit suicide longs to free himself from his problems, to change the existing circumstances or to return to a state of security, but at the bottom of his being there is a fervent desire to live.
A form of hope?
Other scholars of the phenomenon consider that suicide means hope, hope of continuing to live in full peace and quiet . With the above, suicide becomes the way to eliminate the existing hopelessness, suffocating depression and permanent guilt. It is also a way of disappearing, but remaining in the consciousness of family and friends as a painful and difficult memory to overcome.
At the extreme of those who observe life, we find the great spectrum of those people who manifest a first symptom of general malaise identified as “denial of life” and disqualification of self, which produces a deep desire not to live, not to exist anymore.
It is from this moment that a sudden turn towards death occurs : from the constant desire to die to the desire to commit suicide, and from this to the suicide. As we approach the extreme of death, the experience of suicidal thinking becomes more firm and the risk of self-destruction is higher.