Peace.

‘Hi mam, awful news about Chris Cornell, such a shame x’

I hit backspace on my iPhone and deleted the text. Both of my mothers siblings died due to suicide. As much as I want to talk about another inspiration dying from suicide, I fear it is something that is still too painful to talk about. I genuinely waited for my mother to text me about the breaking news, as I felt if she wanted to talk about it, she would.

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It has been on the news that the lead singer of the band Soundgarden had killed himself by hanging today. With every suicide by a well known artist, more awareness, more understanding. At least I hope this is the case. Too many people condemn suicide. I hate the fact that people have to resort to such measures for a cease in the pain, I could not imagine being a person that condemns the individual. Whether that person had a mental illness so horrific we cannot imagine or their feet were practically melting against steel in September 2001, who are we, in a completely different frame of mind, to judge how and why individuals go to the lengths they do to escape the pain.

It angers me, truly. I don’t mind admitting that things anger me, this is healthy and if I can open up about certain feelings, I will. According to the World Health Organisation, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 15-29 globally. We need to stop pretending we know how much pain people go through and that death is never the answer. Sometimes it is the answer for that person. We tell sufferers to ‘man up’. We weep at their funeral, crying to the church ceiling asking why they didn’t speak up about such problems. We create this vicious circle and we need to find alternative ways around addressing such problems without labeling suffers as weak or that they undervalue life.

Life isn’t a gift that we need to force upon people that want nothing but and end to their own consciousness. We need to make life that gift, by understanding how horrific mental illness can be and preventing such illnesses from manifesting. This won’t work by telling them how good life is because yours is more tolerable. Sadly, death provides the wings to leave this world for too many people, lets stop pretending that this world isn’t worth leaving.

I walked past a ‘jumper’ today

I refrained from taking a picture on my phone of the fire engine and swarm of police making their way to the location, I don’t want to be one of those people. I was walking with a friend over the high level bridge in Newcastle, a very tall and beautiful bridge over the River Tyne, in fact the worlds oldest dual purpose bridge for rail and road transportation. 

As we were walking, two policemen were standing on the foot passenger side of the waist high railings, one on either side of the suicidal person, sitting on the ledge on the other side of the railings. We didn’t stop, we were on the opposite side of the narrow road but caugh a glimpse and paused mid conversation to confirm what we were watching unfolding. As we kept walking across the bridge we were continuously walking past oncoming officers on foot and could see the flashing lights of a fire engine and police cars at the entrance in the distance. The lights made more prominent as the footpath is underneath the railway and therefore more of a tunnel.

There have been two suicides in my family, so it is something I can relate to more than some. I cannot stand hecklers and members of the public that will shout abuse and complain at the delay a suicidal person causes. If someone is thinking of jumping off a bridge do you think they are in the right frame of mind to consider being a ‘time waster’?!

 My Auntie killed herself in the same fashion shortly after I was born. My uncle felt this was the only option two years ago. Both my mothers brother and sister ended their lives in my lifetime. So suicide isn’t something I disagree with, because I can comprehend that some people need it as a relief when life is simply too unbearable to experience any further. People that aren’t selfish, or unloving. Quite the opposite. To know that you will be leaving family behind must be heartbreaking.

As mental illness is losing it’s stigma and there is more and more awareness of the various conditions hopefully ‘jumpers’ will be shown more empathy and less anger.

Video of brave Muslim stopping a suicide bomber entering a mosque

Although I am not the biggest fan of religion it always fills me with hope to see brave men and women of religion fighting fundamentalists of the same belief. 

Watch the video below, it appears to show a man grabbing someone shortly before an explosion.

I always appreciate an act of kindness or bravery against all odds, no matter what the belief. The act of terrorism in the video reminds me of why I am an atheist, it also reminds me that kind hearted believers will help fight the worst of their religion.

Is the man stopping the bomber brave, or convinced of an afterlife? Can it be both? 

Would an atheist be as brave and grab a suicide bomber knowing death is almost certain? I don’t feel this takes away from atheism, as this scenario would not occur without a belief. But these thoughts run through my head watching this.