We have all been touched by the suicide of someone we know; a loved one, friend, neighbor, or perhaps someone we know of and respected. Upon hearing of someone taking their own life, we can be quick to reflect, morn, appreciate, and even be quick to judge. Many judge that suicide is a selfish act that recklessly leaves those behind without all they needed and deserved from the person lost. I am not among those who judge the act in this way.
When we learn someone we know who has taken their own life, our mind can be busied by thoughts of what we could have done to have prevented it – we see clearly, only after the fact, all the signs that were in place. We regret that we did not recognize the signs or take the action which (we believe) could have prevented the tragedy. In my opinion, these are thoughts wasted. If we’re not looking for the signs, how can we expect to see them?
Sympathetic, or intolerant, we tend to form strong opinions of those who take their own life – of those who choose death in a moment. Yet we don’t spend much time contemplating or passing judgment on those who commit suicide more slowly; heavy drinkers, heavy smokers, heavy users of drugs, and for the context of this column, those who choose to eat themselves to an earlier death with ritualistic poor and excessive eating habits. I have taken to calling this, time-released suicide.
There are those who eat an occasional dessert, occasionally eat lesser foods, and those who strive to be right-eaters but prone to bad eating days, and even bad eating weeks. My case is not (so much) against these people – for my case would first have to be against myself, and then be against the majority of my countrymen. My case relates more to those who eat poorly and excessively as a lifestyle. It also relates to those who support their loved ones in eating poorly and excessively as a lifestyle; like pulling the plug of a loved one before the coma ever begins.
Clearly those who eat excessive amounts of poor calories do not do so as a means of ending it all, and those who choose to take a bath with the toaster do wish to check out early, but that distinction might not be so clear after all.
I simply make the argument that if a person frequently eats masses of processed sugars, fats, and poor carbohydrates, and food is primary in that person’s daily agenda, there might be a willing element, even if it’s harbored well below the surface. That is, “I know eating all of this is harmful to me, and I’m choosing to eat it anyway”, is a willful state of destruction when the consequences are so well known, and those consequences matter. Is that kind of thinking any less toxic than, “I know that jumping from this bridge is bad for me, but I’m going to jump anyway”? Who dare tell anyone not to eat Doritos and Moon Pies? Still, we do tend to say “Hey you! Don’t jump off that bridge”.
I offer no lessons in writing this, and have no suggestions that might help those who eat poorly and excessively as a lifestyle; regardless of the reasons why. I only suggest that one powerful bullet, placed one time to the head, is not too far removed from the concept of thousands of less powerful bullets placed many times to the mouth. I further suggest that we all think twice before we offer that kind of ammunition to those we love. Be well. rc
If you have read this and have taken offense that I may have compared a tragedy in your life to something seemingly more trivial, I apologize. I simply wish to shed another perspective on a lifestyle which has consequences that might include early death.