Why do some choose death, over life?Sep 18 05:36
I'm not one to question anyone's choices in life. Whether they want to live or die, their life is up to them. I do however wonder the series of events that lead people to choose death over life, especially when they have a disability.
Life with a disability has it’s obvious challenges, yet I'm constantly intrigued by how some people can cope brillianly, and how others simply do not have the will to continue.
One of the first people that comes to mind on this low but-neccessary-to-talk-about topic is Vic Chesnutt. He was a well-known folk singer from Georgia paralyzed in a car accident when his 18. Despite having limited use of his hands, he was able to still play the guitar, and forged an impressive music career. He sold thousands of albums, was recognized by REM and in 2009 he committed suicide, overdosing on muscle relaxants.
And yet....he was always melancholy long before he committed suicide. His songs were known for being sad. That was who we was and everybody expected it from him. I believe he would always have been that way whether he was paralyzed or not. Maybe him committing suicide was inevitable? Perhaps he was just born with one of those brains?
A part of me can't understand why he was unhappy. "He was able to play the guitar. I would love to be able to play the guitar. He was healthy; sure, he had less than great health insurance, but he was alive and kicking. And he had a wife who loved him." This is the natural process we all have when we hear about someone we know committing suicide. "Why? He or she had it so good?" However, able-bodied, wealthy people kill themselves too. Suicide a mystery no matter who it is.
And then there's Christina Symanski. She was a quadriplegic who committed suicide a little over a year ago. It was all over the web, especially in the UK since the story had quite the soap opera element. She dit it by starvation. After 7 years of living with paralysis, she was never able to get out of the realms of depression that many of us fall into after we first get injured. Since she wasn’t able to move her arms that well, it made it very difficult for her adjustment.
A lot of people online of course had an opinion about Christina's decision, even I did when it first happened. But since time has past and I've had time to think about Christina, I know none of us can question her decision, despite it being - yes a really godamn sad story.
Vic and Christina are just the forst two people who come to mind when I think about disability and suicide. We all know this happens a lot more than gets shown on the news. So many untold stories.
I think when this does happen, whenever we hear about it, it's ok to allow ourselves to be sad, get angry, but we should never judge. We have no idea what their realities were like when they were alive, despite the similarities our lives may have shared with theirs.
Is there ever a situation where you think suicide is ok?
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.