Why I Wrote a Short Story About Suicide

So I’m about to go through the second revision of my suicide story, and I put some thought into why I actually wrote this story.   When I started writing it I actually didn’t know what I was trying to say or why I was writing it, but I have a better idea now.  It has a title, I just don’t want to mention it for fear it counts as publishing. This post is about my thoughts on suicide, so if this triggers you, please don’t continue. I’ll give the synopsis of the story below for those that don’t know what it’s about. . .

SPOILER

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It starts off with a guy named Kyle and he shoots himself in the chest. The rest of the story is told in snippets of memories interjected by delusions and reality. It’s about his spiritual quest for forgiveness after his fiancee is killed in a car crash. The reason he feels guilty is explained in the piece. He goes to heaven and then is sent to hell, but I left it ambiguous whether that was actually happening, or it was an out-of-body experience, or just a hallucination. In the end his fiancee, Emma, comes to greet him and takes him to the afterlife.

Actually a lady from CC came up with a really great idea to end the piece.  Having Kyle looking down on his parents visiting his grave, which is next to Emma’s and there is a patch of dandelions growing between them.  The dandelions were a symbol used earlier in the story.  I had kind of thought of doing something like that earlier but I didn’t know how to do it because the whole thing is written in 3rd person limited POV and I couldn’t just switch it to 3rd person omniscient for that one snippet.  It would erase some of the ambiguity that I had originally intended, but I think it might make the ending more powerful.  Showing the other side might make it less of a glorification, which is was never meant to be, but I can see how readers could interpret it that way.

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END OF SPOILERS

It wasn’t my intent to glorify suicide with this piece. I have struggled with suicidal ideation at more than one point in my life. I’d say the closest I got was at 13 years old when I actually had a plan. I never carried it out though. I’m a Christian and I was raised as one, so fear of Hell is what stopped me, basically. I am a self-hater and extremely self-critical. I hated myself so much at 13 years old.

We had just moved to another state because my dad got a job as a pilot with a major airline. I was 5’9″, smart, extremely shy, and had bleach blonde hair. My hair is naturally dark blonde, but my mom convinced me to dye it so she could live vicariously through me, I suppose. It was the color of Christina Aguilera’s hair, platinum blonde. I stood out when all I wanted to do was fit in. I was bullied pretty bad. I might go into it some other time. Anyway, I came home from school crying several times a week. I wrote this story perhaps as a way of exorcising some of my own demons and resolving the conflict I personally felt about suicide.

My short story is based on my experience with suicidal thoughts, and I wanted to share a different side that some people may not have considered. I should clarify that suicide can be done for selfish reasons.  It’s very complex, and my experience can’t be generalized to include everyone.  

In the wake of Robin William’s death there was a news anchor, Shepard Smith, that made that accusation, and he got criticized for it. Robin William’s was such a kind and generous soul, the antithesis of selfish. He’d been battling his own demons for many years, and it was probably his love of friends and family members that kept him alive for so long. Humans like to think they are unbreakable, but we aren’t. Given the right situation we can all be broken. Our response to something like that varies greatly between individuals. For some people it’s suicide.

Suicide is horrible. It’s devastating to the people left on Earth. I know because I have family and friends that had a loved one commit suicide.  They will never get over it, and the guilt and sorrow will trail them like a shadow for the rest of their lives. But in the same sense, suicide releases a tormented soul from the chains that bind humanity. I don’t want to be judgmental about those that kill themselves. I don’t want to think of whether they go to heaven or hell. It’s not my call to make. I would prefer to think of it that they finally found peace regardless of the religion they practice.

