There is no escape.
There is only Realization.2
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.3
In the wake of hearing that Robin Williams committed suicide earlier this week, I started wondering: how good of an option is suicide for dealing with depression? Could it get a person out of their troubles?
Can it bring love?
Especially for people we encounter (or become!) who are homeless, destitute, disabled, unemployed, dealing with extreme addiction, suffering from extreme guilt over past actions, enduring overwhelming grief, suffering bizarre and insoluble chronic illnesses, or in severe unbearable chronic pain that no drug can alleviate – for such people, is suicide a useful alternative to the horrors of life?
Near death accounts
I wondered about cases where people had tried to bring an end to their life, but failed, and in the process having what’s called a “near-death experience”. I was curious what they might have to say about this.
We’ve interviewed many people who had near-death experiences as a result of suicide attempt. What they told us is that never again would they attempt suicide because they learned from their near-death experience that even when times are difficult, life has a purpose.4
That sounds interesting – especially if you get a chance to hear individual stories about this. Unfortunately I can’t seem to find a good survivor quote from a source that I totally trust and which all my readers would trust.
And to further drive the point home, people who tried to kill themselves often got a taste of something much worse than the situation they were attempting to flee from. In the understated words of one researcher:
The conflicts they had tried to escape were still present after they died, but with added complications. In their disembodied state they were unable to do anything about their problems, and they also had to view the unfortunate consequences which had resulted from their acts.5
It’s living that’s difficult
Dying is easy; it’s living that’s difficult.6
Not all NDE researchers say a near-death experience will prevent a person from suicide attempts, however.
For instance, some people reportedly have such a positive (and spontaneous) near-death experience, that later, when life becomes crushingly painful, they seek to go back to the loving place they once visited by taking matters into their own hands:
One woman spoke of having been hospitalized twice for attempting suicide many years after her near death event. She had experienced a scenario that was both soul stirring and uplifting; but, with the passing of years and a life filled with tragedy and pain, the positive fulfillment she had previously received seemed to fade. Memories of how wonderful it was on the Other Side prompted her to try killing herself.
She failed at each attempt and caused herself unbelievable grief. When I last heard from her, she seemed reasonably back on her feet and more practical, stating that she now realized there was no escape and she had better get busy and solve her problems herself.7
Sometimes, real difficult…
And sometimes life can be unbelievably difficult:
…but there’s the impulse to suicide from sheer unending physical torture, which I have a lot of intimacy with, and I can tell you it becomes a completely, non-emotional, rational consideration. And really, the only thing that stopped me over hundreds of such considerations was my sense that other people would be too profoundly wounded.
And I even crossed that final barrier a couple times, and at that point it was simply the immediate presence of subtle demons that I really did not want to encounter in the death transition. But, to be blunt, I would have given anything to simply off myself and have it be of only consequence to me…
It’s profoundly isolating, and you feel that literally no one can comprehend you, and you’re not wrong. People can’t. They aren’t being tortured daily to the point of begging for death.8
Probably not just the death transition, but what happens afterward would be unpleasant, according to many religious texts.
I appreciate this account – from a sufferer of chronic illness who gets no relief from pain medication – because it shows what some people endure daily.
I have had minor moments where I felt suicide as a possibility.
Then the moment passed, but not until I consciously felt and acknowledged it, sinking beneath my usual defense mechanisms that keep me superficial, distracted, and insensitive to what I’m feeling.
I’ve never had a near-death experience, but I did have a positive experience once where I went outside my body and experienced profound love, peace and joy, infinitely more powerful than anything I’d felt before. When I came back to my body, I was disoriented at first, and didn’t know where or even who I was.
Then, as I finally recognized my surroundings, I had a panic attack. The shock of being inserted back into my life with all my problems and dilemmas was overwhelming and my body recoiled at what felt like the immense horror of it all – even though I’d never consciously thought of my life that way before, and things were pretty good by some standards.
- Have you ever had a moment when you felt life was hopeless? Or, have you had a near-death experience?
- How hard do you work to distract yourself from pain, despair and hopelessness? Do you think the purpose of life and the purpose of depression is to take anti-depressant medication?
- Do you think suicide would be a good way out of someone’s problems?
- What does this mean: “There is no escape. There is only realization.”
- Some people wonder why rich, beloved, successful celebrities so frequently are said to commit suicide, sometimes under strange occult circumstances. ↩
- Adi Da Samraj, January 1996 or so, Manner of Flowers. ↩
- Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 24:13, KJV. Being “saved” presumes a lot of things which not everyone would agree with… but it’s still an interesting biblical quote. ↩
- Interview with Dr. Raymond Moody, conducted by “Lilou”, and found here. ↩
- Raymond Moody, “Life After Life”. ↩
- Rama, also known as Frederick Lenz, as quoted here. ↩
- “Beyond the Light”, by P.M.H. Atwater, p.17. This book is included in The Basket of Tolerance. ↩
- Chronic pain sufferer. ↩