What compels a person to take their own life?
Serious mental illness? A scandal? Depression?
People often talk about suicide victims as being selfish. Particularly if they leave children behind.
But you don’t hear people saying: That selfish bastard went and died of cancer.
The person doesn’t kill themselves – the illness kills them. And depression is an illness. Like it or not. Believe it or not.
Whether the sufferer has a chemical imbalance in the brain or has a genetic predisposition varies from patient to patient.
It’s very difficult for doctors to ascertain what causes mental illness, but what they do know is that it is very real.
Figures suggest that 1 in 4 people will suffer from a mental illness at some stage during their life.
There are numerous treatments available, from antidepressants to cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). For most people, the illness is temporary and they make a full recovery. But for others, it’s a life-long sentence.
I can’t think of anyone who suffers from depression who wants to be in that condition. And I can’t imagine anyone, who’s of a normal state of mind, actually wants to die.
I imagine the reason that a person commits suicide does so because, to them, it is a very real and viable solution to their present problem.
What dark place must they inhabit if there is no other hope?
To a non-sufferer, it seems incomprehensible that suicide could ever be a viable option. Unfortunately, it is these kind of beliefs that perpetuate the stigma surrounding mental illness. And why some sufferers are reluctant to seek help.
It doesn’t matter if you’re rich, successful and appear to have everything, mental illness doesn’t discriminate.
Like many people, I was very saddened to hear about the recent passing away of film director, Tony Scott, who committed suicide by jumping from a bridge. Leaving behind a wife and two children.
Whether he was being treated for mental illness, I don’t know. It is rumoured that he had terminal brain cancer. But this has been denied by his family.
The saddest thing of all, is that whatever his mental state, he felt that ending his own life was the best option he had left.
I’ll remember him for making one of my favourite films – True Romance, written by Quentin Tarantino, and starring Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette and whole host of other luminaries such as: Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Penn and James Gandolfini.
Here’s one of my favourite scenes played by Dennis Hopper, (Clarence’s dad), and Christopher Walken, a mafioso.
Hopper knows his time is up, and to prevent being tortured some more and possibly spilling the beans as to his son’s whereabouts, he decides to provoke his captor.
Rest in Peace, Mr Scott.
Here are some other famous people who also felt they had run out of options:
Vincent van Gogh, painter, 1890.
Alan Turing, computer scientist, 1954.
Ernest Hemingway, writer, 1961.
Sylvia Plath, writer, 1963.
Rothko, painter, 1970.
Diane Arbus, photographer, 1971.
Ian Curtis, singer, Joy Division, 1980.
Kurt Cobain, singer, Nirvana, 1994.
Gary Speed, footballer, 2011.
Tony Scott, director, 2012.
And here’s a link for anyone who needs help.