My highschool in Utah had a Facebook page for students who had passed away. There was a guy mentioned on there named Michael Match, which sounded kind of familiar. I searched for his name a couple years back and found his obituary here http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/saltlaketribune/obituary.aspx?pid=...
I couldn't really place if our paths ever crossed in school, but somehow remember him. He was 3 years older than me. He was apparently a very active actor, musician, and Atheist. It looks like the famous Atheist Sam Harris even posted on his obituary page, just basically saying he never knew Michael, but was very moved by his Youtube video. There was also a guy named Bill Allred who also posted, which I suspect is the famous local DJ at a radio station whom I believe to be Atheist too.
Anyway, Michael posted a Youtube video in 2 sections, explaining why he wanted to commit suicide. He is very clear, well spoken, and insightful. I get really bummed out thinking I would have liked to have been friends with the guy, as I think we would have had a lot to share, and maybe made life a little more bearable for one another. It was not at all easy to be non-religious in the area we grew up, and where I withdrew from the community it sounds like he was a big part of it, I can only imagine the constant religious pressures and opinions that would have amplified his extreme disappointment, growing into a dissatisfaction of monstrous proportions. I completely understand and respect his decision, probably a great deal more than most. I'm also thankful he shared his last moments and thoughts with us.
I wanted to hear Michael's story because a Catholic aunt I'd never met and a Catholic aunt I had met (my Catholic dad's twin), took their own lives. I entered my teens thinking about taking mine because I was in the Catholic schools my dad had put me into and did not want for myself the life my dad was living.
I admire Michael's determination not to hurt the people who knew him. Like all of us, he had not asked to be born and at 38 he had given life a try. I chuckled at his mention of Catholicism.
At 27 I quit Catholicism and my life became mine. At 31, still in college, I found a future I wanted to live. At 35 I married a woman who like me wanted no children. At 85 I'm in good physical health and fair economic health.
I want the state to recognize my right to do as Michael did.
What I get out of the videos is that he just didn't want to go on. Life itself might have seemed so overwhelming. As an atheist he is still wanting to find a state with no pain or anguish where he might know more in that state. He's also holding out to have answers for all the unanswered questions, but admits that may not happen. I agree. It would seem that death is very much like all those millions of years before you were born. This is what logic tells us anyway.
I recall thoughts of suicide in my own life. Once it was because I'm not going to be able to have that wonderful girl I wanted. Later it was because I'm not living up to the expectations of the mythical god who seemed to want about the same things from me that my parents did.
Much later still a very small man in church told us all that ants do not tolerate a non-productive member of their society. They kill them. What was this man trying to tell us? That you have to be a productive member of society, and especially a productive member of god's society or he will kill you. If you are not productive to society that you deserve death. Productive in what way? Go away little man. You bother me.
I worked in a small town factory for 18 years and worked with 2 different women who ended up taking their own lives. It was an area with about 12,000 people, so I was surprised when I learned this had happened. Working with both women, one said she had suicide thoughts sometimes. I found no reason to take it seriously. The second woman told me nothing even close to this, but I'm a talker and talked to both women a lot.
The underlying cause in each case is suspected to be depression. We all get depression and if it is normal it should change like the weather. Apparently this is not true for everybody.
I have more than one family connection with depression, and I'm going to take you, Michael, to task for one thing you said. "We all get depression ... " What you are talking about it situational depression. Circumstances turn against us, somebody lets us down, we don't get the job -- we feel bummed out. But clinical depression is a medical condition, unrelated to our surroundings. And it's deeper than we can imagine. That is a common cause for suicide. Cheering people up, making them see the bright side, can't touch it. I really wish somebody would find a cure. We lose good people from it every day.
Jerry, thanks for correcting and clarifying my statement here as you are exactly right. What I meant was situational depression.
Nice observations, thoughts, and stories guys.