Sunday, September 21, 2014

Discussing Death with the Depressed

This post may not be appropriate for all audiences. While it does not contain mature content, it does cover material which may make you think about things you might not want to think about.

Life goes on,
Long after the thrill of living is gone.
 - "Jack and Diane" by John Mellencamp

We're not like teenaged boys, who supposedly think about sex every seven seconds; talking about death with us isn't dangerous unless you're particularly thin skinned, because be warned: our perspective on it might be more extreme than you're used to.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not claiming to speak for all people who suffer from depression in one form or degree or another. What I am saying is I do suffer, and I know my thoughts, perspectives, and opinions on death and the nature of death, what comes before, during, and after might be a little extreme, callous, or stark, and I rather suspect I'm far from alone. I'm also offering a friendly warning.

I don't like talking about death for this reason, the reason that it tends to scare people, and scared people do things that make me less inclined to share how I feel about things. These things include not sharing my poetry or writings with most of my family (unless they specifically ask, and sometimes, not even then), or not walking past certain people's houses, or changing places of employment.

Yes, I have one job I suspect I lost because I allowed myself to become just slightly too open about the shit that goes on inside my head. We probably shouldn't talk about that. Let's get back to talking about death.

Death is nothing to be feared. It's like being afraid of the setting sun or an oncoming storm. It's a waste of stress to fear death, something that's inevitable and bound to interrupt everyone's plans in some way or another. Death happens on no one's schedule, even including suicides. Death comes when it's good and ready and not a moment before or later, and though you can try to take your life in your hands and hurry it along, there's never any guarantee on that route; something can always go "wrong" with your attempt, and you could end up in a lot of pain for having failed, and then subjected to close supervision so you can't try again.

Everything hurts. Life hurts. Death is bound to hurt, either in the short term or the long run. I don't have any first hand experience but I have a surplus of imagination.

xkcd #883

The pain of death could be like approaching the event horizon of a black hole: the closer it gets the slower death appears to come, and the more drawn out the pain is. Maybe it's the reverse, and it's over in an instant, even before your heart has finished beating, your brain has finished tingling, or your muscles have stopped twitching. I don't know, and I'm not convinced anybody does.

Left Behind
"Everyone dies alone. That's what it is. It's a door. It's one person wide. When you go through it, you do it alone. But it doesn't mean you've got to be alone before you go through the door. And believe me, you aren't alone on the other side."
 - Malcolm Dresden, from "Dead Beat" by Jim Butcher

And everyone gets left behind. Well, except for those that died first. That's just how it is. Whether the death was "premature" (young age) or "artificial" (suicide or disease) or "natural" (old age), those who get left behind will be unhappy with it. They'll all go through the stages of denial, maybe not all spending the same amount of time on the same stages and maybe not progressing through them in order, but they all hit every one.

I'm not sold on the idea that there's anything after death, or "on the other side of the door" as opposed in the quote above. I'm not saying I don't believe in one or that I do believe in one. I'm saying I haven't made up my mind.

What I have decided is that I don't believe in Heaven and Hell, and no, this isn't just to try to save myself from eternal damnation in the event that I do end up killing myself. As I've mentioned in my spirituality posts, I don't believe in a deity that cares what we do, and this includes how and when we die. I think I'd lean towards something closer towards an Omega point, if I were told I had to believe something, but anybody who says that sort of thing tends (in my experience) to be rather close-minded and tragically Christian in their own beliefs.

Winning and Losing
Here's the more time-relevant comment of this post, added only recently though the majority of the post itself has been sitting in my queue for a couple months.

Sometimes depression wins. Death is inevitable, but sometimes depression is the hand that deals it. It's always unfortunate when it happens, whether it's someone you never knew the name of or someone known world-wide. The truth remains the same: sometimes depression wins.

Residual Thoughts
There's probably a lot I haven't covered, and if you find it weighing even slightly on your conscience, feel free to ask me about it, and I'll do my best to dredge up a satisfactory answer. On the other hand, if you're convinced I'm batty, crazy, or following the wrong religion and you intend to try to convert me, I will politely say now: Please go away.