“People who suffer from mental illness are often deprived of quality of life. They are in this incredible pain and truly this pain has crippled them and paralyzed them and prevents them from enjoying life to the fullest. In many instances they are going through the motions of life but that is all it is --- just the motions. Inside they are dead due to the pain of their mental illness. They struggle with all of the vicissitudes of life and they seek help from various venues and they keep drawing a blank and they find no relief from the pain of their illness. Their lives are filled with hopelessness and despair. Who knows how long they have struggled with this pain? Who knows the depths of their pain?
Only those afflicted know the answers to these questions. But from my experience people who complete suicide have struggled long and hard. These people are not cowards or babies. They have put up valiant battles with the most incredible pain known to humans. In many instances they have sought help but the help didn’t relieve them from their pain. Maybe there was temporary relief but the pain came back with ferocious attacks. Maybe the medication offered temporary relief but then the pain returned. It could be that some never sought help because from their perspective, suicide was the only answer and the only solution.
… Unfortunately, people who complete suicide saw that act as their ticket out of their pain. They saw no other option. They might have tired from useless interventions and failed cures and at the end they saw suicide as the way out of this incredible and permanent pain that had engulfed every fiber of their being.
… The question that survivors ask themselves is now that a loved one has been rid of their pain forever and is at peace do we want them back again to be engulfed and consumed with this incredible pain. Sure, survivors would like another chance to seek better treatment or a better psychiatrist or better medications. There is no question about that. Be assured that if your loved one were to come back they would come back with the same incredible pain that engulfed them towards the end of their lives and caused them to take their lives. Is this fair to them? Let me assure you that your loved ones have attained peace and have attained an existence where there is no mental illness and no pain.”
Excerpt from Obelisk Newsletter, Oct 2004
Father Rubey is the founder of the Loving Outreach to Survivors of Suicide Program (LOSS) of Catholic Charities of the Archdioses of Chicago. His monthly column appears in the Obelisk Newsletter, providing comfort to hundreds survivors.