I had read an article about Heath Ledger, and his final moments before he overdosed on a mix of prescription drugs. The actor was 28 years old. The article said that in his last few weeks he was so unhappy and sad. I read another article about Aaron Hernandez, the promising NFL star for the New England Patriots who in April got acquitted for a double murder, but still served a life sentence for the murder of his friend Odin Lloyd. Hernandez hung himself in his jail cell.
That got me thinking that it is possible to be so unhappy with life that you just want to die. I mean most suicides and suicide attempts are done in moments of unhappiness, and emotions of hopelessness. There are things that people can go through in this world that make them feel like the pain will never end, and that the only way to escape the pain is through suicide. But, one person feels like their situation is the end of the road and things will never get better, while someone else looks at the situation can see many hopeful outcomes.
*Knock on wood* but I cannot imagine anything in life that I go through can be so bad that the only escape is death. Even people with HIV (a permanent illness that will kill a human being if not regularly treated with medicines) have hope of living a full life. Even in marriage, an agreement that is supposed to last until death has a way out called divorce. Divorce can be very emotionally and financially tasking, but, the point is, if you’re miserable, there’s a way out without killing yourself.
People have moments of unhappiness which means that your feelings won’t last forever, and often times you have the power to change how you feel. When I say moment, it doesn’t just mean a minute. A moment can be days, weeks, months, or years, but it still isn’t forever.
I don’t believe that Ledger wanted to die. I think he just wanted to get through the moment of pain, and prescription pills helped him with that, except that one time he took the wrong mix of drugs, or too many drugs, and it finally consumed his body. Those pills didn’t take away his pain. Those pills just masked his pain with less pain, but it was still pain that eventually killed him.
I do believe that Hernandez wanted to die, but even serving a life sentence without parole didn’t mean he had no hope. Obviously, he had no hope of the civilian life he once had, he had no hope of ever playing in the NFL again. But other inmates are serving life sentences, and they haven’t committed suicide whether they thought about it or not because they found a purpose to live. They found religion, friends, recreational activities, or maybe they just took responsibility for their actions and decided to serve their consequences.
The fact is life doesn’t owe us happiness. Happiness is a mix of circumstances and choices, but more so choices. Most of your life you will have to choose to be happy rather than just feeling happy. In dating relationships, people often feel happiness, but infatuation eventually fades, and you realize that this person isn’t perfect and that you have to put in hard work to make the relationship last any longer.
Even if you spend your whole life pursuing the things that you think will make you happy you still won’t be happy all the time. Rich people have to choose to be happy. Poor people have to choose to be happy. There are distinctly different circumstances that will make rich people feel happy more or less often than poor people, but regardless nothing in this world can make you feel happy for the rest of your life.