Why Privilege Can't 'Cure' Suicidal Thoughts

“Oh, poor guy. It must be so hard to be a rich, rockstar that you have to go kill yourself.”

“Man, what was he thinking?”

Those were the words I heard around the office when Chris Cornell died by suicide.

I’m not a rich rockstar, but I might know what he was thinking.

From my experience, suicidal thoughts have little to do with your environment; it often about the thoughts you can’t escape. Money can’t buy new thoughts. For some, it can buy drugs or alcohol as temporary escapes, I suppose. But when you are in the grips of suicidal ideation, those escapes are usually just a dream and you wake up inside your brain every time.

Stop. Stop assuming they could think outside the pain. Riches, fame, success, family, friends — those things cannot always “cure” mental illness. Money doesn’t regulate thoughts. A wonderful spouse and children doesn’t always fix things when you’re struggling.

Suicide is not self-pity. And those of us who fight the thoughts don’t often fight for ourselves, we fight for our daughters and sons, our partners and parents, our friends. And when we give in, it’s not because we feel sorry for ourselves, it’s because we can’t fight the pain anymore. We can’t feel the joy. We hurt. Every day. Every second. Every moment of unoccupied, distracted, intentionally redirected energy is concentrated toward what might be the only relief we can see — the dark at the end of a tunnel. The end of pain. The possibility of peace.

Maybe it’s not what he was thinking. But it’s what I have thought. I don’t want your pity. I don’t pity myself. It’s pain. It’s sickness. It’s real and it has nothing to do with fortune.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

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