Andi I agree with you about depression. It's something I'm going to have to live with the rest of my life, one last little present from my loving parents.
I believe that many times, a suicidal person believes they are doing others a favor by "leaving". Not once on both of my attempts had I just been thinking of myself. I was thinking of EVERYONE around me. My affairs were in order and I was "ready" as I could be. My attempts weren't even going to be messy, just falling asleep and never returning. My depression had taken its toll on my friends around me at that time and I knew it. I KNEW I was an emotional burden, thus I wanted to shorten their frustrations by getting rid of the problem.
But see this is different than someone being tired, or ill. Depression changes thoughts, warps the way we view ourselves and the world around us. For example, I cannot look at your photos and not see someone who looks like Jabba the Hutt. I'll take your word (and Nina's) that it is otherwise, but I am incapable of seeing what you see. Cognitively I know this; logic and reason tell me that depression warps my self-image just as depression warped your view. You would not be doing anyone a favor by checking out. That is the evil of depression. And if you had succeeded, I would feel anything but relief for you. I would grieve the loss, as that is what it would be: a loss.
I cannot be angry with anyone who is overcome as I know how hard a struggle it is. I feel sadness, disappointment and a little colder knowing how deadly the struggle really is.
Chris, I think in situations like this, especially older people, have considered a lot of alternatives and this is the only one within reach. And I think the answer behind it is simple: they're tired. Just plain tired of it all. Tired of the pain, tired of the fighting, tired of the empty platitudes that most people give, just down and out tired
See this is, to me at least, a different scenario than fighting and losing to depression. I agree with Narkissos strongly that we have the right to die. BUT (notice the deft backhand on my but) I believe that this right comes only with the understanding and agreement that we have our full mental faculties. If I'm dying of cancer, racked with pain, but my mind is clear and I choose to leave on my own terms then yes I should have that right. If (God forbid) Nina were dying and wanted to end her life, her way I would let her go. I would be sad yes, but relieved as well and just a little happy that she got to leave on her terms and on her timetable.
But see the dynamic is totally different than a young man or woman in good health but whose mind is clouded with major depression. Their view is skewed. The behavior is different as is the reason. To end one's life when terminally ill serves a higher purpose; there is nothing more personal and private than our own death and to face death when we are ready as opposed to what some hospital or illness dictates does serve a higher purpose. Death from depression does not. It is a defeat, a loss and I cannot find it within myself to be relieved or even happy for someone who loses to the evil of depression. If they lose, there is no higher purpose served; nothing is accomplished. There is only the absence of pain and the waste of the potential that person had. There is only what-if's and if-only's.
I hear what you, and Frannie are saying believe me I do. I've been there, tired and lonely and thoroughly beaten up. And I understand if someone just can't fight anymore. All I'm saying is in that situation, that is one that others can make a difference. The last thing I wanted to do when I was in that black hole was to be around others, especially if they were trying to "cheer" me up. But it does make a difference to say the words out loud, to hear yourself give the reasons why or express the level of pain to someone else. And not just once, but over and over and over. I've seen it in myself and with others.
In Nina's father's case, he wasn't tired or sickly. He was 78, but in great health, financially secure and had a supportive family. But he was a screwed up unit. He was consumed with fear. He had issues in his past, but he was afraid to face it and he ran from them all of his life. That's what attracted him to the Witnesses: the idea of a magic solution; instant happiness with no effort. But some issues are like poison, and you can't run from them forever. That's what happened to Bill. And when he found out the Witnesses lied to him, that there would be no magic answer he was terrified and angry. So he turned it all inward on himself. I know exactly why he killed himself; he was afraid to live. He didn't care what his death did to others (in fact I strongly suspect if he had lived with us there would have been a murder/suicide situation).
See I think the reasons for death, is not an simple answer. Humans are complex creatures; why we do the things we do are numerous and complex. I guess I'm just focused on death resulting from depression. I don't think we're our brother's keeper, we are all responsible for our own actions and lives. But if we see someone in distress don't we owe that person an effort to help them? If they make it out and choose to live instead of to die, they will have to do the majority of the work themselves, but they need support along the way; a listening ear, a place to vent, a time to heal.
There is pain in this life, many times unfair pain. But I submit where there is life, there is hope. Life finds a way.