I don’t encourage suicide in any way. There was a girl in one of my health forums, a beautiful soul, and she wanted to kill herself after her boyfriend broke up with her. I gave her the number to a suicide hotline, and she told me later that she called, and it got her through the night. I would like to end this post with the number of the “National Suicide Prevention Hotline,” and if you even hear of anyone mentioning suicide please give it to them. It is free and open 24 hours: 1-800-273-8255

Because my suicide story is controversial and dark, I don’t think any literary magazine will publish it, but that’s alright. I wrote it because I had a character in my head that needed to speak. His story needed to be told, and it’s not just his story, but a bit of mine as well. It’s not the most comfortable thing to talk about, especially because it’s a painful subject for so many. Romeo and Juliet glorified suicide in a way I suppose, so it’s not unheard of for published material, but it’s not something everyone wants to read. A few of my friends refused to read it because of the subject matter, and I completely understood.

I don’ t know why I write such dark things, it’s just those are the characters that speak to me.  Maybe some of it is inspired by the fanfiction turmoil.  Hard to say.  Out of he next two pieces I want to write, one is dark and the other is dark with some fluff, both literally and metaphorically speaking as it’s a story about a PTSD soldier and an abused cat who heal each other.  I’m hoping that one turns out to be more fluff than angst, but I tend to get carried away with myself when writing emotions :$

It’s okay if you disagree with me on suicide. I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer on this subject. These are just my feelings about it as someone that has stood on the cusp of suicide myself. It wasn’t because I was a selfish person or that nobody loved me. It’s because the pain was more than I could bear, and it nearly consumed me.  If you think about life as a series of roads and/or tunnels I started on a new path at 13 years old.  There was a tunnel before me, but there was no way around it, so I had to walk through.  I couldn’t see an end to the darkness, and as I made my way through it, the darkness only seemed to intensify.  I had to rely on friends and family to hold my hand and guide me through until I finally saw the light.  For me that was at about 14-15 years of age.

Also, I wanted to participate in Writing Weekend Warriors, but I need to finish my application for financial aid to the hospital where I had my surgery.  And tomorrow, I’m going to a going- away party of one of my former ballet students.  She’s starting a prestigious ballet school next year that is full-time on the other side of the country.  I’m so excited that she got this opportunity ^^  So maybe next week, hopefully 😛 For those that don’t know what I’m talking about this link should explain it: http://www.wewriwa.com/

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7 thoughts on “Why I Wrote a Short Story About Suicide

  1. Great piece you wrote!! Very much appreciated you talking about it. I also write a little piece on suicide a few years back but mine was in the mind set of the whole suicide thing fascinates me, especially when it comes to suicide in Japan, in that I want to know how they did it, maybe we find out why they did it and also what are other people responses and who is maybe out there trying to reduce it. < this also means that everyone sees and writes things in different ways, and that's a great thing and makes the stories interesting! =)
    In terms of actual suicide, I've not had experience of wanting to do it myself but when I was 13 like you, I was also very dark and I used to self harm and where you thought of suicide as a way to aid the pain, I self harmed because I felt I deserved the pain. Fascinating isn't it! (I understand fascinating makes this all sound positive but it's the only way I can describe it all I think)

    • Thank you for sharing your story 🙂 I have had bouts of anorexia starting from 10 years old, and I only found out in the past few years that it was a self-harming behavior. When I’m in very toxic situations I start to starve myself. My worst was 17-20, but I relapsed at 24 when I tore my right hip labrum and became bedbound due to the pain. I hated myself so much, and felt I didn’t deserve to live, but I didn’t have the energy to kill myself because I was depressed. Then every year my health got worse and I was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a genetic disorder causing defective collagen. In the past year and a half I joined a lot of health forums and connected with other young people going through something similar, sometimes even worse. It helped me reclaim my life and realize I wasn’t a failure. I’ve been in remission from anorexia for almost two years now 🙂

      I’m a self-hater and extremely self-critical. It’s not something that I think I can ever get rid of. I can silence it, but all it takes is someone feeding those demons and I spiral downwards pretty fast. So I’ve been working on moving on from toxic relationships and situations. I was cyberbullied for months in fanfiction by a woman who plagiarized my story. There was a specific incident this June that made me leave because the urge to starve myself was so powerful. That was when I realized fanfiction was not worth my mental health and by staying I was risking a relapse into anorexia.

