571497.8dd5717.ed41a63d365749aa9fb7eae86c895d20

Night Falls Fast

Kay Redfield Jamison describes her own suicide attempt in Night Falls Fast:

“I did not consider it a selfish or not-selfish thing to have done. It was simply the end of what I could bear, the last afternoon of having to imagine waking up the next morning only to start all over again with a thick mind and black imaginings. It was the final outcome to a bad disease, a disease it seemed to me I would never get the better of. No amount of love from or for other people — and there was a lot — could help. No advantage of a caring family and fabulous job was enough to overcome the pain and hopelessness I felt; no passionate or romantic love, however strong, could make a difference. Nothing alive and warm could make its way in through my carapace. I knew my life to be a shambles and I believed — incontestably — that my family, friends and patients would be better off without me. There wasn’t much of me left anymore, anyway, and I thought my death would free up the wasted energies and well-meant efforts that were being wasted in my behalf.”

A review of her book, by Andrew Solomon, is available on the New York Times website.

Comments (1):

  1. surreal2u

    March 29, 2006 at 7:23 pm

    It’s an interesting excerpt from the book. I believe that if I was able to see it from your perspective, then I’d see how you walked in the very same shoes, although possibly different circumstances, than the author. Unfortunately, one glaring weakness is present for me in it. I can understand how, in just your part, you felt helpless to what had overcome you. I understand that it’s not just a choice that you just made one day and some things you don’t have control over (chemical inbalance). It was a work in progress, this overwhelming desire to end it all. However, these “well-meant efforts that were being wasted in my behalf” part I can see clearly as to why you’d (or the author as the case may be) feel that way. It’s an obvious flaw for me. You being here is just as much about the people around you as it is for yourself. The selfishness is not just in the act itself and the repercussions to follow for those who live on, it’s the inability to endure for those around you that need you too. Your first responsiblity is to yourself always in order to be whole, but past that the desire to continue might go very well beyond you. Your purpose here influences the lives of others directly, indirectly or however you wish to term it. If you were a hermit in the mountains with no contact with anyone else it still wouldn’t justify taking your own life. That is not what I am saying. Actually, at this point with my penchant for rambling, I don’t know what I am trying to say. 🙂 I just know this. When you no longer can see past yourself and your own problems then you’ve lost scope to what’s most important. Your life plays a greater role than just for you. You are held accountable in whatever way for the choices you make by those around you forever and a day past that one final moment. You are not just making that choice for you but for us as well. Find your center and what grounds you my friend and build around it.

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