The brilliance of self-recognition

Contrary to popular belief, suicide is not the last resort of the depressive mind. It is not the last moment of mental decay. The chances of suicide are actually higher among people recently returned from a hospital stay than they are among people at a hospital, and not simply because the restraints of the hospital setting have been lifted. Suicide is the mind’s rebellion against itself, a double disillusionment of a complexity that the perfectly depressed mind cannot compass. It is a willful act to liberate oneself of oneself. The meekness of depression could hardly imagine suicide; it takes the brilliance of self-recognition to destroy the object of that recognition. However misguided the impulse, it is at least an impulse. If there is no other comfort in a suicide not avoided, at least there is this persistent thought, that it was an act of misplaced courage and unfortunate strength rather than an act of utter weakness or of cowardice.

— Andrew Solomon, The Noonday Demon

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