An open letter about purpose in life

A quick note before I start writing: this post discusses, among other things, existential crises and suicide, and if these things trigger or upset you I suggest you skip this post. If these things neither trigger nor upset you, feel free to read on. If you manage to read the whole thing and then write a comment that completely misses the point, do not expect me to be particularly civil.

Dear people who know me, even just through my writing, I want to talk to you for a bit. I don't want to talk at you - and after all, what is article-writing but an extended form of talking at people? - because I feel I really need to tell you something.

Having blogged really quite extensively (for a shy and reticent person like me, at least) on suicide, and having been quite open about it with people, and it having affected me a lot, I think I need to clear some things up for people. After that, it's your responsibility.

I believe that an autonomous, sapient being can choose to die and should be allowed to - so yes, I support the right to die. Withholding it would only cause more suffering, the one thing I don't want. Moreover, suicide is not people try on a whim. It is something people are driven to. And no, stigmas and misconceptions do not help.

I am of the opinion that suicide is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of being unable to cope with unbearable suffering. That does not necessarily show weakness, particularly since surviving - in other words, going to the closest thing to hell that humanity actually has and then coming back again - is very strong. I would also ask people to refrain from passing judgement unless they've been suicidal themselves.

I place a lot of value on finding meaning in life, because I want a reason - any reason - not to go through the hell of two years or more of suicidality again, and believe me, it's hell. You are empty, in pain, self-loathing, falling apart, thoughts of utterly destroying yourself flashing through your head and giving you strange comfort, and you'll do anything to fill that gap and try to be happy...It is not a pleasant existence. I am so afraid of going back to that existence, even nine months on, that any pent-up negativity can scare me into a breakdown (and at this point I must thank certain very wonderful people for putting up with said breakdowns and taking the time to comfort and be there for me). I find that meaning in life through helping others, even at a cost to myself, and through people who love and care about me. I could not hurt them by attempting suicide again, not just yet anyhow.

Because I need meaning so, so much in my life to avoid another existential crisis, I get very stubborn about it. I take things seriously, I get sad and angry a lot. And that's just the way I am. I don't want to ignore the suffering of others, not when I have suffered myself, not when the world needs changing and badly.