      She wanted to destroy me, and she still does. They are still stalking me and making up profiles to get me to give up my new user-name. I didn’t give it to anyone that wasn’t a close friend for this reason. They have been contacting my friends, and as far as I know they still are. I have told my friends not to respond. Blocking them doesn’t work because they just make up new identities to get around it. I had to delete my whole fanfic profile and remove all my stories because after I left they were turning it into an effigy of hate. I had a fairly popular story with like 500 reviews, and it meant a lot to me at one point. But I needed a clean break, so I could move on. In the end I didn’t care who was right or wrong, I was risking relapse into anorexia because of it. Me and the cyber-bully were friends at one point, so she knows my legal name. I will have to publish under a pseudonym because I’m terrified she’ll find me. I know her legal name too, but I don’t want to hurt her. I just want her to leave me alone.

      I don’t regret fanfiction. I did it off and on for five years, and I learned a lot about writing, and met some friends who have become the best friends I’ve ever had. I just regret not leaving earlier. It’s a stark reminder that I can’t really get away from the self-hatred though. I can become stronger, but it will never go away completely.

      It sounds like you are doing much better yourself, and I’m happy for you 🙂 In the big scheme of things I’m doing better, I just need to be quicker to get out of bad relationships and/or situations. Now that I’m in my late 20s I understand my behavior better, and that has helped me learn how to approach and process the world. Thanks again for the comment 🙂

      • Great to know you’re working on yourself and knowing when you leave a bad situation and things! It’s one thing many people can’t see or know how to deal with! And I am happy you’re in remission from anorexia! =] great to hear!

        I’ve never experienced it as severe as yourself but I too have had bullying in the past. In fact, my dissertation is on bullying in Japan because as a victim myself, I want to know why, how and what is being done to help.

        Also, I am like you in that over time, I am learning to cope with things like inner-demon and how not to fall down into a dark place or even further down it and stuff like that.

        Go us! =]

  2. I loved the piece you wrote, and I love how you wrote this post. I agree with you: suicide is an awful thing, and nobody should ever be driven to that point. I’m so glad you were able to help that girl out: bravo. I am so sorry you thought of committing suicide at 13. But it’s amazing you can think about it and talk about it and use your experiences to help others.

    I think writing what you want and what speaks to you is important: always do that, if you can. This post was beautiful 😀 Thank you for speaking out on the topic of suicide. ❤

    • Yeah, the piece has changed a bit since you last read it, and it needs a bit more reshaping to get it to have the intended effect. I’m changing the ending a bit to make it more poignant and reflective of the aftereffects of suicide on loved ones because that is important too. I’m glad you enjoyed it, even if it was a first draft 🙂 It’s been a difficult piece to write not only because of the topic but the non-linear aspect as well. I hope it helps people understand the complexity of suicide, and that most people don’t do it because they are selfish. Thanks for your lovely comment ❤

  3. My sister’s husband committed suicide about eleven years ago. His daughter just got married and is still so angry at him that she did not want him mentioned in any speeches at the wedding. I’m a bit perturbed at him, too, because the day he did it, my sister sent him an email saying, “I love you.” The police read his emails, since he was a prominent doctor who killed himself in a hospital with hospital owned drugs, and they reported that he had opened the email. A simple “I love you, too” before ending it all would have meant night and day to my sister. I know people get mad at calling a suicide victim selfish, but he was selfish throughout his life, and I don’t believe he suddenly became unselfish when he killed himself.

    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com

    • I’m sorry Joyce 😦 I shouldn’t have generalized it. I think it can be done for selfish reasons or to get back at other people. I can answer that I wasn’t doing it to hurt anyone else. I just hated myself so much and wanted the pain to disappear. I’m glad now that I never went through with it. Suicide is very complex, and everyone has their own reason for doing it. I’ll change this entry to reflect your comment. I shouldn’t have made an all encompassing statement. It’s bad to imply that everyone else with suicidal thoughts are the same because they aren’t. Thank you for your thoughts. I’m changing the ending on this piece as well to reflect the trauma for those left behind because it’s an important component of suicide.

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