The patient had lost his job and his wife was threatening to leave him. The suffering became overwhelming. Deliberately, he assembled a mass of various pills, a bottle of Jack Daniels and his hunting knife used to field dress deer. The knife performed the same function on deer as it did on its master. Both wrists had to be stapled close along with a massive slash along his neck. This man truly intended to give up. How he lived is beyond any medical explanation. He admitted so himself. He downed a bottle of pills with a bottle of Jack Daniels and then cut himself in three places where major bleeding IS going to occur. But somehow he lived. I don't know what became of him. Did he get the help he needed? Or more importantly, was the help even enough? Or, like a statistic, did he repeat his grisly task only this time completing the grim task?
So with this patient in mind, when people try to reassure me that the suffering will pass, I wince inside. It is not always so. It takes vast amounts of emotional fortitude to step away from that cliff. It often requires a deliberate choice requiring more will power than many people have. So that choice is far from a foregone conclusion. Suffering can, and does, win. The bodies taken by suicide or the broken human beings who live in constant tension of that dynamic of choosing life or giving up and embracing death are a bodily testament to that fact.