I read this article and I agree this needs to be discussed, openly, appropriately.
Good, strong people commit suicide, because the pain and hopelessness of living, becomes greater than their capacity to bear.
The fact they lived so long, battling it – is a massive testimony to their strength, not weakness.
Exerts from this article…
Charlotte Dawson was found dead in her home in Woolloomooloo on Saturday.
What is it about that wording that is so unsettling? Charlotte Dawson struggled for many years with depression and, most recently, was hospitalised after being hounded by internet trolls. She then came out in a TV interview as suicidal, after which she began actively and vocally engaging with some of those who bullied her online. She was a brave, passionate, driven woman whose life over the past few years was difficult, to say the least.
She was harried by depression, hounded by bullies, and buffeted by career changes which would leave anyone vulnerable, let alone someone with real, genuine mental health problems. She attacked her issues head on, and the press is buzzing with speculation about what led her to where she ended up. What heady, horrible cocktail of circumstances and misfortunes pushed her.
But no news outlet I’ve seen has addressed the real problem here.
Charlotte Dawson committed suicide.
There. I said it. She committed suicide.
Why, then, are we shying away from the fact that Charlotte Dawson committed suicide, when Dawson herself underwent a Herculean struggle to come out as someone with suicidal thoughts, an address her tormentors (both internal and external) head-on? Her appearance on 60 Minutes, in which she openly and frankly talked about her struggles, wasn’t the act of a weak person. It took incredible fortitude, and the fact that she succumbed doesn’t lessen or diminish what she accomplished every single day she fought past her darkest inclinations. Charlotte Dawson made damn sure that everyone knew that suicide is a real thing. A dangerous thing. And her entire bent over the past few years has been to try and de-stigmatise it; to put it out in the open, so that we can’t hide from it, or deny that it exists.
Which might be why denying that she committed suicide seems so galling to me. Yes, it’s unpleasant. Yes, it hurts. But it’s also an indisputable fact: brave, powerful people can be preyed upon by the very same dark impulses the rest of us struggle with. Denial is what makes suicidal thoughts so powerful, and by refusing to acknowledge that people kill themselves, we make it harder for people who are considering doing the same to come out and talk about it. Out of sight, out of mind doesn’t help anyone, and denying Ms Dawson’s transparency and courage undoubtedly helped thousands plagued by depression and suicidal tendencies to seek out help, and robbing her of the ability to help people by example after her death would be doing her a grave disservice.